Check out the video below, which takes select Mr. Wizard clips that make him appear churlish, cruel, and eccentric:

Of course, it’s satire, and the point’s supposed to be how funny it would be if he actually WAS like that.

Except that’s not how it’s necessarily being taken by everyone, which is a natural pitfall encountered when engaging in humor that is based solely on removing context.

The prime example is a comment I saw from someone I don’t know personally (and who I’m sure is an okay human being and all) after a mutual acquaintance posted the video on Facebook. They wrote:

“Oh, in today’s age of telling every child they are perfect and deserve a medal for even a mediocre performance . . . you’d never see this!”

That’s not the point at all and not what this guy was about. If anything, it’s just the opposite: he was about teaching these children through these examples and instilling confidence in them that they can use knowledge to solve their problems and better themselves in life.

It would be a minor point if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve been seeing this a lot lately.

Hostile attitudes towards youth in general have become prevalent and would be rife for parody if it weren’t so alarming. So much so, in fact, that it’s creeping into the national conversation. It’s become, for many, an accepted fact that this younger generation is uniformly narcissistic, self-centered, spoiled, fat, lazy, and irredeemable.

Except the kids I know – and I’m going to say “kids” are people 25 and under, and a group that at age 30 I cannot comfortably count myself among – aren’t the ones I hear saying they deserve to have lower taxes. They’re not the ones who think someone has taken something from them over the course of the last two decades. I don’t know any that would have anyone call them “the greatest generation.” I don’t know any kids that say their day, right now, is better than your day, whenever that was. I don’t have any of them claiming that their perceived sacrifices and actions have gone unheralded and unappreciated by others. I don’t know any that are actively asking – no, begging – to be pandered to. And I certainly don’t see as many of them jumping to such stifling, ageist anti-reasoning as a means to artificially inflate their own shallow sense of importance and justification for a cynical worldview (see also: people who drone on and on about “the dumbing down of America” as if it’s an actual thing where people used to be by and large highly educated and not part of a paranoid worldview held almost exclusively by lesser minds and doesn’t hold up to things like historical data and facts).

I guess what I’m saying, in short, is why don’t you just laugh at a thing for what it is instead of finding another way to not leave your goddamn kids alone and let them become who they’ll become?

After all – ahem – they’re not the ones who have the run of the place.


One Response to Mr. Wizard (Wasn’t) a Dick

  1. My friends Diane and Mike cut that video together. They are wonderful.

    What you said reminded me of what Dan Brooks posted on his consistently excellent

    “The massive redistribution of wealth away from the young and toward the old between 1984 and 2010 might not be (the baby boomers’) fault, but I would like to point out that I was seven when it started. ”

    *gets in car, drives away, leaving a child alone in an open field*

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