December 12, 2012

This "Lost Generation" Doesn't Want to Be Found

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The hard-core unemployable

Opining in the Washinton Post Robert Samuelson asks, "Is the economy creating a lost generation?" He expands on this by stating at the outset,

This is not a good time to be starting out in life. Jobs are scarce, and those that exist often pay unexpectedly low wages. Beginning a family — always stressful and uncertain — is increasingly a stretch. The weak economy begets weak family formation.

Later, in a plaintive effort to sound positive, Samuelson tries to mitigate this gloomy prospect:
"The bad luck and bad timing of today’s 20-somethings may pass. Birth rates could bounce back.... The economic recovery may strengthen; the retirement of baby boomers will create new job openings; and surveys indicate the young remain optimistic despite setbacks."

Well, as Maverick's grandpappy used to say, "Hope in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first."

A much cannier company dialed this "lost" generation's number directly in this widely aired commercial for Microsoft's new "We're Not Apple" smartphone.

Yes indeed. Microsoft knows that this generation puts actually having a job -- a career -- a home -- a family -- at a very low level; almost an afterthought.

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Instead this generation's goals, according to Microsoft which spends a lot of money figuring them out, are all about gratifying their childish and adolescent selves for a long as possible. Probably on somebody else's dime. MSoft doesn't care about that as long as that dime buys their phones. Coming soon: "ObamaPhone for All Slackers!"

Indeed the Microsoft ad is in large measure an ode -- an homage -- to slackers; those who do nothing because they have nothing to do and are happy not doing it. In order the roles cited in the commercial are: food lover, movie lover, road tripper, music mentor, gamer, fashion hunter, page turner, [the odd] single dad, the socializer, the [ever-popular] working mom, ... the play maker, the deal seeker,... and the up all nighters.

I make that three marginally productive social roles vs. ten "individuals" who aren't really contributing anything other than roaming about using up oxygen after taking an advanced degree in Being and Nothingness. (We note that the ad also represents types which are diversely inclusive or inclusively diverse ... which is how you have to be in commercial world these days.)

In a way, it's fortunate that these eternal children and teen toddlers have nothing important to do and no important or even marginally productive jobs to go to. They wouldn't know to do if they actually had to do something. Instead it's get some food stamps for Whole Foods, an ObamaPhone! to update your Facebook page and a little dog that you and your SO of any gender can raise instead of a child. After all, it's so much easier and cheaper to pick up dogshit for ten years that the costs of a college education for a real kid.

Looked at this way this new and not improved "Lost Generation" may simply die out in a few decades. Much like the couple in the opening scenes of Idiocracy.

Dear Losties,
Don't look now but there's some herd culling coming down the road at you. You asked for it in November and you are about to get it. Good and hard.
All the best.

P.S. Write if you find work.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 12, 2012 10:25 AM
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You can be a rather depressing fellow at times....

Posted by: Duncan at December 12, 2012 3:59 PM

Okay the article puts all of this down, as if criticism can do anything at all to help! Why not see those new people as the individuals who would understand freedom and wouldn't turn to a government program to find salvation. I like them.

Posted by: Lisa Colorado at December 12, 2012 4:42 PM

"After all, it's so much easy to pick up dogshit for ten years that the costs of a college education for a real kid."


Purr-Fect

And how much better is it that these useless crapheads don't have children. The bunch I see in my neighborhood probably shouldn't be allowed to own dogs. Dogs are cool, Boomers and their kids aren't even room temp.

Posted by: glenn at December 12, 2012 5:38 PM

"You can be a rather depressing fellow at times...."

Not really. In fact I'm doing my best to keep my darkest thoughts to myself..... But as I learned in the Holy Book of Dylan:

"If my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine"

Posted by: vanderleun at December 12, 2012 5:58 PM

This so reminds me of the real-life couple next to my antique shop. Unmarried, they are potheads & drug users who became parents last week---unplanned, I'm sure. Together for 3 years, they have two long-haired chihuahuas that pee everywhere and refuse to go outside. Oh, and a huge Great Dane that the baby's mother brought in from her mom's farm. I drove up as they were bringing the baby home from the hospital. Offered congratulations which were met with silence. Mom was decidedly grim as she gave one-word answers to my questions about the baby's name/weight/date of birth. "I bet your parents are so excited," I commented. She replied, "Yeah, whatever." Her SO carried the baby into the house and that was that. This does not bode well, unless mom is suffering post partum depression. I suspect she realizes her old world will be changing. Hopefully the grandparents will be keeping an eye on this situation.

