Sources of Reeducation

As we know, if I watched television and went to church then I would understand the culture I live in and I would be better equipped to defend myself against it. Now I have discovered by chance another element in the education of our Reeducators:

See, we were raised on 1980s movies and sitcoms, and the “cold, unfeeling grownup who works too hard” was the villain in half of them. The whole point of these “body switching” comedies — where a kid winds up in the body of a grownup — was that the career-driven workaholic dad learned what life was really all about. The message was clear: If you work too hard, you’ll lose your soul.

The characters who worked their asses off were shown to be stiff prudes who come down on the lighthearted main character with an iron fist. Or maybe that person is the main character, but by the end they realize that the only way to truly enjoy life is to lighten up and embrace their inner child. They finally stand up and quit their grindstone job in a hail of applause, and live a life of stress free bliss.

So that was another reason why professional success was considered symptomatic of “dysfunction,” “being out of touch with yourself,” and so on. My degree of amazement increases more and more. Read the whole thing at


7 thoughts on “Sources of Reeducation

  1. As a lurker (well, usually) on this blog, I find your processing fascinating to read- in some ways it’s similar to my own thought processes when examining how my nature as an introvert articulates with a culture in which extroversion is normative. There’s something about actually seeing the proverbial man behind the curtain, seeing how culture works to frame fundamental parts of you as (odd/dysfunctional/unacceptable), that just lights up the brain.

    It’s unfortunate that we (humans, we) are so bad at creating space for alternate realities; instead of integrating value sets and lifestyle preferences, we have a swinging pendulum that alienates one ‘side’ and then the other.

    Do you think you would feel more at home among lawyers?

    1. Lawyers, yes. I am really not good at anything involving caretaking and this is why I am such an unhappy teacher of freshmen and colleague in instructor heavy department. The general immaturity and expectation of baby sitting both enrages and drains me and it is not good.

  2. Of all places to find a first rate piece of social criticism: Cracked magazine!
    The perfect consumer is the single person with no children, preferably male. No wonder so many men have refused to grow up.
    I’m a pre-Boomer, and I have always thought, speaking very generally, that the Boomers were fools. Most of my friends are older Boomers, because there are so many of them and so few people of my age, but what I see is that they wasted so much time maturing that they are still struggling with basic existential matters when they should be anticipating the fullness and ripeness of a good old age. It’s not their fault. They thought they had all the time in world, and they didn’t.
    But that’s me, the old fuddy-duddy.

  3. I don’t relate to the theory of generations people see. I have been guilt tripped and made fun of all my life by older people because of having serious interest in career and things like that. They don’t think it is appropriate.

    I was born during the baby boom, yes. I know you think I’m too young to have had to fight to work, but all my four main friends from high school became housewives; two went to college and only became high school teachers after their husbands left them.

    There was terrible discrimination against women both in school and in jobs for people my age, that people just a little younger don’t imagine (yet, I am one of the ones who helped to get it stopped).

  4. And: I wish I could be enjoying a stable *middle* age but I’m like a struggling graduate student. I really don’t think it’s my fault or that I’m “spoiled” the way people like to say about people my age: people say we are lazy and immature, that we put Reagan in and so on.

    I don’t understand what the source of the anger is but I’ve heard the label, that I was lazy immature spoiled baby boomer, all my life, since elementary school if not also before.

    Our parents kept saying how easy our lives were, but we were looking at how easy theirs were compared to the futures we were facing.

  5. Z,

    To your comments, as a Gen X, I was told that I cared for nothing and that the world would end or I would end it. And then suddenly, I disappeared and Boomers and Gen Y remained.

    About the parental expectation, my father and mother both walked into jobs which could feed and house 4 people while teens with no training including finishing high school. Going for retail jobs I would be asked if I had a masters in the subject or 10 years experience. The time where a person would work at a lumber mill by just showing up, or at city hall because I could type were gone. I had to show them the spread sheet of applying at 5-10 places a week, going back every week, then every two week to check back until I had 200 places I was visiting weekly, and it still took over 2 months to find a temporary summer job. They assumed if I wasn’t employed I was too shy or too lazy to try.

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