The title may seem harsh, unless of course you are a member of my generation- the Millenials. If you’re one of us, this may actually ring with the sweet sound of truth. For you see, even for all it’s harshness I do not believe any argument soon to be presented lacks much in validity. If you disagree, you’re probably too old to really understand what our truly unique situation is. I don’t expect you to understand. That’s always been your biggest problem.
As defined generally by the conglomerated information on Wikipedia, the generation break up is as follows:
Baby Boomers – 1943-ish to the early 60’s
Generation X – Mid-ish 1960’s to the start of the 80’s
Millennials – Mid-ish 80’s to around the start of George W’s 2nd term
Now that we have these terms very loosely defined, the argument can begin proper.
I will begin by outlining the general complaints against my generation by the prior two. They will almost inevitably say that we are lazy and fully incapable of the strength of character that they posses. They will say that we stare at our phones all day and watch too much television and that our music is bad. They’ll say that we have never worked as hard as they have and have had so many more opportunities than they could even imagine. They’ll say that we don’t understand true struggle like they do and that our values are all out of order. This is general of course, and mostly based upon what I have heard said myself about those around my age.
Sound about right? Not wholly incorrect in every way but this is all said while being totally ignorant to any complaints about those parties initiating the primary complaints. Us Millennials have our faults and I am often one of the greatest opponents against many of the behaviors of my peers. The difference is that they are my peers and their faults are mostly a product of the world that you damn boomers have made.
So if you don’t mind- cram it, because I won’t have such ignorance striding around in force on my planet any longer. What follows will be my judgment upon these older generations as a whole, so don’t try and mention individuals who may have done a little bit of something admirable because it wasn’t enough to undo the rest of the damage.
I do believe that the Greatest Generation is justly named, though their faults are present and potent just the same the same as the rest. For better or for worse, they fought and built a might that the world had never seen and created a way of life that had never truly existed before. Those who lived long enough to come back home after what our history remembers as one of our greatest triumphs over societal evil, were able to build the most stable and satisfactory state of life those outside of the elite classes had ever seen. They did this in the hope that life would continue to improve with each passing generation, similarly to those who fought the British Empire on the east coast a few score years prior. They left that terror that only mass destruction men cause each other can have deep in their hearts and minds, and aimed to give their children a life without such burdens and fear.
It really is a shame how fat their children grew off the teat and what rotten greedy brats they’ve turned out to be.
Let’s begin to debunk some of the distasteful opinions of my brothers and sisters made by our collective living elders.
We’re lazy and don’t work as hard-
What a way to start, I mean, where do I begin? How about with this little two word phrase wonder that has plagued all those recently out of or about to go into that fabled and prophesied world of higher education.
Now a friend of mine who got a Masters in some form of business education had told me of this idea of opportunity cost. The idea, for those of you who don’t know, breaks down to essentially the weight of value of what you choose to labor for. Per essempio, if you are willing to do something without monetary compensation the outcome of that time must hold a high value to you and your future. It can ultimately be simplified to money versus time, and which has more value at that moment. As young people, we are told we have a lot of time and that we should be making money with all of it.
Too bad there’s none to be made. I can’t really say why I brought up opportunity cost, since it does’t really enter in to the discussion of unpaid internships which are easily the most common form of internships. Now I held an unpaid internship for a six month period at a conglomerate national broadcasting company just over a year ago. I worked on two shows simultaneously and was considered among the best in my local intern pool. All in all, it seems to have been worth dick to me other than it’s help in inspiring villains for my novel. Other than that, no one I’ve sent applications to seemed to care very much.
To throw some statistics at it, it looks like unpaid interning works just as well as not interning at all. Those with those fabled paid internships turn out alright, but who wants to be so addicted to a single aspect of their soon-to-be work life that they can spend every waking moment being consumed by it?
And just from my own experience, I live just outside of the world’s biggest financial metropolis and even there the idea of an entry level job seems a fairy tale. Even with a few good connections, a fairly impressive resume, a fresh haircut and a positive attitude- you’re unlikely to get a call back. And of course there is the paradox of the lowest level jobs that one can find, all require anywhere from 2 to 5 years experience.
So on to the next one.
We stare at our phones and have entertainment addiction-
Now this one is tough to deny, so tough in fact, that I deem in impossible and won’t argue against it. But that still doesn’t leave us to blame for it.
It’s heard all the time as a damnation of younger generations that they depend on their phones and tablets, just as those before were wasting away in front of television screens and Walkmen.
