Generation of Shallowness and Failure

Two perspectives from The Human Stain by Philip Roth.

She’s [p]art of this generation that is proud of its shallowness. The sincere performance is everything. Sincere and empty, totally empty. … The sincerity that is worse than falseness, and the innocence that is worse than corruption. And … [t]his wonderful language they all have–that they appear to believe–about their ‘lack of self-worth,’ all the while what they actually believe is that they’re entitled to everything. Their shamelessness they call lovingness, and the ruthlessness is camouflaged as lost ‘self-esteem.’

[It’s] all part of the same enormous failure. … [I]t used to be the person who fell short. Now it’s the discipline. Reading the classics is too difficult, therefore it’s the classics that are to blame. Today the student asserts his incapacity as a privilege. I can’t learn it, so there is something wrong with it. And there is something especially wrong with the bad teacher who wants to teach it.

You can also check out this excerpt from Inside Quest:


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