Memo to Dave Eggers: Kids Don’t Watch C-SPAN on their PS4s

bookbread CanterburyMemo to Dave Eggers: Kids Don’t Watch C-SPAN on their PS4s

Over at the British The Guardian, American writer Dave Eggers observes and analyzes American children and the election. It is a thorough report with many interesting anecdotes and sidelights. But then the New York writer visits a school in Kentucky:

The students had witnessed eight years of exquisite presidential self-control and dignity, and now there would be a 70-year-old man in the White House whose feelings were easily hurt, who called people names, and who tweeted his complaints at all hours, with rampant misspellings and exclamation marks.

Nope. Those kids were playing Minecraft on their PS4s, Snapchatting on their phones, watching YouTube videos with their friends, absorbing Netflix alone, cheering the Chicago Cubs and Dallas Cowboys with family. They were doing millions of things other than brooding over Barry Obama, just as the millions of American children before them have always had plenty to do besides thinking about who occupies the White House.

Left-headed journalists can’t help spreading this pseudo-mythology that American children follow every move of a president’s administration. But why? Why do they assume children in the United States are ready to follow a president at every beck and call like a well-beaten dog with its tail between its legs? It never was this way and it never will be. These journalists have been drunk on hero-worship for so long, they’ve forgotten what it was like when one was below the drinking age: to be a sober child.

Children in the United States have always been aware of the current presidency; but they have never been absorbed the daily intricacies of any administration. Yes, many children (probably) cried when Lincoln and FDR and JFK died while in office, and they knew who they were crying for—but they didn’t know why they were crying and they never thought it important enough to ask.