I’m a big classic rock fan. Sure there’s great music being made right now, but you have to wade through a lot of robot noises, AOL dial-up sounds and stupid, formulaic shit to find it. I guess Howard Cosell was right when he said, “What’s right isn’t always popular and what’s popular isn’t always right.”
Look at some of the undeniable greats like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones – you get the picture. People used to have to wait to get albums. There were no midnight albums dropped over “the internets,” as less technologically advanced Baby Boomer coworkers call it. That’s not to say one way is better or that I’m pulling the “it was much better times” card, but it’s simply different times.
What I always think of with our parent’s age is The Who song, “My Generation.” The song is covered by many bands and is voted one of the greatest songs of all time on many polls (Rolling Stone has it at #11). The song makes me think about what that song meant to them, especially as their generation is bemoaned by the prior because they “get around.” The sentiment “I hope I die before I get old” is a voice of youth, as all those born when the song came out are kinda old now.
The reason I mention this is because every day, there is a new mention in the news about “Millennials.” For those living under a rock, “Millennial” (not to be confused with the Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium”) is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Our older counterparts usually find something about how pussy like or entitled we apparently are. I guess history repeats itself.
The age group characterized as millennial is a pretty large net if you ask me. My birthday falls closer to the “early 80s” than “early 2000s,” and I don’t think I have much in common with people that shit in a diaper when 9/11 happened.
When I see the various “safe spaces” or those that are triggered by “Trump2016,” I get sad. When I see the amount of debt my fellow young people are saddled with I get equally sad but for different reasons. I’d like to think it’s probably sensationalized about safe zones and triggers, but I’ve also seen the ugly side of some of the space cowboys of our “generation.” I am a pretty moderate person, but I feel slighted that I am grouped by the news people as a millennial in the same capacity as these people. Sure, there are some versions of “triggering” that are reasonable, like PTSD, which can come from a variety of causes. Like generalization of a generation, it is often thought of as a lowest common denominator to make some bullshit news reel.
We’ve all heard the “you’re not working hard enough,” “lazy, entitled MILLENNIAL,” or “when are you moving out of the basement?” comments from pundits, people and family. Personally, I think our generation got the short end of the stick. When I talk to friends and family that are 45+, they talk about how much fun they had before social media, camera phones, Facebook, etc. , the 1960s-80s saw some crazy parties, etc. Today, the Greek system, celebrities and common folk like you and I do something stupid and it’s viral within hours.
Think of all the crazy stories you hear about tours, celebrities, festivals, fraternity events etc. weren’t influenced by fear of social media and are kept alive by word of mouth and oral tradition. Today, there is much more accountability because everyone has a camera and the internet in their pocket. Maybe society would be better off without it? I have no idea.
As most of the readers on this site are close in age to myself, I imagine you all remember the AOL CDs, the rise of the personal computer, high-speed internet, smartphones and the like. We, as a generation, are accused of being “addicted to social media” and in some capacities, rightfully so. We are a product of our time, just like the Flower Culture of the 60s, drug culture of the 70s, etc. that experiment with drugs, free sex and communal life. Those same people are now leading the country and talk about the evils of engaging in the same stuff that they did as a “stupid young person,” except the laws are a lot less forgiving.
It’s weird seeing some of the songs that I grew up with being popped in with classic rock channels. Hearing Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” one of the first songs I learned to play on bass, on a classic rock station makes me feel kind of weird. Then I realize “Nevermind” came out 25 years ago. Maybe that’s how I am with my “Millennial Generation.” I see the merits of the past, but it is definitely weird seeing things that influenced me become antiquated as I struggle to understand why people “dab,” use the word “bae” or use Snapchat face swaps.
As one of my favorite composers, Brian Wilson said in his timeless classic, “I guess I just wasn’t made for these times.” That was in 1966.
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