The universality of annoying teenagers

by phil on Sunday May 16, 2010 12:55 PM
universal culture

Daniel Everett, who lived among the Pirahã indigenous for many years, observed that teenagers in their society were noisy and rambunctious too, which led him to conclude that they must be that way everywhere.

I'm watching these snowboarding videos of young people doing tricks in snowy urban areas in Canada. They are dressed in loud, baggy clothing, weaving precariously in and out of where ordinary pedestrians are trying to go about their business. Essentially, they are like gangsters on ice.

Animals have a notion of play too. Monkeys for example, have been observed throwing themselves into bushes that bend and then fling them back at their friends, for no other purpose than that it gives them pleasure. (Evolutionary biologists, though, would say the purpose of play is to encourage skill acquisition).

So, I wonder if adult monkeys have the same attitude toward their teenagers as we do. Do they sit higher up in the trees, wringing their hands, looking down upon their "once promising son or daughter" who is now spending their days making weird noises and jumping around like an idiot onto the bushes, having sex with whoever they please, with no consideration of anybody or anything else going on around them. With no respect for civil society.

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