Monday, February 20, 2017
YOUR LIFE IS ENTIRELY UNATTRACTIVE, AND I SHARE NONE OF YOUR VALUES
This is what our children are saying to us.
Your life is entirely unattractive to me, and I share none of your values. Look at you. You are exhausted and fat and you dress like shit. What you see as decades of service and caring, I see as a decaying mess of passive aggressive weak kneed liberal cowardice. You preach tolerance only because you're too tired to hate. You squandered the education you got for free. You sold the environment down the river and then you pretend to care by buying expensive laundry detergent. The cultural gulf between us is wider than that between that of the baby boomers and their parents. You invented post modernism and then you fail to understand the irony of our situation. You even mopped up all of the decent drugs. And you are only protesting now because you are in fact deeply conservative. You have nothing I want. The world gives me nothing. I will take what I want, even as I know I don't want it. You dare to be upset because I voted for Trump, or posted a Nazi meme, or parted my hair to the side? Don't even try. Don't talk to me, don't lecture me and don't make out you know anything. You need more than a weatherman to tell you how the wind blows.
And maybe we say in return, something like this.
When you come out of prison you will have a roof over your head, and the only reason you got half release last time was because of my support. You can spend your life in your room gaming because I work two jobs. You can do your umpteenth useless little course in web design because I paid the fees. You know why I will never drive through Paris with the warm wind in my hair? You, my darling. And yes, some things I do get, for a cultural diet rich in irony. Yeah, Pepe the Frog is not really a Fascist icon, except when he is. Clever. And suicide is heroic - research the Suicide club in early nineteenth century London, and you will realize that entitled, idle angry young men have a long history of idiosyncratic protest. And your reclamation of terms - failing is winning, a basement dweller is a term of respect, fighting for social justice is wrong. We did that too, we took words like queer and fat and made them our own. I was there, remember. I took you to demonstrations. I came out to you. I planted trees with you. I stayed awake for you and thanked the cops when they brought you home. But you were always angry and you always struggled and I grieved because I gave you a life that is sometimes too hard. I may be no great role model, but beneath the tiredness and ignorance, there is love. And love is always strong.
So, above, two images. The picture is roughly the model of the wise woman in medieval Germanic society. The link is for an article about the relationship between 4Chan and the rise of the 'alt right' among young people. It is worth a read, although I am sure the young people in my life would disagree fiercely with it. I continue to try to understand the world around me as it shifts. One day I may have a proper idea. For now, this will have to do.