I’ve endeavoured to extract the best pars in this cut and paste to convey the general essence which is a focus on the most smug, self absorbed, self basting, and narcissistic generation ever. The Silliest Generation
“….Every generation, in its modesty, used to think the prior one was far better. Tom Brokaw coined “The Greatest Generation” to remind Americans of what our fathers endured during the Depression and World War II—with the implicit message that we might not have been able to do what they did.
Yet what is strange about the present age is that our current generation uniquely believes just the opposite. Apparently, we believe that most cadres before us were not up to our standards. Indeed, we are having to clean up their messes of racism, sexism, homophobia, nativism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, as well as environmental desecration and global warming.
Apparently, proof our generation’s genius is that no one in the past had a clue how to build an iPhone or do a Google search—or even make a good Starbucks Teavana shaken pineapple black tea infusion. Yet given our own present lack of humility and meagre accomplishments, we have combined arrogance with ignorance to become the smuggest generation in memory.
Ours is an age that passes easy judgment on prior generations by sandblasting away the mention of those deemed unsuitable in the past, often by our present and sometimes laudable standards of morality—but without much concession to the cruel physical landscapes and poverty of the past or our own shortcomings that will be all too clear to subsequent ages. Which prompts more activist outrage by Antifa—a century-old sullen statue of a beaten secessionist Robert E. Lee or the indifference shown to unchecked bloodletting and murder in the streets of Chicago.
Despite our much-ballyhooed high-tech achievements, California’s s high-speed rail project will likely take five times as long to build (if it’s ever finished) as did the transcontinental railroad—each foot the work of pickaxes and shovels—across the country a century and a half ago. Driving in California in 1980 was often far safer (and quicker) than in 2017.
How did our generation manage to achieve a near 60 percent remediation rate for incoming students at California’s massive state university system—only then to solve the problem by discarding the word “remediation”? When the silliest generation hits reality it often resorts to the fantasies of wordplay or the tantrums of erasure,
More than a half-century ago Martin Luther King did not dream of present-day college dorms and safe spaces resegregated on the basis of race when he asked of America to look at the content of our characters and not the color of our skins. We laugh at “bowdlerizing” racy sections of 19th-century novels and plays. But are not our trigger warnings and blacklists of politically incorrect books and plays similar Victorian censorship?
The corporation of the past might have fired an engineer for obscenity. Google just dismissed an engineer for suggesting that bias might not fully explain why women were underrepresented in computer engineering.
Who is the moral superior to whom, and how much progress—or retrogression—has our generation achieved?
Did we not redefine uncool corporate America into a hip, caring culture at the cutting edge of social justice? Superficially yes, fundamentally no. Future historians might compare the outsourcing, offshoring, monopolizing, cash accumulation, tax avoidance, company paranoia, and crassness of a Google or Facebook with the ethos of Standard Oil or U.S. Steel of the 19th century—and find the former far more adroit at amassing fortunes, destroying competition, and evading taxes and regulations.
We arrived at our unprecedented levels of affluence and leisure in part due to heroic sacrifices of prior Americans, who by trial and error, challenge and response, bequeathed us a richer and freer nation, with a vibrant tradition of self-criticism and a zeal to both improve upon but also respect the flawed past.
Rhetoric trumps muscle. The majority of Americans no longer work with their hands, grow food, make or build things, and they are paid quite handsomely to avoid such drudgery. But the result on society at large is that abstraction rules over practicality, and nature remains theoretical and deified rather than concrete and thus sometimes feared…”