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City people, am I right? No sooner do they get electric lights put in everywhere than they start complaining to the newspapers about the quality of all that brash, unnatural light. This LTE is from September 9, 1902.

sept 9 1902

There was an editorial recently in the local student paper complaining about Kids These Days in the venerable tradition of student papers everywhere. The specific complaint was something like, "You could use your phones to set up a 24-hour news cycle in your pocket, but you just take selfies with it instead! Why are you getting updates of where your friends are, instead of getting updates on the Ukranian crisis?? Young people other than myself are stupid and self-absorbed, and it's all the fault of technology somehow." (slight paraphrase).

I immediately thought of Maud, whose love of taking pictures of herself is well documented and who has a good depiction of information overload, its temptations and discontents, in Rilla of Ingleside and her own journals. In fact, the Guy Who Yells At Everyone For Not Following the Dispatches would fit right in as a character in Rilla.

I don't understand the hate for self-portraiture that turns up in so many Kids These Days articles lately. When I was a Kid These Days we took exactly as many pictures as current technology made it easy to take, just like Maud and her friends in the days of the Kodak Brownie, and no one wrote an editorial about it that I remember. Kids These Days write their counter-generational rants about the weirdest things.

Later, someone else wrote an editorial about how today's pop music is soulless crap and everyone should listen to the Beatles instead, and also the Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel. It was exactly the same editorial that ran in my own high school paper 20 years ago, except that Justin Bieber had been swapped in for The Spice Girls. It's nice to know that some things never change.

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