Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fighting Years

Lately I've had this horrible feeling that grown-ups really hate kids. Specifically the selfish baby-boomer generation. They don't want us to succeed, they think of us as competition, like we are trying to steal what they built. Maybe they are right. The children are coming of age and wondering what they are inheriting. There is nothing obvious left for us to colonize, we can't join the Queen's army and move to India to exploit 3rd worlds countries and make our fortune (teaching english in Korea doesn't pay that well, I don't care who you ask). We can't forge a new life by moving west, we can't even create new technology empires because Bill Gate's generation has the cash cow by the teats.

According to Naomi Klien's No Logo, the largest growth in jobs as of late has been in the service industry. The aged hippies just want us to wait on them. Sure I'm a waiter, so my perspective might be skewed. But haven't you (under 29ers) felt it? A kind of contempt and thinly veiled ill will disseminating from our parents generation. The baby boomers were known for hating their parents' generation...they seemed selfish in their desire to steal power from the establishment. Now they are the establishment and not letting go. The greedy mother fuckers. Every once in a while I get a feeling that adults simply don't give a fuck as to what I do. As far as they're concerned they wouldn't mind if I disappeared. There are no mentors helping and hoping for my future. The political mantra about "doing it for the children" (often used in connection with arguments infavor of saving the environment) seem more like attempts to wipe clean guilty consciousness, rather than actually help kids live better lives.

Even in my internships where I feel I am supposed to meet adults who care and want to help me on my future career (as I do their dirty work for free) I mostly just get the feeling that I'm getting fucked over and exploited. This feeling was affirmed today in France where despite millions of young people taking to the street the country's government decided to accept a law that would take away the rights of all workers under the age of 26. The law makes it easy for employers to fire young workers for no reason after 2 years, just because they want to. Which means they can use us while we're cheap, and then fire us and get some other young shmuck they can exploit. It is older people making their own laws to keep their own jobs, and exploit others. It is what Bush is trying/already doing in the US with immigrant labor, and it seems in the spirit of Jim Crow Laws: they (blacks, latinos, women, youths, gays, etc) aren't really people...at least they're such a small minority they don't count, so we can use them to build and protect our own wealth and power, while at the same time they should be gratful that we are giving them opportunity to work (even if it is as exploited slaves)."

The politician who introduced the bill in France are seriously arguing in this vein. He claims that this bill will help end the 22% unemployment rate for people under 26. What logic...it is already hard as hell for us to get jobs because the babyboomers won't die, they just want to hold on to power, and now they're trying to screw over the rest of us that can't get jobs, in essence making us a disposable work force with out rights. They might as well pass another bill while they are at it, one that takes away the rights of young people to vote, because heck turn-out hasn't been as good as they'd like at the polls, so why not just make the number of people who can vote smaller, and limit it to those who already have a lot of power. Makes a whole lot of sense.

3 Comments:

Blogger Diane Lane said...

I think they're afraid that we have more diversified skills. My dad's administrative job only requires him to write form letters and be congenial, yet he makes four times as much as I will. Power Point seems "too technical" to him--"a waste of time." He makes jealous remarks abotu coworkers who use "lots of images" in their "complimacated" mulitmedia presentations. For some reason he keeps asking me how to use CS suite, etc. (to enhance his presentation images? Like his contact photo needs retouching? That scenic UW landscape needs more mist?) but he can't get a grip on anything with more than 2 button bars. Before I told him about CS and Quark, he asked me how to make a layout in "Adobe Reader."

I was pressured to have lunch with him and one of his colleagues from the School of Business, and really, the only thing their generation has that we don't are bad puns. The ones that aren't bad enough to shock you with badness in that good way. These are the kind that make wives giggle uncontrollably and smear their Bare Minerals.

I think they hate us too. They put you through enough school to temporarily alleviate social-class-related parental guilt and then they lay all that guilt on you as soon as you're independent. More significantly, there seems to be residual "parental/generational" tension when applying for jobs under people whose children are of a similar age. Few of us have attitudes anymore, because we can't afford to. The end of the Clinton era brought an end to that. But we're getting more passive-agressive grief than ever. I've applied for over 50 entry-level jobs this year, and all I can expect is to be paid for is nothing better than milled telemarketing readily outsourced brainless busywork.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, I just read an article in Details that pertains to this very subject. Aparently, Generation X feels like they've fallen off the map, because everything today is about baby boomers getting older, baby boomers still being active, baby boomers still having sex... I'd like to think that our society is as least as neophobic as it is misogynistic. Is anyone giving us props for the fact that we will have to give our predecessors an attitude adjustment and deal with their appetite for environmental destruction?
BTW, nice pic, too bad that fine muther-fucker Qi didn't get in the shot.

4:57 PM  
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5:10 PM  

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