Back in my day, it was a given that the high school cheerleaders and sports stars were self-centered snobs. Every once in a great while there would be one who wasn't - usually a nice, smart kid that also happened to have some natural athletic ability, but most were the sort of kids that craved the spotlight, and demanded that they be the center of attention.
Generally, this was kept pretty much in check by societal norms and familial expectations. Even the snootiest princess and cocky quarterback seemed to know that the big 'me' show was over at graduation, though a select few dragged it out through college and young adulthood before discovering that the real world didn't give a shit how many touchdowns they scored in the big game against Sherman six years ago.
Today's young people are often called out for being much too self-absorbed. They have no work ethic. They think that someone else should carry the load for them. They live their lives through constant self-promotion in the form of status updates, tweets, and Instagram photos, assuming everyone needs to know every intimate detail of their life.
Last night I caught a bit of a high school football 'All-American' team game. Every few minutes the coverage would cut away from the actual game to a high school boy who was announcing his college commitment. There was an on-camera interview and much bragging before the kid would take a ball cap out of the plastic bag his mom was clutching, and slap it on his head to showcase his future college team. They treated these kids like they were superstars.
I can name several high schoolers that spent their Christmas vacation on mission trips, working, taking an extra class, and/or volunteering for charitable organizations. None of them are doing it to be in the spotlight. Many of them are doing it to try to have a better shot at college and scholarships that will enable them to attend. If there is a spotlight to be shined, or a college education to be handed out, they deserve it more than the group of thugs I saw on TV last night.
When will our mindset get back to rewarding those who are likely to be productive members of society for a lifetime, versus those whose athletic ability might entertain the masses for a few years? If the majority of today's youth think that we want to know their every move, we are to blame for treating them like celebrities, even before they leave the womb.