There Are No Adults in the Room

Adulthood comes with an air of sophistication, Sean Connery’s characterization of James Bond once reminded us. “Bond, James Bond,” he’d introduce himself as, perhaps dressed in a snappy suit with breast pocket handkerchief revealed, sipping a fresh drink, iced, possibly a martini, shaken, never stirred.

These days, as we’re reminded in the movie Ted with Mark Wahlberg, adults don’t seem to be aiming as high.

Ted: Hey Johnny, how about a beer?

John: A couple chow-brewkowski’s?

Ted: A coupla brew-stoyefski’s?

John: Maybe a Mike brew-gaslowski?

Ted: Perhaps a Teddy brewski?

In a recent column in the NY Post, social commentator Maureen Callahan notes how the bar has been lowered for the standards of modern adulthood, reflected in the explosion of celebrity game show hosts on television, the appeal of comic books for movie plots, and vacationers on cruise liners who think boats should always be fun to play on.

Houston psychologist Lawrence Abrams says he’s never seen anything like today’s millennials. “This millennial group is a new phenomenon, even for me. The lack of responsibility seems to be endemic right now. This one is lingering and they don’t seem to be getting any better. I’m not sure about this group,” he says. Perhaps they’ll outgrow it. “Until they get to be 40’s and 50’s we won’t know about them for sure.” Dr. Abrams thinks it’s the influence of social media that has led to the prolonged adolescence that is becoming the hallmark of those in their 20’s and 30’s these days. He suggests only time will tell the cultural impact of social media on adult development.

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