Entitlement Musing: What’s Right With Generation Y?

I was born in 1991. I’m a millennial, although this is the first and only time I will give myself that idiotic title. With that being said, I’m not entitled, and I don’t feel like I’m owed anything. No matter what anyone tells you the people of my generation have no general character defect that plagues everyone born between Reagan and Bush’s first term. People my age can no more be considered to suffer from one personality flaw than any other generation. People my age are no more the “entitlement generation” than people from the thirties and forties are the “greatest generation.” This is because we are all humans. We are put in certain situations and we react according to human nature. The western world at large was not full of better people in past generations than they are today. Even if movies like Forest Gump tell us that the baby boomers and people before them are better because of the world they lived through, doesn’t mean we should believe them just because they say it on a screen. The fact of the matter that there were whiney little shit heads in the forties, just like there are today. Similarly, there are awesome badass who do things that need to be done for a good cause today just like they did in World War II. People need to stop saying that the current generation has something wrong with them, when we don’t. “Kids these days” style complaints are as hold as humanity, and calling young people today more entitled that people were in the past is just more of the same. With the internet it is easier for your bitching to be heard, but that doesn’t make the arguments any more valid just because you can back it up with bogus statistics made up with people who agree with you. Here are a few reasons that people close to my age aren’t “entitled.”

5.) Old People Aren’t so great

You know racism? It sucks. People have done pretty horrible things in the name of hate, and they are doing them right now.We are not in the post racial era, we are not in a post prejudicial era. People still hurt other people because of their race, creed, and/or sexual orientation and that’s truly uncool. But in America, it used to be, like, at least twice as bad. And you’re laughing at that because you know it was WAY more than twice as bad. People of color were afraid to leave their houses, gay people stayed in the closet their entire lives, and people legitimately thought Kennedy would be a bad president because he was Catholic. Things aren’t perfect now, but that aren’t terrifying and they used to be. Old people remember when these things happened, and some of them still think the world is as shitty as it used to be.

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Fucking assholes

But for all that, the western world is a lot better than it once was for anyone who isn’t a straight white man. And the people alive at the time were to blame if they didn’t stand up to the hierarchy. However, not all old people are to blame, because like I’ve said and will say you can’t blame people for the stereotypes given to their age group. Also, old people are annoying for a lot of other reasons. Have you ever been stuck behind a LaSabre on a one lane road, or watched a woman with dentures and cain count pennies in a convenient store, or received weird Facebook requests from that aunt you never talk to? Sure they fought in WWII and helped Civil Rights, but still they weren’t any more perfect than the people of my generation. We’re just people and we react with what we’re given, same as any other generation. The average person in 1945 can no more take credit for the US winning WWII than can the people in 1929 be blamed for the stock market crash.I’m not selfish or entitled. I work, and plan on working hard, just the same way that millions of people of all ages do. People who work, have friends and families, and try their hardest to be happy are the average. Any other traits, positive or negative are coincidental, not proof of a larger trend.

4.) Participation Trophies Aren’t Damaging

I dare you, find a real statistic, right now that proves definitively that participation trophies received by kids in sports for doing nothing has made the recipients more entitled. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I hope you didn’t waste too much time, because those statistics don’t exist. There are two reasons for this. One, proving a person is entitled is scientifically impossible. And two, a trophy for participation will not fuck up a kid. I never got a participation trophy in my life, but I know it happens all the time and I know people who have gotten them. The basic argument against them is that they lead to children think that they’re more special than they are. Comedians, make jokes about it, TV shows poke fun at it, and adults in my life have repeatedly spoken against the practice. I understand where they’re coming from. People over a certain age had to earn trophies, and were told that they weren’t good enough by extension when they weren’t rewarded for sub-par performances in sports or school. These people think that this will bleed into later life. They say that kids who get participation trophies will learn that they deserve something for nothing. People who think this are stupid. Or, they have committed an act of stupidity.

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I Participated and all I get is some stupid medal!? I demand a goddamn statue in my likeness, or I will lose my shit!

 

Kid’s aren’t mindless robots who receive implications and spit out actions like living math equations. If a kid is given a trophy for doing nothing, and his parent’s aren’t assholes then he will understand the trophy is worth fuck all. No kid wants to hang up their participation trophies than adults put up “honorable mentions” on their mantle pieces.

Think of it like a sort of stock market. Trophies are a supply and demand commodity. If the supply is high on trophies, then the types of trophies are separated and the value of each type is considered. A first place trophy is still desirable, because there is still only one. Kids don’t shoot for the participation reward. If they do, it’s because they know they suck, the same way ugly boring dudes go after ugly boring women. When the kids who received participation trophies grow up, they won’t feel entitled to get something for nothing, because they know they never have before.

3.) No Generation Can Be Defined By A Single Trait

I’ve met a lot of people, talked to all sort of people in all kinds of professions, and had different thoughts and ideas, and they were from all walks of life. The only thing everyone I’ve ever met had in common was that they were different from everyone else. Sure, people have stuff in common, or they may look alike, but no two people are exactly the same. And, I’m not telling you anything new. You know this, everyone does. But this gets separated in people’s minds once they start talking about “Generation X did this” and the “Baby Boomers” are like that. In the vaguest generalities this can sometimes be acceptable. For example, to say people over sixty fear change isn’t all that unfair. For one, elderly people didn’t have to deal with a lot of radical change for the first twenty years of their lives and it’s been difficult to adjust since then. Also to say someone “fears change” is a generality. That person could  be made uncomfortable with new technologies, or new social changes or even new popular trends. However saying a person is a member of the “Me” generation is entirely unfair. Being born in a certain time does put you in a lot of circumstances beyond your control, but that doesn’t mean that you can be a worse person just because you are a certain age. At the same time people who are older will obviously know more about the world, and will be more mature. That doesn’t make you better because you were born before the eighties, however. People cannot be lumped in together because of when they were born. Age can change you, but the time in which you live doesn’t make you act a certain way, no matter the socio-economic climate.

