14 April 2008

Generation Y-We Suck

Burt Prelutsky writes an excellent article for Pajamas Media characterizing the 1960s long-hair, draft-dodgin', leftistas as a mere self-indulgent movement that stood on the good side of the civil rights movement, but was wrong about everything else. I sent the article to Generation X scholar, Wek of Latchkey Man, for his further analysis, since there has always been some underlying generational tension with that demographic of the population. Not without justification either, as Gen Xers will most likely have to foot most of the bill as the boomers retire off to their expensive yoga retreats to become one with the cosmos...at a very heavy cost to the taxpayer. Being born in 1980, I kind of hoped I was part of the angst-ridden generation that had good taste in movies like "Slacker" and viewed the world with a cynical eye. But, alas, I think I was born several years too late, as I am part of, arguably, the worst generation in the history of America!

At Least the Baby Boomers Knew How to Have Good Times

If you were lucky enough to avoid service in Vietnam, it seems to me like the 60s might have been a blast! Lots of sex, drugs, partying, which was followed by the economic boom in the 80s to ensure you had that nest egg set up so that you could golf on the weekends, but still have those Hendrix LPs on standby lest anyone call you a "sellout". At least these people stood for something, Gen Y doesn't stand for shit! The only common trait I have found among people my age is there undeniable love for themselves that cannot be penetrated with any sort of constructive criticism. This is the result of a terrible array of mainstream culture that focuses on the melodrama and importance of incredibly vapid personalities which can be found on MTV reality type shows. MTV used to have classics like "Headbanger's Ball" and "Beavis and Butthead" that highlighted angst and frustration in a chaotic and imperfect world. Now all I hear about are these princess types celebrating their own existence with bullshit like "Sweet 16" (what the fuck has anyone at 16 done with their life to deserve these luxuries?). No doubt, these gals are sought after by gel-haired douchebags decked out in the latest hipster fashion in a major bid for attention. People of my generation are so caught up with going to the gym, staying healthy, and not learning anything along the way, that this phenomenon will certainly propel legions of ignorant pleasure-seekers well into their old age.

Dude...seriously, just stab yourself

What the hell are we doing?!? Gen Y has nothing to show as far as cultural or intellectual achievements because of this self-absorbed paradigm that will certainly beget the downfall of civilization. As far as I am concerned, the greatest calling for our generation to actually achieve something was defeating terrorism after 9/11. I'm not saying that everyone should gear up and join the military, but recruiters can't even get the bare minimum of interested applicants according to this Navy Times article (thanks Wek!). Is this due to the national malaise that the Iraq war has caused, or is it due to this viral infection of self-absorption that has swept my generation like a modern-day bubonic plague. The fact that people aren't even interested in what's going on with foreign policy and events suggests that it's probably due to the apathy, sadly. This NY Times article frankly discusses how even thinking about Iraq has been completely pushed out of the public mind to avoid any "unpleasant" thoughts. Well, that's not very reassuring as we are probably going to be here for years, and Afghanistan even longer.

Some Gave All...

To make such broad sweeping generalizations is unfair, which I understand. And I also think it's silly to think everyone should sign up with Uncle Sam. But can Gen Y people even work a regular 9-5 job? With an attitude that they are the little darlings of planet Earth, I don't see how. Work requires an individual to shut the hell up and do what the bossman or bosswoman tells you to. I have worked a lot of different jobs, and it seems to be a common theme (that's why they call it "work"). It's not supposed to be fun, it's not supposed to be "enhancing", and it's supposed to be totally lousy (that's why you get paid). Instead, I see people moaning and groaning about how their boss is mean and doesn't recognize their full potential. Shut the hell up and get back in your damn cubicle! Is it any wonder that people are borrowing more and more money off their parents to live their high-falutin' lifestyles of partying all weekend, while text-messaging their buddies during work hours? Is it up for debate that Gen Y people want a government that will provide them with all they need to sustain their completely unsustainable lifestyles? I suggest we step out of our solipsist role where our consumer-culture makes us function like sheep and start brainstorming. But what the fuck do I know, I'm just some asshole! If you know something Gen Y has accomplished, please rebuke my vile discontent in the comments thread. Excuse me while I update my Facebook page to let everyone know how awesome and important I am. Blegh!

