Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fear and Loathing for Generation Y

Dustin and I watched the infamous "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" last night, which chronicles two drug adled trips to Las Vegas by the late Hunter S. Thompson. "Fear and Loathing" is one of those movies everyone must see once, but once is probably enough. The majority of the movie consists of the two main characters making fools of themselves in public, terrorizing other tourists, and wrecking their hotel room. But there are several jewels amongst the rubble, particularly the "Wave Speech". I had never had heard of it before last night, but apparently it, according to Thompson, was the best thing he ever wrote, and he was known to quote it often. Toward the end he says this:

"And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

I've been thinking about my generation, and what it means to have been born to the "Y-generation". We are children of those people, who thought that their energy would simply prevail. It is ironic, then, that we now are the ones railing against the current tyranny of that generation. I feel like we, the X,Y, and Z generations, are ripples from that great wave. We, too, are angry, tired of a war that we didn't choose. Maybe, though, we aren't quite as optimistic and bold as that generation. Protests and non-violent resistance has lost the impact that it once had. Instead, I think that Gens X and Y, as we have matured, have taken a more personal approach to the whole negative energy situation. Instead of radical political activism, we have responded by becoming more seeking way to return to the earth, and to a simpler way of life. We have our "Green Revolution" to previous generations "Sexual Revolution". Our generation has embraced activities such as gardening and crafting, which is ironic considering our dependance on technology.

According to Wikipedia, the fountain of all knowledge, having been born in 1985, I belong to the "Cold Y Generation." We were the last generation to gain self-awareness in the midst of the cold war. I think that because of this, whereas previous generations had to deal with the new threat of annihilation via nuclear war, we have become more comfortable with our impending doom, making us more cynical. Also, according to Wikipedia, the fountain of all knowledge, Gen Yer's are looking to pre-Gen X to develop our social, and sexual constructs. I have to say that this is pretty consistant with my own experience as a Gen-Yer. I have found that I am very open minded both sexually and socially, and that I romanticise and idealize the hippy generation, which I think is consistant with a lot of people my age.

So, in summary, although we share ideals with the generation of the sixties, we are more cynical, and aren't as sure that "we can make a difference". I long for the optimistism of the sixties, but apparently I am a victim of my generation.