I recently wrote an essay about the situation which young people face in the modern world.
It’s been a year and a half since I left university, firmly shutting the essay genre into the past. But then I saw that Bodley Head/The Financial Times were running an essay prize for “dynamic, authoritative and lively” non-fiction works, so I decided to submit.
You can download the final non-winning essay here: Mediated Crowd; perceptions of youth in modern times – by Jonny Aldridge
My premiss is that young people are a “mediated crowd”: all of our media (TV, radio, newspapers, social networks) are run by adults, and as such we can only receive inaccurately representations of youth. I look at
- One Direction – and how other young music artists are mouthpieces for adult nostalgia
- Foyles’ Young Poets of the Year – which is inexplicably judged by adults
- The 2011 London Riots – which I think was the biggest cultural moment for youth in the past 5 years
- BBC crime dramas – which since the London Riots have focussed on younger and younger offenders
If you needed more convincing, here’s a little taster!
If there were to be only one attribute to young people—fat or tall, pimpled or pudding-cheeked—it would be how unknowable they are to adults. Adults find it easier to understand the mind of the murderous psychopath, the experience of a dog who twitches while she sleeps, or easier even to empathise with a thirsty plant whose soil is parched for water, than they do to remember the needs and judgements of their own youth.
I’d love to know what you think?