Such terse comments reflect the cynical attitude of many modern young readers who are expecting to be humored, entertained, and maybe even educated. If you are a writer, you must use politically correct language or your message will be disregarded by those who disapprove of ignoring the culture of the dominant in-group!
Of course, you may be fortunate to appeal to a special audience that will tolerate imprecision, an infrequent faux pas, and some inattention to details. Nevertheless, if your writing isn’t very entertaining or easy to read, anything you write that is published will be tossed in the trash bin for recycled paper with the unread daily classified ads.
Without a humorous lead-in, a bizarre happening to describe, or some frightening headline, it is very difficult to grab the attention of today’s sophisticated and skeptical readers. They have been exposed to the most devious verbal manipulation by our politicians, our commentators, and even our popular Presidents like “read my lips” Bush, and “whatever the definition of is is” Clinton.
Discriminating, objective, and intelligent may not be appropriate adjectives for many in our reading audience, but they certainly are judgmental and impatient. Most of them prefer reading fiction: mystery, romance, and adventure with a lot of sexual activity mixed into the pot boiler.
What do they really want to know? Where the fringes of society’s fabric are fraying, and what the next exciting fad will be. None of the young adults wants to be left at the curb with their parents’ generation’s orientation as transportation. Nor are the future movers and shakers all that interested in how the rest of the world outside the United States lives and functions. Those poor souls are not trend setters, nor likely to push the envelope.
Marketers are doing what they do so consumers have the latest in fashionable clothes, the cheapest electronic gizmos, an abundant supply of oil, and a future full of fun things to do. Only the nerds and privileged read, anyway. Most of our youth is educated by TV, the Internet, and the street smart leaders of the pack who know it all.
Distrusting everybody is “in.” Doubting information and suggestions from authority figures is being righteous. (Better check that item with SNOPES if you want to be properly informed.) Rejecting the status quo and ignoring the rules are acceptable choices of behavior. “We can smoke whatever we want, binge drink whenever we choose, and have consensual sex with whomever will join us in bed. It says so in the Constitution!”
Our schools have moved students along toward graduation and a sense that once past that exit gate, they have become educated. Once they can drive they are free, once they can vote they are responsible, and once they are twenty-one they are legally mature if not emotionally mature. After they become adults, what can anyone tell them that they don’t already know?!
The trial and error learning process begins in earnest once these new adults move out of mom’s and dad’s oppressive household. They are on their own for the first time in their lives to make their own mistakes that they may have to pay for – or not, the parents will! Most of them can return home for financial and emotional support. Maybe for help in raising a new-born child. Anyway, what can we tell them that they haven’t heard from grown-ups at least a thousand times? Not very much!
Although no one actually wants to know more than what’s convenient to them, there are a few readers who are curious about three things: 1.) What happened yesterday (like the results from sporting events, the disasters throughout the world, and the gossip about whatever transpired in the American “in” places like Hollywood.) 2.) The future (what someone else predicts is going to happen tomorrow with the local weather and in the stock market.) and 3.) How they are supposed to do things and think about issues (to conform with the expectations of the elite or the ruling in-crowd.) Since I’m neither a paid newspaper reporter, a soothsayer, nor an expert authority for any accomplished profession, I cannot provide much information about those three categories that would satisfy a young discriminating audience.
What I can provide readers is an answer to one question: What shouldn’t be asked? There isn’t much to know at the moment – only sophisticated speculation and unproven theories. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some gold to be mined by digging in some isolated territory. Our much respected scientific and religious communities are busy making careers out of imagining what might be plausible explanations for that mysterious void out there in space/time.
Yet, what they offer are mostly opinions based upon frequently faulty assumptions. Since the majority of us humans have little time to consider physical and metaphysical subjects, we are quickly bored if what they provide us is useless for our current circumstances. Maybe tomorrow we will be interested, when there is more evidence or possibly some substantial proof. Or at least some significant benefit to our personal lives and fortunes. So, don’t ask, because who can tell?
What our readers already know is that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” as Lord Acton has written. What they still need to know is that it is impossible to unseat the powerful tactfully and peacefully, and to find a life that isn’t beholden to some tyrant. Of course the tyrant called Destiny cannot be avoided altogether, despite our numerous prayers. The forces of Nature are frequently inopportune, also, but not all of us succumb to those forces as we do to Destiny. We may be led to believe that we have “free will” at our disposal as human beings. However, when you consider that no matter what a person does with his or her life – whether it is considered “bad” or “good” by some expert’s criteria – all of us mortals are destined to perish.
Human life is like a pin ball game. We each have five balls to shoot. No matter how well we score by the rules of the game due to our proficiency with the flippers, all balls end up out of play due to destiny – a destiny tyrannically governed by the Law of Gravity. Did our “free” willful use of the flippers actually enhance our chances of surviving the pull of gravity? I don’t think so.
Sooner or later we lose, or rather the game ends, and so does the fun. It may end quickly if we are incompetent, impatient, and improvident – or tilt the machine too much! The game always ends. Nothing is achieved except arousing the emotional pleasure of playing a pin ball game. The game is a temporary diversion from other time-consuming occupations. When the game is over, the feeling of having fun vanishes. Then it’s time to look for the next diversion until we run out of diversions. Or we run out of interest or breath and give up the ghost!
You probably didn’t want all this information, feeling confident that life’s going to be a ball and afterward there will be some kind of eternal paradise, or at worst some purgatory which can be escaped will someone’s help. Good luck! I hope your destiny will be manifested just as you hope!