Generation Smug

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Photo: istockphoto

A great awakening is happening at colleges across America, Bloomberg news informs us today. The students graduating in the wake of the war and the financial crisis are radiant and vibrant and full of hope. Like tendrils shooting forth from scorched earth, they are stretching toward the sun, shunning material success, forgoing the warped paths set by previous generations of scum-sucking losers and vowing, instead, to do good. It's like they've been touched by Barack Obama himself! The president of Amherst College, whose name is actually Marx, describes the change to the news service:

“There’s a generational shift toward increasing interest and concern into how to help make the world a better place,” he says. “I hear students saying, ‘We want to make a difference and we’re not going to feel quite right about ourselves if we don’t do that.’”

Harvard University president Drew Faust has also observed the Change. She tells the news service that undergraduates are "relieved that they no longer have to fight the temptation of high-paying Wall Street jobs," and can instead focus on helping others.

Like Nicholas Pastan, the 22-year-old graduating student-body president of $55,000-a-year college Amherst, who will nobly sacrifice wealth for a bohemian lifestyle complete with ramen-based diet when he begins a stint with Teach for America, for which he will be paid the meager sum of $45,000 a year.

"I have friends going into investment banking," Pastan said. "They can make up to $150,000, more than three times what I'm going to be making. It doesn't bother me at all."

That's so beautiful! But we have to admit, we are a little concerned. What's going to happen when this kindhearted "generation" of specifically students at top-tier colleges simultaneously defaults on their student loans? If Sallie Mae and Nelnet suddenly require billions of dollars in bailout money, that could really screw up our economy! Or, oh, wait. Do these kids not have loans? Oooooh. So, these are kids whose parents' work in non-world-changing, non-do-gooding jobs has enabled them to do whatever they want to while the rest of us have to like, work. So, basically, everything's still the same then.

Amherst Grads Shun Wall Street, Save World as $45,500 Teachers [Bloomberg]