Karen Lomas
January 8, 2014

Another Moral Panic, or should we pay attention?

Gen Ys will say in defense of this diatribe that their mums send instagrams and follow minor celebrities on Twitter. No, I do not take selfies; well, maybe once, with my cat.

The pap that’s on tv is something that I tolerate in varying degrees (Jersey Shore-yes, cultural pap indeed, but I’m actually a big American Idol fan, and bloody LOVE Phillip Phillips, even if he’s probably on Bantick’s same list of mediocre as Leonard Cohen). The question is, are Gen Ys consuming pap while at the same time losing all appreciation for what we (Baby Boomers, Gen Xs) consider art?

Author of this article, Christopher Bantick, a literature teacher at an Anglican boys school in Melbourne, bemoans Gen Ys lack of knowledge of classical music and classic authors. Now I have two daughters who have gone through the same education system as the school boys he teaches, and they have both studied Shakespere and Austen, and many other classic texts. I’ll concur that they do not often quote the bard in day-to-day conversation (alas), and I think they’ll be scratching their heads when I ask them about “partitas”-aren’t they those seeds you get in muesli? Meanwhile, contemporary literature has its place in the curriculum and my daughters read some beauties; The Interpreter of Maladies, Life of Pi. Just two examples that Bantick might prefer to Looking for Alibrandi.

But both girls have a keen appreciation of Blues Jazz from having studied Music, even though they also seem to be immune to crass and sexist lyrics of some current pop. I’m just trusting them that they’ll get it one day-after all I do regularly rant about the inappropriateness of “You know you want it…” In any case, they have been raised in the era of Girl Power, so the lyrics of P!nk inflect their thinking.

Now, I’m off to check on John Mayers latest Insta, but not before I put on some Chopin in Pandora Radio.


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