Apathy and Stuff

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WASHINGTON: Like, whatever. According to the latest annual UCLA survey of college freshmen, apathy is at an all-time high which won't come as a surprise to any freshman engaged enough to be reading this. Just 27 percent of the nation's 1.6 million freshmen believed that keeping up with political affairs is "a very important life goal" that's a record low, only half the percentage recorded in the first survey back in 1966. Moreover, this lack of activism seems to be spilling over into their studies: record numbers reported being bored in class and oversleeping.

So what's the story? Has the myth of the slacker generation finally rubbed off on our youth? Many explanations are being bandied around, like a sense of powerlessness, or "senioritis" simple excitement at the thought of actually making it to college. The most convincing, at least in terms of the lack of political enthusiasm, is the fact that the '90s are not the '60s there are no burning political issues these days. As for what the researchers gently term a "disengagement with studies," perhaps, unlike in Clinton's freshman year, there's too much inhaling going on.