Not sure who created the graphic mocking Time’s, I just stole it from my friend Joel’s Facebook page.
Three years ago, annoyed with my generation’s seeming obsession with all things disposable, I wrote a scathing post at my old blog, Far Above Rubies:
On any given day, I log into my Facebook and Twitter accounts, to share pictures of ME, MY family, MY friends. I update Twitter to give MY opinion on current events or share links to articles I find interesting. And if you follow me on Twitter, and like my friend Carly, are getting sick of your Blackberry going off because of all MY appearances on your timeline, I apologize. I am a narcissist after all.
But it doesn’t stop there. I still have a MySpace page which I rarely check, a Pandora account with MY favorite music and… well, this blog, a place where I record for all 6 of MY readers, MY deepest (okay, not so deep) thoughts, no matter how stupid.
See, the thing is, we, Generation Y, children of the Boomers and some of those X’s who got started young, are totally and insipidly wrapped up in ourselves. We log on to overshare our “Likes” (bet you never thumbs-up’ed so much ever in your life until the past year) and to post inane videos of ourselves trying to sing, doing our make-up or embarassing our toddlers while they shake their pampered bottoms to “Single Ladies” on YouTube. By the way, they will repay us one day for that last one.
How did it come to this? All this round-the-clock self-absorption? I’m not sure, but I can remember a number of after-school specials which trumpeted the theme that “You can be anything you want!” Um, no, not so. I wouldn’t mind being able to dunk a basketball, but at 5’2, the only way that’ll happen is on a kiddie hoop. The same thing goes for modeling, being a ballet dancer or singing. I cannot do these things. Well, I could, but it would be laughable (quite suitable for exploitation on YouTube).Many parents also boasted to their children that they are the best, the prettiest, the most interesting. They hung on their every word, and showered them with praise no matter if they were barely passing in school or repeatedly flunking their driving test. “It’s positivity,” those moms and dads said, and the schools obliged, giving meaningless awards to every child and having faux-graduations after nearly every grade completed.We grew up watching Ferris Bueller, Zack Morris and Will Smith talk, laugh and charm their way out of nearly every situation, and girls learned a similar lesson from Alicia Silverstone’s Cher in “Clueless”. Work hard? Nah, why do that when you can get by hardly working? And have cool clothes and a cell phone to boot.
And on and on, I go, blasting my, and our, conceit. Man, I’m mean sometimes. Not too long afterwards, I wrote, in a more even tone, about how we are headed for financial ruin.
Sadly, since then, things only seem to be getting worse on the financial side. While most people I know have managed to start their careers or at the very least, find some job to pay their bills, many struggle under the weight of credit card debt and massive school loans. While my parents were homeowners at my age (with my mom also being a stay-at-home-mom, too), that now seems laughably like a dream to me.
Now clearly, I’m not opposed to lashing out at our faults, but I have to be honest, that TIME cover above on the left up there? It pissed me off. Like, I LOATHE it. Some thoughts:
*TIME, I know sales of traditional mags and papers are way down, but if I have to see one more inflammatory, better suited for the New York Post-tabloid like cover from you, I promise, I will NEVER buy your publication again. That breast feeding cover with the taunting “Are You Mom Enough?” was strike one.
*Getting Joel Stein, a Gen Xer, to write about our generation, is not fair. It comes off like grumpy, middle aged guy fist shaking. Look, twenty years ago, when the Boomers were blasting you, did you take it as wise counsel or… grumpy middle aged guy fist shaking? Yes, I thought so.
*Can we live? I mean really? Dismissing us all as abject failures or doomed because of the sour economy (which by the way, we DID NOT create) is… way too soon. Really. The oldest of us, depending on who you ask, is about 35 or 36, or 30 or 31. Meanwhile, the youngest, is in middle school. As should be painfully obvious, judging us this soon in the game is like calling an NBA game by the first quarter. Let us live, and history will tell our stories.
*Did you think sticking on that, “Why they’ll save us all”, will save your jerky cover? Because it doesn’t. You trashed us. It’s a lot like those meaningless “Everybody is a winner!” trophies they give to all the kids who bothered to show up at peewee softball. That consolation prize sucks. Save it.
*The Great Depression helped make the Greatest Generation. Maybe the current Great Recession will help make us pretty great, too. It’s been said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Considering how we rule the interwebs, I think we might be on our way to at least, the Good Generation.
Now, excuse me while I tweet, Google+, and share this on Facebook. And maybe on Tumblr, too.