Friday, April 17, 2015

The Selfie

There is an article in The Guardian discussing the Millennials and how they bemoan their situation in life. The rather self absorbed author writes:

Life is often referred to as a “highway”, to borrow from Tom Cochrane, and for my generation that hasn’t changed. “Adulthood today lacks a well-defined roadmap”, writes Steven Mintz, in his forthcoming book The Prime of Life. “Today, individuals must define or negotiate their roles and relationships without clear rules or precedents to follow”. This is especially true for us millennials, who are the product of a terrible economy that has required us to hit the emergency button in our lives. But it’s becoming evident that we have been given a roadmap to a road that we are not even on and then are blamed for going in the wrong direction.

But this self absorbed statement is bettered by the photo atop the article, which is a collection of these individuals engaged in the Selfie. This in many ways defines them. They look inward, at themselves, and they see what they may not like. Albeit adoring themselves and their small worlds captured in this image or video, they are not looking outward.

Now they bemoan a "terrible economy". Are you nuts! My parents in the 30s had no economy to speak of, and survived on jobs at $14 per week. You could not even pay you cell phone bill with that. How about Viet Nam and the 60s, for a male you had almost a 50:50 chance of going there as cannon fodder for Johnson. Equally you had the military say at Kent State killing innocent students and there was no justice for that event.

A second article bemoans the "following of your dream". It is some student whose life on food stamps as they go about following their dram is decried as not enough:

a twentysomething graduate student, knows something about trying to live on food stamps. One of the so-called millennials, ... took an unpaid internship fresh out of college in 2012 and had to rely on food stamps to help supplement her income. Currently enrolled in graduate school at Oregon State University, ... is making do with $800 a month. “I was following my dreams, which I realized really quickly I could not afford to do. I was working as an intern at the Boston Review [during the week] and was unpaid. I was eating through my savings and applied [for food stamps] because I realized that I was not going to be able to continue pay rent and be able to buy food at the same time,” she said. It was actually Boston Review that had suggested she apply. “I guess other interns they had in the past had done it.”

 If you want to "follow your dream" then you have a price to pay. I should not have to pay your price, I did that when I ate rutabagas and drank powered milk. If you are willing to take an unpaid job then that economic choice has consequences.

Dreams do not an economically stable society make. It appears that the Selfie is a true metaphor for this group, inward focused and self absorbed. Talk of a "lost generation". Yet I look at many of those who have managed to squeak across our borders as at sunrise they line up looking for a days work and then applying themselves for fifteen or more hours and then doing it again and again. Never saw them take a Selfie.