Friday, 20 June 2014

"Our world revolves around iTunes and Instagram, narcotics and Netflix." - Paris Lees

Macbooks. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Pythagorean Theorem. Microsoft Excel. The perfect cheese sauce. Covalent Bonds. To Kill a Mockingbird. Shakespeare; these are just a few of the things I can remember learning about in my five years at secondary school. Have any of them come in handy?
To an extent, yes.
I mean, I'm yet to perfect a macaroni cheese so the cheese sauce is out of the window, but I know how to right click when I'm using my MacBook and that's pretty much all that matters...

From the hours of 4pm to 5:10pm today, I spent my time engrossed in this article: Millennials are Idiots. I should have been working, but the heading caught my eye. Am I an idiot? 
Many of you will be pleased to know that after reading the article, I decided that, yes, yes I am an idiot.
So I made that decision (mainly so you wouldn't have to do it for me) and whilst I could have got upset and refused to move from my bed until I knew the periodic table off by heart, I could recite 'War and Peace' at the drop of a hat and my brain had swollen to twice it's usual size, I chose, instead, to press the 'X' button on the article and pack my desk up for the day.
In the words of Jerry Lewis, "I've had great success being a total idiot."

I passed my GCSEs with flying colours, I have A Levels and I've somehow managed to convince a company to employ me; I'm doing okay.

But then it's not necessarily the 'book smart' idiocy that's bugging me; as much as I would love to spend my days dissecting Tolstoy novels, that type of knowledge comes with wisdom, experience and maturity. I've got a lot to learn...

No, the thing that's bugging me is that I know very little about the world around me. Around us. I'm speaking on behalf of myself here so as not to offend anyone, but I wouldn't know where to start when it comes down to mortgages. I couldn't tell you about credit ratings, political parties, tax evasion or the NHS (except I know we're very lucky to have them).

Instead, I can tell you every single filter used on Instagram. I can tell you why social media is becoming more and more powerful by the day. Which angle to take the perfect 'selfie' from. How much a large glass of wine is in a typical London pub. How many Jagerbombs you can get for a tenner in your local Whetherspoons.

Whilst I know for a fact that many 'millennials' know plenty about the 'important' aspects of our generation, such as politics, environmental issues and financial news, I can guarantee that more will have information on the latter half of those subjects.
And is that a bad thing? Do I blame my parents for allowing me to spend some of my free time, growing up, on a computer instead of practising my knowledge on Tony Blair? Or is it down to me, for being lazy?

I'm yet to decide.

Whilst the world of some 18 - 25 year olds does tend to revolve around who's topping Radio 1's chart show on a Sunday evening, how many 'likes' we've received on our latest 'scenic' picture of the London skyline, the percentage of our wage packet which can be spent on shit cocaine and which episode of Orange is the New Black we're now watching, there's a healthy balance who think about recycling, their pension fund and whether they're left or right wing.
Why do we have to be one or the other? Why can't we just be in the middle?

So, as brilliant as that article by Paris Lees is, I couldn't help but be slightly offended. Not only on behalf of myself, but on behalf of my friends who would rather watch Newsnight than down shots in a bar, the 21 year olds who dedicate every ounce of their free time flyering for their chosen political party, the people who have worked their arses off since they hit legal working age to save up and make something off themselves, without having to rely on anybody else.

I feel sorry for them because these millenials are being tarnished with the same brush: "Millenials don’t care if we’re fighting a gay person or a black person or a fucking Sims character for that last slice so long as we have the freedom to snatch a crumb or two for ourselves."

But the truth is, a lot of us do care. A lot of us do want to work on 'changing the world' (or at least the small part around us), making it a better place.
We grew up on a diet of the Spice Girls, Fresh Prince of Bel Air and turkey twizzlers (well, until Jamie Oliver took them away from us); we understand equal rights, freedom of speech and perfecting the balance between good and bad - I mean, the Spice Girls may have released 'Wannabe' and 'Say You'll Be There', but they also released 'Holler' and 'Headlines'...swings and roundabouts, m'friend.

We might know very little about how lucky we are to have smartphones, to have internet access whenever we need it, to having parents who are willing to sell their kidneys rather than see us struggle during the last week before payday.
But we're not idiots.

We know how to use those smartphones, to make the internet as beneficial as possible (minus porn. I do not agree with porn) - I should use Justin Bieber here as an example, but I don't really feel as though it sets the tone I'm going for - and when we're rich and famous thanks to whatever social media trend has taken over, our parents will know how thankful we were for their last pennies because they'll have books dedicated to them, film credits with their names in and songs written about them.

So, yes, Paris Lees, millenials might be stupid, but we're really, really good at it.

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