Here’s the thing though, who buys them that s*#t? The average 16 year old makes no where near enough to afford such technologies, not even considering the subscriptions to cable and telephone companies to make them function and connect with other devices, so it’s clear they aren’t getting them themselves. How could a parent blame their child for using the device that was bought for them? If you really thought it was that bad, you should have never gotten it for them. Or you should have at least trusted that the values and virtues that your parenting had instilled in them led them to the true understanding that despite how much they like their iPhones and Pad and whatever, that these things can never hold the power that the physical world around them will inevitably have. I was taught that much and now I grow so sick of the constant connectivity and the seeming impossibility from escaping it.
Not to say that technology isn’t a tool. It most certainly is and despite the cries of our addiction, my generation is able to wield tech better than anyone thus far, despite all the nonsense that is tied with it.
Which brings me to the saturation of nonsensical entertainment which we should see as a tri-partisan issue, considering we all suffer from it is someway. Be it the Real Housewives of Where Ever or scrolling through whatever social media to find things you don’t really care about about people you sometimes only vaguely know, we all have our vices. Just because the screen is placed in the middle of your living room instead of in your pocket, doesn’t make it any less brain melting. If a growing Millennial became annoying, you could just pop it in front of the TV and let it’s mind become sucked in. And it was the Boomers and Gen Xers who really turned the TV into the advertisement and name brand slinging monster it has now become, so there should be no complaint from them that their kids were always bugging them to buy shit that they didn’t need, or even really want.
As far as our music being bad, I’d agree if you are discussing the corporate pop that is flashed around the TV and whatever is left of the radio. That stuff is formulated nonsense that takes mediocre talent and dresses it up with lights and auto-tune and designer clothes and shot from the many cannons of the media conglomerates of the western world. That stuff is garbage and far too many listen to it but even with all that, our art sneaks through.
The music of so many young artists has reached such experimental heights of genre blending and creation and our ability to wield technology as we do, allows for a bypass right around the conglomerated scheme. We make our music and can distribute it ourselves and despite some clunkers, a lot of this stuff is starting to get really good. Dig the brainchild of a 24 year old Brooklyn based trained composer below featuring my future ex-wife on lead vocals.
Or this 20 year old bloke
For the sake of ending this rambling before it gets out of control, we’ll make one more counterpoint.
We don’t understand true struggle and our values are all out of order
So we don’t know struggle huh? We don’t have the right kind of values huh?
I believe this deserves a quote from the man I worship like the pious do their prophets.
“Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum,” once said the great Kurt Vonnegut.
Now there are people who want to be sensitive to the beliefs of others no matter how much they disagree. I am not one of those people. Since the birth of the industrial age in the Western world, humans have been trying to kill this planet and most things on it.
But Mother Nature is trying to kill us right back. Whether you have sense enough to believe it is our fault or not, the whole planet is getting warmer, the seas are getting dangerously high, weather is getting more extreme and the air is more and more unfit to breathe. Now this subject is under debate still for rather idiotic reasons as our clock keeps ticking. These elected officials we have in charge of making the laws that could help to turn this whole thing around can’t seem to get to any sort of progress on this issue, when they even bother to show up to work. I wonder if that has anything to do with the massive amount of Boomers in Congress or how a bunch of elite old coots pay to make sure people keep arguing so their pockets can stay fat until they die. I imagine that there is a connection.
I would figure that connection has a good bit to do with a failing global economy and the inability to abandon the constant increase of profit business model.
I get it though, really, I do. When fossil fuels began being used the world was such bigger place and we seemed so much smaller. They just couldn’t comprehend that what they were doing could actually damage an entire planets. But those were the generations way before the Greatest. I find it harder to forgive the Boomers and Xers. For the better part of their lives, there has always been an awareness of man’s effect on the world around us but their voluntary ignorance always overcame any warning.
So many like to say that there’s no money in renewable energy and although I could disagree, it’s more important to say that maybe, just f@#$ing maybe, it’s not about making money. Maybe for once they could sit there with the limited time they have left in power, they could actually try and do something for the next generation instead of worrying that the way they like things may have to change. Maybe, just f@#$ing maybe, they could actually do something to give the younger generations a better life across the planet.
But I won’t hold my breath. That generation took the American dream and made it into their own little ponzi scheme while trying to pass the blame onto their children. It’s up to us to clean up their mess and I hate to say it gang, but our time to do so is shorter than we think. Our civilization is reaching a make or break point on so many levels and if we don’t start acting now, we’ll all be doomed. I don’t mean to sound grim but it’s just the state of affairs we’ve been left with. I don’t doubt we can do it but I do doubt that all of us realize we now have to. We are left with the task our parents couldn’t be bothered to take care of and if you have any hope of having a family of your own, you’d better do your part.
I’m trying to do mine as best I can but it sure ain’t easy.