GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen- this is your captain speaking. After some unavoidable delays we will finally be taking off into our mid-week discussion. Our topic for today is “What’s the greatest flaw of this generation?”(This generation being those born in the late 80s to mid 90s: “The Millennials,” “Generation I”, “Gen Y”- call us what you will).
EVAN: As I mentioned in the news update, we scrapped our conversation last night, largely because it became cyclical. To be more specific, we ended up going back and forth between apathy and cowardice, with one leading back to the other and so on.
GORDON: But let’s widen the picture a bit. While apathy is the go-to criticism many have, also up there for our generation’s flaws is our alleged “sense of entitlement.” Thoughts?
EVAN: If we’re still going with your incredibly broad age range, then yes, I definitely think that a lot of kids these days feel a sense of entitlement. It’s just the norm now to have wireless internet, a phone, the latest iGadget, etc. They’re just expected, the new given.
GORDON: Is that fair, though? I mean- haven’t we assumed that phones, indoor toilets, and electricity are “the norm” since they were first invented?
EVAN: To a point, though, some of what you listed are basic necessities. I’d argue that indoor plumbing is considered much more standard than an iPad.
GORDON: This is true, but I don’t think our generation- barring the handful of people who actually do feel entitled- views the iPad or any specific item as being “standard”- it’s the interconnection that’s the norm, as well as the expectations for new technology.
I mean, back in the day you didn’t need light bulbs. But if they’re mass produced, and safer than gas-lamps, then it just stands to reason that we’d eventually come to expect them.
But of course technology’s only one element. what about the idea that this generation is “entitled” in the sense that they get to “find themselves” or “focus on their art” or whatever hipster euphemism is being used to say “part-time employed”?
EVAN: Do I think that people feel they deserve the right to do more than just hit the ground running after college, get right down to the ol’ nine-to-five? I mean, yeah.
But I think this brings up a point I made yesterday about the “where” of our question. In France the age of retirement is 62 and that’s just expected. There are different standards depending on where you live in the world.
GORDON: This is true. I mean, each and every one of us would be considered spoiled brats if we jumped back a hundred years or so.
EVAN: Oh, no doubt. Especially you with your freakishly smooth hands.
GORDON: So would YOU say that the whole “entitlement” criticism stands?
And I use gloves. I refuse to be put down because I take better care of myself.
EVAN: You say that every time, but they’re still as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
GORDON: That means they’re working, and I’ll further have you know that I have a big ol’ scar in my right hand in the shape of a number “7.” But back to the issue-
It doesn’t seem like the “entitlement” bit sticks. Could we be classified as “lazy,” perhaps? The warped and stunted half-humans resulting from government dependence and the welfare state?
EVAN: Well, we discussed “laziness” last night specifically in the context of wanting to change what is clearly a broken system, but is what we’re talking about a general laziness? People just expecting to be spoon-fed?
GORDON: That’s the question. I recall a Cracked.com article in which the author kicked things off by apologizing for helping perpetuate the myth that a college education was a guarantee for a good job. Are we “lazy” in having had the expectation- as most of us had?
EVAN: Well, depending on who you ask, college is hard. In a way, I guess we expect that the hard work we put into maintaining a good GPA, et cetera, will result in finding employment once we’re out in the real world. Which, as I can attest to, is clearly not the case.
GORDON: So is that laziness then? Entitlement mentality?
EVAN: I don’t think that doing hard work and expecting a reward is laziness. That’s like someone working the fields and then being called a layabout because he expected crops to grow. A shaky comparison, I realize.
GORDON: Works for me. And I agree.
Now you yourself have accused us all of being creatively bankrupt. Could that be our major flaw? That we don’t make- we remix?
EVAN: I guess it depends on how we’re working this whole “greatest flaw of our generation” angle. The trend to rehash, remix, et cetera came about recently, but I’m not sure it’s because of us. Or is the question in regards to this day and age we’re in, and not those growing up in it?
GORDON: No, I mean us as an age-group, and that does pretty much answer the question right there. We are, for the most part, not the ones who are making the films and TV shows and music (give or take) of our time- that’s those who came before us.
EVAN: Exactly. Which is why we’re getting stuff like He-Man and Thundercats reboots, because those who were kids in the 80’s have a crippling nostalgia. Music is different, of course, but TV and movies are definitely controlled by the generation before us.
Okay, how about this. Maybe the flaw is our hellish appetite to be entertained.
GORDON: Ooh- interesting take. Expound, by all means.
EVAN: I mean, you’ve talked about the bilge that’s on television countless times. Do you know what we’ve been reduced to? A musical chairs gameshow called “Oh Sit!”
Are we so bored that we’ll watch people play “extreme musical chairs” for an hour?
GORDON: I had no idea that existed. But surely this isn’t the first time in history that TV’s been crap. Or radio, or books, or music, or anything. Think of the “Penny Dreadfuls” back in the Victorian era- little, cheap trashy pulp-fiction novels made for mass consumption. Is that any worse than what we have today? Seems like the bilge is the same- it’s just the media that’ve changed.
EVAN: It may be the same, but it’s being produced at a frantic pace. That change, at least, has to be important.
GORDON: That speaks less to our appetites and more to our efficiency.
EVAN: I’d say that it has just as much to do with our appetites, judging by the content of what’s put out.
GORDON: We’re almost out of time, so let’s hit up some other key issues:
Apathy. As we said before, apathy tends to be the go-to criticism, at least, one of the major ones when it comes to our generation, and I think this is one of the easiest to put to rest. The Occupy Movement, environmentalism, increasing number of social movements, increasing global awareness- you name it. We’re strides ahead of the past couple generations. Heck, I’d go so far as to say we’re the most involved generation since the 60s and early 70s.
Well we’re out of time, and still of plenty of ground to cover- so rather than sloppily close up, we’ll be continuing our discussion next week with a question about hipster morality: “Do we want to be good, or do we just want to look good?” If you have any suggestions or recommendations for topics, don’t hesitate to shoot us a comment.
EVAN: Thanks for reading, and remember that CWR now updates every single weekday. I’ll see you tomorrow in our first ever “Fame Day” post!