Caution: some very…erm…’casual’ thinking in this one…
Sometimes it feels like last generation were the cultural biproduct of the 60’s, and because so much seeming good happened (culturally) in the 60’s, but was then betrayed, the 60’s kids are a bunch of miserable sellout fucks. The kids they had, the culture they predicated and in some ways revelled in, is a culture of sadness and misery, of longing, of nostalgia. But, perhaps without consciously realising it, their doing this generates a great emotional capacity and even happiness in us. I kinda wanted to say emotional intelligence there but I hate that term. Emotional capacity will do if you understand it as not just a range of emotions, but the ability to control and understand those emotions to some extent.
60’s kids seem to have this tremendous naivety, even now. Maybe it’s from their parents not wanting to ‘wound’ them with tales of the war and rationing and whatever. Maybe it’s massive pop consumerism telling them they can have anything they want. Regardless, they generally exhibit a naivety that makes them do a shit job of bringing their children into the world…which is actually a pretty good job. I mean we mostly learn that the world is a harsh place and that we have to look out for ourselves…and we do that without a war going on, without the white males among us receiving much discrimination…I mean even those tremendously (socially) privileged persons still broadly learn the lessons of hardship. At least in the emotional sense. Our metaphorical hands are filthy from labour even if our real hands are freshly washed.
This doesn’t make us better. This isn’t me saying we beat our parents, our predecessors. It just seems to be an interesting facet of cultural reality. Nostalgia for me is 90’s and even 80’s bands being nostalgic about things I never knew. We grew up on the example of the post-60’s kids who were breaking out of the bubble, and suffering for it. We’re growing up cynical, critical, revelling in our misery and, in some cases, depravity. And there’s something strangely healthy about that. I mean as long as you combine all of them. Problems come when people only have one or two attributes off that list.
You hear all this talk about the snowflake generation, right, but have you met any of these snowflakes? They’re fucking monsters. They’re banning speakers from university campuses, creating their own thought police. They’re hard-hitters, they’re tough. They know nothing and they don’t care. They’ve got a broad range of emotions led by a cankerous anger at the world. The naïve post 60’s culture mocks the snowflakes in the hope they’ll go away. Just like they never knew how to raise the snowflakes when they were kids, the parents don’t know what to do with them now that they’re growing up, becoming political entities, asserting an economic influence and value, twisting culture to their increasingly powerful will. These are a version of the kind of fucks that caused a world war or two: yeah, the snowflakes!
I think maybe the greatest development in Western culture in the next few years will be the scales falling from the eyes moment when most of the last generation and its cultural pocket boys are dead or dying, and then we realise the new waves of toughies aren’t just scare stories and media scams. They’re real, they’re angry. They’re fucking up the stock market or blocking bridges with protests about environmental changes they’ve been told are damn important. They’re influential, easily influenced, desperate. They’re a catalyst for change in some kind of chemical mixing pot we don’t understand. We don’t know what the other ingredients in there are. Is it just water? Is it fucking mercury? Somehow we just can’t tell. But they’re jumping in anyway.
Frankly, I can’t wait ’til things get a little more honest around here. Even if it’s honesty about some stupid half-baked student bullshit of an idea, it’d be nice to meet someone passionate for once.