23 June 2008

Love in the Time of Text Messaging

Supposedly, it's a good idea to write, even if it's not good, or you're not feeling inspired. Which is exactly why you all have to read this crap.

Remember when there was all this going-on about Generation X? And then, every six months or so, everyone wanted to come up with the catchy new name for the subsequent generation? I am a part of that generation!

AND, it's not as cool as it sounds. Generation X was characterized by a sense of hopelessness. They had non-traditional jobs, and non-traditional relationships, too much cocaine, and too much irony. Chuck Klosterman— the seminal Gen Xer—, in Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, describes the mind of every Gen Xer when he says, "the omnipresent sentiment [was] that the world was on the decline, but we were somehow destined to succeed individually."

So, growing up post-Generation X is like being Generation X's kid brother. I mean, some of us really are. That's not the point. The point is my generation simultaneously wants to be like Generation X in every way and unlike Generation X in all the exact same ways. It's pretty fucked up.

Think about social networking sites and YouTube. On a site like myspace or facebook, plenty of people have no qualms whatsoever about posting loads of pictures and personal information. And YouTube is much the same. Everybody uploads shitty quality videos of themselves doing average things at near-average levels of competence.

The post-Generation X generation— I won't bother with a name for now— is marked by the ubiquity of the individual. In reality, they become a non-individual. So, in a way, the best way to describe the post-Generation X generation would be to say that the omnipresent sentiment is that the individual is on the decline, but somehow, the world is destined to succeed.

The success of social networking sites and of sites like YouTube is not the success of individuals connecting to each other, but of the success of the collective identity of a generation of non-individuals at the expense of those actual individuals. So when the media labels the post-Generation X generation the "Look at me!" generation, the "me" in that statement can only mean the generation as a whole, and any individual who is a part of the generation.

And that's why I have a love/hate relationship with writing a blog. Because, in a way, it's a sincere attempt to improve my own writing and communicate what I hope are mildly interesting (by which I mean, mostly distracting and diverting) ideas. But in another way, blogging in a the era of the ubiquity of blogs is a way to eschew individualism in favor of attempting to discover an identity as a generation to whom too many identities have already been assigned.

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