Youth Has Status

“In today’s topsy-turvy world, youth has status. That is why so many old-timers spend large amounts of money and time trying to hold on to, or even win back, some of its accoutrements, whether by purchasing a pair of jeans from Aeropostale, buying a male grooming kit, or even undergoing drastic plastic surgery. Harmless as these phenomena are at one level, at another they are part of the larger cultural impulse toward disdain for the past and for old age. We see this not just in fashion, of course, but also in the ‘wisdom’ now invested in young people who are considered competent to opine on complex matters, not despite the fact of their relative youth and inexperience but precisely because of it. Pop music, a function of youth culture if there ever was one, is perhaps responsible for this. In the last few decades, we have had the pleasure of hearing all manner of people, from Hall & Oates in the eighties to Lady Gaga in the present, telling the world what to do about everything from apartheid to third world debt to gay marriage. Apparently, the lack of ‘baggage’ (to use the standard pejorative) is an advantage to being able to speak with authority on complex subjects. In other professions, of course – from plumbing to brain surgery and beyond – ‘baggage’ is generally referred to as ‘appropriate training,’ but, such is the power of a youthful smile, a full head of hair, and a trim waistline that such does not apply to matters of morality, economics, or the meaning of life in general.”

– Trueman, The Creedal Imperative (p. 29)

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3 thoughts on “Youth Has Status”

  1. That kinda stings doesn’t it? The interesting thing, I think, is that at the same time we hold disdain for the past and old age, we also hold disdain for the very young. Our birthrate is dropping and there a general anti-baby feeling about our culture. So I guess you have to be an American between about 5 and 35 years old to be of any consequence :-/

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