Thumbs Up

"Thumbs up" picture, mostly uploaded...

According to a new poll, President Obama’s approval rating has dropped to just over 40% with only around 2000 of adults surveyed giving him the ‘thumbs up’. You and I see nothing wrong with giving the president the thumbs up. But many younger people get a serious case of the giggles.

Suspects in criminal investigations, according to many of our local newspapers, are constantly being “fingered” or “probed” by the police. We’ve all seen these infamous newspaper clichés before, but many of the less worldly-wise can’t help but laugh out loud.

Older people face rising challenges in a world where the young are increasingly worldly-wise. What do you do when you hear young Simon getting his tongue-tied when trying to pronounce the word ‘organism’, for example, leading him to conclude that ‘an orgasm is a living thing’? Perhaps he’s not entirely wrong.

What about young Susan tittering when she hears someone calling a conversation ‘intercourse’? Or the stifled snorts you get when you complain about getting bonked on the head? I will certainly not be mentioning to anyone that I borrowed a lady’s muff to keep my hands warm this winter. Or that I want to lay some special stripper on my fence this afternoon. It’s a mine-field out there.

The prudes among us will likely bewail the loss of moral standards and the decline of all things decent. They will point the flaming finger at broad-band internet, laissez-faire television, file-sharing, ‘adult’ magazines and sadistic computer games as the catalysts of this lecherous new mindset.

I disagree. Language and ideas are constantly renovated by the young. Each generation strips down the pretences and linguistic mythologies of the one before. And then repaints the world to their liking. Our latest generation favours realism over the previous generation’s more ‘cubist’ approach. And why not? The ready spillage of information and ideas these days means that youngsters do not value the political obscurity, sexual mystique and general double-speak that I saw as natural growing up in ASSA (Apartheid-Soaked South Africa).

Things will revert, though. Thesis – anti-thesis – synthesis, to bend Hegel. As young people slot into positions of influence and become steadily grazing consumers, they will be less averse to sexual innuendo, media manipulation and political euphemism – leaving it to the next young generation to snicker at the swizzling diddlery and mealy-mouthed hanky-panky of their predecessors.

Thumbs up to them.

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