Perhaps its a side effect of getting old or perhaps its a consequence of the amount of strange alcohol i have been drinking lately, but I have been paying more and more attention to a cultural shift in American culture. When I grew up and for generations before, the last major right of passage for any American teenager was passing the driving test and getting your license. Sure there may be some others, like graduating high school, or your inevitable 21st birthday inebriation but lets face it, most teenagers have been drinking long before their 21st arrives so adding legitimacy to it is hardly the event it once was, and graduating high school is less of a right of passage anymore given the fact that most public high schools are little more than holding cells that serve to destroy any semblance of self esteem a youth might have then at the end give you a degree that can later be exchanged for 1 job flipping burgers. There is no real difficulty in attaining a degree (though i guess the same could not be said for surviving the North American high school experience intact, but that is a different topic all-together), and in fact it is virtually mandatory. (more…)