Yesterday while perusing YouTube, I happened upon a video of an elderly writer bemoaning that today's young don't know much about what went on in the past. He talked of when he was speaking to an audience of university students, and he mentioned "Dachau". When the writer had finished speaking, a young woman in the audience asked him who "Dachau" was. It turned out that half the audience hadn't heard of Dachau either.
In another video, the writer recalled speaking to some young filmmakers, and he mentioned Ronald Colman and the film "Lost Horizon". The young filmmakers appeared to have heard of neither.
But, is it important that these young people hadn't heard of Dachau, or of Ronald Colman and "Lost Horizon"? Probably, because if they'd not at least heard about them, what else hadn't they heard about?
And, if these young people were representative of their generation, it bespeaks that few young people today have even heard of Dachau, or of Ronald Colman and "Lost Horizon". So it bespeaks that they haven't heard of much else which is an essential part of the historical and cultural general knowledge associated with being educated.
Perhaps, though, banging on about the cultural illiteracy of the young, is merely an excuse for bashing the younger generation generally. Is it not true that old people have always bashed their children's generation, seeing them as lazy, ignorant and irresponsible, and saying, "What's the new generation coming to?"
No doubt the generation of stern righteous parents of the Victorian era had, when young, been bashed by their elders and betters, and called lazy, ignorant and irresponsible. However, they turned out anything but.
Consider the generation that came of age in the 'sixties, and who grew their hair, became high on drugs, engaged in "free love", and espoused Socialism. When they became older, they cut their hair, put on business suits and voted for Reagan.