Sunday, May 26, 2024

"Kids These Days": Ending the American Tradition of Demonizing the Young


"History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened."

-Hunter S. Thompson

Kids these days, right? With their raucous campus meltdowns and their Maoist TikTok propaganda and their weird designer pronouns and their K-pop trap-hop gibber music. A motherfucker can't even tell a good 'dumb pollack' joke anymore without getting digitally lynched by a posse of iPhone wielding stoners with pink pubic hair and thrice pierced genitalia. I mean what in Archie Bunker's name is this world coming to? These kids think they run the goddamn universe now, that they can just cancel wars like TV shows, customize their own gender like ordering a pizza, never ever get any kind of real job, and save the world from the old just by being obnoxiously young... And you know what? They are absolutely fucking right.

No matter how bitter, old, and jaded you may get, it is always of the utmost importance to maintain a functioning bullshit detector, so you know exactly when one of the myriads of morally broke power systems is trying to buffalo you, and the moment that anyone with any institutional gravitas begins to gripe about 'kids these days' that buffalo bullshit detector should go berserk because it usually means that said 'kids' have stumbled over some long concealed existential truth and now run the risk of using their collective energy for something dangerous for a change.

And when pretty much everybody starts shouting 'kids these days' at the top of their lungs it usually means that the kids have taken the truth to the next level and that the status quo is likely preparing to cull their own young for the unforgivable sin of the calling adults out on their bullshit. But for what it's worth, after taking a good look around, even a bitter old, jaded bitch like me has to acknowledge that there is plenty of bullshit to call out here.

Don't get me wrong, I've had my own gripes with 'kids these days.' You've probably read them right here. I may be an unrepentant genderfuck feminazi, but I also happen to like my 'dumb pollack' jokes and I legitimately believe that those goddamn flickering idiot boxes you call smartphones are worse than crystal meth. However, right here, right now, in this perilous age of proxy holocausts and AI facilitated environmental devastation, these fucking kids on my lawn are right on the money where it counts.

These are the same kids who were manipulated by the Democratic Party into believing that you can buy hope and change at the ballot box from a career white supremacist as long as his running mate is the first intersex Samoan to prosecute minors on the moon. The ones who were sucked dry of any kind of a future by the debt-lords of the corporate campus industrial complex who sent their tuition checks directly to fucking Israel and Ukraine while they burned holes in the ozone layer with their private jets. And for all this shit and more, these kids are done. They are done with voting for the lesser of two rapists. They are done working dead-end jobs for shit pay. They are done being imprisoned by gender norms and sexual mores that are somehow both coldly modern and completely outdated. They are done with all of it and, naturally, the adults are pissed.

Every other asshole over thirty seems to be convinced that the 'kids these days' are just ripping up the fabric of western society for the lulz, but if any of them chugged enough Geritol to remember before breakfast they would realize that pretty much all of this supposedly shockingly unprecedented shit has happened before and for most of the same reasons. 

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was another generation who got fed up with being hoodwinked by racist liberal do-gooders who passed civil rights laws with one hand and sent the National Guard into the ghetto with the other. They called these kids hippies, and they too hijacked the diploma mills that mugged them to protest their collusion with genocide in the third world. They too rejected the empty promises of the 'American Dream' in favor of turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. They too questioned the logic of institutional forgone conclusions like gender roles and sexual piety. 

And if memory serves me correctly, these crazy fucking 'kids these days' came so close to provoking a full-blown revolution that 'the man' fired the president, repealed the draft, and pulled troops out of Indochina just to force the wave to break before it reached the Pentagon. But whatever happened to those crazy kids? Kids crazy enough to believe that they could save the world just by refusing to play by its rules. Kids just crazy enough to make it possible. Where did all those beautiful flower children go to?

They went to Washington and Wall Street and became the adults who spit on their own children for not standing in a straight line. The hippies of the sixties and seventies were carefully lured into the clutches of the Democratic Party where they were coaxed into selling out their individuality for totems of 'equity and inclusion' like state sanctioned same-sex monogamy and serial killers of color in the Oval Office. I would dearly love to tell you dearest motherfuckers that this cruel fate was merely a case of twisted irony but it's not. This is how the system works and if we don't do something drastic it's just going to keep working this way until this planet can't even support another generation to piss its parents off.

Institutional ageism is the original sin of state sanctioned bigotry, and it is a necessarily obligatory one for the simple reason that the state is an unnatural habitat that children have to be groomed into accepting as inevitable. We are all born free, screaming bloody naked for freedom. It is the system, a tight network of corporate conglomerates and federal institutions, that transforms unruly kids into compliant citizens with their schools and their churches and their pharmaceuticals and their network television propaganda. We are all told as teenagers that our youthful rebellion is merely a phase not worthy of careful consideration but this rebellion is in fact a natural reaction to human beings maturing to the point of no longer being able to deny that they are essentially slaves to the system before it can finish brainwashing them.

The last defense of the status quo is a sort of generational assimilation. After being mauled for a while by truncheon swinging cops, the adults ply the unruly holdouts of youthful rebellion with designer drugs and consumer technology and empty trinkets of inclusion like watered down civil rights legislation and a more humanitarian approach to imperial intervention, and once the kids are locked into this plush prison lifestyle, the system sicks them on the next generation for threatening their new position at the bottom of the totem pole.

We have to break this cycle, not just because it's sick but because the planet simply can't survive another round of it. The American Empire may be on the brink of collapse, but these adults have gone crazy with 'inclusion', and they seem more than willing to bring us all down with the ship in a final avalanche of climate terrorism and driving nuclear ordinances. As wild as it may sound, these 'kids these days' may be our only hope and the only way we are going to save them from being assimilated by those goddamn smartphones is to fucking listen to them, give them a seat at the table, and consider the very real possibility that they may actually be wiser than us for the simple fact that they are less indoctrinated.

This doesn't mean that they're always right. They really should knock it off with the iPhones and political correctness. But every generation should be encouraged to challenge the last one, to piss us off and question what we think we know. This is how we raise anarchists instead of citizens and this is how we raise the high-water mark just above the Pentagon's throat.

Peace, Love, & Empathy- Nicky/CH

Soundtrack: Songs that influenced this post

* Satanist by Boygenius

* My Generation by the Who

* Bastards of the Young by the Replacements

* All Born Screaming by St. Vincent

* Doubt by Slow Pulp

* Blank Generation by Richard Hell & the Voivods

* Adult Diversion by Alvvays

* Oh! You Pretty Things by David Bowie

* Salad by Blondshell

* Just Like Kids by Hinds

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