Top Five Millennial Issues
|by Jonathan Edwards|
File under: Baby Boomers30 Sep 2013 14:27 EDT
While we at Fakenation certainly encourage thorough and scathing criticism of the Baby Boomers, the fact remains that they are almost entirely incapable of hearing us. Whether this deafness is a matter of a personal inability to empathize with their offspring or simply a loss of hearing brought on by old age is a matter open for discussion. Either way, it's pretty clear that our rising generation is more likely to find Vladimir Putin, of all people, more sympathetic to their concerns as dispossessed Americans than their parents' television networks and political parties.
So, young comrades, we find ourselves in a terribly disadvantaged position at the moment, but at the very least we should try to optimize our efforts and make the best of it. I know you probably went out and voted for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, wrote comments in support of Edward Snowden online, and probably don't even own a television, but as revolutionaries, we are going to have to do better than that if we don't want the Boomer national nightmare to extend well into our thirties. Keep in mind that, in this 21st century world, we are getting exploited by people who think Ubuntu is the location of an African genocide in which we should intervene. We can do better.
So, in the spirit of progress, we would like to offer some constructive criticism of behaviors we ourselves, as fellow Millennials, observe in others and indeed have occasionally fallen into:
1. Shock Of The Real
As the children of the late eighties and early nineties, we grew up in a largely optimistic atmosphere. Who doesn't remember the fresh frontier of a world without the Soviet Union, the sweeping personal computing revolution, the days when Columbine was a shocking event and not a regular occurrence? We were too young to understand what was really going on, and we saw the world through the relatively innocent pop music of the day, safe and without much deep concern. Call it the culture of youth soccer, if you will. Everyone could be a winner. No great struggles were expected of us, save to do well in school, go to college, and replicate the same charmed existence. We didn't know about the debt and the ghettos and the wars, all of which were packaged as distant, even innocent, concerns, as political jingles, rap songs, and 'humanitarian interventions'.
Upon maturation, many of us still have not recovered from the total dismantling of that set of realities and expectations, which has left us frozen in a kind of infantile paralysis, going through the motions of education and societal participation because we know nothing else. After so many years of college propaganda, of seeing oneself exclusively as a 'student', it is terrifying, even existentially threatening, to admit to oneself that it was all a bankrupt exercise in political manipulation and social engineering. It can't really be the case that that prosperity we enjoyed without reflection in the 90s was nothing more than a pyramid scheme now in its last throes, that Miley Cyrus is nothing more than another exploited starlet, and, worst of all, that our parents were willing participants in steering our lives toward this dead end.
If one faces these facts soberly and directly, the feeling of abandonment and the lack of alternative is overwhelming. Hence, we Millennials have a kind of divided consciousness we have to maintain for the sake of our own sanity. The university, workplace, and government are all run directly against our best interests, yet we likely only learned this while already committed to them, financially if not in spirit. We pretend in public that everything is alright, when it is not.
But a problem that goes unacknowledged is a problem that goes unsolved. The Boomers have been able to culturally dominate us for so long because while they reveled in biting the hand that fed them as young adults, we have been unable to summon so much as a direct heated confrontation with our deceivers. We need to let our disappointment be manifest, and reject Boomer-induced guilt. So long as everything is 'cool' with us, they will keep laughing all the way to the retirement community in the sky. Accept the real, feel the pain, and get upset. Don't maintain illusions of happy young adulthood for the benefit of your oppressors. And, in turn, accept expressions of radical disappointment in others as natural. Don't believe the mainstream lie that depression is an 'illness'.
2. Staying On Program
Another unique facet of our upbringing is the degree to which it has been planned, regulated, and mapped down to the slightest detail, such that we have been incapacitated when it comes to self-motivated action. No other generation has had a cheap program of success, i.e. education and subsequent corporate employment, so drilled into their heads as the necessary course of life. Indeed, it's reached the point that the government draws up our life course from birth to death as if we were mere objects of some unquestioned plan.
Of course, these plans are failing all around us, mainly in the transition from college to workplace on the assembly line of life. The large and growing number of those of us who slip through the cracks should view it not as a shortcoming, but as an opportunity to finally color outside the lines. If you find yourself working a low-wage job in spite of your education, use it as an opportunity to gain an actual education in your free time. We've lost the spirit of self-motivated inquiry and amateur participation that brings balance and critical review to any society's institutions.
The Boomers and their cultural propaganda are responsible for stigmatizing outsiders as hopeless idealists. Remember, that was who they all once claimed to be, but now all we have received as a legacy of dissent is the image of the overindulged, hypocritical hippy. With this sad past, they are able to smear any legitimate, informed dissent as an echo of their own faux rebellious youth. Having poisoned the perception of the radical, they now enjoy an unquestioned hegemony.
