My Super Sweet 16
At any rate, Cox's column focuses on how these youngsters want to be like celebrities. A few lines from the column: "Their blingy flings are not celebrations of accomplishment; they're celebrations of self." "Each guest of honor is really after only one thing: 'I feel famous. I love it,' says one." "Far from joining polite society like the debutates of the past, the kids gleefully rip through social graces, alienating friends and sacrificing tact."
I love pop culture analyses like this, but it's even more interesting to take it a little deeper: *Why* do these teens act this way? I'm sure there are multiple causes. At least one is the underlying psychology I lay out in _Generation Me_: the ever-present emphasis on the self that often crosses over into narcissism. The obsession with becoming famous or acting like a celebrity plays right into that -- the need for recognition is a subscale on the narcissism inventory (Items: "I wish someone would someday write my biography"," "I like to be the center of attention.")
Other possibilities -- Is American society more materialistic now than it was, say, 30 years ago? Or is it something else?