Here’s steps for a painting that was pretty defining for me as an artist. It’s a bit older now, but still gives me feels and feels belong on a tumblr. Took three or so days I believe, all from imagination.
"Community has pulled off one the most patient easter egg: in one episode of each of the first three seasons, the word "Beetlejuice" was used off-handedly in a joke. If you’ve seen the movie Beetlejuice, the titular mischievous ghost would appear in the world of the living if anyone said his name three times. So, sure enough, on the third mention by a Community character, this guy appears in the background for exactly two seconds. They patiently waited three years to reach that punchline."
There are a couple of things inherent to Millennials that I think make us particularly entitled. First of all, I don’t mean that necessarily as an insult, the way aging Gen Xers struggling to hold onto their relevance say we’re entitled in their aging print media. I mean it as an observation about us, an overarching shared character trait that goes a long way in shaping the collective actions that will define our generation. Of course, this doesn’t apply to literally every single person in our generation, and that should go without saying, but this is tumblr, so I’m going to say it anyway. #NotAllMillennials. But there’s stuff that, yes, applies to each and every one of us, that shared stuff that defines us as Millennials in the first place.
Also, the concept of generations often excludes certain already marginalized demographics, so the entire concept of their being a Generation Y is, in the first place, not entirely inclusive. Something to keep in mind.
So there’s my safe little introduction.
We’re the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital age. We’re digital natives, and we have no concept of a time without the internet. Sure, some of us may have not personally had access to the internet in our homes, but the internet was present and shaping the society we lived in. The internet plays two major roles here. Firstly, it is the first and only medium that gives us whatever entertainment we want, whenever we want it, for however long we want it for.
Secondly, Web 2.0, the version of online content we grew up with, encourages and requires audience participation. This is is social media. Unlike any other medium, we are expected to actively contribute to the internet, and for free. The internet is entirely based around unpaid labor. Me writing this post right now to go on your dash is unpaid labor, because if no one wrote posts there’d be no tumblr, nothing for David Karp to make money off of. That means we are the stars of our own most popular form of media. Our parents watched someone else on television, but we watch ourselves on the internet. The internet has caused us to be entitled by first providing a medium where we are provided whatever we want whenever we want it, and by making us the stars of that medium.
I wrote about this a few days ago, but I have a professor who told me going to college used to be an intellectual pursuit. You went because there was something you were interested in that you wanted to know more about, because you wanted to expand your horizons. Now, people go to college so they can make more money. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, not until everyone wants to do it. Capitalism is not designed for everyone to be wealthy (more on capitalism later). In a capitalist society, there have to be wealthy people who owns the means of production and poor people who own nothing but their own physical capability to work. The wealthy people sell the products to the poor people and the poor people sell their labor to the wealthy people. It’s an awful system and entirely unsustainable.
But then here comes neo-liberal education reform to make it even more unsustainable. Millennials are the only generation to be taught that everyone can go to college and that everyone should go to college. There was a time when working class jobs weren’t so looked down upon (probably because they paid a living wage back then whereas now they pay peanuts), so there was no shame in working in a trade that didn’t require a college degree. Now, we’ve been taught that it’s bad to end up flipping burgers or doing labor jobs.
Once again, the digital age peaks its head back in, because the world is now globalized and the success of American students reflects the success of America. With that, the neo-liberal mindset is that we have to have the best students in the world in order to spread the American way of life through sheer ingenuity. However, we didn’t do this by pushing for tougher standards and more competitive schools. We made the standards lower and made school less competitive. American education is the easiest it’s ever been. Talk to anyone who’s been in the school system for several generations and they’ll tell you this is true.
There was a post going around awhile ago that said “Shout out to all the people who thought they were really smart in high school but then got to college and realized they were average.” I’ll tell you why this is: In the American education system, you don’t actually have to work very hard to accomplish anything. If you don’t believe me, do some research on the pedagogy shifts in the past 30 years or so. The responsibility for student success is no longer on the student, but on the teacher, and if the students are failing, the teacher is blamed, the school is closed, and people wonder why Barack Obama and Common Core are devastating our students. No one steps back to realize, hey, sometimes people just aren’t good at something, and that’s okay. But Millennials have been taught that their mistakes are someone else’s fault.
It’s no wonder why so many of us are depressed when we grew up in a system that told us everyone can go to college, everyone can have that capitalist definition of success. We’re entitled because a neo-liberal, neo-capitalist society was so afraid of competing on a global scale, they handed us all high school degrees and told us we all could go to college, and now they blame us for the entitlement that they instilled in us.