Turning the Me Generation into the We Generation


Michael Ungar, Allen & Unwin, $26.99, ISBN 9781741758351, 28 Sept 09, 1 star

At first glance this looks like a polemic against MSN and Twitter, and the author acknowledges as such in the introduction before explaining that he’s talking about deeper issues — essentially, children who grow up selfish because we don’t spend time listening or getting to know them. If only it had been about iPod wearing, slouching emos it might have been a lot more interesting.

A PhD with ‘resilience in youth’ experience (whatever that is), Ungar falls victim to so many New Age clich├ęs it drowns arguments which are dubious to begin under a blanket of social worker jargon, terms like ‘engagement’ and ‘community’ so overused he sounds like the Anthony Robbins of pop psychology.

His point is that kids need guidance to become more active and more selfless in society. That’s the definition of being a kid and hardly news, and falling victim to old (and wrong) delineations like how the Boomers are so different than Xers and Yers doesn’t help. Despite the validity of some views, the arguments are way too general and more often than not they’re simply framed badly. Clunky, dry textbook-style language devoid of any voice doesn’t help.


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