WASHINGTON -- In recent years when I have heard the ongoing dirge about the deficiencies of America's young men, I have had my doubts. The army that we have sent abroad to confront some of the most barbaric enemies Western civilization ever has faced is superb. Confronting savages -- usually on their own soil -- our forces have been professional to the utmost, the Wehrmacht but with democratic values! Withal, they are brave, spirited, manly.
As for my personal experiences with the men of the younger generation, I have found them for the most part to be first-rate: intelligent, diligent -- again -- manly. Admittedly, the cohort I have encountered is not vast. Most have been young writers or reporters or the young men introduced to me by my youngest daughter. As they were often young men in the service of her employer, Blackwater, their high quality is not surprising. All are retired special ops guys, and once the lurid canards about Blackwater collapse from lack of evidence, their bravery and devotion in protecting American diplomats will stand as another splendid chapter in American soldiering.
So, what is the evidence that the young men of the country are sub-par? Well, apparently they compose less than 50 percent of the college population. Why worry about that? Most universities are simply pretentious extensions of high school, presided over by a professoriate that is -- with heroic exceptions -- mediocre, tedious, ill-informed, bovine and anti-intellectual. Better it would be for young men to take a couple of years of business courses and join the adult world. Yet there apparently really is evidence that many young men are loath to join the adult world. The demographics suggest as much.
From an unexpected source, I recently got a sense of those demographics, namely, the ads televised during the Super Bowl. The clever minds that create those ads have obviously studied the characteristics of the audience they want to snare, which appears to be an audience of young men. All the ads I saw depicted young men who were stupid, giddy, neurotic and adolescent unto middle age. They were charmless, often dressed like schoolchildren and clueless as to any of the serious or sophisticated matters of life. All seemed to be the kind of lout who would break into a sweat trying to read, say, the Declaration of Independence or the language on a speeding violation. These are the kind of consumers many American corporations want to market their products to, though apparently their products are basically beer and junk food.