Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"A jaded heart and an empty head"

That's what Meghan Cox Gurdon, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says is the result of the insipid content of magazines for young girls in this country today. The magazines that she examines include Girls Life (the magazine of the Girl Scouts), Teen People, Cosmo Girl and Bop. Television programming for girls (for children in general) is just as bad: "Watch television aimed at the young and it is difficult to escape the disquieting sense that too much children's programming exists to -- well, program children," she writes. "Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel teach children through precept and relentless example how to preen, how to diss and how, if dark-skinned, to talk Ebonics."

I'm not an expert in girls magazines. However, last week, I was talking about children's TV programming with some other folks in Cambridge, and we were comparing the programs we liked as kids with the fare for today's youth. In the past, the programs tended to come out before the merchandise; today, the programs exist to sell the merchandise. I was even told that in the 1970s, Saturdays were sacrosanct: no advertising during the morning cartoons that so many of us Gen-X and Gen-Y folk grew up watching. Instead, kids got educational fare between shows, like "One to Grow On" (which I remember) and "Conjunction Junction" (which I don't). What to do if you're a kid today?

Today's Journal also has an interesting Review & Outlook piece on the fact that there are now 27 million single people in this country. It focuses on the younger demographic. "Even if you discount the college graduates who paint the town every night before crashing happily at their first pad," the author writes, "you're left with a huge number of people who have found companionship and lost it or are still looking for someone to share their life with." Most, the author continues, "probably are missing something, and we don't mean the better health and the longevity boost that scientists have associated with marriage and other forms of intimate living."

Let's face it, people are pickier these days. And there are so many of us out there. I've tried no shortage of online dating sites -- Match, the personals (before they were farmed out to Yahoo!), JDate, and now Craigslist. We live in a disposable culture, our attention span shortened by the Internet. It's easy to continuously reject less-than-sterling suitors in hopes of finding perfection.


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