New TBS writer Mathew Mackie writes on “the new Lost Generation” or “How he stopped resisting and learned to love the Instagram.”
Recently, a classmate from the sleepy coastal high school that I dropped out of was recently awarded the title of “Australia’s Biggest Wanker”
On a personal level, I felt an intense feeling of proudness.
One of us made it.
But that got me thinking about the rest of us, the untitled masses of our Generation…
Who are “We”?
In his brilliant novel “The Sun Also Rises”, Ernest Hemingway eloquently chartered the hopelessness of his people, the “Lost Generation”.
At least Hemingway and his pals won the War. There was a War to win. He had 1920s Bohemian Paris in which to tool around, with drinking buddies like Henri Matisse, Scott Fitzgerald and Salvador Dali. And sure, in the novel had to bear it without the use of his penis…but us?
What. About. Us.
The most well known painter we know is currently known for reasons other than art and all the great directors are gone, so we remake remakes and prequel sequels. Our best writers are a room of formless nerds who communally create (brilliant) TV series about Drugs, Murder, Tits, Murder and Gibberish.
There seems to be a strong feeling of general Rudderlessness, no Berlin Wall moment, no Woodstock yardstick to live on as we grow old and lose the grip of the “Us” we don’t even know.
It can be argued that on the surface we are a shallow contradictory bunch.
We rebelliously curb the e-Reader revolution by reading paperback classics on public transport, electronic cigarette slyly perched on our lips, eyes darting behind imitation tortoiseshell Wayfarers like a peacock to attract a mate.
We ride bikes that would have been rebuffed with an extreme strop by the 10 year-olds of the time.
When we group to protest, we wear a movie prop.
We’ve cheapened the professional standards of food photography in a reverse not seen since Burt Reynolds begrudgingly agreed to convert his porno empire to video.
We treasure the eateries/nightspots that lay in alleys most, where dreams previously came to die, but now, future lives can begin.
If the 12-year-old me saw how I dressed now, he’d beat me up.
And he collected stamps.
Are we totally to blame?
The generational problem stems from the one before, who had that one radiant summer of change before they decided to pack it in.
Perhaps the bar was set too high.
We can discount the 70s as Denial and Disco. The 80s – a generational mid-life crisis, with sweet clothes, excess and blow, then finally waking up hungover at the 90s Bitter Acceptance.
We’re the “Hand-Me-Down Generation”, but we’ve made it our own.
Perhaps the reason why there’s no truly great writers or artists these days is because we’ve killed them, replacing them with Us.
We’re all wordsmiths and artists.
We laconically rock a middle finger to the constructs of English language; we don’t need the Bard, we’ve got Urban Dictionary. We can create our own.
There’s need for Warhol or Monet. We all do landscapes. We take photos of dogs and kids and sunsets and coffee in a meaningless blaze of brilliance in the space between buses.
We’ve tore down ancient encyclopaedic empires with a nonchalant flick of the thumb; all the knowledge gathered in human existence is only an ad break away.
We create our own reality. Want to be an Elitist? Just swipe Left.
Want to eliminate all negative voices in your life? A click away.
More than anything and anything previous we’re more knowing of each other’s problems, linked arm in tattooed arm, moving toward the grey decay, all there on the same shapeless, barren plane of “Eh”.
No sweeping change, no political movement set to a kick-ass soundtrack, No end goal. Just incremental trendy steps to the abyss, and frankly… that’s enough for me.
So accept the Rudderlessness. Embrace it. Might as well, because it’s already too late. This is who we are. May as well dive in with all limbs, accepting that we’re already lost and pop a rad ironic filter on it.
Hopefully, there’s that one perfect day in the future when we’re enfeebled, forcing our progeny to keep it on the infomercials; when our brain flickers with excitement seeing a bombed out Zooey Deschanel flogging sounds of our Generation. We’ll kick back in our rocket chairs, zone out to “Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife” and LOL, knowing that we’ve won.
Well…not won, but survived, to etch ourselves on the pages of history’s Tumblr.
See you on the Bandwagon.