Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Millennial Life: When The World is a Jungle and Peers Are Your Tribe

The myths, folk tales, and fiction of every culture are part of a feedback loop that both reflects and also shapes cultural values. Such tales provide their listeners with heroes to be imitated and enemies to be despised, with dreams to be chased and errors to be avoided, and, above all, with a sense of what is normal in the world. Through stories comes a sense of shared culture and a shared way of interpreting life. Youths of ancient Greece and Rome were immersed in the hierarchic, heroic culture of The Iliad. Uncle Tom’s Cabin magnified nineteenth-century disapproval of slavery. The Andy Griffith Show upheld trust in the wisdom and authority of sensible, masculine American virtue. These stories all helped to shape the social outlook of young people and to prepare them for entrance into the adult world. In the last forty years, the stories that our culture provides for our youth have acquired a strangely regressive message. It is a change that both reveals and contributes to the tribalism and generational isolation of our era. 

Read THE REST OF MY ARTICLE at The Federalist. 


Also 1: for those who missed it, are you acquainted with HOMESCHOOL BARBIE? (Thanks to Rebekah of A Mad Tea Party for the link). No doubt I should have somehow incorporated this doll into my series of articles about homeschooling. Oh well. Note: I took this "barbie" as tongue-in-cheek humor, not mockery. Speaking of beauty and image, I found THIS rather amusing as well.


Also 2: A certain degree of Individualism is necessary for democracy, but did American Rationalism lead to an unhealthy individualism?


  1. Homeschool Barbie... HAHAHAHAHA. That Onion article, too!

    Fascinating point about peer group loyalty being the key to success in YA and children's lit nowadays. That's even true to some extent in Harry Potter, and I love me some Harry Potter.

    And your point about the overall teaching of primitive tribalism... that rang true to the point of being chilling.

    1. I thought quite a bit about Harry Potter while writing the article. The series does include the peers-as-your-people thing, but it is also the most obvious exception to this trope in that Harry's final victory hinges on his willingness to submit to Dumbledore's assessment of what needs to be done in order to defeat Voldemort (even though Dumbledore isn't perfect).


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