You are not smart.
You are not special.
I know, I know, cue the Fight Club quotes.
But I learned something rather interesting about my generation when the tsunami struck Japan’s coast, killing 20,000 (?) or so completely innocent people.
Simultaneously, some of my friends on Facebook were posting elated status updates about how amazing it was to be at SXSW, rubbing elbows with the future visionaries of the social media and entertainment worlds. Sleeping with, or talking to, guys and girls who very well could be the next Mark Zuckerberg or “Ev.” Williams.
What did I learn? Namely, that I don’t like many of the people who speak for my generation.
Presumably, such “plugged in” individuals had glanced at CNN, or Fox, or the NY Times and seen the utter destruction handed to Japan by a cruel fate.
But not even a simple Facebook link or two to the Red Cross Pacific Relief Fund web page.
Just more nonsense about how amazing everything was at SXSW.
Now, I’ve always operated under the assumption that every generation of Americans is more or less the same as the one that came before it — in other words, the “Great Generation” was not so much Great as it was Doing What It Had To Do. Your circumstances determine your heroism or lack thereof, to a large extent, I thought.
Now I’m not so sure: we might actually be the worst generation ever.
And that’s not to let our parents’ generation entirely off the hook… they are sniveling, walking Charles Schwab commercials. (Not my parents specifically, but that age group as a whole, mind you.)
“Where did my nest egg go?”
Oh, that’s right, the egg was crushed by the years of insane speculation, reverse mortgage gluttony, giving Bush a blank check to start two erroneous, profoundly expensive wars, and the weird insistence that this nation’s politics be driven primarily by what a minority of religious zealots believe is right.
My generation, though, is worse.
Unproven. Unethical. Unoriginal.
According to one recent survey, a quarter of us “dream” of working for Google someday… Oh, to slide down that Google office slide, and ride around blissfully on our Razor scooters on lunch break, and recline into a bean bag chair as Uncle Eric Schmidt hands us a check and a sashimi plate.
Is this really what educated twentysomething Americans aspire to? No wonder the Chinese are kicking our butts in the innovation department.
When Andrew Mason turned down Google’s $6 billion love note, a part of me immediately thought, “Moron! How is a newsletter worth more than $6 billion?”
Yet, another part, shy at first, thought, “Hey, that’s kind of really cool. F the Man. I hope Groupon makes a killing.”
Anyway, where was I going with this?
Oh yeah, I remember: our generation sucks. Earlier this evening, a bartender and waitress were bantering about the impending federal government shutdown. They were terrified — everything will stop.
I joined in the conversation, and was like, “Yeah, but our government also prints the money it feeds off of. So this is basically just a sick political ploy to make everyone in Washington feel indispensable.”
As this sank in, the waitress got a bit angry, as if she had been duped.
And she had been.
I wonder why she, and I, and I suppose you too aren’t out there flipping cars right now and chanting for change (real change, I mean, not “Change”).
The leaders in Washington are clowns.
And President Obama, regardless of his many merits or shortcomings, should never have let his government get hijacked by a handful of double-chinned, delusional plutocrat octogenarians who live to appear — however briefly — on Fox News, or CNN, or on sites like this one.
It shows weakness, regardless of whether a deal is reached at this point.
And he won’t be re-elected as a result.
Americans, especially vain Americans with Twitter feeds and Formspring pages and About.me profiles, don’t like weakness.
It reminds us too much of ourselves.
Opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of his company, content partners, or advertisers. The author does not promote overthrow of the government, merely peaceful reform.