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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Millies - Catholic Style

In the October 2015 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, James Wolcott offers us his ideas/feelings/wishes for that group of people known as 'Millenials'.  In his usual witty and snobbish style, Mr. Wolcott quotes various bloggers and other magazine writers (Derek Thompson of The Atlantic,  Duncan Black at Eschaton) and provides an opinion that seems to offer both hope and despair.

'Millies' (as he calls them) are those people born between 1982 and 2004.  These kids, the oldest of whom are 33, have earned a rather sour reputation.  They are described,  by such an expert as Christopher Ingraham (Washington Post) thus:

  • the most unpatriotic generation ever produced
  • are as racist as any other generation, despite their multi-cultural airs and embrace of all things rainbow
  • the most clueless - the 'duh' generation - when it comes to the news
  • the leading vaccine skeptics and most likely to believe there is a link between vaccines and autism, no matter what the science proves
  • queasy about free speech, creating the need for 'trigger warnings' and the term 'micro-aggression' to describe anyone who dares to offer an alternative opinion.
To his credit, James Wolcott does not pretend to mix with people like me, the masses, the 'great unwashed' as Margaret Sanger and others of her class once referred to us.  In fact, in all honesty, Mr. Wolcott thinks people like me and my kind are rather stupid.  We hold certain ideas and values and philosophies despite the fact that we are university educated.  He would look at us and think, "if this is a result of what happens when you offer an education through the G.I. Bill, we must stop that immediately" because we - people like me - are the second generation of those who worked their way through college.  

Our kids - our sons and daughters, our nieces and nephews - are the ones who worked every summer at crap jobs so they could pay what the scholarships don't when they enrolled at the out of state college, because it is cheaper.

Our kids are the ones who joined the military because it gives them the chance to learn, to grow and because they are sheep dogs willing to guard the herd.

Our kids are the ones who join the Youth Group at Church, serve at Mass, pray the Rosary when captured by ISIS by ticking the number of prayers off on their fingers, and do so when they know some masked coward is going to cut off their head and post the pictures on the Internet.

Our kids are the ones who barricade a door to try to stop a gunman, show up on Tuesdays to take their grandmother shopping, know that PETA is a stupid organization because they read more than what is on Facebook and believe that United States is far from perfect but is still a good place to live.

In other words, Mr. Wolcott's experience is limited to those privileged creatives, the artists he meets and maybe the conclusions he has drawn cannot be applied to kids I know - the kids who grew up in towns like Modesto or Pleasant Hill, who go to college and do not expect their first job to pay them 50grand a year, who are willing to live in apartments for the first 10 years (and four children) of their marriages because sacrifice is okay - in fact, it might even be necessary.

I have my own opinion about people.   I think there are those in the world who are outright spoiled little brats who have to have their own way no matter what goes on.  I believe there are those who will resort to personal attacks and foul language because using critical thinking skills is just too darn hard.  However, and I mean this with all my heart, I see just as many of those people in MY generation as any other generation.  Jerks know no age restriction, in my experience, and to think that the Millies are the first ones to make themselves victims for no reason is to ignore history, including our own personal history.

Yes, I do believe he has a point in terms of some of the goofy ideas about free expression and opinions that this generation has adopted.  One must be very careful about having a differing idea about anything from same-sex marriage to Liturgical Worship lest one be labeled a 'hater'.  However, I think that is the fault of the world - we are so afraid today because there are those who get mad and then get even.  Because we are afraid, we try very hard to not offend.  We have passed that on to this generation and we are reaping the rewards of Political Correctness.

However, all in all, I think Mr. Wolcott and his fellow pundits have missed out on a lot of good stuff because they are so isolated.  They don't know the kids I know.  If they did, they might be surprised at how tough and willing to help these kids are today.

Like all opinions, mine is based on my experience.  I guess, if I was to be very honest, I can just say, "Thank you, God" for the kids I have met, for the ones in my life.

Mr. Wolcott would find them too boring for an article in Vanity Fair, but I am sure grateful they are in my life.

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