By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
The most controversial story in our deeply-troubled, fiscally-challenged Garden State last week, Save Jerseyans?
A gaggle of Princeton High School kids playing “Jews vs. Nazis” themed beer pong (check out the photo to the right – it’s not photo-shopped). Now the school may be considering action even though the kids weren’t on campus, and the local police department is investigating, too.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: they’re a bunch of stupid teens being predictably stupid and, for what it’s worth, at least a couple of them were reportedly Jewish (?), but this story is still going to fetch more attention than many of our state’s worst incidents of corruption because, ya know, content is king in the cyber age and hating on easy-to-stereotype rich kids is… well, it’s easy. And fun.
So there you go.
The substantive concern? For those of us who try to think for ourselves and pay attention to what’s important? Not what the media elites and cultural drivers try to tell us is important?
We’ve completely lost perspective.
We = adult humanity.
Think about it for a hot minute.
Is the Holocaust funny? No. Clearly not! I’d like to think that’s one thing EVERYONE in this hyper-partisan world of ours can agree on.
But what also isn’t very funny? The comparative lack of interest from the American public and media in the predictable failure of President Obama’s Iran Deal, a misstep which could lead to a second actual Holocaust, not the “Alcoholocaust” game preoccupying national (and international!) media outlets. A lot more serious than teens acting like ignorant little jackasses, right?
Or how about the fact that while we can all agree that this religiously-mixed group of high schoolers are unlikely to start a national socialist eugenics movement anytime soon, plenty of studies suggest that they know a whole hell of a lot less about World War II than beer.
Therein lies the real crime of political correctness, Save Jerseyans: its victims lose the ability to prioritize when it comes to assessing what’s important, what isn’t, which fights need to be fought and which are little more than white noise. Our society’s collective desire to upbraid these Princeton kids suggests we know something deeper and more sinister is at work here but we’re not willing to do the work. Perhaps because we’d learn something disturbing about ourselves?
For starters, I’d argue 2016’s champion of political correctness – Donald Trump – is actually making matters worse. Much worse. Every single time he mocks a handicapped reporter, maligns an opponent’s wife’s looks or brags about how many minority “friends” (read: employees) he has, the lines get a lot blurrier for political correctness’s victims.
Genuine political incorrectness translates to truth, however harsh. The Donald’s outbursts are just nasty, base and cruel. There’s absolutely nothing productive about any of it (not to mention that Mr. Trump is also very much hostile to the security of Israel).
Teenagers, for their part, have been short-sighted and insensitive since the dawn of time, folks. Nothing new here. I still remember my father explaining to my frustrated mother on occasion that, where my brother and I were concerned, “don’t worry, their sense of humor sucks now but they’ll grow out of it.” Nazi pong? Never. But it’s not like our culture is getting any smarter either.
What’s both revelatory and depressing in the Princeton High case is how the ‘Nazi’ pong players’ adolescent antics will now become the focus of an intense social media feeding frenzy while their parents, educators and public officials – the ones who are raising them in a world where hashtagging matters more than truth-telling – continue to avoid the scrutiny which they so richly deserve.
This one’s on you, my friends.
The path forward: Own it. Learn from it. Think more and tweet less. Then vote smarter and pass on what you know to these dopey youths before, I hope, it’s far too late. Just don’t make the lazy and equally stupid mistake of pretending these Princeton High kids are anything other than a byproduct of the America in which you’ve chosen to raise them.