"My screwed, coddled, self-absorbed, mocked, surprisingly resilient generation."

CJ Westerberg, October 19, 2011 3:41 PM


" . . we had a PC education -
people tried to hide from us as long as possible that not everyone is equal

we were told we all have a fair chance of making it
that's just not so
and we're starting to realize that . . ."

20-Somethings Say They're Sort of Alright
Video Below

by C.J. Westerberg

Impressed with the way 20-something author, Noreen Malone, of New York magazine's cover story, "The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright," handled herself with a barrage of mainly negative-leading questions on today's MSNBC's Morning Joe.  She wrapped up the segment with a surprise statement about #occupywallstreet which has been occupying much of my attention of late-
Do check out the video below.  Great insight to the must-read article and very cool slide show  about how 20-somethings are managing.  Not what I thought it would be. 

Key topics:
  • The two long-term social experiments that produced this generation (parents guilty, of course)
  • Regret about going to college ("our generation's ultimate blasphemy")
  • Why young people are just not into anger anymore ("dystopian news" via Jon Stewart)
  • Pushing back life's milestones (job, home-buying)
  • Not being into "stuff" (this was most interesting - Shop Class as Soulcraft)
  • Having "locus control" (not depending on outside people for fulfillment vs. previous gen)

An excerpt from a G-chat that introduces the conversation:

So as I began to search for a single phrase that could, preposterously, describe our entire cohort, post-crash, I did what I always do in moments of crisis. I Gchatted my 24-year-old sister Clare, who happens to be living back at home with our parents while she looks for a job:

  • (10:24 p.m.) CLARE: how about they just call us SAA
    self-absorbed assholes

    ME: booo

    CLARE: we need a D
    to make it really good

    SAD - self-absorbed delusionals

    (10:28) CLARE:
    our generation is:

    (10:29) independent
    fame and glory hungry
    weirdly apathetic when it comes to things outside of the internet

    (10:32) ME: delayed is not our fault

    CLARE: ok, you know what i always think about when i think of our generation? i read the david brooks book, "The social Animal" and while it was only mediocre, he had this one really great bit that really stuck with me - the Greek ideal of "thumos", which is the lust not for money or success (in the conventional sense) but the lust for glory
    we want glory through our ideas-we want to know we matter

    (10:33) the cold truth is that not all of us are brilliant
    we are not all big thinkers. Not everyone's TED talks will change the world
    some of us will just dissipate into the ether

    (10:34) but it is the digital connectivity, that proximity to these people, that makes us think that perhaps we will succeed as well

    (10:35) ok, i'm done

    (10:36) no i'm not
    here's why the recession is so devastating to us
    we grew up, all the way through college, with everything seeming so ripe and possible

    (10:37) we had a PC education - people tried to hide from us as long as possible that not everyone is equal
    we were told we all have a fair chance of making it
    that's just not so
    and we're starting to realize that . . .
Let us know what you think ---

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It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
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