Today’s teens think Holden Caulfield is spoiled and whiny

"We just wanted to tell him, 'Shut up and take your Prozac' "

For generations of teenagers, Holden Caulfield has represented the epitome of alienated youth. But today, almost 60 years after the publication of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, teens are no longer taken with Caulfield. Instead, they find him spoiled and whiny, and the language he uses outdated. As one 15-year-old student recently remarked, “Oh, we all hated Holden in my class. We just wanted to tell him, ‘Shut up and take your Prozac.’ ” Unlike the kids of the ’60s, today’s youth are fiercely competitive and surrounded by books, music and technology tailored to them. “Today’s pop culture heroes, it seems, are the nerds who conquer the world—like Harry (Potter)—not the beautiful losers who reject it,” writes Jennifer Schuessler.

The New York Times

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