Monday, June 29, 2009

Greg Melleuish, Miranda Ryan, Gen Y, baby boomers and a spiritual malaise haunting western civilization

Eek. I've just met a Gen Y person.

Not in the flesh of course. I don't like to  mingle with young persons. You never know what you might catch from them. A sense of humor, a taste for alcopops, an absence of discernment and good taste.

No, it was more a communion of minds, mine and Miranda Ryan as she shared with us What GFC? We're Gen Y and we're recession-proof.

Now after reading Greg Melleuish, I'd come to understand yet again that baby boomers are an abomination upon the earth, a plague of locusts, a bunch of weasly spin merchants, liars, cheats and fools who'd ruined the planet with their selfish, self-indulgent ways. Exhibit A: Chairman Rudd. (Talking about my generation of leaders).

I felt so bad about it I'd resolved to box the next baby boomer I met soundly around the ears and send them on their way sadder and wiser for their follies and foolishness. And if I ever meet that spin meister Comrade Rudd, I'll remember to call him a silly old bugger.

But when Mr. Melleuish had said he didn't know whether to look forward to the generations replacing the baby boomers with hope or trepidation, I didn't quite follow. After all, it's the business of the older generation to tell the younger generations that they're hopeless at everything, and vice versa.

I can remember my father telling me I'd never amount of anything, but as he hadn't either, I didn't mind that much. Mind you, he was right, but I still marvelled at the way the oldies could cluck their tongues at sex, and drugs and rock 'n roll.

Then I read Miranda and I realized Mr. Melleuish would have to face the future with shocked trepidation. The sheer insouciance, the nonchalant carefree indifference, the blatant sense of youthfulness in its prime. How I envy - strike that - how I hate the young.

As a member of ‘Generation Y’ I’ve come to grips with the various stereotypes and countless sledges that come our way.

Everyone loves to bag us. John Birmingham was even quoted to be “looking forward to seeing them get run over by the coming recession”.

So to any haters I have some bad news: the recession has had little negative impact on Generation Y at all.

In the immortal words of John Lennon, “Nothing’s gonna change my world”.

The utter cheekiness, the blithe indifference, verging on outright radical defiance. And then she shoves John Lennon down our throats and links to a Beatles song on YouTube! John Lennon! That's like me playing Perry Como or Bing Crosby to my father to make a point.

And then she goes on to count the ways the current recession has had no impact on the young.

We watch the news, we surf the web, and some of us even still read newspapers. So we know there is a recession and times are tough for economies, locally and globally.

But while we understand the seriousness of it all it hasn’t really affected us, financially or otherwise.

We don’t own property, so we haven’t got a mortgage. Interest rates are little more than a frequently discussed topic on the news to us. We don’t own shares so haven’t witnessed our stocks fall.

Superannuation is mostly irrelevant to our daily life. It’s something which we get frequent letters about in the mail.

On and on she rants, about how everything's hunky dory, and all's well, and hell's bells, and though she never quite gets to it, what she's chortling about is being young. Never mind Missie, see how you feel about old age, say in fifty years time. Hmm, that doesn't seem so punishing an observation, might even seem a long way off to a young thing. Especially as I'll be dead in the grave and won't be able to see the vengeance in the flesh.

But how to scold her. She seems so self-contained and happy:

All in all, unless we’ve actually lost our job and can’t find another one, the recession hasn’t hit our pockets.

On the contrary, it has even got its benefits for us. With foreign exchange rates up and flight prices down it’s the perfect time to pack up and head overseas.

For the thrifty Gen Y’s the recession has given op-shopping and “second-hand -it’s-vintage” clothing even more credibility. Many of us received K Rudd’s stimulus and like obedient schoolchildren we did as we were asked. I don’t think I’m the only one to think of Kevin every time I switch on my new plasma screen TV.

This may seem selfish and ignorant, but it’s not. We’re doing what we can for the economy. AKA buying stuff we don’t need. Or, as I like to think, we’re participating in “socially responsible shopping”.

Et tu Gen Y? But that's what those wastrel spin merchant baby boomers got up to, with their conspicuous consumption and idle spendthrift ways, sending Mr. Melleuish into a tizz, and quite likely bankrupting the country, and at least producing a deep spiritual malaise and the end of western civilization as we know it.

Now our addictions to new handbag smell and latest electronic gadgetry exist guilt-free. Not only do we get the latest style trends but we can sleep well at night knowing we’re contributing to the economic success of Australia. It’s all for you Australia. What more can you ask?

Please don’t hate us, we’re just a product of your hard work and success. Recession or not - we’ll never give up the good life.

Guilt free? Sob, the Catholic church finally has no place in the modern world.

Ha, as for the good life, we'll see about that dearie, as the seas rise (caused by the baby boomers), and China invades (caused by Chairman Rudd ostentatiously speaking Mandarin) and Indonesia seeks lebensraum (can't think how Chairman Rudd caused it, but he did and I'll remember soon), and then there was that reverse take over by New Zealand which saw all Gen Y's packed off to Tasmania to work in chip mill.

Oh dear, I'm beginning to sound like Greg Melleuish. Hating baby boomers and Gen Y'ers is such good fun, there should be more of it.

Wait, there is. If you hark back to Miranda's link, you can find Nigel Bowen in June 2008 doing The Generation Snap.

I guess now's not the time to remind Nigel a year's gone by, and a whole new calendar generation have been born in the last six months (the '09ers). Now he's soooh old.

Time flies when you're having fun, but it seems now that the situation is dire and definitive. The Gen Y'ers have inherited the indolent, wretched attitudes of the smug selfish baby boomers and see plasma TV's as their salvation, or worse, their constitutional right.

And it's the poor old X-ers who've missed out, according to John Birmingham:

"Those boomers will hang on till their dying breath. And then Y will sweep in at the funeral looking for the keys to the house and the car. When I raise these issues in my blog writing, the X-ers who comment all do so with deeply bitter black humour. We tend to think of ourselves standing mute in front of history's big black tsunami; there's a sense of pointlessness to organised political activity that stops us from getting too worked up. We're tired. We've been tired from the age of 17."

Bugger me dead. Tired? From doing nothing? From the ennui of pointlessness? Is there so much unhappiness in the world? Is every generation stuffed?

Mr. Melleuish should approach the future with trepidation, as befits a conservative.

Me? I'll give you my plasma TV, my car, the house, and all my personal effects (yes even my gun) when you take it from my cold, dead hands. Now don't be silly and have a little fun, and never mind Mr. Melleuish, that grim, ungainly, ghastly gaunt and ominous bird of yore, sitting on the pallid bust of Pallas just above the chamber door, croaking "Nevermore"!

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