Column Road

Generation Meme

Youth need to do more youth-y things. Like graffiti.

According to Piers Morgan, we have become a generation of Starbucks, kale and selfies. Despite evidence of an anxiety epidemic amongst the British Youth, he says we are simply too entitled, and too angry. But we have absolutely every right to be.

We are the glamorous youth. We are supposed to embody everything that is beautiful in the world, blissful optimism, boundless energy and absolute recklessness. We are in our twenties, we’re supposed to be doing nothing but boozing and partying and fucking each other.

We were supposed to grow up and rebel. We were supposed to dye our hair black, and then blonde, and drink too much and reject everything we’d ever known. We were supposed to spend our early twenties discovering that we hated ham sandwiches and pop music, and spend our money on exotic adventures and terrible tattoos.

We were supposed to stand up to our parents, our teachers, our peers, our political systems. We were supposed to stand up and wave our middle fingers at them and smile because we are young things, wild things, free things, and that’s what people who are in their twenties do. We would reject what’s right because we don’t know any better, because we’re young and because we can.

We were going to shout it from the roof tops. Scream it from the bottom of our lungs. Dance on tables and throw the F bomb around until it lost all meaning.

But the wild and reckless twenties we imagined were for the generations that could afford them. Instead, we’re stood holding up signs in the pouring rain. Instead of screaming, we’re pleading, begging. Our ‘fuck you!’ became ‘please, no!’ What was once youthful rebellion has become downtrodden young people, desperate to retain our rights, to secure our futures. Fighting not against a political system that has vexed us, but one that has failed us. Forced to make sense of decisions that will impact the rest of our lives, but that we did not make.

According to the Office for National Statistics more than a quarter of young people, and a third in London, are teetotal. Millennials are drinking less, smoking less and taking fewer drugs. We have stopped committing crimes and stopped getting pregnant, and even stopped catching STI’s. So what are we all doing?

We are all so careful. We’re not taking any chances because we can’t afford to make mistakes. We can’t fund another try at university if we don’t excel the first time, we can’t afford to get drunk every day and we certainly can’t afford a baby. We’re not taking chances by smoking or doing drugs because we are not wholly certain that the NHS will be there to fix us if we start dying in ten years’ time. We don’t have the luxury of knowing the welfare state will be there to pick up the pieces when it all inevitably comes tumbling down.

We’re terrified, of course we are. We’re trying to be adults in a world that won’t cater for us. We’ve replace pints and takeaways with poached egg and avocado, and we’ve switched Friday night in the pub for an evening in the gym. And the baby boomers laugh at us! They make jokes about us!

They tell us that we’re senseless, because we take selfies and play Pokémon Go. They call us ridiculous when they are the generation who bought enough ‘pet rocks’ to make a millionaire out of the creator. They call us ‘generation selfie’. How can we ever take them seriously if they can’t recognise that we would be generation meme.

Matters are made worse by the feeling of conflict between the generations. It didn’t go unnoticed that older voters were responsible for Brexit, and the statistics from the US election were similar. Thanks for Brexit, Mom! And for ruining the economy for us! AND FOR POLLUTING THE GOD DAMN ENVIRONMENT.

Not only have the baby boomers economically, politically and environmentally ruined our chances at happiness, according to the Financial Times economics editor, we will have to pay more and more in taxes to support them as they get older because THEY WON’T DIE. “Both by luck and by sheer weight of numbers, the baby-boomer generation is the lucky one. It is set to receive at least 15 per cent more public spending over their lifetimes than they pay in tax…subsequent generations, particularly those born after the 1970s, will pick up the tab, paying in significantly more than they receive.” Brilliant.

In November Piers Morgan told us we need to get a grip, grow up, called us a “faux-tormented bunch of absolutely deluded cretins” and concluded we are the “most pampered, privileged and selfish members of the human race in history”. We have every right to be mad, Piers. Our debts are massive, our education is extortionate, jobs are limited, house prices are unreachable, our votes fell short, our futures are uncertain and you laugh at us for being frustrated. But we must not listen to Piers Morgan. We mustn’t grow up. We must cling to our youthfulness for as long as we can.

We are in our twenties. We have a lifetime to be worried and stressed and panicked. There will never be a better time than university to put off the burdens of real life and just enjoy the beauty of being young. So keep drinking those VK’s, dance on the stage in Live Lounge, eat pizzas, stay up late, don’t do your readings and enjoy the limited freedom we have left. Throw away that avocado and stay up all night, fuck who you like and drink to eternal youth and to a generation of “cretins” who are trying as hard as we can.

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