2.) My Generation Is Not Properly Represented In the Media

HBO’s Girls is a pretty good show. The characters are comically horrible while still maintain relatable. The situations are mildly realistic while still being funny. The shows creator, and star Lena Dunham has a very good grasp on her style of humor that results from her awkward personality. I like the show. I do not like what other people say about the show. Reviews of that show constantly point to how accurate it is for showing the way young people act these days. This is infuriating. Girls isn’t a real depiction of young people in present day America. I don’t know anyone like the characters in that show, and it isn’t at all relatable to the average “Gen-Y” person. Here’s a good rule of thumb for anyone who thinks shows like Girls are true to life, think about the life situation the characters are in, and how their day to day life is probably lived out. Girls is a good example of this, because these 23 and 24 year olds live in Brooklyn one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the richest country in the world. None of my friends, or relatives my age can afford to live in New York City. Any one who can afford to live in Brooklyn at my age with no regular source of income is nothing like the average young person. “Kids these days” complainers fail to realize this. Lena Dunham’s characters complaining that her parents won’t pay for her food and apartment is funny, but it is not a normal life situation.

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Pictured: Pretty Much Four Santa Clauses

I recently watched a bad movie. I should be blamed, it was my fault for watching a Selena Gomez movie and thinking it wouldn’t be awful. But, as a public service announcement I’d like to say Spring Breakers is an ludicrous mess of a film. The basic plot is that these half naked girls rob a diner in a Pulpfiction style robbery, stealing from crying innocent old people. They take all of this money and go to St. Petersburg, Florida and are stranded there after getting arrested for under age drinking. There’s also a bunch of cocaine and sex and confusing camera angles. The Rotten Tomatoes Review’s consensus on this film (Which received a fresh rating of %66) says the movie “blends stinging social commentary with bikini cheesecake and a bravura James Franco performance.” In other words, the movie is good. What the fuck? This movie was idiotic. Kids aren’t like that, yet one reviewer said “Korine’s story is a searing indictment of today’s hedonistic, nihilistic youth.” Today’s youth are not hedonistic, and that movie had no stinging social commentary. It was just a bunch of idiots acting dumb and their bull shit caught up to them. Saying that Spring Breakers or Girls are in any way realistic is like saying that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off proved that kids in high school in 80’s cut school all the time and started too many parades. Too often, people think that their ignorance about today’s youth is proof that something is wrong with the kids. They watch TV or movies and just assume that this is what people are like. The average person in any generation is not a hedonist, nihilist, or selfishly entitled. Suggesting this is bullshit, and anyone who supports it is only doing so because their ignorant, and too lazy to to try fix their ignorance.

1.) Things Are Really Fucking Hard For Young People

It’s difficult being young, no matter what time period you grew up in. Things are easier for people over thirty than they are for those under. Being a person under a certain age makes it difficult to be taken seriously. You’re constantly looked at like an idiot, or a child or both. This is something we take for granted in the western world, and in White America.  However, right now the socio-economic situation is pretty dire for people my age. One big reason for this is that the popularity of college has radically shifted the job market. It is nearly impossible to find a 9-5 Monday-Friday office-style job for someone who doesn’t already have one. I know, I’ve been trying for months. People are forcing them into college, and then when they get out they have up to 150,000 worth of debt and they find out jobs aren’t available. These people don’t feel entitled to a job because they are dicks, but because they are hard-working, motivated job seekers who are considered unemployable in the current economy all because they are young and don’t have enough real world experience. More and more people are choosing to not go to college, and it is just as hard for them to find good jobs but these people are at least not unemployed 22 year-olds in crippling debt. The biggest problem with this is that college keeps getting more expensive without providing the necessary real world experience for students.

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“Same shit different century” – Harvard’s lesser known motto

The worst part about all of this is that there is no end in sight. Some experts estimate that the economy will not fully stabilize for job seekers, and young people until the 2030s. As a 22-year-old, I’m not asking for pity on behalf of my peers. Just try to get it. We go to school for 12 years, just like everyone else. Then we’re told we must go to college or we will be failures, so we go to this vacuumed society that is 4 year college and pay through the nose to be place under the mass delusion that what were doing at the school will matter once we leave. Then it turns out that it doesn’t matter, now we have debt, no job, no experience and no friends (of course we lost all of our high school friends in college, then our college friends when we graduated). So we live with our parents, which sucks a lot for some people, and then ass holes who never met us tell us we’re too entitled and should stop thinking we’re more special than we really are. This is the common experience of many middle class suburban kids. We don’t live off stipends from our parents or a windfall metaphorically (or literally) from people older than us.

I’m not entitled, and no one I know, my age is. Fuck the people who call me that without knowing me, and that goes double for my friends. I work hard and many of the people I know do. I worked thirty hours a week as a full-time student, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Many people my age need to work as full-time students, and it’s not because they think they are entitled to better lives but because they’re willing to work for improvements.

One good article, that makes a lot of these points with a different perspective is the response to the now famous Huffington Post Lucy Article, is Adam Weinstein’s Fuck You. I’m Gen Y, and I Don’t Feel Special or Entitled, Just Poor. Also, I advise you watch this short video about wealth inequality in America.

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