It’s all about respect, or so they say. The young don’t respect the old any more, not like they did when I was young, or so they say.

I could close my eyes and throw a dull dart at the internet and bring to you an endless supply of text about how respect isn’t important to youth today. In fact  I could wade through media, literature and art over the last 6 millennia, drowning in examples of youth not respecting the old like they did when I was young.

Anyone else notice a pattern here?

According to Hal Incandenza: Hawaii Five-0 and Hill Street Blues are useful in seeing the sea change in the TV viewing public’s idea of the hero. In the characters, Chief Steve McGarrett (Hawaii Five-0) and Captain Frank Furillo (Hill Street Blues), the hero changes from McGarrett’s action hero to Furillo’s re-action hero. From McGarrett’s single minded pursuit of a sole crime each episode, to Furillo’s continuing management of the complex and ever evolving machinations of the egos in his station “that would have left Chief Steve McGarrett slumped, unkempt, and chewing his knuckle in administrative confusion.”

Our opinion of the actual police force has changed, we no longer see the role of the police in such black and white terms of good guys and bad guys.  Reality is and has always been, much more complicated than that. Our modern view of the police is a, much more, accurate representation. We appreciate that the moral and legal quandaries of justice, aren’t as easily concluded as murders and kidnappings are solved.

So, “Who should the youth of today respect?” The youth of yore’s hero was an impossible ideal, which you de-constructed and destroyed. You, you the worst sort of conservative hypocrite, who, as a youth, basked in all it’s glory, until you, you were no longer young.

Apparently librarians are the second most trusted professionals, after doctors. Way, way ahead of politicians, celebrities, bankers, lawyers. The problem here isn’t the profession, it’s the professionals. Do you believe those who clamber up above others to shout “Listen to me. Trust me. I know. I’m different”. After exposure to our toxic cynicism, is it a shock to you that our youth responds as it does?

We hold a telescopic, magnifying lens of obsessional observation over our inner most secrets, ‘exposing the soft, white, underbelly’ of reality. Why would my son respect me, let alone my generation and all its’ acquired social carcinogens.

As I blamed my father for his generation’s deficiencies and lost respect for him, I have grown to love him more. As I know my son will love me.

I fucking hope so, or we’re all fucked. Fucking Philip Fucking Larkin.


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