The World Is Going to Hell …or Not

Editorial Cartoon -- MLive Media Group

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
June 7, 2015

Also posted online at, June 6, 2015

When I graduated from Michigan Tech, the special speaker at the ceremony was an executive from Intel Corporation. He prattled on for his allotted 30 minutes about the current state of the microchip business, how there was once great promise, but now the Japanese competition was eating their lunch. (This to a group of young engineers predominantly from southeast Michigan who were intimately familiar with Japanese competition eating lunches.) There was nothing inspiring about it. The take-away message for me as a graduate was “the world used to be better, but now it pretty much sucks — alas for you.” Worst. Commencement. Address. Ever.

Maybe that’s why it’s a pet peeve of mine when some (generally older) person goes off on an “everything is going to hell” rant. First, it’s not helpful. Second, it’s not true. Yes, there may be some things today that are undeniably worse (quality of journalism). But you can’t just cherry pick because some things that are undeniably better (beer choices).

Mostly I believe it to be a case of the world evolving and having to deal with new variations of the same human challenges.

So give the youth a break. Try to share perspective, not opinion. (As it turns out, the mid-80s were a minor low point in the life of Intel, and the company went on to tremendous success.) Because there really is nothing more insufferable than an older person (especially a baby boomer) going on about how their music was so much better than yours.

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