Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Crotchety Old Men

Hey Garrison Keillor, I thought all the kids were "above average"! Guess not according to your grumpy latest Salon column:
Disaster belief: It's not young people who imagine soup lines when the Dow Jones falls. They're too busy snazzing up their Web sites.

This letter (by this writer)
sums it up , the argument and the rebuttal, better than I ever could:

"it's good to see...

...that the eternal pastime of old people beating up on young people, which has literally been going on since ancient Greece at least, hasn't fallen out of fashion.

Some points:
*Of course the older fellow in Keillor's office tale is more worried about his career than the callow youths in the cubes. He almost certainly has more economic responsiblities (kids, looming retirement) and higher expectations about his living environment (i.e. he probably wouldn't be blase about crashing on a buddy's couch or eating ramen if that job falls through).

*He probably also has a sense of responsibility to his employers inherited from the days when employers actually cared about their employers. The kids know instinctively that anyone who expects that their employment with Northern Grommets is anything other than an economic transaction -- one in which Northern Grommets holds an upper hand -- is a sucker. They are not treated with respect by their bosses, so why should they treat their bosses with respect?

*Keillor notes his father's instinctive solid conservatism. Of course, Keillor didn't know his father when his father was the age of those Gen Y twerps in the cubes. Maybe his dad wanted to have a wacky career in, say, public radio or something, but decided that hard work was the way to go when little Garrison needed feeding and care.

But thanks for suggesting that everyone should abandon any aspirations of creativity in lieu of good hard work at the age of 18. A quick glance at Keillor's Wikipedia bio indicates that he got his start in radio at the age of 27 and sold his first story to the New Yorker at the age of 28. I'm assuming he did something for money during his 20s. Thank God his creative career sprung forth magically in 1969; I'd hate to thing he might have been nursing dreams while working at that job.

Sorry, I don't usually get into writerly psychoanalysis, and I usually like Keillor's columns, but this one left a really bad taste in my mouth."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anya, the more I read your blog, the more I think that you are IN with Bankers. You give me the impression that you are simply trying to instigate a generational despute in order to divert attention away from Bankers.

Please, confirm by deleting this comment.

Dooser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dooser said...

from iamdooser.blogspot.com:

Anya Kamenetz alerts me of a recent article by Garrison, in which he states:

I am of a generation that believes in disaster; the younger generation does not. A Harris Interactive poll of Generation Y's feelings about work shows 92 percent want a "flexible work schedule," 96 percent want a job that "requires creativity," and 97 percent want a job that "allows me to have an impact on the world." All I can say is, Wow. Good luck. And now you know why we need illegal immigrants to do the inflexible uncreative stuff that simply needs doing right now. We've raised a generation of young people who want to be writers. Whassup? That's whassup, dude.



Hmmmm. Aren't you a writer Garrison? I don't appreciate ageism.

But I wonder, is this just a ploy? Garrison is usually quite respectable. I've always respected him, even though I dislike the majority of his work. He is held in high regard. It just seems far too obvious for him not to catch on to the fact that he's writing about himself. A creative job involving writing that impacts the world? Come on!

Anonymous said...

"He probably also has a sense of responsibility to his employers inherited from the days when employers actually cared about their employers".

The good old days....do you mean the meat packinghouse days, the kids in the coal mine days, or feudalism??

Anya said...

No, anonymous, he's talking about the postwar era. You know, the time Keillor actually lived through. Rise of the firm, the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, highest labor union membership in American history, 80% of the workforce health insured and pensioned...those good old days.
Was it just a fugue state? Are we destined to rejoin the world in sweatshops? Are you excited about that? Maybe you own a sweatshop?

Anonymous said...

1. GK was +/-6 yrs old during the post war era.
2. Man in the Grey was about how bad those times were.
3. What is a fugue, I thought it was a piece of music? (I went to a land grant university.)

Please stop whining and work on a solution.

Anya said...

1) The Postwar Era in employer-employee relations lasted until Reagan ripped it up. Employer health insurance for example peaked in the 1980s.
2) Good point.
3) A "fugue" is a transitory state marked by dissociative and repetitive elements.
4) I am working on solutions every day: personal financial integrity, and political action to fix Social Security, healthcare, and credit laws.
5) Stop whining and get your own blog if you don't like mine! :)

Anonymous said...

"Rise of the firm, the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, highest labor union membership in American history, 80% of the workforce health insured and pensioned...those good old days. "

Didn't we enjoy all these things in the postwar era because we reduced most of the world to rubble? Last I checked Toyota doesn't have to scrounge for scrap metal and rubber anymore. But yes, I do long for the good old days when we were the undisputed economic power and the rest of the world was living on rat meat...