Monday, July 05, 2010

A grumpy old man

Today's post by Chris Trotter is a perfect example of his decline into a grumpy old man. Ostensibly about the demise of the Independent (a business paper, and therefore of no interest to anyone outside the business elite), its actually an extended diatribe against the young for not sharing the values of Trotter's "old New Zealand". Substitute "Christian" in the place of "egalitarian" and it reads just like Garth George.

In both cases there's a nostalgia for a past "golden age" (you know, the racist, sexist, homophobic past we've left behind us), and a shared assumption that the young should naturally obey and be "proper custodians" for "traditional values". The former is simply quaint, particularly the hankering for "traditional" jobs of "farmer, shearer, fisherman, soldier, miner, labourer, freezing-worker, tradesman" that no-one wants to do anymore. The latter is simply bullshit. Culture doesn't own us - we own it. And what parts of it we choose to partake of and share in are up to us.

The upshot: if Trotter or George want younger people to share their "traditional values", they need to actually convince us. And you don't do that by shaking your stick and telling people to get off your lawn.