Friday, February 22, 2008

The Shittiest Generation

This post is a tribute to that Great Society we've created here in America, that huge body of people who encompass the tail end of the Baby Boomers, up through Gen 13 and the Millenials. That's right, I'm givin' a "Holla!" to The Shittiest Generation.

This is, of course, in stark contrast to The Greatest Generation, that group of people born in time to live through the dark era of the Great Depression, those folks who fought Dubya-Dubya-Two, and who came home from the European & Pacific theatres of war to reap the benefits of their sacrifices. They came to build a greater America, and in many ways they succeeded wildly. Not us, though. Somewhere along the way, we learned - or were convinced by a greedy bunch of bastards posing as a legitimate political party - that, as individuals, we DESERVE MORE. An insidious brand of selfishness came out of the hope of the Age of Aquarius, a selfishness that insisted *I* come first, and to hell with the rest of youse. Conservatives like to holler that we're on the brink of a moral meltdown, but I'll tell you what, it ain't our morals that are in trouble: it's our society. That ominous *Gong!* you hear that's ushering the U.S. out of the coveted "center square" is no one's fault but our own, the result of a societal meltdown in which we were told we no longer had to look out for one another...we just had to go shopping. The bell not only TOLLS for thee, it was fucking RUNG by thee.

Our botched invasion of Iraq is a perfect case in point. We're at war in two countries - WAR! - and there has not been one measly peep out of the administration with regards to communal sacrifice. Oh, sure, we're told to "support the troops," but that's exactly the kind of modern ephemeral concept that has little literal meaning. Support them HOW? By giving a doe-eyed, unquestioning obedience to administrative decisions? What happened to actually coming straight out and telling Americans at home "Hey, we've got soldiers at war, and they need supplies, and so you're going to have to GIVE UP some of the things that you would normally need." You know, the basic concept of rationing: the Greatest Generation had rations on gas, and beef, and car tires, and they were further asked to recycle all manner of metals and paper. "Plant a victory garden for da boys!" Not us, though: shit, all that rationing would probably KILL the U.S. economy! Nope, just "support the troops," and the best way you can go about that is by going out and spending your money. Because...you DESERVE MORE. No, dumbshit, the SOLDIERS deserve more...they deserve more body armor, and more in-country training, and more language training, but most of all they deserve more thoughtful leaders who don't simply wade into a conflict we had no right instigating in the first place.

This concept of selfish "deserving more" is so transparent when it comes to tax cuts. TAX CUTS?!? When we're fighting a war on two fronts, when the federal budget is in the shitter and we owe money all over the globe?? Oh, but don't worry about that: that's YOUR MONEY, and you DESERVE MORE. Now, please go out and SPEND it? Pretty please? People...if you want stuff from the government - stuff like roads that aren't crumbling and riddled with potholes, or bridges that don't fall down mid-rush hour, or quality schools with excellent teachers - you gotta PAY FOR IT. What, you think you can keep cutting taxes and cutting taxes, putting more of YOUR MONEY into YOUR POCKET so that you can go buy YOUR PLASMA TV, you think you can do all that and still expect there to be money to pay for roads? Uh...THAT, my friends, is "fuzzy math." I myself can't pay to repair Lansing Street (which I travel at my own risk every morning, weaving like a wild drunk to avoid cavernous holes where pavement used to be), but together the collective population of St. Johns COULD...if only they'd vote for the fucking millage. But, nope. They DESERVE MORE, but more of I don't know what. More DVDs and PlayStations? Yup...and more potholes.

The president is hawking a (sadly) typical load of conservative bullshit, which falsely stresses that paying taxes is a burden, one that citizens should have to do without. This line of skewed logic misses the point completely: the government doesn't want your money to spend WASTEFULLY; the government wants your money to spend WISELY. To spend on things that as individuals it doesn't make sense to pay for, like bridges and fire departments and highways. The sacrifices of generations past have paved the way - literally! - for the accomplishments of the future. But instead of returning that investment, we've gone crazy with the interest we've "earned," and now we're facing a kind of social bankruptcy. A thundering chorus of "One for all and all for one!" has been replaced with a million single cries of "I, me, mine!" and we're all suffering the consequencess.

9 Comments:

Blogger L*I*S*A said...

As a matter of fact, I do need a new pair of shoes. Running shoes.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Fun Guv said...

AMEN!!!

6:08 PM  
Blogger LauriO said...

You go baby....I so agree with you!! And wow...did you use some big words...this blonde had to look some up!!! :)

8:45 AM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

This was an excellent post but I believe the problems you cited are merely symptoms of a deeper more systemic concern.

There are two excellent books that you really should read.

The first is called the "The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism ". It was written by Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the matter with Kansas", and makes the arguement that the counter-culture generation transformed advertising by using the language of rebellion. And in doing so, created the super-consumerism of the '80s.

The second book is one of the most important works written in the last twenty years (in my oh so humble opinion) and is called "Bowling Alone" by Robert Putnam. I am actually re-reading it right now because I have been thinking about the steady decline in civic involvement in our country. If you want to understand how deep a shift our country has undergone over the last thirty years, you must read this book.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Nitmos said...

Yes, the Greatest Generation certainly had a number of collective accomplishments. Surviving the Great Depression, WWII, etc...but also "colored" water fountains, rampant sexism, and life-ruining communist witch hunts.

Every generation has their blemishes.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Animal said...

Ooohhh...well-played, Nitmos!

11:35 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

There will always be a tug-of-war between Fear/Religion vs. Love/Science. Right now Fear/Religion is winning. And why shouldn't it? They have big corporations and big churches on their side. The only things that will save us is an economic depression or a plague. Happy Friday everyone!

11:39 AM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Oh, and I want a new Ipod Shuffle. Blatant spender, I am.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

The high voter turnout for this year's primaries is giving me hope, though.

3:13 PM  

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