In Place of a Hero

In Place of a Hero

Young people today have no spokesmen. The day of the youth league and its ideology seems to be over. Today we have the club again, and the gang, and perhaps the family. It might even be wrong to say that the young have heroes—models of courage, skill, commitment or self-sacrifice. Bright middle-class teenagers often have a developed sensitivity to each other’s problems, but are very unlikely to require heroic activity from their friends. Young people do sometimes have successes: short-run Horatio Algers of the entertainment industry, eighteen year old novelists, precocious females demure and impure. These are even sought out, by men who know the market. But among the young themselves, they are usually the objects of a very cynical admiration; they have “made it”—which is to say: they have been made….

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