A JEREMIAD ON THE OCCASION OF THE SECOND WOMEN'S MARCH, on the day of our lords and ladies 21 January 2018, A.D.
In Which Are Made Many Passing References to Various Other Matters of International Urgency Which May Not At First Mention Strike the Casual or Uninformed Reader as Relevant, But Which Are All Crucial to the Author's Overarching Point (Which Is Also Handily Summarized in the Essay's Five Final Words for the Benefit of Those Who Insist They Have More Important Matters to Attend To, Even When They Are Really Only Referring to Catching Up on the Second Season of Stranger Things)
Dear Fellow People Over the Age of 40:
You don't seem to be aware of this, but when you use the term "woke"—EVEN THOUGH you are always careful to add the hint of irony and world-weariness at Kids Today in your tone, and whether you are doing this with your friends or on national television/radio—you sound EXACTLY as obnoxiously out of touch, clueless, and unfunny ("unhip") as the people over 40 in YOUR youth did when they used "your" words, like "hip" or "groovy" or "far out" or "righteous" or whatever passing slang expression allegedly represented "your" generation.
But hey, if you really don't have an issue with turning into the very thing about your parents that used to piss you off the most (before you became one and suddenly the scales were apparently lifted from your eyes for a couple of years before they grew right back), then be my guest. Crack yourselves up, just don't be surprised when your kids and their friends don't find you and your friends quite as amusing as you do.
Also, if you IN ANY WAY keep up the idiotic media-generated premise there is a "war" between Millennials and Boomers—that the world has TRULY changed THAT MUCH during the course of your own lifetime—then I am going to make it my civic duty to rub your nose in that bullshit every single time you refer to it. You have no idea how completely oblivious you sound to me when you claim that Kids Today are in any substantial way different than you and me. Yeah, yeah, they don't know what it was like before the Internet—just like YOU don't have a fucking clue what it was like before indoor plumbing.
More on this later, as required.
Your fellow (proud) Old Fart,
A Postcript directed to anyone under the age of 25 who happens to be reading this:
PS. The exact same pledge I just made to the Old Farts re that phony "war" applies to you Young Whippersnappers, too.
If you seriously believe that you and your generation are even one iota more "woke" than the riot grrrls, LA hardcore bands, Radical Faeries, Diggers (1960s OR 1800s versions), Yippies, "second wave" feminists (WHEN THE FUCK DID *THEY* BECOME THE ENEMY ANYWAY?!?), Lost Generation flappers, or IWW members that are THE SAME AGE AS YOUR PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, OR EVEN GREAT-GRANDPARENTS, then you might want to log off of your "devices" and "screens" (EXACT SAME ONES YOU OLD FARTS ARE ALSO ADDICTED TO, BTW) and get your ass to a bookstore or library and LEARN YOUR/OUR HISTORY.
Repeat after me: GENUINE "RESISTANCE" IS NOT A GENERATIONAL TREND OR A YOUTH MARKETING SHOPPORTUNITY. It is a NECESSARY movement AGAINST THE SAME FORCES FOR MILLENIA—a movement that has been with us since the days of Socrates, Aristophanes, Jesus, Buddha, Voltaire, Emma Goldman, Simone deBeauvoir, Shulamith Firestone, Audre Lorde, Ronnie Gilbert, and Yoko Goddam Ono. If you don't know much or anything about one of those names, or you don't immediately grasp the long, lustrous, elaborately woven thread that connects all of them to you and me and our children's children's children, then do yourself a favor and LEARN OUR/YOUR HISTORY. And shut the fuck up about this current "Resistance" or the Tr*mp/Bernie "Revolution" (take your pick) while you are busy learning about the world you do not know.
PPS to EVERYONE READING THIS, STARTING WITH YOU: Deciding and declaring as often as possible that you have nothing in common with people who are significantly older or younger than you is EVERY DAMN BIT as asinine and harmful to our species as deciding and declaring to everyone who will listen (which is only everyone who has been conditioned by forces far beyond their control to agree with you) that you have nothing in common with people whose skin tone, personal understanding (or rejection) of "religion" and/or "spirituality," choice of sex partner(s) or genitalia or any other criteria do not match yours to the letter. IT IS TIME TO OUTGROW THAT CHILDISH SHIT, or—so help me G*d—you personally are helping to steer the "United" States directly toward a very real, very fucking bloody SECOND CIVIL WAR, and the entire Spaceship Earth (as your hippie grandparents used to call it) toward one of those YA dystopias you apparently seem to think would be so fucking interesting to live through.
Hey, speaking of dystopian fiction, here's a fun idea: Explore the realms of dystopian NONfiction for a change. How about binging a few less of those future dystopian JO novels and movies and seeking out some truly old people to talk to one on one. Ask them how "interesting" it was to live in, say, the Rust Bowl during the Great Depression or anywhere in Europe during the YEARS when the Nazis and Allies were bombing the crap out of EACH OTHER (think the Nazis were the only murderers during "The Good War"? Take a drive through the ruins of Berlin or Dresden and tell me how great the Greatest Generation really was).
If you can't find anyone THAT old, how about someone who lived in Sarajevo at the peak of THAT "good" war, when the city that had just hosted the goddam Olympics a few years earlier became a living hell? Or Rwanda? Or Syria, today? Or, if you are too a-skeert of encountering those Poisoned Skittles who dare think of themselves as human beings, you could ask a single mother living in Appalachia at any time since the beginnings of our country. Go ahead: Ask each of them which role Jennifer Lawrence should play in the HBO series based on their suffering. And don't forget to cast a Hemsworth—either of those hunks will do—as the love interest. And top it off with a Baldwin—again, they are essentially interchangeable for these purposes—to play the Heavy. Then hie thee to Hollywood, where you too can profit from the tragedy of the truly traumatized, and probably add another Oscar to the bulging bookshelf while you are at it.
A boiled down version of what the author has contended thus far in this jeremiad:
START CONCENTRATING ON WHAT UNITES YOU TO OTHER PEOPLE, NOT WHAT MAKES YOU "BETTER" OR "WORSE" THAN THEM. You are not ten years old anymore, and neither is the "nation" you seem to think is so much "Better" than all the shitholes surrounding it (whether that nation is the Republican notion of the Once-Great America or the Michigan Wimmin-Born-Wimmin's Festival or any bullshit "nation" in between those two).
A further distillation of the message of this jeremiad, for those who cannot handle lots of words grouped together in one place at one time to discuss something more important than the sex lives of the Kardashians: