David, I'll come at this from a different point.
Before I bought a Pentax 6x7, I didn't care about photography at all. It was just a way to document something, and that's all it was for me. The end.
Then one evening as I was driving home, I was entranced by the bright moonlight. I wanted to photograph that. "How would that look like, photographed?" And so after futzing about with my point & shoot and talking to a coworker about it, I bought a Pentax 6x7. I still have it, still use it, and just got it CLA'd.
Now, at that time I had no idea who Ansel Adams was. I became familiar with him as a result of reading his three book educational series. I started developing my own film because I didn't like what happened at the lab I was using. I started to print because the local labs closed down. And of course I learned about archival permanance because I had to (there are some things that you will learn only if you do it yourself). I've looked at other photographers not because of their photography, but based on the concepts they were trying to convey. And believe me, I honestly don't care about the majority of "famous" photographers. Most of them have produced what I consider to be garbage. That's just how I look at it, how my brain is wired. Eggleston sells for serious money, but that's not what I would buy, or how I would photograph.
I'm guessing that the "kids these days" you are complaining about were never motivated by something outside of photography to go and photograph. When someone is motivated to photograph because they saw another photograph, then they've been motivated within, inside of, photography. It's mimicing another's action, monkey see, monkey do. It's not crying out, "look at this, I've found something! Come and see!" And since the "kids these days" haven't had any contact with someone working at it as a whole process. As has been mentioned, they click, send off a JPEG, and get back a print. They come to you, and now you, on behalf of your customers, wind up giving them a smidgen of guidance on what to do next. How many of them have any true personal, internal drive at all? That's the real question. I have discovered for myself that I must photograph. You should be asking the "kids these days," did they make that photograph because it's fun, or because they ------- well had to make it?