Different Views, Same World

Let’s play a game, shall we? A game…of imagination (here I’m waving my hands).

No, get back here, I’m not done with you, yet. I’ll stop.

Now, imagine you’re a child born into a bitter dystopia. Like, real dark sci-fi shit. You’re living in a society on a distant planet, and from the first moment your little kid mind can really start having thoughts, you know everything is fucked. You just do. It’s not pessimism, its facts. The star your planet revolves around is going to explode in less than a hundred years. There’s a solution for this. This could have been fixed before you were born. But the adults of your society are still arguing about whether or not it’s going to explode (never mind the star looks visibly different than it did thirty years ago) and whether they can do what it takes to save the planet because it might be ‘too expensive.’ You’re too little to really understand money, but you vaguely get the sense that the whole system is broken and you’re never going to see enough in your lifetime. You do understand that you might get struck by a meteor and die while you’re at your education pod. This is, again, something the adults could have fixed before you were even born, but they’re still arguing about whether meteors are good or bad. The adults talk about a dream of your society, a promise and beautiful future. All you see is a shit sandwich they keep shoving at you and calling ham on rye. By eighteen you’re a nihilist, but you don’t know that because your educated pod is underfunded.

To everyone who made it through to the end, congratulations! You have now lived a day in the life of your average Gen Z (not fucking Zoomers, Jesus fucking Christ Boomers not everything is about you). To any Gen Z who might be reading this, I’m sorry for taking up your time telling you things you already know. You can go back to whatever it is the kids are doing these days. Tik-Toks? K-Pop? Whatever it is, you go have fun.

The concept of generations is mostly some kind of bullshit probably originally cooked up by Boomers, because if one thing is becoming rapidly clear it’s that Boomers have doomed us all in every way possible. If any Gen Z stuck around, let me explain Boomers:

You’re a child living on a planet with the best economy ever. It’s so great, in fact, you never stop being a child. You rail against ‘The Man’ until you become The Man, and then you hoard everything for yourself and make it harder for your own fucking children to live in the same society. You’re so self-obsessed you see your children as just pieces of you, so when they’re small and playing soccer and their team loses you feel like you lost and you demand they at least get a participation trophy and then, fifteen years later, when they start railing against you for the shit you’ve pulled you mock them for all those participation trophies they never even asked for.

Is this all Boomers? No, just like above isn’t all Gen Z. Because generations are mostly bullshit made to sell things to people. But broad differences do exist between people born four or five decades after other people, and it is true, I think, that Gen Z and Boomers are looking at entirely different worlds existing on the same plane.

Hell, I’m a Millennial (and what did they try to call us, in the beginning? Echo Boomers. Seriously, guys, not everything is about you), only one generation removed from Gen Z, and I can tell you there are differences. In fact, I’ll give you the main difference, one I alluded to up top: a dream. The American Dream. American Exceptionalism. Hope for the future. Basically, the Nineties.

There were some obviously terrible things occurring in the Nineties, but there was enough good that as a child, I still bought all those lies. The things we were promised. Racism has been fixed. The future is bright. You just need to go to college and then you’re guaranteed a great paying job, a house in the suburbs before you’re thirty, and a complete understanding of what stocks are and how they can help you buy your third car. And we were stupid kids, and we bought all of it, because why wouldn’t we? Oh, sure, Gen X was there, waving in the background and making ‘slit the throat’ motions. They were trying to warn us. But we were young and stupid and had our whole lives in front of us, so we didn’t listen.

And then 9/11. And then Hurricane Katrina. And then the 2008 recession. All ‘once in a lifetime’ events happening before I even graduated college. And with it the slow, painful understanding that everything sold to us as children was a lie. Then we graduated college with so, so much college debt and jobs that paid you nothing because you didn’t have ‘experience’ and rents that had gone through the roof, all the while the people who had put us in this situation were getting enraged that we weren’t going out to their restaurants or buying enough of their fabric softener and wonder why so many of us are on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.

For posterity, I will say that I am incredibly lucky to have parents who could support me through my twenties. Without them I never would have gone to college (twice!) and come out with only government loans that only took me eight years to pay off, and I only suffered through panic attacks in nursing school. Not everyone had such support.

Gen Z either doesn’t remember the nineties or weren’t even alive yet. Their world started with 9/11. If anyone ever tried to make the same promises to them as they did to us they probably just flipped them off with their little baby fingers. Lucky bastards. They never had to cope with learning the world was mostly shit. They just know. No wonder they’re out there partying on the beaches during a pandemic. It’s either die now or die in thirty years as the planet continues to get polluted to death.

They’re also doing a much better job of fighting back than my generation ever did. They’re not scared and confused. They’re angry, and they’re doing something about it, and I think I speak for Millennials when I say: go ahead and talk shit about us. Everybody does. At least when you’re done making fun of us for being obsessed with avocado toast, you then spend the rest of the day protesting for your rights instead of being the ones protested against.


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