"It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption." - Charles de Montesquieu
When I was younger, about 14/15 or so, I got massively into slower, more "metal" hardcore music. Bands such as Snapcase, 108, Deadguy, Overcast, Converge, For the Love Of, Starkweather and Undertow, among many others, were spearheading a new direction I couldn't have been more excited about. I truly loved it, it affected me greatly. The only problem? All the old bastards around my area were telling me that this music was crap.
All the local guys (wish I could say women, but sadly, our scene was painfully male and white), would tell me this shit isn't hardcore. You wanna be real? You want hardcore? Listen to Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Warzone etc. These guys even thought Dag Nasty was "pussy shit." This new music was so offensive to them, they just couldn't let me enjoy what I loved.
This brings me to the 2008 Warped Tour that Gaslight did an 8 show stretch of. I, regretfully, spent the first few days of the tour making fun of bands. Our friends Against Me and Street Dogs were on the tour, and we had some egotistical idea that we were part of only a small group of legitimate bands on the show. After a few days of watching Pierce the Veil and Devil Wears Prada and bands of that genre, I decided I will not turn into that old prick that I once hated.
I decided that even though I'm not enjoying the music, there are obviously thousands of kids who are getting something totally real and legitimate out of it. Pierce the Veil is their Snapcase, like it or not. When I mentioned my epiphany to then Tom Gabel, now Laura Jane Grace, I screamed over the noise "I know this isn't my cup of tea, but these kids can play, and people fucking love it"… He looked at me and said very clearly "Nope, they are really just bad."
He may have been right. I still can't listen to the new, A.D.D ridden, singing like Paramore on every chorus hardcore. But, I can't deny how much younger people love it, and the effect it has on them personally. So I guess it's not for me to say. This got me thinking about millennials, and the general perception that Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers have about them.
Recently I've been hearing and reading and listening to a lot of debate about the Millennial generation. Apparently humans born between 1981-2000. Being born in late 1980 makes me a true transition child. A Reagan baby who was never affected by his policies.
I've been a part of the switches. From the rotary dial home phone, to the push pad home phone, to the cordless home phone, to cordless home phone/answering machine packages, to alpha/numeric portable pagers, to car phones, to alpha/numeric portable phones, to data ready flip phones with a camera, to the iPhone, to the chip in my wrist that will contain my life almanac and allow the proper authorities to shut me down like a bad robot in the Jetsons, and so on…
Imagine for a minute, people of my age, that Americans born around 1996-1997 or so, have consciously known nothing of their country but terrorism and war. Throw in a major depression, and the largest political divide our country has seen potentially since the Civil War. It took me until 11, after we began to "liberate" Kuwait, to begin my slide into paranoia and fear. They get to be born with it.
According to US census data, no generation has suffered more from the financial crisis than millennials. Median net worth of people under 35 years old fell 37 percent between 2005 and 2010; those over 65 took only a 13 percent reduction.
Also, according to a 2012 Newsweek piece using analysis by the Pew Research Center, the wealth gap today between younger and older Americans now stands as the widest on record. The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older is $170,494, 42 percent higher than in 1984, while the median net worth for younger-age households is $3,662, down 68 percent from a quarter century ago.
Add to those facts that they are the "study" generation for the effects that 24 hour news, brevity technology and smart phones have on people. Just like my generation and prescription drugs. When I think about it, I'm impressed they don't all have nervous fucking breakdowns. And no wonder why you'd turn into a bit of a narcissist when every tool used to shape your own identity is one of self-aggrandizing. For the way they are, how can I blame them? I'd like to see someone of my parents generation have the capacity and comprehension to tweet, listen to music and write a dub-step song on their phones all at once. I can't even figure out what happened on Lost, let alone navigate Tumblr. They can, we can't.
The people coming out of this generation have a growing cynicism of the "American Dream", and as far as I can gather, they have a right to. And I assume as the years pass, everything they created will find balance and the next group of young people will talk shit about them. That's the way of the world.