Thursday, February 19, 2009

Will our nation's youth ever rage against the machine?

I just finished reading an interesting piece of commentary by The Plain Dealer columnist Phillip Morris concerning the possibility of the United State's youth eventually raging against the machine.

Morris claims it's not a question of "If?" but more a question of "When?"

After reading the commentary and thinking this over for a couple minutes, I've got one word to say: Bullshit.

Look, Morris makes some good points - including the fact that even after your beautiful young children graduate Magna Cum Laude at Notre Dame University - not to mention after you shelling out close to $50,000 on college tuition - there isn't going to be a guaranteed job waiting for them.

That's got to suck big time.

But, I just can't see this generation raging against anything that doesn't have to do with video games, television or pop culture.

So what are you getting at, Eimer? Well, what I'm getting at is there is this big blob of yes that's walking around and conforming to whatever the taking heads are saying.

- Stimulus package. YES.

- Raise taxes. YES.

- More government intervention. YES.

- More rules against non-conformity. YES

There's no fucking free thinking anymore! Or none that I've seen anyway. If Morris thinks that this next generation is going have the next Che Guevara, Samuel Adams (the person not the beer), Malcom X, Lech Walesa or even Guy Fawkes - he better think again.

Of course, I'm generalizing. And I'm sure there are some nuggets of anger stewing out there. I'm sure there are some young kids that think about the future of the United States and are actually interested in the current events that are happening around them.

But I don't see it anywhere: My work. My home. My neighborhood. My city. My state. Seems apparent to me that nobody under the age of 30 even fucking cares that people are losing jobs, losing homes, losing their cars and losing their freedom.

I simply don't see the anger. I don't see the angst. I don't see that hatred. I don't see the slightest hint in the populace that's even thinking about raising a middle finger in the air in the land of hypocrisy and screaming "FUCK YOU I WON'T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!" over and over again, untiil something violent happens.

Nope. Don't see it at all.

All I see is our citizens walking straight into the meat grinder of conformity with this bland look on their face, nodding their heads in agreement and marching forward until they end up in some god-for-saken assisted-living facility drooling in their eggs with shit running down their pants.

Hmmmm, maybe Pink Floyd was onto something?

Who knows? I may be totally wrong. Hopefully, I'm eating crow and the next generation is already writing a big Breakfast Club fuck you letter to the principal.

I'll even digress, and go back to my Fight Club and Die Hard with a Vengeance theology and say that the next uprising won't be in an open field with bayonets, spears and screaming men in kilts. It's going to take place via our laptops.

It's going to be silent. It's going to swift. And very little blood will be shed. (Well, hopefully a little.)

But, it's not going to happen anytime soon.

Thanks Mr. Morris for a very thought-provoking article with balls.


Chad Puckett said...

I are in agreeance. Today's generation is the fruitiest by far. Too much American Idol, 'Look at ME!!!!11!' and not enough 1980's WWF Ultimate Warrior if you ask me.

But no one ever asks me.

Your Finest Eimer said...

Hey man. Looks like we'll just have to toughen up our kids.

That will be the generation one for the history books.

Kameron D Kiggins said...

This entry of yours has rattled in my head for over a week, and refused to leave. It resonated with me.

I'm in college, and most of my fellow students are in their late teens or early 20s. About 10 years younger than me.

Their political ignorance is startling to me. Most of the students in one of my classes didn't know that the courts were a branch of government, on equal standing with the executive and legislative branches.

If Utah Valley University is typical, most young people are too preoccupied with Facebook and text messaging to give a damn.

People use "Orwellian" to describe the worst of political repression. But I've always thought Huxley's Brave New World was the most accurate prediction of humanity's behavior. We'd willingly embrace the things that would do is the least good.

In 1931, Huxley predicted a world where most people are dulled into a semi-hypnotic haze by drugs and technology. Where conformity is the rule, where consumerism sets social trends, where thoughtless sexual promiscuity is championed. Where loudspeakers constantly blare useless information (televisions are mounted all over the fucking place at UVU; playing CNN, Fox News, ESPN).

Many of my fellow students seem incapable of speaking in complete sentences -- that's not hyperbole. Many of them think hand-written papers are acceptable. My geology professor called a pop quiz, and 75% of the class went into blind panic: they'd not been following the lecture, taking notes or asking questions. They'd been texting on their cell phones, Twittering on their laptops.

Plus it's Utah, so there's 'nother layer: Mormonism. This religion typically demands levels of commitment and conformity that I find stifling. But it's difficult to avoid or escape because so many people's families and social structure are so tightly knit to the church.

Certainly not all the students are like I describe. But at least a substantial minority, if not a hell of a lot more. It's disheartening. Perhaps a lot of people have always been this detached and disinterested.

I feel like a grumpy old curmudgeon...

But I think you and Morris are onto something important. It's hard to rage against the machine when you're Twittering.

Your Finest Eimer said...

Thanks Kameron for your lengthy response. I love your last sentence. It's almost lyrical. Like I said, not this generation, but possibly the next. However, we'll be crapping our pants by then, eh?