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Honestly I don't think there is much to be seen. Young people are playing the hand they have been dealt, it just isn't a very good one.





"Joel got the idea for the song when he had just turned 40. He was in a recording studio and met a friend of Sean Lennon who had just turned 21 who said 'It's a terrible time to be 21!' Joel replied to him, 'Yeah, I remember when I was 21 – I thought it was an awful time and we had Vietnam, and y'know, drug problems, and civil rights problems and everything seemed to be awful.' The friend replied, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, but it's different for you. You were a kid in the fifties and everybody knows that nothing happened in the fifties.' Joel retorted, 'Wait a minute, didn't you hear of the Korean War or the Suez Canal Crisis?' Joel later said those headlines formed the basic framework for the song."

I have heard the argument before, that things were always bad, but that isn't the point. The difference isn't that things aren't better, but that they aren't getting better. The reason we remember hippies, punk rockers and skaters is because they ended up having an outsized impact in expanding cultural centres. You can trace back entire movements or industries to certain locations or events. But is anyone going to talk about the subprime mortgage crisis, some algorithm change or even "occupy" in the future? Is anyone going to say "I was there when people were in debt, couldn't afford to live in cities and were playing video games and watching YouTube"? I think it is doubtful. People can't even remember current wars. The cast of "Girls" isn't the cast of "Kids". But I guess I can't entire rule out iJustine becoming president one day.

Which song?

Sounds like Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."

That is a very victim mentality statement to make.

That doesn't make it any less true.

No, it makes it an opinion, with no argument supporting it provided by OP...

It's not a self-evident truth, at least to me.


Youth cultures that become catalysts are expressive. They are pushing what you can do. Whether that is making music, doing drugs, skateboarding or being gay. Because when you actively escape the norm you receive ownership of some new part of society that wasn't there before.

However, most modern youth cultures are defined largely by their lack of culture. They are instead about passively escaping society. The top comment on the first video in the article is literally literally "I have no friends and I’m sitting alone in my room laughing hysterically at this video". There is increasingly nothing to understand. It is an entire generation being marginalized. But you can of course argue that many people always were.

Addition: Another example would be the relative failure of things that would be expressive like the "maker movement", platforms like SoundCloud and E-sports.


> However, most modern youth cultures are defined largely by their lack of culture.

That doesn't seem right, even the "Smash Bros" community has a culture, hell people talk about the YouTube community all the time.

Also, soundcloud gave rise to Soundcloud rapper movement and more broadly has been important in the hip-hop community, I don't think it's a good example


How to define a culture is of course a much longer discussion, so I have to defer to my earlier comments. Is the "Smash Bros" or YouTube communities significant enough to be remembered as something special, or is it popular because it is popular?

My point with SoundCloud is that it is a mostly a commercial failure. If youth cultures today was more expressive it would be much more successful. So would make magazine or e-sport venues.

I don't deny that there are cultures on for example YouTube, more the idea that there is something more going on. That we don't understand "beauty blogging", but in the future it will lead to something exciting. No, (or at least mostly not) they will go on to become marketing managers at some company and/or continue to sell Chinese cosmetics. Cosmetics happened last century with people like Estée Lauder.

Asia is a bit of a different story, which I don't know enough about to really comment on. But in the West it is very much that young people have shitty deal and are making the best of it by doing things like playing video games and watching people they can identify with and are popular.

If you think about it a lot of the content is about fitting in, rather than standing out. Which would be the more traditional youth culture.




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