The generational divide that shouldn’t exist
Sarah’s Scribbles is speedy fantastic strip about young adulthood. It’s kind of the modern version of Cathy, and I mean that in a good way. As in, this is a strip that compares Jackson Pollock paintings to having a period. Oh, Sarah… will you ever win?
Then I ran into this strip:
Consider this, though: you could easily have made this strip 20 years ago. The guy with the face could’ve been “Baby Boomers,” and he could have been saying, “Typical lazy Gen-X’er!” It actually shocked me more that the Gen-X guy is perceived as a super-successful dude. Seriously… I thought everyone saw us as slackers.
I mean, that’s how Generation X got its name, right? I know, the “X” made it look cooler than it really is, like we all have mutant powers or something. The “X” stood for a lack of identity. That it was a generation of lazy bums who had no idea what to do with their lives. Growing up, we were inundated by editorial cartoons and media telling everyone that we were the “lost” generation.
Maybe our choice of music wasn’t helping. “Did you hear that song they’re listening to? It says, ‘I’m a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me’! There’s no way they’re going to amount to anything.”
(Incidentally, one of my most vivid memories of my dad? Him plopping down a magazine article in front of me that was titled: “The ballad of the lazy teenager.”)
For the most part we all still feel that sense of inadequacy. Here’s a fairly recent strip by fellow Gen X’er Ted Rall:
Curiously, you get the view from the other side… you know, the guy with the GEN X face in the first strip… and it’s almost the exact same story.
So here’s what I think is happening:
- Every generation feels inadequate. Millennials feel inferior to the Gen-X’ers, Gen-X’ers feel inferior to the Baby Boomers, the Boomers feel inferior to their WWII-vet parents, etc. The natural outgrowth of parenting means that mom and dad are usually held to an unrealistic high standard, meaning that no matter what you do you will always feel second place. You rationalize hard why you feel that way. For Sarah Andersen it’s crippling debt. For Ted Rall it’s the lack of any respect.
- Every generation has its successes. Not everyone is a Bill Gates or a Mark Zuckerberg. But if the successful people crow, it’s because it’s a sense of relief that the destiny threatened by their elders — that of utmost failure — did not come true.
So why do we even have this generational divide? We’re all i the same boat, feeling like everyone is literally against us.
Then again, maybe it’s good to be antagonistic Otherwise you get self-congratulatory garbage like this:
… which can screw right the hell off.