4/21/2007

Bringing Up Baby

The True Tales of Generation layZee

Let’s face it. Americans are breeding their humans stupider, lazier, and more ill-equipped to cope with life. This has been a slow but definite decline since the Greatest Generation, who somehow produced the hedonistic and slothful Baby Boomers, who grew up to do a 180-degree shift into S&L scandals, accounting frauds, and corporate takeovers.

The Baby Boomers managed to be the poorest parents thus far in the history of America. Their “if it feels good, do it” credo resulted in the highest spike in divorce rates the country had ever seen, with divorce rates tripling between 1960 and 1980. To make matters worse, their desire to be friends rather than parents to their children (or ignore them completely) produced a generation of kids that were, at best, slow to adapt to adulthood--Generation X.

The younger Baby Boomers and the older Gen X’ers produced the latest debacle in human history...a generation I will refer to as “Generation layZee.” If Generation layZee has a posterboy, it is Casey Serin, whose incompetence, delusion and sociopathic tendencies should reignite a serious push toward eugenics.

Fuelled by a steady diet of late-night infomercials, shoddy public schooling, and a complete absence of a work ethic, Generation layZee strives to get ahead in life by some sort of social lottery system. This generation was never taught the importance of hard work, of resiliency. They have been simply coddled. And those responsible for this have done them no favors.

Last week’s massacre at Virginia Tech is another example of Generation layZee at its worst. Like Casey Serin, Cho Seung Hui was unable to take personal responsibility for his actions or his life, saying that others “forced” him to do what he did. In the bizarre rants left behind, the shooter angrily whines about rich kids, people being mean to him, and life not being fair.

Well boo fucking hoo. Here’s a reality check...if we look back to those Greatest Generation folks, we see that, after some of them had their names forcibly changed on Ellis Island, their new world greeted them with signs in shop windows that said “No Dogs or Irish.”

Or how about the Tuskegee Airmen? Every last one risked their lives in service to a nation that treated them as second-class citizens. Some were killed, others were held as prisoners of war. Six decades later, the remaining few were formally honored. Talk about delayed gratification.

But not Generation layZee. They want it, and they want it NOW. No one has taught them how to work toward a goal. Just the opposite, in fact--seemingly everyone in their tiny universes seemed focused on preventing even the slightest harm from ever befalling them, from scraped knees to hurt feelings.

Generation layZee is continually focused on what they do NOT have. We’ll rarely, if ever, see them thankful for a simple meal or place to sleep. They seem unable to comprehend the statistical odds that they most likely will not become the next Michael Jordan, Paul Allen or Sergey Brin. Their mommies and daddies told them they were special, dammit, and the world had better reflect that.

As they try to become the “next big thing,” Generation layZee fails in the earliest stages. They have no concept of the amount of tireless work it takes to become that, and even if they did, lack the fortitude to get there. Few, if any, ponder how many parties Michael Jordan missed in order to spend solitary hours shooting free throws. They think it “just happens.”

So they go off into the world woefully unprepared. The Casey Serins of the world want to jump in with both feet and play with the big boys. Because they’re ‘special,’ they blissfully ignore their own lack of training and experience, and seem unable to even put a value on such nebulous ideas.

When things go awry, as they always do in this world, we have the Columbine kids or the Virginia Tech shooter. I’ve been saying for years that this generation, Generation layZee, would be a generation of suicides. I did not predict that their pampering would lead to taking out as many people as they could while they go down in flames.

But whether it’s Casey Serin negatively impacting his neighbors’ finances or Cho Seung Hui depriving others of their very lives, Generation layZee only looks at how they themselves are impacted.

I wish this weren’t the case, but it’s only going to get worse. Everywhere we go, we are allowed glimpses into the future. The latest round of pseudo-parents allow their children to run wild in public, scream at the top of their lungs, and make no attempt to discipline or socialize them.

Each self-absorbed generation has managed to produce a subsequent generation that is shockingly more egocentric and spoiled than the one that came before it. If you’re a parent, you need to seriously rethink your role in creating productive members of society. If you’re thinking about becoming a parent, consider your motives for doing so.

Are you really up to the task of parenting? Or are you content to spend 18 years with a living accessory that will one day create a burden to and a drain upon society?

And to Generation layZee, I say this: Slow down and take a more thoughtful approach to your lives. Before you leap into something, can you answer the question, with absolute certainty, “How will this end?” And maybe, just maybe, after you realize that your parents and schools have failed to train you (as many generations ahead of you have done), you will take it upon yourselves to defy the odds, through actual hard work.

And if you think the world has been cruel to you up to this point, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Time to grow some callouses and thicken up the skin, kids, because life itself is a long and rocky road.

ADDITION: Aantares/Eve Community readers, please see this post.