'Dropping out' needs to be reclaimed by our best and brightest as a noble life course. Read your own books, make your own art, and don't feel like you have to answer to Boomers about your 'plans'. It's impossible to plan in a world where your elders have created a social crisis to the point where regular threats of government shutdowns are the last form of parliamentary dissent. Recognizing that reality is crucial to realizing that the inmates are running the asylum, and that your merely personal efforts and interests are just as valid as anything official.
3. Keeping A Distance
In a situation as bleak as ours, trusted friends and confidants are an extremely valuable asset. Yet our capacity for intimate relationships is typically very weak. Yes, we Millennials are typically very sociable, but only in the same way Twitter is a 'social platform'. With so much talking past each other in the whirlwind of virtual talking points, we are able to talk to the entire world at once quite easily yet have trouble carrying on a conversation with a single person.
While one might try to blame this trend on technology, really it is a technological reflection of a human problem. Intimacy demands honesty and vulnerability, and living in the exploitation ghetto of American culture, we are terrified of exposing ourselves. As the disappointments of young adulthood have increased, and the disillusion has mounted, we would rather live ironically and sarcastically than allow our hearts to be broken once more. As an example, consider how Hollywood hasn't made a genuine romance in ages, while romantic comedies abound. The days of Titanic now seem like the most childish foolishness.
With marriage rates sharply declining, it is becoming clear that the Boomers have created in us a generation that decidedly does not want to replicate the conditions of our own upbringing for another generation, itself a rather sharp if overlooked rebuke. Yet we are also to blame for our lack of intimate personal relationships. If we must endure the example of our Boomer parents wrecking their old communities before abandoning them in retirement, we should embrace authentic community and relationships based on self-disclosure as the antidote to their indifference. Sadly, this might be our most pathetic and most painful failure, as we hide behind our computer screens on Facebook, desperately constructing that sense of belonging we wish we could feel just once in public.
4. Comfortable Revolution
Here, we refer to the massive apparatus of non-profit organizations spanning the ideological spectrum that let you believe you are making a difference by doing something like 'raising awareness'. The libertarian movement in particular is guilty of this, as apparently one overturns the status quo in Washington D.C. by employing a bunch of yuppie Millenials to do 'policy' work, as if people who have presided over one of the largest expansions of government power in world history are going to be stopped by another policy paper from The Cato Institute.
These organizations are the perfect examples of how the Boomer status quo misdirects our growing social and political conscience toward counterproductive activities. You want to be a libertarian? Well, if you want to actually have some credibility that would mean finding a line of work other than lobbying for policy in Washington D.C. That's the kind of consistent, principled, conscious action you would have to take to actually be making a difference, yet the legions of Millennials who fill the ranks of all kind of advocacy organizations seem to think you can be a revolutionary activist as a steady career.
This kind of complacency is why the Boomers write us off as a bunch of whining, spoiled brats whenever we raise our objections. They've taught us that it's fine to have our ideals, so long as we can monetize them into respectable employment, and in the process they have converted the real radicalism represented by figures like Ayn Rand or Malcom X, figures they grew up with, into the non-threatening proceedings of Students For Liberty and the NAACP. When confronted with the myriad of problems we have, they identify with these more noble figures as part of a solution, and encourage our interest, so as to maintain credibility. But they will also try to filter you toward these organizations, where you can become an 'official' advocate, i.e. part of the problem.
Don't fall for the trick. Non-profits are useless at best, and scams at worst. No genuine change has ever been accomplished by a bunch of ill-educated interns staring at spreadsheets from 9 to 5 in a nicely air-conditioned office on K Street.
5. Wasting Time
Our generation has the behavior patterns of a prison population. As we realize every day, more and more painfully, that we don't have the freedom we imagined, we seek various forms of escape in repetitive activities. To some extent, this is unavoidable, but nobody hooked to World of Warcraft ever mounted a serious challenge to a corrupt, graying establishment, or accomplished much of anything for that matter. The same can also be said of people who find a sense of identity from their pot usage, people who watch a lot of professional sports, and people who comment on Reddit.
These kind of behaviors, it should be noted, don't spring from some inherent laziness, but from the lack of a constructive alternative. What else are you going to do? Jockey for a position of power and influence in Fakenation? Learn the arts of bribery (Washington D.C.),fraud (Wall Street),and prostitution (Hollywood)? We don't claim to have found the perfect solution to this 'lack of a life' issue, but at least we feel a bit of fulfilling trollish satisfaction whenever we post one of these articles.
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Please comment with any other constructive Millennial criticism below. Toward self-improvement, young comrades!
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