John Seery takes note of this long NYT article about the relative scarcity of academically successful young men in college. Lots of explanations are proffered. All strike me as at least somewhat plausible. I do see more male than female slackers, but am unsure as to the cause. Do they not take college seriously because its not, in their view, worth taking seriously? Perhaps. Ive seen some slackers who blundered into law school and then did quite well. Ive also seen some collegiate slackers who have been exceptionally successful in the business world. Im not saying that "book learnin" is a girl thing, but wouldnt it be worth asking what other than "Grand Theft Auto" excites the passions of young men?
There are also maturity issues with some of them. Not made to shoulder any sort of responsibility, or insulated from responsibilities they dont like, they dont yet know what it means to be a man.
John, who is manly and gentle, which is to say gentlemanly, concludes in this way:
I dont know whether its time to ring a bell to alert the country that colleges across the nation seem to be graduating a generation of wimpy, diffident, clueless, unmotivated men (see, Im participating in that wimpiness by refraining from a manly call to arms). Maybe theres no cause for alarm, and the emphasis should instead be on womens gains, not mens temporary setbacks. What I do know is that the story of gender in America has become more complicated.
I certainly dont have a magic bullet, though I wonder if more collegiate talk about and study of manly men might not begin to light a few fires.