...and many gave none


Anonymous said...

If there are enough thoughtful people like yourself in your generation, all will not be lost. I do agree that our current culture is on the wrong path of glorifying stupidity.

The seeds of the problems in your generation were planted long ago. I hope the roots are shallow and easily pulled. Keep fighting the good fight!

Night Owl

gage said...

Coincidence! I just came over to tell you my Gen-Y'er is out of Iraq. He should be in North Carolina by the end of the month.

He's not a slacker, and neither are you. So all is not lost.

Be safe, sailor.

Kyle said...


You have hit the nail on the head as to why I am disgusted and embarrassed with my generation (born 1984). The people our age are completely self-absorbed and desire to do nothing but follow every move of their favorite empty-headed celebrity and contribute nothing to society, all the while expecting everything and anything.

I don't think all is lost, I'm not that cynical yet, but it is getting damn close. I just hope the few sane individuals in their mid to late 20s wise up and try to save the flaming train wreck that is Generation Y.

Great rant. Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

They're not ALL slackers -- but somewhere along in elem. school, when you couldn't get a bad grade because it would make you feel inferior to the others so everybody got a passing grade -- that might be when it started.

Competition can be a good thing to encourage -- makes you want to do better, work harder, try to acheive more, beat the other guy. But you have to want to try, you have to be encouraged to try.

But a lot of liberal parents -- you know, those drugged out hippies in the 60s and 70s, they got married and had kids -- decided they weren't going to be all strict and everything with this new generation. It was going to be all peace and love and get along with each other. Things like no dodge ball, because it's not fair to single someone out on the playground. Geez.

So is it any wonder then that this 20-something now can't take crap from a boss, can't stick with anything, has no motivation, and wonders why when it used to be okay now everyone is telling him to grow up and set some goals.

Of course, you can't write off a whole generation, anymore than you can say all the people in the 60s and 70s were drugged out hippes, but there sure seem to be a lot of "young people" not pulling their weight in society. It can be kind of scary.
(Did our parents say the same thing about us?)

Tin Ma'am said...

back off my generation, buddy. I'll kill you.
On a serious note, I do know what you mean. I have also felt what you felt.
But then again I'm about to be a 21year old divorcee...

so dont listen to me.

i'm self absorbed too.

Long-time RN said...

It's a little early to name a Gen Y accomplishment, except in the technology field. I was born in the 50's, and yes, the late 60's and early 70's were incredible. What is missing from the Gen Y's is the passion, involvement in a cause, community, country, world. This is a broad generalization also. I work in the medical field and see a great deal of apathy, ignorance of world news and events, and increased sense of entitlement in the younger generation. But I have also met some young people who have a strong outlook on the future, and these people give me hope for our country. We need to become more than just a consumer nation or we may find our great country slipping into dangerous territory. Our future is in the hands of young men (and women)such as yourself LT. We look to you to lead. Stay safe. Cathy B


to me it seems that they look for that rebellious nostalgia of the 60's but its just not there... they need something to rebel against.. hey they are cutting down the tree in the park we need to stop them, meanwhile the tree is dead and rotting from some kind of tree disease and there are these "emo" kids out there chained to it... by the way are you "emo" is your generation the y generation the "emo" kids..... my aunt who works with crack babies told me about "emo" kids and i looked it up on line and found this "I wish my lawn was "emo" so it would cut itself" WTF?????

Wek said...


Gen X scholar? This time I think you meant "Gen X squalor".