26 comments:

Leigh said...

Great post!

I think this is what infuriates me the most about Casey. He has such a sense of ENTITLEMENT. And as you so artfully stated, he is not the ONLY one.

My 4 daughters are 20, 19, 17, and 14. ALL of them work, play sports, and go to school. The 3 oldest have a car and a cell phone, and they PAY for them. Even the youngest has littered our neighborhood with flyers to baby and pet sit. They all have bank accounts that they actually KNOW how to balance. Nothing special, or so I thought.

All of them bring their friends around, and MOST of them have nicer cars than my husband and I do. (And their parent's bought it for them) Only a handful have a job, and almost NONE of them do ANYTHING that would involve sweating. And most of them are likable kids with talent and personality. They just seem lost to me.

But when I feel hopeless, my 14 year-old cheers me up with ONE question....."Mom, did you love OF MICE AND MEN? I just finished reading it and I thought it was fabulous." Thanks, John Steinbeck. I owe you one.

Aspeth said...

Leigh, I love it! Your 14-year old is smarter than Casey!!! I have to say--I really dig your family ;-)

I think I know exactly what you're talking about with the entitlement. When I was in prep school, the ritual was to get a brand new mercedes, bmw (preferably convertible) or the like when you turned 16. Within 6 months, everyone would have crashed their new car by being either drunk or stupid. It was immediately replaced with the next year's model.

My parents weren't going for that (the word "insane" was used with frightening frequency). They told me that if I wanted to drive, I would have to buy my car. So I started working at 15 (the only one of my friends to have a job) and bought a major POS with the money that I saved.

Man, now that I think about it, I don't know how the humiliation of driving onto the school lot everyday didn't force me to go on a killing spree. ?!?!?!

Aspeth said...

Leigh...thanks, too, for overlooking the fact that I painted with some very broad strokes here. I do know that there are some great parents, and great kids, out there. Unfortunately, they're such an incredible minority anymore.

Schnapps said...

Okay, ignoring the fact that I fall at the tail end of genX and the beginning of genY (progeny of a member of the "Greatest generation" and a boomer)... :)
(And thank you for acknowledging the broad brush strokes you used in this post)

I have to say, I agree with you. I am often appalled at the need for instant gratification I see in youth today.

Oh and I teach leadership to 16+ year olds :) It works because I push them outside their comfort zone and make them think about what they're doing and why they're doing it.

If only all parents and educators would do that.

Oh and my dad bought me my first car - a 1978 Chevette, electric green. It was cool, even if I wasn't. :)

Schnapps said...

Oh and as for Casey himself, most of the time when I read his whining and whinging, all I think is, "Suck it up, Princess."

Aspeth said...

Schnapps...lol at electric green--my first car was a color I called "bowling ball blue." I would have killed for your car!!!

That sounds like a great program you do! A good friend of the family teaches leadership to undergrads. She's able to make inroads, but laments the fact that no one has gotten to them sooner.

As for Casey, I'm just glad you didn't refer to him as 'boyfriend.' I still have the creeps from Suze Orman doing that!

Akubi said...

Excellent post, Aspeth. Similar thoughts about Cho and Casey have been floating around in my head this week, but I haven’t quite found the words for them. For “Generation layZee” fame and celebrity whether negative, positive or simply pointless (i.e. Paris Hilton) have become more important than living life as a responsible, ethical human being. Cho’s “manifesto” made absolutely no sense whatsoever other than feeling victimized on some vague and materialistic level and blaming it on others. It really doesn’t even qualify as a manifesto; for example, compare his ramblings to the Unabomber’s writings published in newspapers a dozen years ago and Ted Kaczynski sounds pretty sensible.

Anonymous said...
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Aspeth said...

Akubi said...
Cho’s “manifesto” made absolutely no sense whatsoever other than feeling victimized on some vague and materialistic level and blaming it on others.

Which was what reminded me (and you too, I hear) EXACTLY of Casey Serin. Generation layZee seems to be having some sort of extended adolescence--they think they know everything, but don't know even what they don't know.

They want everything they see around them, like greedy little children; they talk big and brash, thinking that they can subsitute buzzwords for actual knowledge; but they've got nothing to back any of this up!

Asking Casey Serin to prepare a business plan would be akin to asking me to formulate a theory of rocket propulsion. (The end result would be something like, uh, rocket...go...up...?)

Aspeth said...

@Anonymous (now deleted)...Go troll elsewhere, Nigel. Nobody wants what you're peddling.

Akubi said...

BTW, Aspeth, in your response to Leigh your parents and experience sounds exactly like mine. Maybe we're distant relatives;).

Aspeth said...

