I am an unapologetic news junkie. Huge portions of my day are given over to the absorption of news via television and internet. This includes the comments sections at the bottom of some stories as I’m curious what people are thinking or talking about on subjects.
This admitted addiction of mine can lead to what feels like an overdose. I recognize the symptoms when I start turning into a cynical witch who yells at her television or Android screen in what appear to be random profanities or profundities, depending on the day. Lately it’s been profanities but I promised myself when I started this blog I would avoid politics. I’ve been holding true to that though that topic may be broached today.
Between the hoopla of the Zimmerman trial, the Whitey Bulger trial, heat waves and forest fires, NSA spying and random screams of scandal from Washington D.C. it’s easy to forget that life isn’t always that serious.
Occasionally the news stations and sites pick up on this and they’ll run random articles meant to lighten your mood as opposed to make you clench your teeth and wonder how anyone makes it through a day. I ran across one recently on CNN.com that started out all light and haha but then, today, had me thinking and reflecting.
The article was written by a Generation Y’er. A ridiculous terminology and one I’m sad I’ll be using throughout this post. Essentially he was telling people to back off calling this current crop of youngsters entitled, intellectually lazy, etc. The road to blame starts elsewhere, thank you very much, and please remember when you point fingers at someone four more are pointed back at you. That’s not an exact quote but you get the gist.
By a show of hands, who remembers when Generation X’ers were going to be the absolute ruin of American civilization as we know it? Those slackers who refuse to shower and listen to that discordant music will never be mature enough, nor intelligent enough, to run this country anywhere but into the ground! Again,not an exact quote but I remember those days well.
Our parents were the baby boomers. You know, the ones who repopulated the country after World War II? The ones who had great jobs and retirement plans and could send their children to better colleges than they went to. Every parent wants to give their children more than they had, right?
We came of voting age in the time of Bill Clinton. A man pilloried for accepting rounds of oral sex from an intern who wanted to sleep with a powerful man. Oral sex being one of those things we don’t necessarily care about. Anyone not guilty of that particular act should consider going out and getting a life. They might enjoy it. But I digress.
The entire government shut down in that time over the budget. As far as we were concerned it shut down because a bunch of stodgy old white men hated the president and wanted to impeach him for something goofy. Just my take (and the take of more than a few others considering the random pols taken at the time during classes). Two events tied into one.
Perhaps that’s why Mr. Clinton has higher approval ratings now. Our generation just didn’t care that much about his indiscretions.
Mr. Clinton had a growing economy under his watch. Everything was coming up roses! Loans were easy to qualify for and, from what I could tell, good jobs were everywhere. I would know, I bounced my way through several of those jobs.
Our music struck a chord. It was our rebellion.
Side thought/rant here. A season or so ago on American Idol the Gen Y’ers had to perform songs from the 90’s that spoke to them (whatever that means). I winced when one of them chose Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Not only did the young man not have the actual singing ability to do the band proud, he had none of the angst that had been what made that song so exquisitely perfect.
Perhaps the analysts didn’t see that in our music back then. Rage Against the Machine, NWA, REM, Smashing Pumpkins all had things to say. Pearl Jam brought us the song Jeremy which I thought would have been more appropriate for that young man to sing.
Back on topic: Nirvana pointed out that we may not look the way you want us to, we can be scary. So turn the lights out, we’ll entertain you… there’s far deeper meaning there than most people recall. And, as mentioned earlier. That angst. The song started so smooth and then leaped out to grab the listener by the throat. Isn’t that what music should do?
So our politics are a little different, looser, perhaps a wee bit left. We have less interest in what people are doing in their own bedrooms. The equality of marriage is something Gen X’ers have continued to fight for and we’re at the demographic age that actually gets listened to.
But then there’s the flip side. Being a news junkie I read a lot. We established that. Certain facts stick with me and randomly pop out at me while I think about random subjects.
During the last election cycle one of the Vice Presidential candidates was Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. He’s solidly a Generation X kind of guy. He was influenced into going into politics by the band Rage Against the Machine (according to one interview while others have stated it was Ayn Rand. Depends on the audience, I guess). That’s awesome.See? Some of our music is politically motivated.
Speaking of demographics: Gen X was the power that drove MTV. We drove it high in ratings and awesomeness and then we drove it directly into the ground. Does anyone remember 1983 when MTV first started? We had 10 minutes every so often of music news and then nothing but music. No game shows, reality shows, nada.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Gen X. Welcome to Real World. Don’t believe me? The movie Reality Bites essentially details how this could have (and probably did) happen. You’re so very welcome, America (and by that I mean, I’m so so very sorry on all of our behalf).
That was another sad digression. I’m trying to defend my generation, not get all h8er on it. So where was I? Oh, right!
We hated being told that we were slackers who weren’t going to amount to anything. We’ve proven a lot of the naysayers wrong. So maybe, just maybe, the Millennials should be left alone to do their thing. I may not like their music and I may hate their clothes but I have to respect them.
The concept of entitled doesn’t ring true for me, by the way. That’s a subject to tackle another day. When I’ve spent more time thinking about how siblings differ and yet don’t in regards to one being Generation X and the next child a Y.