Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Letter to the Disaffected Youth

We get it.

You don't care.

That's your thing, right? You don't care. You sit there with, at best, your glassy eyes and distant stare and just don't give a darn about what we say and what we think you should value. Wow. How deep. Or, you smirk cynically with a sense of intellectual superiority as if you, at your tender age have developed some insight or understanding that somehow eluded all of us, the ol' folk. Adorable.

You and your aloof condescension are not very exciting to us. We see our own vapid rebellion of all those years ago and at least we have the hindsight to tell us that we were just being jerks. But we also remember that had someone told us we were being jerks, we would have shifted into "you just don't get it, man" mode and tuned him out. So we aren't going to try.

But think about it. Whom are you impressing? Your cool it there to make us see you as somehow important? It isn't working. We pity you for not seeing that caring is a valuable tool and asset. Is it to show your contemporaries how little you are controlled by the powers that be? And do you crave their approbation so much that you would affect that nonchalance to impress them? Are you really that superficial? OK, if that's what you want to find pride in. Are you trying to impress the opposite sex, thinking that what makes people fall into a deep and meaningful relationship is the reassurance that the significant other has perfected the fine art of not caring?

Maybe (to be generous) you really and sincerely just don't care and don't see why you should. You aren't acting apathetic; you really are. And you are happy with that. All those big, important things that the old people keep talking about really just don't matter to you. You haven't been deprived of anything so you don't know to fear the loss and thus value the presence of anything. Should I be advocating a famine so you respect the food you have? A war so you value peace? Torture so you appreciate health? It isn't a new idea -- the quest for intolerance so we value our group memberships, the understanding that through victimhood we can band together against an external foe and thus appreciate our unified identity. But I'm not going to push in that direction because it is a sleazy way to get you to appreciate what you have and what you are. Though I admit, I don't know of any other method of getting you to care. And why does it matter that you care? Maybe it doesn't. Maybe any group is made up of a small minority who bear the standard and who either have an innate sense of being, or who, due to unfortunate events, develop that sense, and a majority who are members nominally and who, while they fill up the ranks, do nothing but demonstrate the most latent and subtle of connections until they find a singular moment of threat and then stand up and proclaim loudly of their constant allegiance and participation.

I like to think of myself often in the former group. And to the others, I say, we see you. We aren't proud of you. We resent you. But we are simply too busy trying to prevent your victimhood to try and put a mirror in front of you.

So maybe you should want to grow up and see that things aren't always as rosy as they seem and caring might actually matter. You won't, but maybe you should. Lecture over. You didn't read this whole thing, but you might have jumped down to the end so you knew when to nod knowingly and pretend to care because it would get me off your back. I'm not fooled. I invented that. And I'm playing you, not the other way around.

Carry on.

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