The eternal lament of old timers is, “Young people these days,” and not without good reason. What one generation tolerates in moderation, the next will embrace to excess, or so I’ve heard it said. The Greatest Generation had to deal with their children being pot-smoking, long-haired hippies, neither of which are cardinal sins these days, in point of fact, they’re par for the course. Unwashed hair, unshorn armpits, and a perpetual high are now normal (I’m not sure if patchouli stink will ever be or has ever been tolerable) but even the hippies cleaned up their act in time for the golden age of the eighties. They knew the party wouldn’t and couldn’t last forever and eventually they grew up and reclaimed the dignity their parents tried to instill in them.
In our day and age of gratuitous sexuality and violence in entertainment, it’s difficult to see young people these days ever reclaiming a vestige of self-respect, if they had any to begin with. The ultimate cultural coup d’etat is that small children today won’t end up rebelling against parents who possess dignity, they’re being raised by people who will have never had it. And it’s frightening to think what excesses the next crop of youngsters might stoop to that would shock the youths of today.
The Millennial Generation’s grandparents – my grandparents – had Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday and big band music for entertainment. Their parents had flappers and speakeasies. My parents had The Dave Clark Five singing about being “Glad All Over” as an ode to a shared unconditional love. All the Beatles wanted to do was hold your hand. The eighties and nineties ushered in an era of over-sexed freaks like Snoop Dogg whose Doggystyle album was punctuated by a homage to his involvement in murder.
For a quick case in point, contrast the following lyrics (regarding the first example, I use the word “lyrics” generously):
“So all my bitches and my niggas and my niggas and my bitches
Wave your motherfuckin hands in the air
And if you don’t give a shit like we don’t give a shit
Wave your motherfuckin fingers in the air”
Thanks for that lyrical miracle, Snoop, the world will never be the same. I sincerely mean that, unfortunately. Now take this sample from “Because” by The Dave Clark Five:
“It’s right that I should care about you
And try to make you happy when you’re blue
It’s right, it’s right to feel the way I do
Because, because I love you”
The difference couldn’t be more obvious and it says much about the quality of our contemporary performers and even more about the simpering simps who clamor for their talentless and interchangeable products. One generation celebrated love and the protection of those we esteem, while the next celebrated – and still celebrates – moral degeneracy and mindless semi-literacy. The former sought to elevate our peers and the subjects of our affections, the latter seeks to drag all of us down into a common cesspool of lechery. Humility and wholesome, unconditional love never stood a chance and depravity is still going strong.
What a difference a generation makes.
Young people these days are inculcated by the maunderings of an array of mumbling knuckle-draggers who boast of their sexploits and propensity for barbarity and the kids eat it up with a spoon. The carnal decadence of eighties hair metal pales in comparison to rap culture which openly praises sadism and the objectification of women as preening bigwigs in the upper echelons of the liberal elite cheer on a culture of obscenity and corruption (think Meryl Streep giving a standing ovation to the rapist Roman Polanski and Obama hosting former drug dealer Jay Z in the White House).
Feminists despise the conservative conception of women as hard working partners of men and caretakers of the home and brood. But put a woman in a thong and make her dance in front of a camera while some baboon brags about her indecency? Now that’s something worth applauding. Now that’s entertainment. Cherishing a woman for her femininity, modesty, beauty, and inherent dignity? That’s oppression. That’s a micro-aggression. It’s worse than a micro-aggression. Is there such a thing as a macro-aggression? Did I inadvertently invent it by writing it just now?
Shame. On. Me.
And as our entertainment has degenerated into an orgy of bravado and exploitation so has our fashion. Kids with pants hanging down below their backsides used to be an anomaly, now it’s the norm. Men used to go to work in a shirt and tie, whether they were businessmen or mechanics. Even our criminals had a level of class unheard of in our day and age of facial tattoos and piercings and scarification, all of which were, at various points in our history, symbols of slavery. Al Capone would be ashamed and rightfully so.
It’s tempting to say it’s not the kids’ fault, it’s their parents’ fault, and there’s some merit to that, sometimes, but not always. Talk to kids these days and you’ll soon learn it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s always someone else’s responsibility. Don’t blame the kids with pants sagging below their asses, don’t blame the kids living in their parents’ basements, don’t blame the kids who are eighty thousand dollars in debt because they insisted on taking Gender Fluidity Sensitivity Counseling as their college major. Blame everyone but the people who made the mistake.
Young people don’t want to work anymore, they don’t want to take responsibility. They want everything for free. Long gone are the days when dignity was found in hard work and savings and paying your own way. Now Nordstrom sells pre-soiled and pre-ripped jeans because the appearance of hard work without having to, you know, work hard, is all the rage. They want all of the perks with none of the work. Kids these days yearn for a future of automation when all they have to do is play video games in their pre-soiled boxer briefs next to their pre-soiled automated girlfriends while evil corporations, who provided them with all of their automated and pre-soiled amenities, foot the bill.
And that’s what we’ve become. A nation of lazy, entitled, over-sexed, over-pierced, over-inked, vulgarian freaks who think the world owes them something just for showing up.
What one generation tolerates in moderation, the next will embrace to excess. How much worse will it get? There are only two paths of hope left for the few of us who remember the lessons of our grandparents. The first is that we’ll all be dead before we have to see how bad it gets. The second path, the most preferable and perhaps least realistic, is that the small children being raised today will eventually grow to rebel against the excess and somehow, on their own, rediscover self-respect.
Original artwork by Jesse Comeau