I’ve never been pleased to be born in this time. Born just far enough past the peak to remember what things were like before the decline. I learned handwriting in school. When we got a computer lab the students and teachers were on the same page. Then cell phones and internet became a thing, myspace and photoshop. With all the world’s information at our fingertips we should be more intelligent than at any point in history. Instead we use it to jerk off and argue about pointless shit instead of actually getting off our collective asses and doing something about it. Facebook, twitter, Tumblr. Images of the people we want to be perceived as are projected for the world to see. We became dependent.
I am the last remaining member of my group of friends who uses their cell phone only as a phone. Walk into a room nowadays and there are six people staring at their phones for different things, completely silent. Its like walking into a heroin den, everyone has their fix and is nodded out of reality in their own world. Heroin makes sense though, more than social media ever did. Just as Orwell warned in 1984, the book everyone talks about but no one seems to have fucking read, our language is being simplified, cut up and shortened at a pace unnatural to linguistics. How do you express your thoughts without language? Within a few decades people have reverted to using pictograms. Seems innocent at first but when we reduce our language to such simplicity, expression of complex abstract thought becomes impossible.
In the early 20th century a man like Trump would never be elected to anything. He is loved for his simplicity. Policy in 140 characters or less. When Abraham Lincoln gave speeches on the campaign trail thousands of people would show up and listen to him talk, some lasting upwards of six hours. Now nobody has the attention span to listen to a six hour speech about politics. At best they watch the news, which is barely more than a collection of hand picked images and soundbites. Trump could not stand up and give a six hour speech about policy. He can’t go five minutes without repeating himself. When he does speak it comes out disjointed, muddled and repetitive. Trump’s presidency is a symptom of the West’s collective stupidity and inability to pay attention. Nixon lost to Kennedy because it was the first year that debates were televised for the nation. Nixon, for all his faults, was a good speaker but not on camera, especially compared to his younger opponent. Thats the moment when politics became about image and spin instead of content. Lincoln would never be elected today because he worked on cultivating his policies rather than his image. Trump is all image, transparent but he represents the future: lazy, ignorant, self-obsessed & stupid.
I was informed recently that I come off as condescending. It was much more awkwardly phrased than that, the word was used improperly and it came to me that now just being competent in speaking and writing in the language I grew up with is considered condescension. This is how I speak. I don’t have a university degree but I can read and write English. This was from someone pushing thirty. In Europe being fluent in multiple languages is common. Here some people aren’t fluent in any. I understand that not everyone finds reading and writing as natural as myself and there are circumstances such as poverty that can effect learning. I don’t understand why someone from an upper middle class family who graduated from the same high school I did can’t follow what I’m saying. If regular speech comes off as condescension then you’re just ignorant and should probably work on reading comprehension. These aren’t technical terms.
I see many of the people I graduated high school with becoming teachers while posting grammatically incorrect, misspelled statements on facebook. How do you have hope for the future when the teachers themselves don’t understand what they’re teaching? You have to teach yourself if you want to learn now. That smart phone can be used to look up facts and information. The trend of anti-intellectualism is even spreading to postsecondary institutions which have become businesses first and schools second, placing profit above properly paid professors and student education.
It always really confuses me when people make things upon lie blatantly on the internet. It takes me 0.5 seconds to open a new internet window and only a few seconds more to verify most facts. I fact check myself when making points I’m not certain of. With the whole world at your fingertips ignorance is no longer an excuse for error. If you’re in doubt about something look it up, don’t make it up.
You go to a concert now, head banging at the front of the stage and people around you get upset for jostling them as they try to get the perfect picture. If you want a picture buy a poster, if you want to experience things do it through your eyes instead of a camera. If its important you’ll remember it.
The sheer ignorance of the average citizen is astounding. How can we call this a democracy when most people don’t know the policies of their preferred candidate? Its more like rolling the dice and hoping for the best. Its driving me crazy. This is Generation F for failure. Failure to learn, failure to care, failure to empathize failure to stop the past from repeating itself. Failure to produce great works of art, music & literature. Failures at making the world any better. Arrogant, oversensitive, image obsessed, immature and incurious. People openly fly a flag my grandfather spent six years of his life fighting to take down. We fear what we don’t know and hate what we fear. If we don’t go out of our way to learn about our world, if we allow ignorance, fear and hate to grow unchecked as it is then we’re doomed to repeat the past. I have always stood against that flag, the emblem of fascism Hitler stole and defaced into a mockery of its meaning. I’ve always stood against it and everything it represents: oppression, racism, sexism, anti-intellectualism, anti-socialism, anti-semetism, censorship, genocide.
In Hitler’s Germany it was not the Jews or the communists that were targeted first, it was the German people. Aktion-T4 was the name of the program that began mass killing of the disabled, deformed, mentally ill, senile, drug addicted, alcoholic & “work shy” citizens. The T4 doctors were the architects of industrial scale murder and this is where they began. With people like me. Unashamedly mentally ill, a former addict, a social critic, writer and democratic socialist. I have always stood against the Nazi flag and I will take up arms if it ever threatens to rise here.
We are living in a dystopia. No one seems to get that we’re already there. They have the tools to find out anything about anyone. The greatest threat to totalitarianism is education, real education. Either arm yourself or stick your head into the digital sand like the rest of Gen F.
–Jack Blare, 2018