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Posted by Tim Bryce on March 3, 2014


– Some disturbing social trends I have trouble understanding.

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I have been monitoring social trends emerging among young people. I am not here to harangue about them as much as to try to understand why they occur. Fashions such as clothes, music, and dining are one thing, but some of these other trends speak volumes about our culture today.

It should come as no surprise our young people are a generation of extreme game players. Games like pinball, air hockey, and foosball are relatively lame as compared to today’s lifelike computer games to commit grand larceny, engage in war, and conquer the cosmos. Such games are so addictive, it tends to change their social behavior. For example, young women today have trouble relating to young men who are imbued with this technology. As the ladies explain it, it is retarding the maturation process of young men. Instead of seeking romance and responsibility, they would rather be playing their PS2 or Nintendo.

The game players are also looking for instant gratification and seek out extreme sports to give them the same rush as their computer games. Instead of parachuting, they have kicked it up a notch to “Base Jumping” from fixed positions, or “Wingsuit” flying. Then there is “free diving” where a skin diver holds his breath for an incredible length of time at dangerous depths. Skateboarding and skiing have merged into “Snowboarding,” and “Mountain Biking” and “Free Climbing” rock walls now offer the rush young people are looking for, often with some rather dangerous consequences to match.

We also hear stories of “Knockout,” an insane game where a young person randomly selects a victim, and tries to deck him/her with a single punch. This is simply perverted and I do not understand how this game can be considered fun. If this is somehow construed as a measure of a person’s machismo, then we could easily interpret this as another disturbing sign of impeded maturation. The idea of inflicting bodily harm for nothing more than pleasure is sadistic at the very least.

I recently read of another disturbing trend, which I hope is short lived, namely “free-bleeding,” whereby young women refuse to use feminine hygiene products when they are menstruating. Such devices are somehow viewed as a means for men to control women. Instead, they would rather bleed down their leg as a protest to the indignities caused by men, whatever that might be. If this fad continues, I can safely assume urinating in one’s pants would also be considered acceptable behavior, particularly if we no longer have to impress the ladies.

Somewhat related to this is the fad of cooking and eating a placenta, which has gained popularity over the last five years. This seems rather cannibalistic to me. I think it’s safe to say that Julia Child had nothing to do with this one. At first I thought this was a joke, but some young people, the last vestiges of the Hippies I suspect, are taking to this idea with gusto. Bon Appétit? No thanks, I’ll settle for a Spam sandwich.

“Wildings” seem to be still in vogue. This is where groups of youths cause mayhem in public settings, all in the name of fun. Recently, hundreds of high school students descended on the Florida State Fair and ran amok, stealing, destroying property, and jeopardizing the safety of other people. I tend to think of a “wilding” as a “flash mob” gone wrong. Both are well orchestrated and make use of social media to communicate. It’s this technology edge which separates wildings from the riots of the 1960’s.

We are also witnessing the rise of marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. In Vancouver, they now have vending machines dispensing crack pipes. I find it rather amusing that those who want us to stop smoking tobacco are the same ones who want to legalize illicit drugs.

Let me see if I can summarize the mindset here: Young people are looking for instant gratification, seeking a rush regardless of the physical risk involved, and are easily influenced by technology. It appears the more extreme the idea, the quicker it is embraced. It also indicates the frenetic pace our youth have assumed.

The real test comes when they become parents and have to deal with these same sort of extreme trends themselves. I wonder how they will advise or admonish their youth.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  LET’S SIT DOWN AND TALK – The need for some simple, candid discourse.

LAST TIME:  MATRIMONIAL TERRITORIALISM  – Knowing one’s boundaries is always a smart move.

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Posted by Tim Bryce on August 25, 2011

Have you been paying attention to the talent of our youth lately? Normally we hear nothing but the problems of youth, such as bad manners and attitudes, foul mouths, sex and drugs, cheating, stealing and deceit, car wrecks, and a general disregard of any form of authority; true rebels without a cause. This is why it was so refreshing to recently see some talented young people burst onto the entertainment scene, such as “Il Volo,” a trio of Italian pop-opera teenage singers, with incredible voices transcending their age. Their operatic mastery is such that you cannot help recognizing them as the legitimate heirs apparent to the The Three Tenors.

In Japan, there was the movie “Swing Girls” which was produced just a few years ago to critical acclaim. In the movie, a group of students, mostly female, form a jazz band specializing in swing music. The young actors actually played the instruments in the film and gave excellent renditions of such big band classics as “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Sing, Sing, Sing.”

Then there is Jackie Evancho, an eleven year old phenomenon who has mastered operatic and pop classics. Jackie was brought to national attention by the show, “America’s Got Talent.” When you watch her perform, you are struck not only by her remarkable voice, but by her poise, and ability to sing Italian, French, and other difficult pieces flawlessly. I recently watched her PBS special where she held her own in a special duet with Barbra Streisand (“Somewhere”), which is no easy task.

There are, of course, many others such as Melissa Venema, the 13 year old Dutch trumpet player who played under Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. In addition to these young entertainers, there are many new writers and artists who are producing an impressive body of work.

The talent of these young people is so profound, they often bring adults to tears. They are celebrated not just because of their specific talent, but because adults recognize the hard work and discipline required to master their skills, something we tend to believe young people are incapable of doing anymore. When we see it played out in front of us, we become dumbstruck. Adults simply cannot believe young people can achieve such a level of excellence and are, therefore, enraptured by their skills.

Obviously, not everyone can be entertainment “phenoms” like those mentioned, but this doesn’t mean adults cannot appreciate other talents of youth, such as in science, mathematics, medicine, mechanics, languages, military service, etc. all of which are important to the world. The difference is that someone discovered the hidden talents of the young artists, cultivated their skills through encouragement, and taught them a sense of work ethic, all of which we tend to overlook or take for granted by parents and school counselors. Whereas children often look for guidance from their elders, they frequently do not get it and are left to wander aimlessly on their own with little ambition. Imagine the tragic loss it would be if the “phenoms” had not received the proper guidance or learned their sense of work ethic. The same is true for any young life, it is a loss of unimaginable proportions. The future of our culture resides within our youth and, as such, it behooves us to invest the proper effort to help each child find his/her way.

In the High School I graduated from years ago, there was geat emphasis on going to college. There was no mention of the military or trade school. As should be obvious, college is not for everyone which is why I feel it is necessary we start studying the interests of our children at an earlier age and help guide them in the proper path, maybe it leads them to college, and then again, maybe it does not. Regardless, waiting until our children are 18 years old to guide them in their walk through life is simply too late.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 7:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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