~Unsigned graffito in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
As a 23 year old, let me be the first to say that that Jonah Goldberg video, and to a lesser extent Matt Labash’s mini-rant, really pissed me off. I get it, we’re young, you guys were young once, you like to think you’re cleverer now (better than facing the possibility that you haven’t actually progressed in life), hence we’re stupid. How very clever of you.
But try for a second to look at in from the perspective of us youth. To us, the Goldbergs of this world are from a generation that has royally fucked everything up. The debt, the economy, global warming – when was the last time a generation could say that they were leaving the world worse off than they themselves inherited it? If you were born between 1950-1970, you are the product of the ‘greatest generation’ that defeated fascism, created peace in Europe, and started the biggest economy boom in the history of the world. And what did you do with it? Pissed it away. And whilst you look forward to your gold-plated retirement benefits – Social Security, private pensions, Medicare – which you’re sure as hell not gonna give up, my friends and I will struggle to find jobs at a time when employment for 16-24 year olds is the lowest since records began (48%).
And, despite this monumental fuck up, you have the balls to chide US just because we can use a technology that you can’t, or (gasp) we entertain the idea of voting for policies which haven’t been responsible for the aforementioned fuck up?
The insistence from the student debt campaign on naming and identifying debt as a personal and political issue rather than as an abstract data point is, then, a countervisuality to the dominance of the “market.” Talking to people about debt is in itself a form of resistance and politicization. The same point can be made in relation to digital media studies. Humanities scholars have embraced digital technology as a form of very large data analysis, a move away from affect. By contrast, Occupy Student Debt links data to narrative. Paradoxically, certain sectors of humanities new media scholarship might be as much part of the problem as part of the solution.
Four years later. Not much has changed. Many of us are biding our time in positions for which we are underpaid and overqualified, with no hope of rising up through the ranks because these positions are not such that they lead to promotion. Some of us have entered graduate school by default, way-laying the inevitable Sisyphean job search process for at least a little while longer. But, even my friends destined for academia feel the burn. Tenure, like partner, does not mean what it used to and is only increasingly more impossible to attain. Job security and pension funds for us might as well be declared artifacts of antiquity.
~Charlie Chaplin, remixed
A candle’s pulse is no companion
when all you see is sexual red.
You burn away your dreams inside a journal
and leave those primal words unsaid.
I’ll run to find you in this moment
and expose a passionate women for what she is.
We’ll cut loose our gold
‘cause we need fire
and only kindling can it buy.
Wildness is our treasure.
So boldly surrender
to me and to the night.
~Japandroids, “Evil’s Sway“