Our boss gave us a reading material. At first, we were a secretly making fun of it. It was like college where you were handed with a photocopied reading material. It was Joel Stein’s Millenials: The Me Me Me Generation. It’s a great read. It explains a lot about selfie.” Go, google it. This is another article about the Me, Me, Me Generation. I now realize the value of having a boss that values your professional growth.
Around us is a self-obssessed but earnest generation
Joel Stein in his recent Time cover story did not say anything most grandparents and baby boomers do not already notice about the current generation. He only articulated the observations succinctly and raised the level of awareness and alarm. Best of all, he did not whine like most adults do about the state of today’s children and youth, called millennials. He instead offered incisive prognosis.
The thesis is that the technology-obsessed generation of people born after 1980 have become far more narcissistic, uniformly Western and self-involved. Stein did not limit his discourse to North Americans and Europeans. “Because of globalization, social media, the exporting of Western culture and the speed of change, millennials worldwide are more similar to one another than to older generations within their nations.”
The urbanized Pinoy youth fit snugly into Stein’s pigeonholing. They are fixated on themselves. They will take pictures of themselves from nearly all angles, in practically every place they end up and customarily post these thru Instagram or FB for the entire world to see. They twit about their whereabouts, their destinations, their sentiments even about the most mundane subjects. They announce the company they are in and get by with punctuations (!!!) and abbreviations (LOL).
This passion and infatuation for the self in epidemic proportions is unprecedented in human history. Very few autocrats, megalomaniacs, and dictators made certain their vassals knew about their every move and what they felt.
How can one tell a person so fanatical about himself? In place of a charming family portrait or a reverently framed photograph of a deceased grandparent, he has scores of pictures of himself, in usually odd poses and comical facial gestures. Today’s youth is deeply embroiled in a social revolution of his own making and he feels greatly empowered because of technology. (And he is pretty adept at it.) He is no longer timid; being able to measure up, even compete, with colossal establishments. Stein vividly encapsulizes the said pluck into “hackers vs. corporations, bloggers vs. newspapers, terrorists vs. nation-states, YouTube directors vs. studios, app-makers vs. entire industries.“
In AnakTV’s jaunts in the provinces, the discussions invariably lead to how children have evolved today and how economic abundance has spoiled them. This becomes obvious when parents claim their kids generally desire to be in show business or in any occupation that promises fast bucks and a lot of personal mileage in media. Other signs? When kids want only the latest gadgets, shun books and periodicals and in their place enshrine their laptops. When kids have to be online and on their mobile phones as though these were breathing apparatuses and their lives depended on them. When they are easily bored and yearn for speed in anything: fast food and instant noodles, MTV-paced television shows, quick newsclips on the internet, brief romantic interludes and band aid solutions. The time saved from all these quick fixes are spent arduously and interminably online, promoting one’s self, preening before a screen instead of before a mirror and assuming the pose, hair and looks of their pop icons.
Through this all, Stein observes, the millennials are surprisingly positive and tolerant. The vast and frequent social media exposure has promoted a lot of acceptance, among them, promoted a variety of sub-cultures and made the young more astute about life. Despite the narcissism and materialism that paint their lives, Stein happily explains that millennials are “earnest and optimistic; they embrace the system; are pragmatic idealists, tinkerers more than dreamers.”
Yes, the young , despite their self-obsession, may just save the world.