I don't consider myself a pessimist, but if you were to ask me what the opposite of a Utopia is, I would say "this." The world around us is rapidly going to shit and yet we still choose to ignore the sleeping giant that will one day destroy everything we know and love. I am talking about the young people of today, the Internet Generation or some bullshit (I will refer to them as "Internetters" for the purpose of this article). They do not have to face any of the hardships that helped mold me into the irresponsible miscreant I am today.
Every generation berates its successor with stories of how difficult life used to be. We have all heard the phrase "when I was your age" followed by some horribly inaccurate exaggeration that defied all conceivable laws of physics. "When I was your age I had to walk 10 miles to school and 28 miles home, uphill 3 ways." No you didn't. I don't know what kind of quantum field you think you're operating in, but it doesn't exist. The one thing every living generation shares (excluding the Internetters) is a lack of internet during childhood. We all had television, radio, and telephones, but not access to a magic entity that could grant omniscience.
Do people even own dictionaries? Send me a picture of you holding a dictionary and I will send you a personally autographed email. Do you remember life before there was an Internet? Most college students don't remember a time when the internet didn't exist. I was telling a story at work about how at the age of 10 I would have to run home from school every day to catch the last 20 minutes of Baywatch before my parents got home. An Internetter, confused and ignorant, asked "Were there even tits in that show?" No there fucking weren't! But it was the only thing I had to work with at 3:40pm on a weekday.
Pornography was a rare and mythic beast. There was a sense of danger and excitement if you came across it. The first time I viewed a naked lady picture was in the school yard during a warm spring recess, nearing the end of 5th grade. I couldn't comprehend the image before me, but I knew it was amazing. Kids today are getting pregnant at that age. Probably because they know what sex is, because they have watched people having sex, on the internet. Remember before there was any cool shit on the internet? It took more time to connect to the internet back then than it does to download P.O.V. Icelandic pregnant midget squirt porn in 1080p today.
School assignments were written by hand and all of the Earth's collective knowledge was contained in things called "books." When was the last time you actually read a book? And no, reading on your fucking bullshit Kindle or iPad doesn't count. All of my college textbooks came with a CD containing the entire book. Why haul around textbooks when I can carry the equivalent of 700lbs of information on a 5lb laptop? Have you ever had to look a word up in the dictionary after spelling something so hideously incorrect that spell check was rendered speechless? Do people even own dictionaries? Send me a picture of you holding a dictionary and I will send you a personally autographed email ([email protected]).
When I was young child abductions were a reality. You were instructed daily not to accept rides or candy from strangers. Kids today don't really have to deal with that because they are chauffeured around constantly by overprotective parents who have read more books on the subject of parenting and raising the perfect child than they have books to their children. I have seen some extremes where if a child has to take a bus to school he is picked up and dropped off at the stop. It is not uncommon to see a caravan of minivans waiting for a bus to arrive. Children are driven to play dates or to "hang out" at the mall. Except there are no mall rats anymore. Kids today all have credit cards so they actually shop and then fuck off like the rest of us. What else can you do in a mall these days? Arcades don't even exist.
When I was in elementary school, kids had to endure "Honor Student" bumper stickers. Now, kids have been reduced to mass market stick figures. Because they're unique, special, and one-dimensional.
Kids don't walk anywhere. They aren't allowed to I guess. When was the last time you saw children playing outside? In my neighborhood growing up, the locust swarm of children only dispersed when the street lights came on. I don't remember obesity being an epidemic, or even an issue. We used to ride our bikes 10km to soccer practice. Do kids even own bikes now? The big birthday gift every few years would be a new bicycle. It was exciting and cool. Go ahead, buy your kids Xbox games and soda pop and then complain about the poor nutritional quality of school lunches to the pharmacist while he fills out your 7-year-old's insulin prescription for type 2 diabetes.
The one thing I really miss is the ice cream man. Well there were actually two: the guy in the truck with the song and the guy on the bicycle with the bell, each Sirens in their own right. The point is, you could get a Popsicle for 50 cents or a soft serve twisty cone for a dollar. Have you tried to buy ice cream recently? I went into this place called The Marble Slab, fucking bullshit. What happened to a simple double scoop cone? Now everything is designer and specialty and outrageously expensive. You're not walking out of that place with two ice creams for less than $20. Before you say, "But Michael, the buying power of a dollar is lessened over time due to inflation," shut the fuck up. I don't understand math.
"Internet generation" by Monica Zanet I guess the point is, things seemed better in my youth. We were allowed to be children, unburdened by the soul-crushing realities of the world. Infants are now expected to behave like adults. Why are we robbing our kids of their innocence and lust for life with dehumanizing technologies and indoctrinated xenophobia, depriving them of spontaneous social contact and the lessons learned from scraped knees? Man is born free but he lives in chains.
All I know is when I grew up, Star Wars didn't suck, Indiana Jones was cool, and there were fucking guns in E.T.