Saturday, March 5, 2016

Is Eliot just a complaining old man?

Do you think that Eliot's complaints about modern life are typical of an older person looking down on a younger generation, thinking that it is somehow less thoughtful or intelligent? Without a doubt, WWI had a tremendous impact on British society, but some of Eliot's implications that the modern British were losing touch with their culture and history reminded me of Bauerlein's accusations and gross generalizations in "The Dumbest Generation," where Bauerlein claims that the Internet is making young people mindless and less knowledgeable.

George Orwell once said, “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” While this in itself is a generalization, there are always people in each generation who feel that way. Do you think that Eliot is despising the younger generation in "The Waste Land," or wailing for modern society and culture in general?

This rather long video explains juvenoia (a neologism describing the fear or hostility of a younger generation or youth culture) which I found to be very interesting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD0x7ho_IYc

3 comments:

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

In a way I agree, it did remind me a lot of an older gentlemen talking about how it was when he grew up and how it's so lame now. Especially with the allusions to battle- reminded me a lot of old war stories grandparents would tell. Eliots way of comparing society to ancient civilizations brings up a lot of that since of someone who doesn't want to accept change, but I also think he focuses more on aspects of society that need to change- such as his recurring focus on rape, even if that isn't something he's actually advocating to get rid of. He brings up good points and I think it's extremely beneficial to compare with successful ancient civilizations and learn from the past, but at the same time you must take other things and move forward, because without change there won't be progress. But overall, I didn't really feel like Eliot was advocating for anything in particular, rather just analyzing society in different ways by comparing to myths and history and looking at it from different perspectives.

Belin Manalle said...

You bring up a good point jack. Most people agree to the general idea that old people are cranky most of the time. However, Eliot's crankiness within The Waste Land was honored because he put his crankiness into an art. He was able to put his thoughts into beautiful words and twist ideas to formulate a strange, and not so connected plot. It's just crazy how his crankiness is worshipped because of the unique way that he expresses it.

Antonio Imbornone said...

I noticed a similar correlation between the comments made in the Waste Land and an elder commenting on the future struggles of the next generation. However, different from Bauerline, Eliot seemed to blame the hopeless future of the next generation on a World War that was completely out of their hands. I feel as though ELiot is simply commenting on how rotten of a situation the youth of his time had been placed into, while Bauerline points the blame at the rising generations lack of insight, knowledge. and self control.