I’m starting to be suspicious of my fellow man.
Scratch that. I’ve been suspicious for awhile, but now I’m downright cantankerously dismissive. Thursday afternoon as I waited rather impatiently to be pumped full of drugs I was a captive audience for CNN. They were, of course, doing a story on the Jena 6.
What got me was that CNN was doing their “you call and tell us what you think” segment, with input from real people (who are obviously not gifted at writing for television.) One of the Real People who goes to school at Tulane–or so he said–sounded positively orgasmic.
This is the Selma of [His] Generation!!!
We’ll of course leave aside the larger questions of the morality of beating peope mercilessly with or without provocation. Because I don’t think that was really at issue. This guy was thrilled that some Zeitgeist moment was happening on his doorstep and that he didn’t just have to read about it later. This was His Chance To Be Part Of Something.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again. People of Generations X and Y have fallen under the sway of Boomer Nostalgia and are driven to recreate Mom and Grandpa’s glory days on these lesser stages. I was in college during Gulf War I: The Phantom Menace and I swear to you that while there were a few kids there who were actually vocally anti-war it felt like more of the protesters were actually just glad to get to play Hippie Lite for a few days.
Then there was the Don’t Tase Me, Bro thing last week. So many people were talking about how Johnny
Knoxville Florida’s abuse at the hands of the po-lice was This Generation’s Kent State. The turning point of turning points, etc.
If my generation had any balls, we’d come to play on our own field. But we don’t. We are the Great Mimics. We have no art, no politics, no soul which is not derivative of our parents. I hear over and over again that we will be the first generation who doesn’t make as much money as our parents. Some of that is shifting values, I’m sure. But I’m also sure that some of it is the fact that we are not able to be our own people–that we’d be happier existing as faded carbons of the folks who came before.
Next time you wear all black and write “Free The Jena 6” on the back of your hand (like the girl ahead of me at the clinic) you might want to realise that people were gassed and beaten in Selma. They put their BLOOD on the line for their beliefs. Not their wardrobe.
Our Generations have a long way to go.