An Indictment of Myself & My Generation
Listen, we’ve got some serious change coming our way. So please stop rolling around in your own apathy and get off your fuckin’ ass! What was that? Sorry? You’d rather stay home and watch the whole thing burn from the comfort of your couch and computer screen?
A disenfranchised generation of graduates and unemployed sit at home and develop an ironic relationship to the humor and idiocy of entertainment in the form of reality television. This allows us to sit in a place of satisfying criticism, meditating on their roles within the current systems all the while laughing at the casual demise of integrity, both of the television show’s subjects and at the systems that created them. Yet, now the irony has turned on them, has become perverted. We missed the update.
Others of the same generation charge ahead with impassioned, vigorous and principled uprisings across the world, for similar reasons to my generation’s own discontent: broken social promises, paralyzing student loan debt, debilitating unemployment and a distinct sense that we have lost a voice in policy and government to facilitate change. However, my generation instead chooses to become the very agent for the continuation of the status quo. We use subversive language to indict the systems of the status quo, but can only fit in action between rounds of happy hour. Our fundamental behavior is based on idling, distraction and entertainment. We secure a bubbled life, which now replicates the irony we so satisfyingly guffawed at from our now worn in cushioned seats in front of the screen.
Now the streets of neighboring London are burning. To not have heeded the importance of that first wave of messages from Tunisia to Egypt to Libya to Bahrain to Syria to Yemen, even in China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, although instantaneously crushed, to all the nations and people’s who are fighting back and organizing, who are repairing wounds in the streets and whose hearts are encased with steely conviction, is a deplorable surrender to passivity. Or as Chris R. a NYC editor for The New Gay put it recently, “It’s difficult, when reading and seeing coverage of the riots in England, to not see a negative of our own pacification Stateside.” The failure of holding our media accountable is nothing less than holding ourselves accountable.
Now in London, for the second time this year after anti-cuts rallies and pulsating resentment with government austerity measures, something has snapped. Now the Tottenham Riots are waged by the greater middle class, minority communities and it’s response however chaotic, is relentless. An atmosphere that breeds this reactionary behavior is a signal of how ripe society is for change and in this case, regardless of a lack of clear ideological framework, should cause intellectual pause.
Waiting for a satisfactory political response has now become the fertile grounds for displaced anger.
There may be something more to this than a festering infection of economic and social malaise spreading into the streets. There may be something more to this than meaningless acts of violence that have been quietly birthed and nurtured by a frustrated and resistant, increasingly aggressive culture mirroring the effects of greed and violence seen at levels of policy and policing. There may be reason to consider what this means or… never mind, pass the bowl. Never mind, lets look at some porn? Never mind: update, blog, tweet, text all the menial details of your everyday life into the void.
But, for those others, those that refuse to believe the pronunciation: Change is dead, long live Dysphoria! For those who disagree with the tactics of looters and violent rioters, but who are troubled by something greater then the acts themselves. The “If there comes a time when…” is much closer to “When the time comes…” and this serious change creeps inevitably forward regardless of our participation, but the outcome will likely be even less favorable. Get up, get informed, get involved, start teaching your limbs how to move again. Do not be a whimper, be a fucking roar! But please, at the very least, be present.