Posted by: NeeNee at December 12, 2012 9:11 PM

Geez, I had four women! Is that NOT enough?

Posted by: Jewel at December 13, 2012 1:04 AM

Not really. In fact I'm doing my best to keep my darkest thoughts to myself ...

Ain't it the truth. It's part of being civilized that we don't say what we really think. Those of us that get along best say the least. I'd likely not make it to a formal execution. They would put a bullet in my head on the side of the road or just let their living dead serfs tear me apart.

Don't mess with their hoodoo illusions. It becomes clearer everyday. I'm starting a new party -- the 1095 Party. Just because we not loud and shiny doesn't mean we won't cut at arm's length.

Posted by: mushroom at December 13, 2012 8:38 AM

I for one would much rather you didn't keep your darkest thoughts to yourself, VDL.

It is not a loss of civility which is marking the end of civilization, but a loss of intolerance.

Complete moral tolerance is possible only when men have become completely indifferent to one another- James Stephens

Posted by: james wilson at December 13, 2012 9:01 AM

Hopefully Microsoft's marketing machine does this better than the last big one... remember the Zune? Or BOB?
Marketing means more than 'we forced all the business customers in the world to buy it'.

Posted by: ed in texas at December 13, 2012 9:34 AM

I guess I was just expressing how I felt after reading the article. I always try to look on the bright side of life. I'm kind of a political junkie, and lately I have been somewhat prone to depression. Where is all this going to end? Signs and portents are dark indeed....

Posted by: Duncan at December 13, 2012 10:48 AM

And a killer touchscreen, almost like the one on the McDonalds cash register. Its time to get furthur up into the mountains.

Posted by: indyjonesouthere at December 13, 2012 10:55 AM

"Dear Losties: Thanks for going broke on our behalf."

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 13, 2012 1:47 PM

Twenty years ago, Generation X was derided as a load of whining slackers too. However, the call-in talk shows buzzed with Gen-Xers who had their own businesses or gainful professions, protesting against the blanket smear. I'll bet the same thing is going on with these kids, too.

Posted by: The Sanity Inspector at December 13, 2012 2:02 PM

"After all, it's so much easier and cheaper to pick up dogshit for ten years that the costs of a college education for a real kid."

Oh harsh! After all, picking up dog shit is a REAL shovel ready job. You know, an Obama job.

Posted by: Nancy at December 13, 2012 7:45 PM

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

I'm guessing Samuelson hasn't read much Heinlein.

Posted by: BJM at December 13, 2012 8:52 PM

Please tell me that ad makes the phone unattractive to everyone. Ugh.

Posted by: ErisGuy at December 14, 2012 4:16 AM

I can tell you that there are large swaths of evangelical Christians, Mormons and a few orthodox Catholics enthusiastically outbreeding those people. I have four kids myself (wish I could have a couple more) and my social circle is filled with educated/healthy/attractive thirty-somethings who've all been married for 10, 15 years and are happily raising 3, 4, 5 kids. I believe that we have an ugly ten or fifteen years ahead of us, but I also believe that it's kids like this--who are still raised to believe in faith, hard work, family, self-reliance, commitment, and restraint--who will be building the future after these losties and their boomer parents have done their level best to burn it all down.

I have childhood friends who've grown up to be hipster losties. None of them have children. They and their politics are enjoying a season in the sun, but their politics are also financially self-destructive and cannot be sustained in the long run. When it all collapses, which value system will have been passed on to future generations? Self-indulgent hedonism is never a long-lived guiding principle.

Posted by: Ruby at December 14, 2012 6:11 AM

The real problem MS faces is they've wrung out all the early gains of "increased connectivity."

And now (like Apple) they are forced to market ever smaller innovations into the wireless market's depleting diminishing returns.

As a result expect two changes in their distribution plans: 1. their advertising will go to ever greater lengths to emphasize the illusive, abstract benefits of their products, and 2, as the market begins to falter further, they will lobby for government subsidies.

I am seriously shorting information technologies for the next decade or two. There is no room for signiicant innovation, the market is aready super-saturated with devices, cellular plans and bandwidth models. And frankly, the rainbows and skittles predictions of greater interconnectivity have not bourne-out. Yes we chatter a lot more, but the quality of this amplified stream is suspect, and it is arguable that productivity is actually decreasing commensurate with the so-called bloom of the "information age," not increasing.

Posted by: steveaz at December 14, 2012 7:58 AM
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