For someone perched right between the boomers and the millennials, I gotta say it’s weird to see the 2 age segments that can learn the most from each other react like oil and water when thrown into the cesspool of the internet. If I’m really being honest and objective, no generation has taken more shit and criticism simply for being who they are than the millennials.
I get it, they’re goofy, but this is what you fought for Boomers; before you gave up, for whatever reason, and decided corporate brands like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, and Wal-Mart were reputable members of the community that you trust with your best interests.
As a GenXer, it’s really all I can do to say anything at all. I’d much rather play my typical role of the uncle sitting in a dark corner, hidding my cigarette from the kids and rolling my eyes at how ridiculous the older and younger generations sound when they squabble. Now I’ve gotta put out my smoke and think about how much shit I’m gonna get for telling the kids the dirty secret their Mammy and Pappy have been keeping.
Guys, I grew up as a child of the 80s and 90s. I grew up in a culture where you guys patted your backs and showed off with all of the self-aggrandizing film, and television, and pop culture you could. Media trumpeted about the great achievements you made with the hippy movement, sexual liberation, love and peace and saving the Earth.
What the fuck happened guys? I mean I know something happened between the events glorified on celluloid and when I was born. Before I was old enough to pull my pud, I knew the world that I lived in, did not work the same as the one they lived in. It doesn’t take more than a 5-Year old intellect to put together that if half the back-patting you did about bra-burning, desegregation and defying authority were true, then something must have happened, some sort of compromise, for the world to have changed so much by the time I came along in 1981.
I’m sure we asked when we were kids, maybe once or twice. I vaguely remember maybe being given a half-hearted “I dunno”.
So really, what the fuck happened guys?
You raised us in a world that worshipped and praised money, fame, power, and violence, while telling us stories that extolled the virtues of austerity, humility, justice and peace. Somehow that also relates to how great of a guy you were for marrying the same lady you fucked in a field at a music festival or peace rally.
So what finally got to you? Was it just the money?
What was it that got you started? Did the system break you? Or did they seduce you with the promise of a better life than the one you had?
I mean something happened.
Maybe it doesn’t matter where it started if you still have the ability to look back and see it.
HOW DID THE GENERATION THAT FOUGHT TO SAVE THE PLANET BECOME THE GENERATION FIGHTING TO KILL IT?
Really. How did the generation that started Earth day become pro-coal? How did the generation that praised peace and love become the first one to broadcast bombings in foreign countries on live television? How did the generation of free live become anti-gay?
Listen. I get maybe you’re insecure because deep in your subconscious you’ve been waiting to be called on your bullshit, and you resent that kind of judgement from someone that is your junior and you therefore perceive as having less life experience than you.
Guess what, they don’t have less life experience than you. Since you decided to give up your fight and accept the gnawing embrace of corporate capitalism into your lives, every generation after has been paying it forward, so that you can be comfortable. Boomers, we have more in common with your parentsthan you do. A financial system that is stacked against you has a way of making a person more frugal and have to make more sacrifices just to make due with less.
I like to think of it that way anyway and not some other way; like whatever the compromise you made was, has turned you into a bloodthirsty vampire, siphoning off of your subsequent generations to pad your retirement fund.
But that’s what happened.
In our lifetime, Genx has seen the cost of most things increase 400%. I’m not kidding. And it doesn’t make sense. It well exceeds the natural rate of inflation. Books, cars, houses, gasoline...it’s real easy to see. What causes artificial inflation like that?
Greed. Human greed. And guess what? It’s not going to the average working class person. All that extra inflation money went to senior staff, upper management, members of the board. The old boys.
As you slowly siphoned off the money in the wage pool that your kids would have been able to use for a down payment on a house, you justified it to yourself, saying that it was a small shortfall, your kids would have plenty of time later in life to work hard and make up the difference. It would be like it never happened.
After awhile you kinda got used to the taste of that extra lettuce, and with the way inflation and increased prices are going, you might just have to grab the rest of that wage pool money yourself. You took care of them so long, but you can’t take care of them if you don’t take care of yourself. Besides, that money will be so much more meaningful and make them much happier if YOU GIVE it to them.
Before you know it, 90% of your generation has spent the house fund for the kids on expensive toys and entertainment and you’re working 60 hours per week, demanding a larger and larger salary than your underlings, and justifying that your grandkids work full time and have to use the food bank, but it builds character and they can have your money when you die.
Hell, if the retirement bonus is big enough, you can dump whatever you want wherever you want. It takes like 100 years for those chemicals to show up, and we’ll have figured out a better cleaning and disposal method by then, I’m sure.
Except that last gamble didn’t pay off and your descendants are soon going to turn their gaze on you and ask you to explain why you would poison the planet that they have to keep living on after you, even as they watch that planet die. But nature’s resilient right? Feel free to choose any other cliche’d saying to help you sleep at night if you don’t like that one.
Now, I just want to take a moment to say; some of you Boomers are also the sarcastic uncle or aunt who sits in the corner smiling and trying not to laugh as they thoroughly enjoy witnessing us give our parents shit. We see you and we’re cool. This message isn’t directed at you. We know that you know the old “do as I say, not as I do” routine has gotten a little tired.
But really. What amount was it? A huge raise and we’re okay with polluting rivers? A decent holiday bonus, and it’s not so hard to look the other way when they burn a rainforest? How much did it take to make it okay to fill the ocean with plastic?
I mean for god sake, you raised us on tales of glorious tree huggers who just want to save the planet, all the while placating us with sugar and saturated fats so we wouldn’t pay attention too long and ask uncomfortable questions.
Well guess what?
The truth comes out no matter how deep you bury it in potato chips and Sunny D.
The one good thing that came out of it was an idea. Hope. Hope that things could change and that another opportunity would come for people to stand up against the tyranny of an oppressive system and push back. Beyond that, and even more than that, maybe we could actually make a small sliver of that imaginary utopia real for our kids, simply by being tolerant and not trying to force them into the molds that you were forced into.
Your parents may have told you how to dress, think, act and love, but we’re not doing that to our kids.
My generation grew up talking about being confused about who we were, in large part due to the mindfuck of the mixed messages coming from you Boomers, lauding your advancements in enlightenment while calling for the blood of Saddam Hussein with childish glee.
We’re not here to call you out on the hypocrisy, but we just want to make it clear ahead of time that we will always shield our children from you, as long is there is a chance it will make them happier.
Now they’ve decided that they’d like to save the planet, and we’d appreciate if you’d get out of the way so that they can finish what you started. No judgement. We’re not even going to push for you to explain this drastic 50-year long reversal of position.
At the end of the day, even if climate change isn’t real, why are you fighting people who want to protect the planet that you live on? You told us to listen to the children, because they’re our future. Okay, so LISTEN TO THEM!
No, I don’t want a same sex relationship, to dress as a furry, eat avocado toast or want a 3 foot rainbow mohawk, but if they do, why not let them? If they are healthy, happy decent people trying to make the world a better place, why try to make them behave differently? It’s not hurting anyone and they don’t need to ask your permission anyway, so why insert yourself?
Stop getting sucked into all the bullshit and just get out of the way if you can’t pitch in and help clean up this mess.
Also, here's some art:
Thanks for reading,