March 13, 2012

Annals of Childish Behavior™

The sophisticated atmosphere of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra turned less civil Thursday night when two men got into an argument about a reserved box seat at Orchestra Hall, officials said.

About 9 p.m., during a performance of Brahms Symphony No. 2, the argument escalated into a fistfight after a man, described as being in his 30s, became enraged and started beating a 67-year-old patron on his head, said Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez.
                                                   Chicago Tribune, March 10

Is modern culture being overwhelmed by an epidemic of childishness? JosĂ© Ortega y Gasset, writing in 1930, thought so. Annals of Childish Behavior™ chronicles contemporary examples of that epidemic. The childish citizen, Ortega said, puts "no limit on caprice" and behaves as if "everything is permitted to him and that he has no obligations."


  1. Perhaps you're doing a disservice to children? Boorish behavior apparently has no age limitations-- in either direction!

  2. I think the operative phrase is "age appropriate." Childish behavior is fine in children, but, as Paul said, as adults we're expected to give up childish things. For reasons discussed by Ortega (see link in the piece), among others, that's becoming less and less the case in modern culture.