Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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What’s on the Minds of America’s Youth?

Vanity Fair is running a contest. It’s called “What’s on the minds of America’s youth today?” and here’s the description:

More than 30 years ago, young people across the country staged sit-ins for civil rights, got up and protested against a misguided, undeclared war, and actually gave a damn if the president lied to them. Although a lot has changed since then, there are still racial divides, and America is once again mired in a largely controversial war. Back in the 1960s and 70s, a similar climate motivated great numbers of young people to act, organize, and take to the streets in defiance. Today it seems as if younger Americans are content to watch their MTV, fiddle with their game players, follow the love lives of Brad, Jen, Jessica and Paris, and assume the hard work is being done for them by others. What has changed? It is simply that we do not have motivating factors such as a draft or Kent State to bring us together, to anger us? What is it going on inside the minds of American youth today?

Essays must not exceed 1,500 words of text (not including title, notes, bibliography, and other written materials).


Ummm . . . wow. I think this deserved to be torn into, however, I don’t have the time to really do it right at the moment. I understand that this is meant to elicit reaction, but I really hope there aren’t people at Vanity Fair honestly thinking this way. It’s closed-minded and misguided. To compare the atmosphere of today with that of thirty years ago is unfair at best.

When I get a chance I will think more about a proper reply. Also, for those interested, here are the contest guidelines. There’s a $15,000 prize. I guess they’re banking on money being on the minds of America’s youth.

August 23, 2005