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Are Kids Today More Radical Than Their Predecessors? 

Week of November 8, 2000

Dr. Touchstone Wild
Street Performer

"I would say that these waifs and urchins who unabashedly flaunt body pierces, tattoos and hair dyes are purposefully trying to look as ugly as they can so they won't have to sell their bodies for sex."

Andrew Wiedmann
Waiter, Duff's

"No, but kids today are more concerned with commercialism, which alludes to revolutionary ideals but never really produces, and as a result kids end up playing into the hands of the marketers. They may have that revolutionary attitude but don't know what to do first to make it happen. I'm pretty radical; I'm down for changes that a lot of people aren't down for."

Lexi Shankster
Student, Washington University

"I think they're out of control because of the news reports of other kids shooting up classrooms, feeding their brains with horrible violent images through video and music. Cartoons aren't silly anymore. You watch Men in Black, and people die or get exploded in super-real graphics. In Scooby Doo, the worst thing to happen was they threw a rope or a sheet over the bad guys and called the police. It just makes violence less real and easier to act out."

Marlowe Echols
Interior House Painter

"Kids today are screwed up. They're dealing with more peer pressure and things like gangs and chaos in the schools. It's more treacherous now. Lots of kids live in single-parent families, mainly because of all the one-night stands, which is a problem if there's not two parents there to teach responsibility. Kids have to be raised from children up. You can't wait until they're in their teens and then try to chastise them."

Andrew Vachss
Attorney and Author,
False Allegations, Dead and Gone

"I don't think so, not any more than when I was a kid. The taboos may change over time, but people's willingness to confront or break them hasn't changed."

Mike Concannon
Refrigerator-Magnet Collector

I grew up in the late '60s, early '70s, and my parents were horrified by my behavior. Kids today couldn't be any more smart-ass than we were. We did more; there were more bad things you could do back then. But the baby boomers got old, conservative. We stopped raising hell and started worrying about Social Security and colon cancer."

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