Anyway, apparently David Denby at the New Yorker, channeling Sven Birkerts, wrote a lament for the decline of reading, roughly as follows: "Kids these days! They don't read, amirite?"
Laments for the decline of reading are as old as literacy.
Laments about kids these days are as old as human beings.
Katy Waldman at Slate calls this "the get off my lawn" genre of writing, and she has a point, and a metaphor, and a cliche, all in one.
I'm not saying she's wrong--she isn't--and after the obligatory snarky Twitter screenshots, she actually links to some statistics.
And she's totally right about the laments being about the decline of (old, white, male) classics rather than (living women, people of color) contemporary novels or YA fiction.
But she beats this "old people--stupid, clueless, and too bad they're not dead" cliche to death. "Geriatric Cassandra." Isn't Denby wrong enough without age entering into it?
I get that this is Slate (I actually mistyped it Snake at first), the command central of snark.
But can't she dismantle one stereotype without encouraging another? It's kind of like listening to 7-year-olds hit each other in the head and say, "I know you are, but what am I?"