To an extent I agree with Cathy. There is still much time for Y to make an impact. Hell, Gen X didn't get any credit until the Tech Boom of the "Roaring 90's"...and then of course the boomers laid it at our feet when it crashed. Regardless, we're all going to need a giant bottle of white out to rewrite the history books after the boomers go to that glorious Zen Health Spa in the sky.

LT Nixon said...

Night Owl,

I don't consider myself thoughtful, just embittered by casual observations of society. hehe


Glad he's back!


Agreed! Glad you like my crazy ass rants. This one was more of a ramble as I just kind of wrote without thinking too much.


Well I didn't want to write off the generation. But I agree that there seems to be a tendency to be a bunch whiny weenies among people my age.

Tin Ma'am,

Ah! Please don't kill me. I now have a reason to live as I realized that George Romero has a new movie coming out. But seriously, I never thought you were self-centered. If it's any consolation I know lots of people in their 20s divorced (some with kids), as it is not too uncommon.

Cathy B,

The concept of entitlement for breathing is becoming a travesty for America. Insightful comments, thanks.


I am not emo, however I did have rebellious streak in my teenaged years (this was in the 90s though before emo became the "cool" thing to do). Of course this is normal for most boys to be young punks, but it probably shouldn't carry into your adult life. I think a lot of the problem is that people don't want to "grow up" as my mother once told me.


Only time will tell. I liked your post on Latchkey Man BTW. Good shit!

Bag Blog said...

I think Kath said it well and should get a blog for herself so we can all read and comment there too. All generations have a certain amount of slackers, but there are leaders in every generation that will surface eventually.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 04/14/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

Anonymous said...

A different take on Gen Y from Entrepreneur magazine. Essense is that Gen Y doesn't believe that corporate America will reward long-term effort, so they want their rewards up front.


yankeemom said...

Lt Nixon ~ as one of those from the boomer generation, I just want to tell you I really enjoyed this post! And Burt's article too - heh, can I relate to his. And the comments there were terrific to read.
I've spent quite a bit of time around those of your generation (I worked at a state college) and yes, I've seen a lot of entitlement babies that came from parents of my time. Too many of you had a lot going against you from the start. But the fact that you are ranting against it (and you are not the only one, as was just proven in the comments above) and have become dissatisfied at such a young age is a very good sign. Look how long it took too many of us boomers! Heck, some haven't grown up yet and don't even see why that's a bad thing.
No, I see more and more your age coming to grips with the rest of your lives much younger and much wiser than we did. Keep on. I for one, have faith in you from what I've been seeing lately. And I'm not alone.

Nathan said...

I couldn't agree more with your blog. I'm also Gen-Y and the self appreciation is out of control. You should check out "Slouching Toward Gommorah" by Robert H. Bork. It does a good idea of supporting the idea that those ideas in the 60's were both corrosive and infectious and have been passed down through the generations until we have Gen-Y, a generation that by everything I've seen is intolerably self-centered, self-entitled, and self-aggrandizing as well as being completely disconnected from the logical process of thought and (most frighteningly) has no sense of remorse or empathy.

The one thing that does give me hope is that what I call the radical left of the 60's was probably a small(ish) percentage of students during the era, they just got so much press that they seemed huge, while those individuals who remained dedicated to scholorship and refused to hate their country simply weren't publicized. I really hope that's how it is now. That Gen-Y seems hopeless simply because the only thing that gets media attention is 8 girls beating the crap out of some peer, or Gen-Y's getting arrested for forcing their baby to smoke pot. Hopefully the majority is a silent majority of responsible individuals that will make decisions based on careful analysis of all points of view rather then the paris hilton pack mentality.

Nathan said...

oh yeah, the get the **** back in your cube thing? Hilarious. I've had the same experience of some whiny co-worker b!tching about "my boss just doesn't understand the personal qualities that make me a unique employee". Damn right and he shouldn't care. You're here to do a job not to be praised for how individually unique you are. I blame the school system. As soon as teachers started talking about removing the grade "F" because telling a student they failed my affect their self esteem I knew we were in trouble.