The other day I saw a post on Facebook which juxtaposed a picture of good old Albert, a quote about technology and a group of young people looking at their phones while walking down the street.
Never mind that the quote was never spoken by Einstein, judging by the likes and comments, the widely agreed sentiment was that we’re all becoming idiots due to our iPhones and other new technologies. Especially young people.
Here is a typical comment that received 460 likes on Facebook:
…I will say things have vastly changed and not necessarily for the better. I’ve been a bartender for 18 years. It used to be all about social interaction. Now it’s about social media. I watch an entire bar full of people sit on their phone instead of communicate with each other….
Enter Cole Porter
Every time I hear this type of thinking — especially by the over 30 crowd — bemoaning the youth of today verses the way it was back at some golden moment in the past, I am reminded of Cole Porter’s classic from 1934, Anything Goes.
Way back over 80 years ago the sentiment of time was that
The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today,
And black’s white today,
And day’s night today
In olden days a glimpse of stockings
Was looked on as something shocking
Now heaven knows
Every generation seems to think that the younger ones have got it all wrong, and the world is going to hell. All modern inventions that improve the world, all liberating ideas (like that women should vote) are decried as heralding the end of time.
Somehow, this seems like a little bit of an overreaction to me.