Kids, disrespecting their elders since 500BC

Presumably taken from a first-century GCSE exercise book
Presumably taken from a first-century GCSE exercise book

Kids today, eh? The stuff they come out with. No manners; so uncouth, so crude, so scatological and sex-obsessed. Not like the old days. Just look at this pub graffiti. I’ve taken out names, to protect identities, and paraphrased some of the rude bits, in order to make it suitable for a family newspaper: “I [made love to] the barmaid”; “don’t [perform a sex act] on girls against the city wall like a dog”; “[Name removed] likes to [make love to] boys”; [Name removed] [defecated] here”; “Weep, girls. My [penis] has given you up; now it penetrates [men’s behinds]”; [Name removed], take off your tunic, please, and show us your [hirsute private parts]”. “I [made love to] a lot of girls here”.

It’s not as though commenters haven’t noticed, of course. “Our youth now love luxury,” sighed one well-known public intellectual. “They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannise their teachers.”

I’m being facetious, as you can probably tell. The graffiti was found on the walls of taverns and brothels in Pompeii, the Roman city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD – read more about it in this funny blog on the subject and this longer list. The quote about youth loving luxury and having bad manners is a quote from an Aristophanes play.  Basically, kids have always been ghastly little sods, and older people have always thought the world is going to hell in a handcart.

Not much to say here, except a) remember it, next time you read some thing about how teenagers today have lost all respect for their elders etc, and b) isn’t it somehow reassuring to know that people have always found sex and poo funny?

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