Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You're talkin' 'bout my generation???

Wanna get down on those kids these days? Read this first.

Everything he said lines up with my upbringing.

Being told in elementary school to test for the gifted classes because it would look great on my college resume. Spending weekends and summer doing community service, because "Everyone's going to have great grades, you've got to be well rounded to stand out on your college application!" Looking through the club catalog endlessly, trying to find something that interested me in the slightest because that "shows that I have a passion for my education, and will add to my college application." We considered hyphenating my last name to make it more obviously reflect my latino heritage because white males have a much harder time getting into college than minorities. I can't count the amount of times I was told that the student loans for college wouldn't matter, because I'd be making 200k a year in my profession, whatever it was going to be. Every "B" was a death sentence, because every student who could took every AP course they could, and worked between 3 and 8 hours on homework every night so they could get the coveted 5.0 GPA, and "guaranteed" acceptance to the college of your choice. The years of preparation and months of endless studying sessions cramming for the SATs, because if you messed up on them, you could kiss college good bye. I knew those kids because I was smart too, and seeing what they did to maintain their impossible grades made me feel sorry for them. Especially when one of them got an A- through no fault of their own. The anguish these kids felt over their college aspirations crumbling to dust didn't make much sense to me at the time.

Now it just makes me feel mad at their parents.

Parents who told their children that perfection was not only achievable, but required. They parroted the dogma of the education experts as if it were their own, and fought for the ideal as if it were the only thing one could be expected to do.

We didn't need the perfection you never attained.
What we needed was the rebellious spirit your generation held in such high regard.
We needed that spirit so we could use it against you, and stop you from turning us into little academic machines.
We needed to be allowed to grow up to be well adjusted adults, with some basic idea of who we are.

Now those of us that have achieved academic perfection by eschewing personal growth have stepped out into the world, turned back to our parents who gave us what they presented as The Secret Formula for a Happy Life, and ask, "Now what?"

To which you reply, "I dunno, but times are tough, and you gotta pay rent if you're going to stay here. The Subway down the street is hiring."

Then you complain that my generation is full of socially maladjusted adolescents and slackers???

Fuck you.


Fuck.

You.



They say every generation is like their grandparents' because kids rebel against their parents. I hope that my generation figures out that it is owed one childhood of mirth and discovery, and makes sure the next generation has one.

I began to wonder how the Boomers managed to break the cycle of rebellion, but the answer is all over that first paragraph. Fear. If you didn't go to college you were going to be a failure. The Boomers' fear of failure made their kids failures.

I guess that leads us to an interesting conclusion about the Boomers; they felt like failures themselves. They must not have felt feel that what they did with their youth was valuable. I'd tell you to keep your self-loathing to yourself, but it's obviously too late for that.

I don't like that it now sounds like I'm blaming all this on the Boomers, but like the guy says, the only alternative is to blame children for doing what they were told.

5 comments:

ErnestThing said...

This doesn't even touch on the kids who snapped under the pressure, were told they were useless, and then became useless.

Black Sea said...

You can't beat Larkin on this topic:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.




BTW, Larkin published this in 1971, when he was almost 50.

Anonymous said...

And then you make a choice...

Anonymous said...

The mistakes were plenty that is for sure. It does finally come down to making your own choices.

Personally I'd like to know who died and made it the responsibility of anyone but the individual to make their choices, personally work and pay for them and then be personally responsible for those choices and efforts.

I'll teach you how to fish but then you're on your own. Good luck and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out to grow up.

C-:

ErnestThing said...

Very cute anon.

The thing about kids is that they'll grow up on their own if left to their own devices. To stop that process requires a lot of time and effort. I'm just saying that effort would have been better spent on something less destructive. Like meth. C-:

Side note: I marvel at the crazy things kids are doing nowadays to get high; mix and match prescription drugs, the choking game, huffing propellant, and *urp* jenkem... Maybe these kids never learned how to have fun.

...

Or maybe there're just retards. I mean, come on! Jenkem?!That's mostly from the generation after mine, so it's ok to bash 'em. Maybe that's a whole generation that cracked under the pressure. It'll be interesting to deal with them in about five years. By then I'm sure we'll be praying for the generation of Baraks.