My God. Thank you for that article.
I’m a freshman at my university (a particularly good one too) and this culture of “look how funny we are being stupid” is still fairly prevalent.
What’s worse is the culture of laziness. It’s the same joke as what you’ve described, but the punchline is “I’m SOOO lazy, hahaha.” People complain about their ability to stop watching netflix, or stay away from donuts, or get their ass to the gym. They make jokes at their own ineptness and unwillingness do anything requiring basic effort.
I cringe at these jokes. I get it- I’m not perfect and we all get lazy. But when I do, I’m not proud of it. I don’t announce my sloth to everyone around me for a laugh.
One of the most important points you made was “One of my greatest challenges as a teacher was convincing students they were smart after someone had told them they were dumb.” When we are shown to be inept, it is so easy to belittle the skill and decide we aren’t interested.
“So what I can’t do math, its for nerds anyway.” Or “Yeah of course I suck at singing- I’m not gay.” It’s easy to do this- in fact it’s hard not to. I try and make a point of learning skills I have some aversion to. Giving something you don’t like an honest try is an exercise in tolerance and understanding.
My response rambled, but I loved your article. I’m headed to your profile now.