I generally try to defend Millennials in these pages. They might seem like texting-obsessed kids, but we need to cut them some slack. Because they had the American economy pulled out from under them just as they tried to start their adult lives. You just wait, when these guys are 40, they’ll be telling their kids stories of the “Great Recession” and how patience and frugality are chief virtues. They might be telling their kids those stories in Chinese, but still.
But we do have our occasional disagreements. I think the special snowflake syndrome plagues this generation; they’re so obsessed with their own social-media fueled individuality that they tend to think things like statistics don’t apply to them. Part of that is being young; part of that is being dumb.
And part of that is that Millennials, as a group, seem to need compliments in order to function like normal humans. They want you to LIKE THEIR STATUS and retweet their banter with an inane “lol.” If you don’t give them gushing praise, they take it as a criticism. And if you actually criticize them, well damn, you might as well be questioning their entire existence and telling them to kill themselves.
Yesterday, I saw something that takes “gushing praise” to a new, disgusting, saccharine level. And it’s coming from law schools….
When you take people who have not been taught how to handle criticism and deal them a big-time rejection (“we’re going to hire somebody else”), you get… well, an awful lot of people moving back in with their parents.
You’d think law school would be one place where Millennials could go to learn how to handle criticism. Didn’t you ever see the Paper Chase? Look, the Socratic Method is designed to humiliate you. When I was in law school, I took it on the chin from Elena Kagan. I didn’t cry. I had a drink, I took a shower, ’cause that’s how it is in the NBA.
Law schools are a lot different these days. Instead of breaking down students and building them back up stronger, law schools are now engaged in coddling their charges in a warm milk-bath of compliments.
Yesterday, a reader sent me a link to this Facebook page set up by Michigan Law School. I’m having trouble describing, but look at this screen shot:
I feel that this somehow captures everything that is wrong with America. I’m serious. You go to law school. You are an adult engaged in serious post-graduate professional education. And you need a whole compliments page? You need ANONYMOUS COMPLIMENTS to get you through your oh-so-hard day of blowing the holding in Planned Parenthood? You need to hear people, classmates even, say things like this on Facebook:
“[Redacted], you give the best hugs and you give them often. Thanks for making me feel better all the time!”
“[Redacted], I really appreciate seeing your smiling face every day, especially before 8am class. Your smile is contagious.”
“[Redacted], you are the nicest.”
In my day, if the kids saw the nice note your mom left in your lunchbox, you got your ass kicked. There was a freaking Onion article about the kind of ass-kicking that this behavior deserves. But, I guess that’s why it was in the Onion. I guess it’s “fake news” that there are any repercussions whatsoever to turning your children into pathetic compliment whores.
And it’s not just Michigan. Another tipster sent in Wake Forest Law School’s compliments page. The Wake page includes this little instruction about submissions:
Send a compliment (nice ones only please) about another Wake Law student
Do you get that? Only NICE compliments! Not neutral compliments, like, I don’t know, “I accord you the respect I give to all other fellow humans.” No, Wake students can only handle nice compliments.
Do you remember that nonsensical conservative political ad that had a class of Chinese people laughing at us in 2030 (nonsensical because the ad criticized the government taking over private industries which is, you know, NOT SOMETHING THE CHINESE WOULD CRITICIZE)?
Well, this is what the Chinese laugh at. And Europeans. And the surviving members of the Greatest Generation who fought the Nazis and built highways. This is what’s destroying America, the need for compliments. Voters need compliments, Quarterbacks need compliments, the 1 percent needs compliments or else they’re going to take their ball and go home, John Galt style.
And law students can’t even get through an entire semester without a Facebook page devoted to complimenting each other.