Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The kids aren't alright

I don't have children. I have a dog, which, as any dog owner will tell you, is a lot like having a child. Probably worse. Fifteen years from now, a child born yesterday will have learned to use the toilet and know his way around a microwave while my Floyd will still be sticking his nose in my face at 7am driven by hunger and an urgent need to relieve himself. (For the record, I wouldn't trade him for the world...or couture.) I accepted my fate the moment I laid eyes on him, and embraced it the first time he curled up and fell asleep on my feet; a strange surge of warmth overwhelmed the organ that resides in the left side of my chest when he did that, and it's what I can only imagine a mother feels the first time her child is placed upon her breast.

What ensues is pretty similar: a fierce desire to keep them healthy and safe, happy and clean. To educate and instill in them a strong code that upholds the moral tenets of honesty, trust, accountability, loyalty and peeing outside. But most of all, to let them be kids.

Until now. It seems a new crop of keener kids are sprouting from the dirt (or places like Georgia and Illinois). They're charming their way into some very serious industries with their idiot savant-ness by convincing much older idiots with a lot less savant that what they have to say actually matters. And we're meant to buy it. (Disclaimer: The following information may cause depression, nausea, feelings of suicide, anxiety, diarrhea, constipation, sleeplessness or fatigue. Do not read if you are pregnant or breast feeding. In severe cases, contact your psychotherapist or home-delivery drug dealer immediately.)

Tavi Gevinson. A pint-sized thirteen-year-old blogger with gray hair and a Mary Kate Olsen aesthetic, Tavi's blog Style Rookie has made her a fashion darling. She's been featured in Vogue Paris, The New York Times Magazine and Teen Vogue. She sits front row at Couture Week (the absurdly gigantic bow she wore on her head to the Dior show apparently pissed editors off because they couldn't see over it) and covered the shows in New York for Fashion Television replacing veteran host Jeanne Beker who was in Vancouver for the Olympics. She refers to Alexander Wang on her blog as a "kid" and makes snide asides about designers five times her age like "when Margiela was good." The fashion press has called her a "breath of fresh air." She was apparently one of the inspirations for Rodarte's capsule collection for Target.

Jonathan Krohn. A fifteen-year-old Republican who has made it his personal mission to set the record straight on conservatism with his book "Define Conservatism", which he wrote and self-published two years ago. He managed to convince organizers of last year's Conservative Political Action Conference to let him speak at the event. He ranked 190 out of a list of 208 finalists for Time's Top 100 of 2009, and was described by the magazine as "Lil' Limbaugh." He recently released his second book "Defining Conservatism: The Principles That Will Bring Our Country Back," which has been praised by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who, it should be said, wanted to write the foreword, but Jonathan wanted conservative political theorist William Bennett to do it. And he did. Mike Gallagher, host of The Mike Gallagher Show (the eighth most listened to radio show in America) has said: "Any time I am depressed about the state of the country or the future of the modern conservative movement, I consider two words: Jonathan Krohn."    

Now, I don't know about you, but when I was a teenager, I was reading Sassy and dreaming about make-out sessions with Kurt Cobain while navigating the rocky terrain of algebra and gateway drugs. These kids are obviously bright and know how to market themselves — something most adults I know can't do. But experts? No, I'm sorry, that's absurd. And much as both the fashion industry and the Republican party are founded on the principle of absurdity, I just can't stand behind it.