This is what I think.

 

Millennials And Me

Lately, I’ve been thinking of writing a big Generational Thoughtpiece on My Generation, The Millennials. It’ll be a sober, thought-out self-analysis of my peers and I. First, I’ll start with a blistering take on how the poor economy and limited career opportunities have stunted or redefined the transition into what was traditionally considered “adulthood”, followed by a look into the economic depressant that is student loan debt that kind of trails off without any real ideas on how to solve it.

I’ll then take a look at how we cope with our surroundings - our sexual habits (we are the first group of people in the history of the world to enjoy fucking each other, it turns out), our drinking habits (screenshots of thousands of tumblr posts here), our music and fashion, and then top if off with a backhanded complement about how in tune with new technology we are while wondering if it has hurt the creation of meaningful interpersonal relationships and made us self-indulgent narcissists.

Did I hit everything? I think I hit everything. I think it’ll be really hot and original and really blow the lid off the many mysteries surrounding us that I don’t think anyone has really tried to explain yet. Maybe the New York Times would even pick it up. Imagine that!

Your parents were fighting machines and self-pitying machines. Your mother was programmed to bawl out your father for being a defective moneymaking machine, and your father was programmed to bawl out your mother for being a defective housekeeping machine. They were programmed to bawl each other out for being defective loving machines. Then your father was programmed to stomp out of the house and slam the door. This automatically turned your mother into a weeping machine. And your father would go down to the tavern where he would get drunk with some other drinking machines. Then all the drinking machines would go to a whorehouse and rent fucking machines. And then your father would drag himself home to become an apologizing machine. And your mother would become a very slow forgiving machine.

Dwayne Hoover’s meltdown in Breakfast of Champions. Did you know Bruce Willis once played Dwayne Hoover? Seems fitting after you spend the better part of 10 hours being an Insurance Machine so you can afford being a Drinking Machine and all the other machines of vice that make you a machine that doesn’t have a Dwayne Hoover meltdown and smash anyone’s face into a piano keyboard. Isn’t it great? It’s great.

I’m sorry if I just ruined Breakfast of Champions for anyone.

Player Piano

I just finished reading Kurt Vonnegut’s first book, Player Piano, as I try to make a dent in all the books I’ve collected and neglected then past couple of years. It’s a good read, especially if you’re a Vonnegut fan - it’s obviously not his best, but there are themes and a style which he perfected later on, primarily in the mix of social commentary and absurdist humor. Unlike 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, the dystopian nature of Vonnegut’s future United States isn’t as obvious, but there’s a lot of Guy Montag or Winston Smith in the protagonist, intentional or not.

Like all dystopian novels, it’s also a bit unsettling when put in perspective. Without giving too much away, Vonnegut’s world in the book is a two class system, a world of immensely self-important Engineers and Producers on one side creating a supposedly better, consumption-driven world, and a disaffected working class, totally directionless and without purpose, on the other. Another recurring theme is the importance of testing determining one’s ultimate destiny in life, something that’s also becoming a little too real these days.

It also bears mentioning that with the BCS title game tonight, there’s an aside in the story about college football becoming a money-driven behemoth. The book was published in 1952, when the NFL wasn’t the juggernaut it is today, but it’s pretty great that Kurt Vonnegut still wasn’t too far off about the ultimate destiny of college athletics here.

Overall, it’s definitely an enjoyable read. As I wrote in the introduction, it’s not among the rarified company of Vonnegut’s best, but I would recommend most of his books to anybody and this is no different.