Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Ethics Observations On The Florida Teens And The Drowning Man'”

Responding to Pennagain’s comment, now a Comment of the Day, on his own Comment of the Day, Mark wrote in appreciation,

“Pennagain – I am a musician, mostly classical, and I tend to think in musical terms. I love it when I encounter something non-musical that is “symphonic” in its scope. Your response to my post is positively Mahlerian and, like a Gustav Mahler symphony, it must be listened to many times with each hearing offering up new ideas, connections to old ideas, or even bringing to life something completely new.”

This is, I think, Ethics Alarms’ all-time best ever comment by a commenter on another commenter’s comment on his Comment of the Day.

This July has an unfortunate record as the first month in the blog’s history to fall so far short of the previous year’s traffic in the same month. (Last year’s July did have the political conventions pumping up interest.) However, it also has seen the most Comments of the Day for a single month ever, with many more of equal distinction.  I’ll take quality over quantity every time.

Here’s is Pennagain’s Comment of the Day on the post, Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Observations On The Florida Teens And The Drowning Man”

I’m not sure the disconnect began with the hand-held devices, Mark. That was Phase III. I think the first part began with the invention of teenagers (as a group) in the early 50s, still “post-war” time — and “post-war” was barely “post-Depression” time, so it had been at least two decades and a full generation gone since the the good times rolled. The early 50s coincided with the installation of “labor-saving” devices which took over a lot of household chores for youngsters, not just for the housewives the companies advertised to. All of a sudden, I could keep what I earned on my paper route (though I did have to replace my own bicycle once, used, of course, after I carelessly left it in a neighbor’s driveway), mowing lawns, delivering groceries, raking (and burning) leaves, shoveling snow, sitting for the rowdy 7-year-old twins down the block. All of a sudden, we had a refrigerator in place of the ice-box, so I didn’t need to help chop ice; meat came ground so I didn’t have to cut the chunks and push them slooowly through the grinder; . . . I keep forgetting some things and remembering others, like ruining the dessert one night we had guests because I got some rock salt in the motor of the ice cream maker . . . having a clothes washing machine which got rid of most of the water so I didn’t have to help hold up the soaking wet sheets to be pinned on the lines above my head. All of a sudden, I had both privacy (my own telephone), my own music, and “free” time, however much my parents tried to fill it with after school lessons-this and lessons-that. Money and time. Time and money. It was time for friends to bump together with other pairs and bond like atoms in a molecule, becoming a “gang,” having our own things and our own things to do. Choosing our own movies, having sleep-overs, cook-outs, camp-outs, or just standin’ on the corner (“Most Happy Fella’) watchin’ all the girls/boys go by …. choices my mother had as a flapper for a very short time but in her young adulthood, not a teenager, already making the transition from one family to another.

Until I was in my 20s and living outside the US, I didn’t realize that growing away from my family (not spending most of my days with them) had not been a natural shift, and not a gradual one either. Nor was it particularly safe – a lot of new habits were acquired (smoking was mandatory, drinking less available, less so; under-exercised/over-eating — unrecognized for another generation!), and a lot of lessons were never learned properly, like working through emotion-based arguments, and almost everything about sex). By the time I left for college I was, though without realizing it, estranged from my parents — my peers and some self-appointed guides knew better than they did! — and stupid enough socially to be a total jerk. There was a missing link. So what? I let go of the past and caught up with the future.

I’m not regretting it. Just noting. Phase II: The age of baby-power (the late 60s) when the teens discovered the “higher order” (government) and tried with more success than I think is realized today to take it down — if they’d gone for influence instead of revolution, who knows what kind of damage might have been done! This was followed by the electronic age that bounded forward with the miniaturization in the 70s and PCs of the next level … and the next … ever faster … to push an even younger generation further beyond their elders. Built-in obsolescence was a forgotten phrase; it was the price of doing business. All for no particular reason; it was done because it could be done. Whatever Man can think of, He will Make Manifest.

Phase III, the age of implantation or at least that’s the goal: to think it is to make it so, Scotty. The Me Generation segued into the My Generation, the facebook with no real face, the laptop without any dance to it, the music discomposed of both melody and harmony, the art honoring no form, and so forth. The disconnect is accomplished. The chain of 80 rescuers is the dramatic and, I believe, a singular and opportune event today (my grandfather spoke of similar rescues out on Coney Island in the late 90s, his 90s, that all the young men practiced under the lifeguard’s tutelage, regretting that he’d never had a chance to actually save a life — preferably of a fair maiden). More the style now is the misshapen selfie taken to preserve the moment(s) of selfishness, of distancing oneself from anything that cannot be legislated, such as morals or ethics. Do they know the difference between right and wrong? Certainly. They just have no idea why one would be preferred over the other.

As for recording, I’ve gone from having a handful of true friends and loved ones, an album of vital people and experiences, a life of movement and joy and sex, of grief and loss, from a few cherished choices to a gazillion of ’em. So happy they’re not affordable. The only record worth keeping — and one which has begun slipping away in spite of being continually filled — is the one of the mind. Preserving that record beyond its span by mechanical or electronic means, (say, a PHD, Personal Hard-Drive? Is that on the market yet?) would take up more space in my being than I have left to waste. I have absolutely no interest in “RE-living” anything except in memory or imagination: there is no Groundhog Do-Over Day.



Filed under Childhood and children, Comment of the Day, Daily Life, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Love, Science & Technology, The Internet, U.S. Society

11 responses to “Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Ethics Observations On The Florida Teens And The Drowning Man'”

  1. luckyesteeyoreman

    “This is, I think, Ethics Alarms’ all-time best ever comment by a commenter on another commenter’s comment on his Comment of the Day.”

    That is, I think, my personal all-time most entertaining ever comment by a blogger about a comment in his blog. Five uses of “comment” in one relatively short sentence! I mean, what’s next?! Finding a word in English that rhymes with “orange?”

    (Are there bloggers blogging about blogs blogging about other bloggers?)

  2. Chris

    That was a delightful read.

  3. That’s the most eloquent and engaging explanation I’ve ever read about how millennials came to be. I didn’t consider that they were preceded by Baby Boomers in terms of technology making leisure more available and more varied. Great post!

    • Pennagain

      Another belated thanks, EC. A compliment from one who always provides a fresh stretch to the more inelastic areas of my brain is especially welcome.

  4. Alex

    The line about selfies reminded me of this tweet in celebration of the Apollo XI mission 50th anniversary:

  5. Pennagain

    Thank you all.
    I think.
    I have no idea where that came from, only that it must have been a very long time getting to me, coming together, as it were, piece by piece. Mark’s comment triggered it, but it was a composite of reactions to all of you who, day by day, write out your detailed opinions and analyses on Jack’s mother-blog (an impossible output) with little effort — yes, it has to be “little effort” when the comments appear only minutes after the original post!

    In Ethics Alarms, I am privy to a miniature think-tank that does what think-tanks are supposed to do but noticeably do not: build new boxes to for others to explore, inside and out. Now I think I will go shut up.

  6. Good comment.

    “Until I was in my 20s and living outside the US, I didn’t realize that growing away from my family (not spending most of my days with them) had not been a natural shift…By the time I left for college I was, though without realizing it, estranged from my parents ….”

    Great article on perspective in life:

    I don’t agree with many of this guy’s posts, but quite a few of his are thought provoking and insightful. This is one of them.

    • Pennagain

      Thanks, tex. I feel the same about your comments in about the same proportion, and I try to admire without envy your ability to think so fast on your fingers. I appreciate your continuing to not argue with me.

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