Old Ballplayers Never Die

The title comes from a segment in Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract. This segment appears in the recap for each decade, and in it, he quotes a baseball player complaining about the new generation of players who are only in it for the money, not the love of the game.

This feature runs from the 1890s through the present. 

I bring this up because my father recently forwarded me an article cursing the state of education and, especially, pupils in his classroom. I want to be nice about it, but it rings a little hollow when it's the exact same complaint teachers have made for a long, long time. For example, check this one out:

"Scholarly effort is in decline everywhere as never before. Indeed, cleverness is shunned at home and abroad. What does reading offer to pupils except tears? It is rare, worthless when it is offered for sale, and devoid of wit. "

This comes from around the turn of the millennium. No, not that one, the one before it. It's from Egbert of Liege, some time in the 11th century. You can find teachers complaining about the inferiority of their students at pretty much any point in history. They've always complained about their students. 

Most of the time, we should take these declension narratives with a grain of salt. Things are, by and large, getting better. It might not seem like it, and in localized pockets, it might not be true. For the most part, though? Please please please check out Will B. Macintosh's article on the subject

Speaking of things getting better, did you see that the British Library recently made a huge trove of art available, free of copyright encumbrance, on Flickr? Check it out, and bookmark that sucker. It's about time someone found a good use for Flickr.