The ‘Nintendo Generation’ Have Weak Skeletons, Says Army Weirdo

Earlier today, a press release appeared on the Pentagon News Service website titled Why Today’s Generation Z Are at Risk of Injury at Boot Camp. It’s very funny. You can read it here if you want (thanks Vice), but the bottom line is that the lone dude from the US Army, “clinical coordinator and head of medical readiness at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri,” there are some concerns about the fitness of recruits aged 18-25.

“Generation Nintendo soldier skeleton doesn’t harden before arrival, so some of them break more easily, says Major John-Mark Thibodeau, a man who can speak down to a generation of children who have survived two years of the pandemic in lockdown/isolation, as well as simultaneously confusing them with the real “Nintendo generation”, people who are now over 40.

He certainly does not mean that their entire skeleton breaks. That would be crazy. Instead, he means simply certain parts of their skeletons, such as fractures from falls and stress fractures, with most injuries resulting from “overuse” and affecting the “lower limbs”.

The press release itself is just as condescending, saying something along the lines of: “Today’s recruits are much more sedentary compared to previous generations, which makes their skeletons more prone to injury because they’re not used to the intense activity they’ll have to face during basic training.”

I said it was funny because a) this person really talks/cares a lot about the skeletons still living inside people, which is weird, and b) the story is as old as time. It amuses me that the military and governments continue to be surprised at the low rate of recruits when they should be better than anyone else at assessing the health of the wider society of which they are apart. In particular, who they are most likely to approach with recruiting offers!

There are records of the military complaining about the crappy quality of recruits, going back to when we have military records. Whether it’s medieval levies drawn from starving peasants, or ill-healthy World War I conscripts raised in industrialized ghettos, this is not a new problem or a new complaint. Scolding these recruits for being physically “weak” due to superficial entertainment rather than the broader socio-economic systems that led to it in the first place is called “doing your job really badly”.

If your current training program is literally breaking people’s legs and your only job is to train whatever comes in the door, maybe… change your training program?

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