Leon Wieseltier To Youth: Drop Dead

Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic‘s answer to a question no one asked, files a Washington Diarist column this week in which he touches on The New Yorker‘s Barry Blitt-drawn Barack Obama cover as well as buyouts in the newspaper industry. He also has a thing or two to say about the youth. Mostly, he hates them.

On the subject of newspaper buyouts, specifically, those at The Washington Post, friendly old Mr. Wieseltier writes:

The losers in contemporary America conspicuously include the old, or the no longer young; and in a country in which the addiction to newness is even greater than the addiction to petroleum, this is as much a laxity of culture as a laxity of economics. I am not old, but I am not young. I have been watching with bafflement and disgust the "buy-outs" at major American newspapers, which are subsidized purges (better than unsubsidized ones, I know) of memory and judgment and all the other qualities that cannot be acquired without time. I recognize that younger journalists are cheaper and hipper, if hipness denotes an inability to distinguish between writing and posting.

By now he’s fulminated on a few topics and he’s ready to attack the real enemy: The damn kids and their damn Facebooks:

I must morbidly warn them that connectivity will not protect them from the way of all flesh. When they come to bury a father or a friend, when their beauty begins to wither and their vigor to wane, when they awake one morning to the fear that they may have more to look back on than to look forward to—when the inevitabilities poke them, may their eight hundred ‘friends’ stand them in good stead. I promise not to call their shudders whines. For if spring comes, can winter be far behind?

And keep your ball out of Mr. Wieseltier’s yard or he’ll sic his dog on you!


Leon Wieseltier To Youth: Drop Dead