Tonight I was gently coerced by a younger friend into watching something called WHAT? by Bo Burnham, a young twenty-something Millennial doing his idea of a fresh take on a standup comedy routine.
At first I did my best to stay busy enough doing other things to pay only as much attention as was necessary to quickly get how immature the routines were and still manage to appear to not be totally ignoring the show, just so as not to be rude. It was exactly what you’d expect if you took yours or anyone else’s teenage son nephew or cousin and allowed them to jump up on a stage in front of a bunch of other twenty-somethings and told him to goof off for an hour. Stupid, inane, foolish, sophomoric, goofy, dorky, insulting, immature, extremely boring and chock filled with a heavy dose of childishly gratuitous dick jokes, sexual innuendo and locker room humor. In other words, it was unbearable for anyone with a brain older than 12 to 16 years of age unless said brain was perhaps extremely high or sadly disabled.
But then something strange happened. The show kept going and continued to slink sloppily downhill minute by grueling minute. The half hour of mostly gay bashing, sexist and misogynistic girl bashing and masturbation jokes continued — and in between he attempted to throw in the usual “I’m so smart I compare myself to God but not really” meets “God does not exist” meets “God doesn’t care about us” sophomoric philosophical banter typical of young Americans raised on too much money and material possessions and not enough of things meaningful or important. He then threw in plenty of college-age psycho-babble about that favorite subject of lack of self awareness and the obsessive need for self analysis exactly as one would expect from a 16 to 22 year old.
But despite his best attempts to create a jovial atmosphere and an ah fuck it entertaining comedic routine, the primary message being put forth over and over again, out into consciousness, minute after grueling minute, was just how shallow empty hollow and meaningless this strange generation processes and feels about life — as if the gift of life, given so casually and idly, easily and randomly — is not only taken for granted and not appreciated but completely overlooked, and perhaps even resented. Life isn’t something to appreciate or feel blessed by or even to philosophically or intellectually explore, but rather it’s more of a lame nuisance to be made fun of and denigrated, desecrated and profaned.
I am too tired to do the subject justice this evening as it is well past midnight. But as the show –that was no more than an hour long — dragged on, I as an audience member and as a viewer into this frightening sad and ugly world, became more and more disheartened and discouraged about this strange group we casually label “the Millennials”. What went so terribly wrong with them that was so different than the rest of us that created such a disconnected disheartened unconcerned shallow and heartless generation of human beings? So seemingly lost AND so blatantly and casually unaffected by filth violence and vulgarity that literally nothing seems to affect them? And not only are they entirely unaffected by these normally traditionally perceived atrocities, but they also now bare the unique badge of honor of being the main purveyors of these things in our shared culture, whether through their music, their inane tween fiction, their alleged viral videos, blogs and vines or in this case their strange brand of one man shows meet comedic standup routines.
Plenty of reasons come to mind as to what could have caused this….how a whole generation of young people could be so tossed aside by a society that no one bothered to notice that they have literally nothing to believe in, so in place of shouting their noblest ideals and dreams from the rooftops as their predecessors once did so valiantly yet just as naively, they are instead making a living, or choosing not to, from denigrating being alive in the first place.
Forget for a moment that they hold one of the rarest distinctions of any American generation in our history, that they are growing up in not only one of the most peaceful times in history, not only one of the most financially prosperous — where economic opportunity is afforded to anyone with a good idea and the fortitude to turn it into a business or commodity and can strike it rich faster than ever before in human history, but also one of the most free and liberal, open minded and tolerant societies in the history of the human race — where everything from equal rights for women and minorities are shared right along side the LGBT community — and let’s be honest: 20 years ago there was and could never even exist an open community with such a name; euthanasia is becoming a legal right just as abortion has been for nearly four decades, right along with the religious freedom to freely be an atheist or a Muslim or a Tibetan Buddhist or a Rastafarian and still work side by side each other and yes even the right to smoke pot for no other reason than recreational purposes is now becoming commonplace. This newest generation seems completely immune to what an incredibly free healthy and easy time it is to be alive. A time to celebrate and cherish and create, not destroy and devalue. How have these achievements been lost on this sad lot? (One clearly sees that we can no more over generalize about every single member of the Millennial Generation than we can any other; for there are certainly some heroes among them as there are in all. It’s more about the overall vibration of the group itself and their attitude and message, which at this point in their evolution seems to be “fuck it” more than anything else…)
Was it the seemingly countless endless and meaningless wars they’ve grown up with over the last 14 years? Is it the constant corruption they observe in all areas and at all levels and positions of service and leadership in government? Has the haunting horrendous and obvious fact that our King has no clothes finally become so immersed in our collective consciousness that nothing of our once noble ideals of self and enlightenment exists at all in this newest group of young Americans? Do they truly hold nothing sacred? Do they truly not care in the least?
My heart sank as each minute wore on. I was more grieving than annoyed. And believe me, annoyed was the main feeling I was left with. And yet….there is clearly a problem here that is bigger than just some annoying brat playing the fool. I walked away deeply saddened. More needs to be said. More needs to be explored. In time.
– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress