David Amsden, a Slate reporter in his mid-20s, has returned alive from escorting his 17-year-old friend to the prom and brings us this report on America's continuing obsession with youth and sex:
. . . tonight has provided me with a cursory sense of how strange it must be to be a parent of an adolescent, a species that seems like an adult one second, an amoeba the next. This is the paradox, I think, that's largely responsible for why we as a culture are so prone to fetishize them. Because the sad fact is this: You get older, you grow jaded, and it becomes difficult to be genuinely shocked by something that doesn't involve, say, global strife on a mind-bogglingly massive scale. You start to crave a petty thrill. You miss it. And so you want to be able to cringe at the notion that kids are out there getting laid in parking lots, while continuing to demand details, because that way you can revel in your own manufactured shock while tricking yourself into believing you once lived in more innocent times.
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