As a result, I’ve recently rediscovered Vampire Weekend’s eponymous debut album. One song in particular—the record closer, “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance”—has resonated with me, and not just for its cherry blossom, campus-pop aesthetic: I’m a senior at Yale, graduating in May, and I’m terrified. After commencement ends and I leave the warm embrace of academia, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of job opportunities.
And I’m not the only one. In a recent New York Times column, David Brooks extensively quoted Victoria Buhler, one of his students and a fellow classmate of mine. Through him, she describes our generation as the Cynic Kids: we’re suspicious of causality, we don’t like idealism, we’re budding wonks, and we require mountains of empirical evidence before we make any decision, no matter how trivial. I’d add that we’re deeply, pathologically ironic, but, aside from that, I think Buhler gets it right. We’re cynical because we have to be.