Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist
jlindquist

...just watch what you say

Paul Graham writes an interesting piece on cultural taboos.

I popped up a level to see what else he wrote, and he's got a great piece on the unpopularity of nerds: "Unpopularity is a communicable disease; kids too nice to pick on nerds will still ostracize them in self-defense."

Gee, there's a sentiment that leads right to one of my possibly blasphemous unconventional opinions: I don't blame kids who shoot up their schools for being that angry and that broadly heartless. You get tired of the bullies, the popular kids slamming you down, and you get tired of everyone else enabling it by either laughing or standing idle.

The intelligent reader will note that I don't excuse the action, only the emotions. But that's a detail too subtle to notice in a society so emotionally upset over the incidents that they condemn the perpetrators as subhuman monsters.

He goes on at length about why American adolescence and the schools it centers on suck. It reminds me a lot of a book I'm reading, Thomas Hine's The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager. Which I really ought to finish someday...

For the moment, I think I'm gonna go downstairs and throw Pump Up The Volume in the DVD player. Take cover, Arizona!
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