My favorite generation is the one known as The Beat Generation. Their attitudes, I feel, best reflect the ideals of my peers and myself. However, after the love-in, directionless, hippie-sixties, the cocaine, nightclub, disco-seventies, and the yuppie, Me Generation, we weren't left much. We have been penned the Slacker Generation, the MTV generation, and so on, but no one has really hit the nail on the head.
There seems to be no new paths to create for us, so we face no revolution of attitude, dress, or music as the true beats faced. Everything has already been done. As Frost once said, "I chose the path less traveled." My generation not only faces all well traveled paths, but paved ones. Where once children had the prospect of making their lives better for themselves than the lives of their parents, we face a more grim realization. We may never have the house, the station wagon, the dog, and the 2.5 kids, not that any of us really want that, but even if we did, it's just not there. Now, one might say that having a college education can buy one those things, but from my own experience with charging into the world, bachelor's degree in tow, I know different, as does the rest of my generation, I presume.
We are the hopeless, violent, deranged, anxious, tired, and beaten generation. Beaten down, beating out, beaten up, just plain old beaten from our past, our future, and, most importantly, our present. (Ironically, we are also beaten' electronically; where the beatniks had congas, we have drum n' bass.)
We have no focus, nothing to hold on to, no one voice to follow, not that one voice could ever even speak for all of us, as we pull further and further apart from each other in an attempt to all find our roots. We no longer seem to be Americans, rather, African Americans, Asian Americans, and so on. The melting pot has reverted back to its myriad ingredients. Maybe that's why we can't seem to get it together, or maybe it's because of previous generations screwing it all up for us. Who really knows? Maybe it's because the nineties were nothing but a countdown to the Millenium. Every other decade had a style of its own, culturally, politically, and musically. The nineties were a strange blend of retro and futuristic; a cacophonic crescendo of the last 4 or 5 decades climaxing towards the year 2000. Funny thing is that the start of the new millenium was really 2001. But no one seems to notice that because they're too busy counting.
As the baby boomers continue to run the world, they shove us aside, and search for an answer to the possible technological breakdown at breakneck speed, among other things. We are simply in the way. There's no room for us in politics or business, and the ones that actually make it in the entertainment industry are exploited and left in the dust quicker than you can say overnight-success. (EMF, Savage Garden, Letters to Cleo, 4 Non Blondes, Jesus Jones' "Right here, right now"--you see my point.)
We look back to music, art, and films made in earlier times and consider them far superior to that which we, my generation, are producing today. But people made most of the stuff back then the age we are now. Yet for some reason Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol, and Dennis Hopper had more to say in their early twenties than any of us could ever dream of saying. Well, I'm not putting down Janis, or young adults today, but that's just how it seems. I guess we're nothing but a countdown generation.
And I'm certainly not saying that I have the answers, but I'm sick of waiting for someone else to come along and be the new Jack Kerouac.
(Excerpt from In the Now.)