Akubi, I like you too much for that to be possible ;-)

My family, generally, falls into the category of more money than sense. In most instances, it has made them hard-hearted; in rare instances, extremely paranoid; in all instances, incredibly difficult to be around.

You seem far too kind to be 'one of them.' But maybe one day we can have drink a couple of bottles of wine and figure it out!

Anonymous said...

I rather crave Nigel's insane vendettas.

Aspeth said...

@anon 1:42...In my none too humble opinion, Nigel Swaby is completely unbalanced and wouldn't understand the term 'professional' if it wiggled out of his ass...Nigel Swaby is nothing more than an older version of Casey Serin.

Aspeth said...

UPDATE: Wall St. Journal Report is saying that, when they mature to adulthood, American teenage girls expect to make $114,000 per year; American teenage boys expect to make $173,000 per year

!!!!!

For the record, the average household income in America, according to WSJR, is about $43,000 per year.

Thanks for proving a point, WSJR.

Anonymous said...

Decent post but a bit innacurate with the generational timeline. Gen X is NOT the children of the boomers. And the people who came to Ellis Island and saw the "no Irish" signs were not members of the "Greatest Generation:" they were their parents and grandpaents (whose generations don't have nifty little buzzword names).

The basic progression goes more or less like this:

GREATEST GENERATION: Those that fought in WWII; basically born in the teens and early 1920s.

THE SILENT GENERATION: A smaller cohort too young to fight in WWII yet too old to be considered boomers. Born in the 30s and early 40s. Parents of GEN X.

BABY BOOMERS: Kids of the Greatest Generation, born roughly 1945-1965 or so; the hippies and later the 1980s-style yuppies. The folks Gen X loves to hate. Parents of GEN Y.

GENERATON X: Kids of the "silent Generation," and, like their parents, a smaller generation than the one before it and the one after it. Identifiable by their vehoment disgust with the prospect of actually being Gen X. Born roughly 1965-1980.

GEN Y: Kids of the boomers, born roughly 1980 to present. The shiny happy people. Casey falls squarely in this camp. If Gen X is dark and brooding and garage-band-y, these folks are light n' happy and poppy, all surface and unabashedly materialistic.

And no, there are no "cusp generations", no "exceptions," no "I'm kinda between boomer and X." People who resist generational labeling are usually Gen X. Everybody is a member of a generation, suck it up and deal. You are not a special little snowflake somehow exempt from the system!

Aspeth said...

Uh, Anon, I'm not sure where the hell you're writing from, where everyone must be 35+ to have children, but the reality is that Boomers did breed Gen X (and some of them Gen Y).

And, yes, the older X'ers and younger boomers created Gen Y.

The Greatest Generation DID still see the "no Irish or dogs" signs. They, and the Tuskegee Airmen fellows still fought and died in WWII.

Gen Y, from a marketing/politik standpoint is actually far, far from "shiny happy." They are the new backlash into conservatisim, a rebellion to the two generations that came before them. The R's love them....they fuel campaigns.

And your comment about "And no, there are no "cusp generations", no "exceptions," no "I'm kinda between boomer and X." defies your "silent generation" bullshit.

Aspeth said...

By your own math, if Gen Y kids are the product of Boomers, who first appeared (according to your timeline) in 1945, that would make the youngest of Gen Y kids 52 years old right now (which would actually pre-date Gen X by about 10 years); at the youngest 32...which all studies disprove.

Cordwainer Bird said...

Generational labeling is going to be inaccurate, no matter what: humans are not 17-year locusts.

I suppose, at best, one can talk in terms of psychic markers -- the JFK assassination, Woodstock, Star Wars, the Challenger, the Internet Boom and the subsequent crash, 9/11 -- and collective reactions to those.

If one wants to get into labeling Gen-X and Gen-Y, I tend to think of Gen-X as the software khans and the microserfs of the boom, and Gen-Y as their younger "siblings" who are coming of age after the crash. Losing one's shirt on Enron or Global Crossing is something the Gen-Yers haven't experienced. Casey is clearly Gen-Y in this nomenclature.

I also strongly questioning your comparison of Casey and Cho. Casey may be a sociopathic conman, but, as far as anyone can tell, he's not a quiet volcano of rage about to explode in a spree killing. Such mass murderers happen no matter what generational label we apply to them, and are really not representative of any of those labels. For instance, Charles Whitman was a WW2 veteran, and would be considered a member of The Greatest Generation. Richard Speck is from the Silent Generation. George Hennard would be a Baby Boomer. They are mass murderers. Period. That Cho apparently blamed
rich kids is only superficially similar to Casey blaming haterz for his troubles. Cho would have found someone to blame. I suppose the closest he comes to Casey is throwing his crap all over the Internet for the world to see.

Schnapps said...

