“That we live in curious times is easy for me to say from the vantage point of my early thirties. There is much I don’t understand in this world, particularly why people would have any interest in doing what they do. Aside from the aforementioned age, I also acknowledge that as a person – an individual - I just genuinely have little to no interest in the majority of social anything, so I find peace in knowing that I was never the target audience.
Criticism leveled at youth can be found everywhere and is so tired it’s barely worth mentioning. The silence of school buses and the lack of social skills in the techno-saturated youth; the awful music and strange fashion choices. These are just the latest incarnation of the same criticisms aimed by the old and aging towards anyone younger than themselves. There is a perverse comfort in feeling old, perverted by the equally – sometimes stronger – desire to be young again. An inner turmoil that things are getting away from you just like life itself, one moment at a time. So why not hate the blissfully ignorant? They are, after all, squandering their youth in a way you would never dream of if given the chance to turn back time, right?
For my part, I grew up with video games – albeit simpler ones – cordless phones; pagers came around in high school, the internet was already a “thing” by the time I was interested in downloading pornography. I dressed funny and had friends that dressed funny and I listened to music that wasn’t widely popular and I was angry and moody and confused like teenagers have always been. Had Facebook existed back then, I would have likely been on it. I might have tweeted things and might have checked up on the status of friends, family and enemies. I might have given a shit, because I gave a shit about that sort of thing back then. Not because I was social, but because I was a teenager. I wanted to be loved and accepted. I wanted to be cool if only to casually blow off those simple enough to think that. I was a real peach.
Which is where I’m drawing a personal distinction. Youth has always brought with it its own culture and kids will always be kids and teens will always be holy terrors and well, Porno for Pyros (remember them? No?) summed that one up with their flash-in-the-pan hit “Pets.”. The fact is, that culture, trends, etc will change. But fundamental humanness does not. Criticizing youth for being plugged in and physically detached is more a criticism of pop culture rather than human nature. Pop, after all, is only a letter away from pap. It has also existed forever. Liszt was noisy and ridiculous, the Beatles and Elvis the same, as were the Stones and Michael Jackson and the Spice Girls and Madonna, and the list goes on and on. I won’t even touch on the attendant fashions, but you get the idea.
At the end of the day, why anyone could possibly care is beyond me. Will youth ruin the world? Maybe. Did they before? Maybe. I guess it’s up to the individual to decide for themselves what constitutes as “ruined.” Every generation brings its ups and downs, and some of the ups are fantastic and some of the downs are awful. So what? From my youngish Gen-Xer perch I can say I don’t care for hipsters, or the music on the radio and I have no desire to join any sort of social anything. But that’s just who I am. I look at my nephews and nieces and wonder what they’re going to do to piss off the current twentysomethings once they become teenagers. And I have to admit, I find the whole thing really fucking amusing.”
- Brylen Dingustein