In 1999 the Onion, in characteristic Gen-X fashion, asserted that the Columbine jocks had safely resumed their bullying. It seemed harsh and cynical, even for the Onion. But it was profoundly prophetic.
Gone is the grungy, slacker outsider, in are Two-A-Days, which follows the lives and exploits of the state champion Hoover High football team and their cheerleader girlfriends. And don't forget MTV's other reality shows such as The Hills and Laguna Beach.
MTV, the oracle of youth culture has suddenly made heroes of the very ones who were always teen movie villains only a decade ago.
After years of subverting the high school hierarchy with awkward outsiders overthrowing the entrenched jockocracy (See: any 80s/90s movie where outsider gets girl and everyone learns important lessons), the rightful order of American culture returns. On top are the strong, the rich and the beautiful. Why the change?
Strauss and Howe have written extensively about the Generational Cycles in American History. According to them the new Millennials (1981/2-2001) are a civic generation like the GIs who came of age during the Depression and fought in World War II. The Millennials are like the "Greatest Generation".
But did the GIs enter the world with $150,000 in debt already on their heads? The GIs may have grown up poor, but were they born with Less than Zero? The GIs were able to vote themselves a New Deal, a Social Security paid for by the youth.
But now the youth are fewer, and those perpetual adolescents, the Baby-Boomers are set to retire.
So of course we need Two-a-Days. In Two-a-Days everyone and everything is in order. They follow the rules and are rewarded. They follow the rules and they are winners. They are a team. And the next Civic generation will be all about teamwork.
The desiccated, old American order that the Boomers destroyed must be reestablished by the Boomers themselves. (See: The Organization Kid.). The youth can no longer "Question Authority" when there are payroll taxes to pay.