Young People Today…

My generation has been deprived of its birthright.

For thousands of years, the elderly – a state I have yet to enter but which I am approaching – have had the God-given right to decry youth in pretty much the same terms. There’s even a bit of graffiti engraved within one of the pyramids, I believe, as a worker bemoaned young people for their lack of respect, unruliness, and wanton behaviour.

For our generation, though, forget it. When I see young people today I want to put a Molotov cocktail in their hand and tell them to go blow something up.

A friend of mine was telling me how his late-teens daughter was listening to her music in her room while he listened to his in his own. Ten minutes in, she was banging on the door. “Dad! Turn that racket down! We’ve got neighbours, you know!”

Another friend complained about today’s pseudo-punks – no rebellion in ’em, no understanding of ‘anarchy’ beyond a slogan on a shirt – before realising how he sounded and ending, lamely, with ‘Chunter chunter…’

Not that this is the first time it’s happened. It kicked off in the 1980s, this clash of youth sub-subculture with that of their elders. I remember a Thatcherite entrepreneur decrying his hippie father with the words “He should cut his hair, go out and get a real job instead of sitting around in his disgusting room all day listening to that racket and smoking joints.”

One of my pet hates, the abuse of the word ‘awesome’ so that now it has come to mean anything dull and insipid, seems symptomatic as young people use it to bless weak things with weak smiles for want of any real excitement. It’s saying something when the biggest thrill in a youthful life is to fake it with hyperbole.

What annoys me most about all of this is it’s not as if there’s nothing out there right now to decry. There’s plenty of it. The world now, more than for a long time, cries out for youthful rebellion. Why is it still down to our generation? We had our parents telling us to calm down and grow up. Now we’ve got our children telling us.

Around the time I turned fifty I was gratified to hear the phrase ‘Fifty is the new thirty’ come in for frequent use. It made me feel a whole lot better. To complete the phrase, though, I’d add ‘Twenty is the new forty-five’.

Young people today. Honestly, it’s disgusting.

… chunter chunter…


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