Stop Whining About Young People: A Young Person Responds
by Noel Jett
There’s a lot of junk out there about how “kids these days” are the dumbest, rudest, laziest generation ever. I’m here to take the best of it and respond. Most of the criticisms against today’s young people are overly-harsh; Of course young people do dumb things, everyone does dumb things and teenagers do it the most. We don’t post all over the internet about how 2-year-olds are the worst because they can’t stop asking “Why?” do we? No, because we understand constant questions is how they develop. So, it’s just as unfair to go overboard hating on teenagers and 20-somethings for making dumb mistakes, because that’s how they develop. You did the same crap too, you just didn’t have an internet to post it on. So stop whining and strap in for a wild ride on the truth-mobile, on which we will analyze some of the most baseless complaints about young people on the Internet.
Ah yes, millennials, the first generation ever to photograph their children. My mom actually has 20 or so super-heavy, fabric-bound books full of pictures, most of which are of me throughout my lifetime, but that’s totally acceptable. It’s when we utilize the incredible technology we have to do it that it crosses a line. Moral Of The Story: Just drive your kid everywhere and show it to everyone in person, because that’s way less annoying.
This was the highest quality of this image I could find, but it’s from some PowerPoint presentation and this photo got passed around Facebook for a while. Here’s my thing about this: How come you’re calling your son dumb for not knowing what a floppy disk is, when the only way he would know is if you taught him? Isn’t it your fault then? If it was actually important to you that your son know a more expansive history of technology, then you would have taught him that, but you can’t just test him on it and call him stupid for not knowing what it is. Technology improves at an exponential rate, literally, and to expect someone to be able to identify and operate outdated technology is a really weird requirement. Never in your son’s life will extensive knowledge of the floppy disk help him get a job, save a life, change the world, but maybe the fact that he exhibits an aptitude for 3D printing will. Moral Of The Story: If you don’t know how to listen to music on a wax cylinder you’re an idiot.
The lesson to be learned from these images, which went viral on Facebook, is that cell phones are ruining relationships. This is the only one that I will at least halfway agree with; People on their phones constantly do shut out the people around them. But here’s the thing: To say that the greatest advancement in human communication of all time is ruining human communication… is a bit of a stretch. Again, I agree that you’re not totally engaged in your physical surroundings when you’re on your phone, but since when is messaging instantly with people regardless of their physical distance to you (again: amazing) anti-social? Parents should spend time with their children, yes, married people should spend time with their spouse, yes, but both those relationships have been forever changed by cell phones, in a good way! The smartphone allows you to play free games with your child, answer questions they ask you instantaneously, and after a certain age you can text with them to keep updated on how they’re doing and things of that sort. Don’t even get me started on how cell phones have revolutionized romantic relationships. Utilized properly, the cell phone is an incredible tool to bond with other people, whether or not they are physically close by. Moral Of The Story: The newspaper has ruined communication, people are reading it at restaurants and on the trolley instead of talking to other people!
20 years ago, someone turns their $200 Canon point-and-shoot camera around to take a picture of how they look that day without having to ask someone to take it for them. “Oh my god,” whiny old people cry, “How self-centered! Turning your camera around to take a picture of your face?” Seeing the outcry, the young people go on to popularize phones with inward facing cameras. “Oh my god,” whiny old people cry, “How self-centered! You put a whole second camera on your phone just to take pictures of your face?” Clearly, their outrage is with the idea of taking a picture of just your face, so the selfie stick is invented, giving people a chance to include, them, their friends, and their surroundings in a photo. “Oh my god,” whiny old people cry, “How self-centered! You put your phone on a stick just to document fun and important moments with your friends and family?” Seriously, what more do you people want? Can you please stop sharing stories of people dying tragic, sudden deaths while taking selfies as if it’s funny? At what point is your hatred just another way to yell at people for being happy? You know what, I look good today, and I want to post it on the internet because I’ll probably get validation from people I know. How is that different from asking your friends if something makes you look fat—in fact, isn’t it even better? Moral Of The Story: Don’t take selfies, just sit still all day and pay the local portrait artist thousands of dollars to paint you—of course, a little thinner and without the dark circles—like we used to do. You know, because it’s less self-centered.
P.S. Remember that video that dad filmed of his daughter taking silly selfies? That he posted on the Internet like a gigantic asshole? Yeah, well the most popular comment on that video for a while was “She’s what’s wrong with humanity.” I would’ve said, like, maybe war or something? But okay, a girl having fun, that’s what we’re going with. Cool.
Let me translate this to what it’s actually talking about really quick.
1944: 18-20 year olds were forced to storm enemy beaches, parachute behind enemy lines, and charge into battles and almost certain death by the draft, a horrible tradition that plucked young men from their homes and told them to fight to their death for their country whether they liked it or not. It was a legal action of the government to make widows and orphans out of these men’s wives and children, to force mothers to bury their babies, to raise children in a world where the young men they saw growing up in their neighborhood would suddenly disappear. Women hung different flags in their windows to signal to the surrounding people that their son was off to war, dead, MIA, etc. Some of these men were forced into war thinking they would be heroes; others were forced into war knowing they were pawns. Either way, most of them died face down in the mud, sent by politicians who would never set foot on a military base or in a combat zone.
2015: Right wingers that swear to support those who survived these wars and others continue to support politicians who vote ‘No’ on bills to support returning veterans financially. They kick and scream when someone uses a trigger warning to help prevent someone with PTSD from having a panic or anxiety attack, despite suddenly thinking PTSD matters when they see a movie about a vet having war flashbacks in Kroger. An outrageously small minority of young people on the internet have a desire to eliminate racism, sexism, and homophobia (among other things) from their daily lives: most of them approach this properly by trying to educate, rather than completely silence. However, this is what angers people more than anything else. They are not angered by racism, sexism, homophobia, or blatant fear-mongering, only those trying to stop it. “Free speech” suddenly means liberals cannot disagree with conservatives, even though conservatives feel free speech defends their right to disagree with liberals. The right wing supports veterans by wanting to make more.
Moral of the Story: Not enough 18-year-olds are dying these days.