Monday, November 7, 2011

The Really Lost Generation

Many years ago, Ernest Hemingway captured American readers with his brilliant description of the Lost Generation.  He believed that he and others like him were lost, in the sense that they were just pawns used by governments to make war and fight each other, thus making them lost to the world.  In a sense, he was right.  He and many Americans like him detested the American government to the point of leaving the country and residing in European nations.  You may have heard of the expatriots, a ragtag group of American authors and painters who lived in Paris during the 1920's and 30's (among them Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, and Salvidor Dali; for more information on them, read my review of Midnight in Paris).  While Europe did not hold many of these people for long and they returned to America, their distaste for what America stood for at the time did not change.

How much does that sound like the Occupy Wallstreet protesters of today?  A growing dislike for American government, questionable morality, and a distorted sense of entitlement have driven many Americans to partake in large protests, in which they sit, stand, yell, argue, sleep, drink, smoke, and have sex in large groups of tents and shelters.  The expatriates like Hemingway did all of these things too, but in the privacy of their homes, or flats, or hotels, or wherever the happened to be staying.  In addition, they too voiced their displeasure at the way the government was handling its affairs.  However, instead of protesting, they left; which, I suppose, in and of itself is a form of protest.  They also expressed their views on how they felt the world should be run by incorporating them into their writings.  Millions and millions of people all over the world have read, studied, and wrote about their novels, paintings, short stories, and poems.  By using a medium through which they could attract a large audience, clearly express their thoughts, and oppose any objections to their views, they were able to tactfully and peacefully get their points across.

Today, protesters choose to violently confront anyone who disagrees with them.  Just last night a man was arrested for tearing apart a McDonald's that refused to give him free food.  FREE food!  Even the expatriates knew that nothing in this world comes free.  Even if they did sympathize with Marxism or Communism at some point in their lives, they realized that even if they are not paying for something, someone else someplace else is, perhaps at far too high of a price.  It is this generation's ignorance that has created these protests, not the government itself.  A person may disagree with a government or dislike a certain politician all they want, but there are more ways than a dirty, ragged, and shameless protest to express those feelings.

Hemingway thought his generation was lost.  If that was true of it, then this generation is really lost.  Hemingway's generation was lost, at least he felt, because young men lost their youth in war.  Their supposed innocence was gone.  This generation never has seemed to have a notion of innocence.  The line between right and wrong has blurred to the point to which it ceases to exist.  Morality is a matter of opinion, and if you do not share in the opinion of the zealous and loud minority, then you and rest of your silent majority will have to endure the rantings and screams of what has been labeled the far left.

The self proclaimed 99% claim favorable treatment towards corporations, demand that the government forgive their student loans, and that they in general will not have to work has hard to make a comfortable living.  They are so lost they do not even realize that when they walk into McDonald's or Burger King or Subway to get food, they are contributing to big business.  When they use their cell phones, cameras, and computers to upload pictures and blogs, it is because big business produced these items.  This really lost generation has really lost me on the point they are trying make.

I realize this post is a quite political, and I intended it to be that way.  I understand if it sounds random in places and may be incoherent in others, but I feel like it is a proper reflection of the protests I oppose.  Feel free to disagree, that is your right.  And I promise that if you do I will not pop a squat on your lawn.

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