Gen-Y Musing: 6 Things 90’s kids will Understand

There are a lot of ways that kids in their early twenties are misrepresented. Not just now but always. When a shift is felt in power from one generation to the next there’s always animosity. The older people feel obsolete, while also thinking they know better than their younger counterparts. This is never actually true. There’s nothing wrong with kids these days, or any days. Right now the accusation for young people is that they are lazy and entitled. It’s bullshit. No group of people have any common personality flaw just because of when they were born.

In the age of the internet, us kids have a channel to fight back through. One odd way this has taken place is 90’s nostalgia. People my age moon over how great things like orange video cassettes and pogs were. Why? because we remember that decade with a child like wonder. That could probably be explained by the fact that we were children. The more I think about it, the more I think the 90’s weren’t all that great. Don’t get your Lion King panties in a twist. Just think about it. How great could they have been? If you disagree, tonight on Nickelodeon there will be a block of programming dedicated to the 90’s. Watch all of it and tell me you really cherished that episode of Doug, and never wanted to change the channel to be rid of his whining. The 1990’s weren’t a fantastic decade, they were just bizarre and we have no way to contextualize them. IT’s still hard to process those 10 years. Here’s a few things I took away from growing up in that weird ass time.

6.) Brand Recognition

It was probably an accident, but I was brought up to be a well versed consumer. I can spot a good product from a mile away. I impulse buy whenever I can, and I google products to be prudent. Money is a love of mine, if only because it gets me access to things. Things are my favorite.

There’s a reason that I loved this short film.

For those of you who can’t take sixteen minutes out of your day for a true work of art, that is an animated movie about a criminal Ronald McDonald. The catch is that every single person, place, and thing in the short are logos. Logorama won the Oscar for short film in 2010 because it was both impressive, and tapped into a vein of western culture that we can all identify with. The movie works because of the emotions we feel when seeing symbols we recognize. Logos are like visual feelings that we’re forced to see everywhere. Watching them on a screen like that outside of their normal context is similar watching an old friend perform just for us.

The fun thing about this personality feature is that I think it will last for a long time. Our ability to recognize barands is only going to get stronger in future generations. The rest of these 90’s kids traits on this list are specific to people my age, but brand awareness is a skill that will only help future consumers. It is an asset for future generations that my peers will rightfully instill in their own children.

5.)  The Last of The Racism

Oh, quit you’re bitching. I’m half black,okay? Half white too. So quit your whining about race. With that being said racism is pretty much over as we knew it. Yeah sure horrible things happen all the time in the United States, and Fox News exists but it’s not at all like it used to be. Racism is a more organizational, more institutional that it used to be. As awful as it may be, right now is the best time to date to be a minority in the United States. Look no further than TV to see difference 20 years can make in race relations. If half the shit that happened to TV black people in 1994 happened to them in 2014, the NAACP be boycotting every major network.

Black Ranger

… and the Yellow Ranger was Asian…

We live in a more tolerant, sensitive time and it’s easy to forget that things were much different not too long ago. The most popular example of this is the show Friends. Six average normal people who not only don’t know any black people but pretty much everyone in New York City was white. That’s nothing in comparison to shows like Homeboys in Outerspace. Shows like that one used stereotypes in the place of plot and characterization. I imagine the writer’s thought process went something like this ” these black men are in trouble, how would they react” and after a few moments of consideration came up with “I’m too young to die…I never got to make love with an 8 breasted woman.”The basest stereotypes hand’t been outlawed by the mainstream yet. Looking at black men as hyper sexualized, or totally omitting latinos hadn’t fallen out of vogue yet. People hadn’t had time to process the LA riots or the mainstream success of rap music. So many in the media were still recycling old jokes on TV and relying on prejudice in place of storytelling.

4.) Cultural Rivalries

Nsync or Backstreet Boys? Tomogatchi or Gigapet?Poo-chi or Furbee? The answers to these questions would tell class mates something about you in my grade school. Of the normal nineties nostalgia this is one of the only things I remember being a part of. My family was too poor to afford a lot of the toys. I wasn’t allowed to watch Power Rangers or other violent shows like Ren and Stimpy. I wasn’t a girl, so I didn’t play with origami fortune tellers, sand art, or MASH books. Even still I liked Nsync and my brother liked the Backstreet Boys. We fought about it. For real.

Surface To Air Missles

Some times it was necessary to defend your taste in boy-band.

