Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Discussion: Was our generation born disillusioned?

This is directed towards members of my "generation" approximately my age. This was inspired by my reading Gilbert Millstein's original review of Jack Kerouac's On the Road written in 1957 for the New York Times, in which he writes of the Beat Generation as described in Kerouac's novel, "It is markedly distinct from the protest of the 'Lost Generation' or the political protest of the 'Depression Generation'. The 'Beat Generation' was born disillusioned; it takes for granted the imminence of war, the barrenness of politics and the hostility of the rest of society."

Was our generation born disillusioned?
Are we Lost, disillusioned like the writers where were mutated by tha' atom bomb?'
Are we beat, worn out, born disillusioned?
Are we apathetic? Are we pathetic?
Are we the Dead Generation, doomed before we start with the apocalyptic bookends of September 11th, 2001 and December 21st, 2012, Americans butchered and the end of the world? Certainly apocalyptic within each context, trying to build our Icarus wings to fly away only to know we'll reach the sun soon enough, a dead generation, a doomed generation...The smart ones know yeh've still got to try, though. Yeh've got to-If we are the Dead Generation it is only because we have not yet decided to be reborn, we have not blossomed into the Phoenix Generation. If we are the Doomed Generation then call me yellow for seeing the time left instead of the time running out. Yella maybe, I might be yella-naive to our generation's non-unification, yet I think we got a title, we got a name, we got a song, we got a purpose, I got a purpose.

If one is to assume that the "Beat Generation" was born disillusioned, then did America's youth ever really come back? Re-illusionment is frankly all relative, and its quite possible that our generation was born without disillusionment. However, the great event of our lives more than 8 years ago in NYC cemented a disillusionment not seen the United States before, meaning of course the attack on the core of the Big Apple, and everyone knows once the core's rotten the rest of the apple is prone ta go sour pretty fast. The previous major attack on American soil before the one on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, resulted in an unprecedented spike in military recruitment rates the day following the tragedy, rates which far overshadowed the recruitment rates following September 11th, 2001. Now granted, we live in a very different time now than it was on December 8th, 1941, and I cannot say I support the military in their wars and nonsense in my own mind, yet one must admit that the severe decline in military recruitment following a national disaster is telling of America's youth and disillusionment with the world in general.

My idea of re-illusionment is not one of solving the world's problems or discovering why we are all here, two things I feel to be impossible no matter who is doing the research. It is the idea that I want to know that I am part of a generation that is at least attempting to figure out what there is to care about if anything and contributing the importance and values of life as generationally relevant to the ultimate quest of human society. Every generation has a piece of the puzzle to give, though not every one does, and certainly some contribute more longevity than others. Perhaps apathy really is it, and there is nothing to care about. Perhaps there is everything to care about. Whatever it may be as according to tha generation we find ourselves in, I think we've at least got to give it a shot. The Dead generation, Generation Y, the Generation of September 11th 2001, whatever label our time should accrue, has in my eyes the potential to be whatever it so chooses although I refuse to allow it become the Generation that Failed.

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