Inventing the Young
I WAS recently told the following story: A nationally known authority on the young was asked to speak to an adult audience in his community. He arrived bearing a tape recorder and announced to his listeners that to understand today’s youth one has to listen to its music, whereupon he turned on the recorder to a selection of rock music, and while the audience watched in numb amazement, danced before the lectern. After about twenty minutes of music and dancing he undertook the lecture proper which berated adults for victimizing the young, who were described as tribunes of a new era of peace and love. In the midst of this harangue he was interrupted by a messenger and left the stage, to return shortly and declare: “I must leave. My students need me.” And left, taking the tape recorder, but leaving behind a dazed and enraged audience.
I treasure this anecdote, not only for its grotesque charm, and for its demonstration of how much an apostle of Love will allow himself, but also because it illustrates so vividly the temptations besetting an expert on the young.
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