For the last few decades we have been conducting an interesting social experiment in North America. We have been working on the creation of a new variety of human being I will call homo sapiens teenager consumerensis. This being has been cultivated by our society and the process began in earnest with the growth of commercial television in the late 1950s. It carries on to the present ever stronger and more effectively. Teenagers were trained to have special needs ... special foods, beverages, clothing, music, films, etc. They are divided into market targets and the markets are changed seasonally in order to sell new products. Once this enterprise was really rolling the eight year olds were persuaded that they were teenagers already and then the twenty-five year olds were convinced that they were still teenagers. This experiment is hurtling on apace using some of the most creative minds in our society and every modern technological and psychological tool, sparing no expense. Often sex, violence and greed are exploited to help sell products including TV shows and films.
For the first time in the history of our species the most vital, active years of a person's growing life are dedicated to one major goal - self indulgence. From a business point of view it has and continues to be an overwhelming success. At the same time automation, downsizing and shipping jobs overseas has taken meaningful work away from young people. Except for so-called McJobs, business and labour can find nothing important for young people to do ... except to buy. Is it any wonder some of them turn to anti-social activities such as drug dealing and violence.
The key to this state of affairs is commercial television. It is not so much public television. It is probably no coincidence that other continents which do not have such advanced commercial television do not have such advanced teenage problems. If one could do a global map of drug abuse, teen violence and other such problems it would likely be the same map as homo sapiens teenager consumerensis. I predict that any countries that follow in North America's footsteps from a commercial TV point of view will develop the same problems. It is part of the package.
from: http://batemanideas.com/ & http://robertbateman.ca/