Who is Lying to Generation-Y?
August 22, 2013 8 Comments
For those who don’t know, Generation-Y is anyone born in the early 1980’s up to and including anyone born before 2005. Many people have dubbed this generation, “Generation Y Me?”, “The Millennials”, and “The Lost Generation”. For the purposes of this article I would like to focus on “The Lost Generation” because I find it to be the most insulting but unfortunately accurate.
“The Greatest Generation” and “The Baby Boomers” were born and grew up during arguably one of the most tumultuous centuries in this countries history. Generation-Y however was raised during the tail end of the 20th century. A time of relative peace meaning the 1990’s, excluding of course the “Three Wars” of the 2000’s and focusing on the early childhood years. For most of us we were raised on a culture of disposable consumerism. Meaning we buy something only for the bigger and better thing to come out several months later. A type of consumerism that has been perpetuated by this generation and has leached itself into every facet of our lives. The point I am trying to make is that this generation, until 9/11 had not experienced what the previous generations were born and raised into. A country ravaged by war, and forced to change and adapt to the Geo-political climate. Generation-Y for all intents and purposes could have been called the generation of peace but that all ended on September 11th 2001.
Why are we called “The Lost Generation”? Well many people say and consider, that this generation has no sense of purpose. They say that this generation is lazy and doesn’t expect to work or earn anything. For the most part those criticisms are sadly true. However context plays an important roll on the direction this generation is going. First of all we were lied to about our futures. We were all told that all we had to do was go to college and the opportunities would be endless. We were told that if we worked really hard in school it would all pay off in the end. That our parents wanted us to go to college because they didn’t and they wanted us to be better off then they were. That is all wonderful but statistically this is going to be the first generation in American history that won’t be better off than the previous one. There is certainly something to be said about that statement. Every generation in American history has excelled and done better than the generation prior. So what has changed? Are you really going to tell me that this generation honestly just doesn’t have the drive of the baby boomers? Or the hippie generation? I can’t believe that, I wont believe that.
The truth is that we were fed a lie. In the past if you had a college degree, well you could do just about anything. What happened is that after 9/11 the opportunities started to go away. The economy started to founder along with the opportunities. So now a generation of kids (now adults) who were told and raised to be better than their parents and do more don’t have the capabilities to do so. I don’t believe that this generation is lazy, I believe that this generation given the opportunity could flourish and be one of the best and most ambitious generations of all time. I believe that this generation is being denied by the previous one to flourish because of mistakes made by the previous generation. We just need a spark to get us there. We just have to stop being fed the lies of the past and the new lies that are being fed to this generation and the next. We just need to get up and work really hard to take the opportunities that are rightfully ours.
The advent of the internet and the popularity of reality TV has introduced the most dangerous lie on to the American public we have ever seen. It’s no longer that all you have to do is go to college and the opportunities will be there. It’s that you don’t have to do anything. As I said the age of disposable consumerism has leached into every part of our society, up to and including what we consider entertainment. Disposable entertainment such as reality TV or “reality” TV has led people to believe, that all it takes is a certain lifestyle and you can become famous. For example the most egregious are shows such as Real Housewives, The Jersey Shore, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Teen Mom etc. All examples of the glorified culture of nothing. Simply watching people do nothing and making boat loads of money has now become the American dream. The Kardashians being one of the saddest examples. It takes the name of a man who worked hard his whole life and gained notoriety, albeit under an unfortunate circumstance but nonetheless true, and has taken that name and turned it into what I consider one of the leading reasons for the downfall of this generation. Kim Kardashian is what I consider a waste of life with no redeemable qualities except for the fact that she had sex on camera and got famous for it. This person would not even be remotely famous if not for the fact that everyone who owns a computer has seen her have sex. Now the rebuttal from Kim to these claims is that people are just jealous of her fame and envy what she has. This might be true but the problem is her fame directly reflects the culture in which we live.
Yes we have always glorified voyeurism and fame but not on this scale and certainly we have never concerned ourselves with the daily activities of a person who has nothing to contribute to society but be famous. She doesn’t act, sing, write, invent, create, or inspire. Kim Kardashian is famous for being famous and that fact right there is what our generations flaw is. Because we were denied the opportunities to excel we were forced to create new outlets for opportunity. What outlet is that? That outlet is nothing. You can’t count on your fingers how many people are included into the popular zeitgeist simply because they are relatively attractive and they have made a sex tape. How many people are now famous because they did something stupid on the internet, or had something like a blog, YouTube video, or picture that went viral? Easy money is becoming a belief rather than a theory. There is no such thing as easy money. As a generation we need to demand a higher level of thinking. We need to demand a higher standard and do away with disposable consumerism and entertainment. We need to realize that working is not a bad thing, that opportunities stare us right in the face everyday and that all we have to do is look away from the computer screen and television for one second to see them. So who is lying to Generation-Y? It’s not our parents, political leaders, teachers, family, or celebrities. We are lying to ourselves.
We have tried to make sense of a situation that doesn’t make sense and as a result we have created a world and generation of people who have no idea whats going on. We just need to right the ship. Yea we might be “The Lost Generation” but we can undoubtedly find the right path. If we can’t demand or fix what we have broken then it is our responsibility to make it better for the next generation. So if we start now, if we start actually working towards a better future then we might just make it alright for the next generation.