Ah, the joys of using labels :>

The point is, pople are what and who they are, largely because they make themselves that way (in certain cases, there are forces that don't allow people to move beyond their starting point). Regardless of the label that's attached to them, people like Casey have the potential to "suck it up" and make something of themselves. And when you start labelling, you give the labellee an excuse - which in Casey's case, they'll latch onto like its the last jamba juice shot in the world.

The point is, if you're going to use generational labels, you have to have some flexibility in how those definitions apply since, ultimately, its up to the individual being defined how its applied to themselves.

Dimes said...

I'm not surprised that the suiciders of Gen Y tend to be mass murders too. There's such a mentality of "I'm going to take all you losers down with me!" There's a crazy amount of spitefulness among kids in this age group, much of which is their parents fault due to excessive coddling and a lack of discipline, not to mention a failure to make them grow up. I'm 25 years old, and of the people I went to college with, there are only a small handful who aren't still financially dependent on their parents, and many of them still LIVE with their parents. I've been married as long as Casey, and think I'd have killed myself if I were still dependent on my childhood family. Yeah, mom and dad have a bigger TV and newer cars, and no one lives on the other side of the wall. I don't mind giving them the occasional visit, but to move back in? Feels stupid.
I don't think the cure to this problem is eugenics. I think the cure would be good parenting. Stop sheltering kids from disappointment and failure, and they'll learn to recognize and manage it.

Lucidiocy said...

A~

These generations(X & Why)
are going to see the largest transfer of wealth in history.
What does that mean? Well, if you think self-entitlement has reached an all time high, think again. We're just getting started.

Picture America 10 years from now.
"Idiocracy" isn't so far fetched.

~T

Schnapps said...

lucidiocy

You know, "Idiocracy" scared me more than any other film. Funny on the surface; dark tidings underneath.

Partner and I like to think we're both brighter than the average bear - and we've used those excuses of the couple who are interviewed at the beginning who say, "Its not the right time..." etc.

Gah. I knew I had blocked that movie for a reason :>

Klaus said...

Great post. I am Gen X. I grew up in the punk rock era where it was about being yourself, questioning authority YET working towards a goal. Not all of us were lazy, though. We didn't want to be our former hippie parents. To me they were a bunch of hypocrites who preached to us about "family values" yet did the opposite.

My wife and I chose not to have kids. We may change our minds and if we do, they will WORK hard for everything, go get a good education and succeed with an eye of being a benefit to society. My fear, though, is that it will be too late by then. We will either be overrun by illegals and other foreign speaking folks who come here for the job and could care less about the idea of America or the Gen Z/Millennials will be raising THEIR kids to the point that the Gene pool will doom this country for good.

I dunno. I am not mean nor do I hate anybody since I respect ANYBODY who works hard at any task. What I can't stand is the Caseys of the world. Lazy, shiftless scammers who only care about themselves and getting "theirs" without any concept of what it is doing to the community at large.

As long as he has his "bling" (Murse, PDA, Rims, Sweet sound system, highlights, Starbucks) he's ok.

After all, what do I know? I am just a "haterz."

Aspeth said...

Hey guys...had to take an emergency trip to the NE yesterday morning, so am just now reading this thread.

@Cornwainer Bird...Yes, in applying broad strokes to any topic, there are going to be some obvious examples of breaking that mold. The point is, this whole phenomenon of "bubble wrapping baby" is creating generations of people who are unable to set goals and targets, work toward them, and survive the inevitable disappointment and setbacks along the way....

like Dimes said. And an important point, there, too...the realization that economic stability and the schwag that follows isn't just handed to you at 24. And if it did, how sadly mundane would life be for the ensuing decades?

Schnapps and Lucidiocy both bring up a good reference with "Idiocracy." Funny when it's over the top, scary when it hits close to home.

@Klaus...I do think that Gen X had a period of delayed adulthood. During their 20's, people flipped and flopped, trying on a bunch of different jobs, personas, etc. which was fairly new in American culture.

Like the Boomers did everything they could to reject the mores and morals of GG, Gen X wanted to cast off the ties of BB's.

But Gen layZee is backed only by the conviction that they are special, good things should be given to them, and they should reign supreme. They're like limp noodles, just kind of smiling and shrugging, no real convictions of any kind, just a one-trick pony of consumerism and greed.

Scott N. said...

I have to strongly disagree that Cho has any larger bearing on his generation. If you look at any of the stuff he sent to NBC, or the accounts of his professors and classmates, I think it's pretty clear that he was severely mentally disturbed, and not because of the year of his birth. After all, there have been plenty of disturbed people in history who acted out in a violent fashion. Examples: Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Whitman (the UT sniper), and any number of serial killers. Either all of these people are indicative of their generations, or violent mental illness is not connected to generational issues.