Re: Twenty-Somethings

by Robert VerBruggen

Slate has a symposium about the NYT piece. Here’s a disturbing snippet from the daughter of the woman who wrote the piece:

I’m 26 now. . . . [I have grilled my friends] about whether they think they’re adults (an almost universal “no”) and when they think that will change (to which my favorite response was “when someone kills my parents and I have to avenge their death, like Batman”).

How can a 26-year-old not think of himself as an adult? That’s not a rhetorical question; I’m 26 myself, and genuinely confused.

UPDATE: I jumped the gun and posted before I came across this gem from the same writer:

If a 22-year-old doesn’t even have a fully mature brain yet, should we really expect him to be on top of paying off his loans, managing his health care plan, and all the other hassles that come with full-on adulthood?

Does one need a “fully mature brain” to mark dates on a calendar — or better yet, have Google Calender send one reminders? And if we give people in this age group special protections, doesn’t that open the door to giving them special restrictions? I can see the case for treating this new “life stage” as important when it comes to sociology, but once we start considering it in public policy, the implications are frightening.

Also, I should mention The Case Against Adolescence, which offers an interesting (but in many ways flawed, I believe) case for the proposition that our last decision to infantilize a group of people who are in many ways adults failed.