Monday, January 05, 2009

Best 'Ring in the New Year' Article Every....

...For your enjoyment, depression, anger, and hopefully motivation, I bring you:

Reality Bites

by Ken Mondschein

We are people of this generation, bred in the most hedonistic society the world has ever known, housed now in over-mortgaged tract homes, and looking uncomfortably to the world we leave to our children. We were born in the days when the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire, a college degree was the ticket to the middle class, and being born American meant that unlimited opportunity was your birthright. We saw the Soviet empire fall, and realized that we had geared our entire society to prepare for a war that no one had dared fight.

Our college degrees hang on our walls, but though our mental horizons have been expanded, our economic opportunities have not. We were told that success does not matter if you are black or white, male or female, and while the political successes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and even Sarah Palin seemed to vindicate this philosophy, it does not obviate the fact that opportunity for all still means that most of us are doomed to lives of obscure mediocrity. The dot-com boom and bust, the current depression, the unwinnable wars in Asia, all have convinced us the truth of the anthems of our youth. We are here now, and we are not entertained.

Future historians will note that American society peaked in the late 1960s. Culturally, this is a foregone conclusion. We listen to our parents’ music and call it "classic rock," a canon that can be approached but never surpassed. When we think of art, we think of Warhol and Rothko. Our top-selling cultural products have names like "Star Wars" and "Star Trek"—nostalgic Baby Boomer dreams that one day man will dance amongst the heavenly spheres, whereas in reality we have come crashing down, Icarus-like, in fiery debris. After the sun-bright Baby Boomer generation flared into supernova, it collapsed into a black hole.

We knew all this long ago. We were called the "slacker" generation. But how could we not be, after Free Love turned to AIDS, we saw Peace commodified and sold for junk bonds, and realized the calls for "revolution" were nothing more than the mewling of infants begging to be indulged? Our coming-of-age movies were "Reality Bites" and "Fight Club." Our famed irony and sarcasm were not a sign that we value nothing: They were self-defense in a world where nothing is valued. This is the world the Baby Boomers, the so-called flower-children, have left us: A world poisoned by me-firstism, by NIMBYism, by I-got-mine-ism. Our parents' generation has rebutted the hard work and sacrifice of our grandparents with short-term thinking and situational morality justified by Excel spreadsheets.

We grow into middle age not surrounded by prosperity and security, but by our doubts and fears. Even as the rich have gotten richer, we have seen our standard of living fall. The middle class is barely reproducing itself, bifurcated into those barely treading water and those on an endless paper chase after useless honors. Our hopes have been dashed, our dreams sold for firewood to keep warm and hold back the wolves for one more night.

I should end this essay on a note of hope, or at least a call to action. Such would be the traditional coda. However, I cannot find it within me to do so. The myth of Progress is dead; all we have to look for is a mediocre world of diminished expectations. Somewhere along the way, someone might have tricked us into caring or having hope, but we have come to realize that the current "crisis" is not the result of a great country hijacked by a cabal of free-market capitalists: It is, in fact, the new baseline. Things are not going to get better; all we can do is hope they will not get worse. We take from this the great lesson learned by abused children everywhere: It hurt less when we didn't care.

taken without permission from corporatemofo.com

1 Comments:

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Malach the Merciless said...

Wow, your a glass half empty kind of guy aren't you.

 

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