Generation 'Special'

By Brown, Tina | Newsweek, June 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Generation 'Special'


Brown, Tina, Newsweek


Byline: Tina Brown

What's really different about the class of 2012?

When schoolteacher David McCullough Jr. delivered a commencement address that told the graduating class at Wellesley High School that they were "not special," his words became a viral sensation on YouTube and Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Was he out of his mind, reversing the mantra that every affluent American kid imbibes with his or her daily Adderall? Surely helicopter parents across the country would unite to kick this dissenter to the academic curb.

Not so. McCullough found himself deluged by positive emails, more than 700 of them. Only four emails, he tells us, were critical of him. It seems there was a pent-up parental rage out there about the very syndrome the parents themselves have created. Having spent their kids' school years barging up to the head teacher's office to insist their sons and daughters did not deserve to get a mere B-plus, did deserve to make the soccer team, must be given the history prize, should be applying only to Ivy League schools, it seems that affluent parents now have a major beef with how their offspring ... correction, the offspring of others ... are turning out. Just a bit entitled perhaps? A little unrealistic in expectations? A little complacent?

There's a growing dystopian groundswell of opinion that we've given our children everything--except for the thing they need most and the thing no one can provide, the ability to find their own core passion without artificial support. And the understanding of how much work, how much sheer effort, it takes to succeed. In McCullough's My Turn essay on page 26, he describes his recent experience of waiting nervously in the greenroom at CBS with economics Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. The episode spurs McCullough to wonder about the source of Krugman's accomplishments--and to conclude that they have flowed from a mixture of innate ability and self-motivation.

Grade inflation, constant shielding from reality, all the things that result in the excess of amour-propre that afflicts affluent young Americans would have been absent, McCullough reckons, in Krugman's upbringing. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Generation 'Special'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.