I’ve been noticing lately that a segment of the youth here has become “Westernized” to some extent. In other words, I am seeing more and more the traits in youth that I would see back in the US.
Which is both good and bad. It is good because now we are seeing a diversity amongst the youth—those that are clean cut, with a 50s-style haircut parted on the right side, wearing pressed white pants and tee shirts, girls with tight jeans and colorful, sometimes evocative tops, listening to Russian pop or Armenian “rabiz.” Then you have another segment, a growing minority, that listens to classic as well as modern rock music, with young men growing long hair, and both boys and girls wearing earthy toned, grungy clothes. Most times I mistake this alternative youth as tourists, until I walk by them and hear they are speaking Armenian.
Just this evening, for the first time I saw a teenager riding around carelessly on a skate board near the fountains at Republic Square. He looked like the same type of kid that I would see hanging around Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass, with the shorts that have the hem just past the knee, worn-out baseball-style cap, worn-out tee shirt, and so forth.
So this is an interesting trend—it means that there are now distinct differences in youth culture, that the younger generations are becoming more worldly than their elders and are looking outside of their own boundaries. Certainly television has made a huge impact on the kids, as now there are satellite TV connections broadcasting programming from around the world, and also pirated versions of the latest Hollywood movie releases can always be seen on Armenian TV, thereby displaying the latest cultural trends. Other pop music forms have also taken hold, for example “gangsta” rap.
However, the bad side of this trend is the disrespect that I did not encounter until recently. I am finding now that many kids are talking back and even heckling adults. Naturally, I fell victim to this as the kids from the tiny village that lies in the back of my building are still obsessively teasing me about a goatee that I grew for a short while during the early spring and shaved three months ago. Tonight when leaving the house the most bold of these guys, who for some reason is about six-feet tall although he is no more than 14, started acting wise with me, whereby I plainly told him off and threatened to go to his parents to complain. But he didn’t seem to care. I ran into a similar problem a couple of weeks ago in Vanadzor while walking Ariga’s dog when one of the kids that live in their building threw a stone in its direction which thankfully hit a garage door instead. When Ariga’s mother asked why he did it, the kid was totally defiant of her, and did not flinch when we said that his parents would know about it. So now are rudeness and arrogance is present amongst some of these kids that did not encounter before and, naturally, it is contagious.
But Karen tells me that this is nothing new and that kids who don’t study well, play in the streets, and so forth start turning into mischievous punks, just like you would see most anywhere else in the world.
This is not a big deal as kids will be kids, but I never liked it when some of the more spoiled and rambunctious of them gave me a hard time in Boston, and I don’t appreciate it here either.
Labels: Personal Experiences, Social and Cultural