Daily Archives: January 9, 2013

Study shows today’s kids think way too highly of themselves. A picture that sums up our world, circa 2013. And a beautiful tribute to Richard Ben Cramer.

Adam Zyglis Cartoon

**This post written while happily savoring another Duke victory, the 15th of the season, without a defeat. They’re not winning pretty, but they’re getting better and better. Just hope Ryan Kelly isn’t hurt too bad. Big game against N.C. State on  Sat., can’t wait.

You know, sometimes you see a study or hear a report and think “Of course, that makes total sense!”

As I’ve started substituting in the New York City school systems, one of the things that’s struck me most is the irrational confidence of today’s teenagers. No matter what they say, or how they’re doing in school, they absolutely, positively think they are the cat’s meow.

Wait Michael, you’re saying: Doesn’t every teenager think the world revolves around them, and that they’re awesome? Well, sure. But this generation seems maybe even more loaded with self-belief.

So then I heard on MSNBC today about this study by professor Jean Zwenge and some university psychologists at San Diego State that today’s kids think they’re more awesome than any generation, ever.

Zwenge’s study, called the “American Freshman Survey,” found that from 1982 and 2009, U.S. students’ narcissistic attitudes increased by 30 percent, and that in 1966 teenagers who had above-average intellectual self-confidence numbered 39 percent, while in 2009 that number was 60 percent.

Now, there could be a lot of reasons for this: Parents coddling and instilling in their kids the idea that they are perfect, and can do no wrong; the culture we live in that is so much of the “hey, every kid gets a trophy!” mentality, or any number of reasons.

It just bothers me, the self-entitlement the younger generation feels about itself. Course, I realize I now sound like a grumpy old man.

**Ah, this cracked me up big-time and almost caused a spit-take of water in our home (not by me). My friend Dan Higgins, a hell of a nice guy and crackpot journalist, found this on Reddit, the community information site. I’d say it pretty much sums up America, circa 2013:


**And finally, I wanted to point out this great obituary written by one writer about another he idolized. Tom Junod, for my money one of the best magazine writers in the world, has penned this piece about Richard Ben Cramer, a prolific writer and author who died on Monday.

Junod got to know Cramer a bit and his words clearly come from the heart; even if you’re not all that familiar with Ben Cramer’s work, this is a terrific read by a brilliant scribe.