While people my age aren’t the first to experience these types of rivalries (see Pepsi v. Coke, Hustler v. Playboy, or Star Wars v. Star Trek) I think we will be the last. Western civilization is a much bigger thing than it used to be. The internet has exploded the pop cultureverse. Now one-on-one rivalries like those are nearly impossible. For all intents and purposes Backstreet and Nsync were the same, same with Pepsi and Coke. We have too many options in things like soft drinks, and sex magazines to single out just two whose fans can argue with each other at the conventions.

3.) Colors

The nineties were a crazy time. Being a child during that roller coaster was an odd phenomenon. The highs and lows of the decade manifested in weird ways. The economic boom years made people think that it was okay to wear shit like tie dye shirts, and these pants. Those crazy ass fashions were concrete examples of a very different era. The odd thing about being a kid in this time is that I had zero to do with it. Shit was totally wild in the 90’s and I bore no responsibility. It was a loud couple of years, and there was a feeling that the wave we rode on would never end.

The terrible 90's

I see nothing out-dated by this photo

As with all things, Americans got over it. The ostentatious culture was replaced with a more sober quieter society. This country was high on the new technology and the economic boom that came with it. The dot com bubble burst at the end of the decade and we calmed down a bit. That was nothing in comparison to the country shattering sedation 9/11 gave to the American people. The carefree unworried nature of us in the 90’s dissipated in favor of a cautious, almost paranoid emotional baseline for this country. In the present day millennials see that high of the 90’s as a part of our own childhood fascination. All of our formative years were glazed with a giddy happiness most of us still can’t understand. Today upbeatness has been replaced with bone-deep cynicism. The hell-scape that was the Bush years didn’t help with that. Our obsession with darkness has shown itself in our usually dark or earth toned clothes as well as the popularity of movies like The Dark Knight and The Hunger Games. Now that millennials are making a difference to our surroundings the duality of the manic happiness we were raised in and the bleakness we came of age in will mix to create something new that is impossible to predict. I’m okay with whatever happens as long as we never wear sweatpants like this again.

2.) Everyday Objects As Toys

A common complaint about millennials is that we are jaded and lazy because of all the technology we’ve been exposed to at a young age. That’s a stupid thing to say. However, it is likely we were affected our outlandish accessories. I don’t think text messaging fucked us up, Lisa Frank did. When I was young I had this notion along with the rest of the culture that a thing couldn’t just be a thing, it also had to be fun. A notebook isn’t just for notes, it’s also a statement. From an unforgivably young age I was given the subconscious message that consumerism was not only a good thing, but that it was a skill to be honed. Wanting a chair wasn’t enough, you also should want an inflatable purple one.

Inflatable Purple Chair

It’s exactly as comfy as it looks

This fascination with with probably has something to do with the present day preoccupation with DIY. We want recycle and repurpose. Sure, there are fewer colors in the shit we make now but it’s the same idea. The kids who were responsibility for the resurgence lava lamps grew up to make lighting fixtures from mason jars or sex toys made from house-hold objects. The Lisa Frank fan in all of us has change the way we look at the word. But that’s not the only way.

1.) The Fear

People growing up in the nineties were the first to be raised with a healthy fear of everything. Sure public service campaigns were around in the seventies and eighties, but by the time Clinton was sworn into office they were integral to pop culture in America. Stranger danger, being set on fire, and house hold cleaning products were just a few of the things I was trained to be terrified of. Not to mention DARE, which was basically a campaigned created to make 8 year olds pants-shittingly weary of any substance harder than caffeine.

Uruk Hai and Child

Best if you treat everything with the same terror as you would the Uruk-Hai.

I remember being young as a time when I was constantly threatened. I had to grow out of my panic. It took effort to teach myself that not everything was going to kill me. This wasn’t easy, because I legitimately believed that I’d be lucky to live to 16 with all the car accidents, amusement park ride malfunctions, and firearm misuses rampant when I was a kid. Or so I was told. The average idle comments made by my parents and their friends would sound like “don’t eat that it will give you diabetes” or “his house has guns. You can’t go over there, he might blow your head off.” Maybe my younger days were particularly fucked up, but fear was like a mentor that taught me how to navigate the world. PSAs and assemblies at school as well as after school special TV shows led me to believe that the world was much more dangerous than it actually is. Yes, there are a few people who probably benefitted from one or two of those lessons but that doesn’t justify mindscrewing an entire generation into being petrified of everyday objects. I should have been given the right to look at a book of matches without picturing my loved ones burning alive.

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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.