Solo GenX Warriors

Game over. Let's start a new game.

Archive for the tag “WTF”

37) Facebook, Fake-News, and Friends

i-am-no-buttercup

I am the resisting sort, a non-conformist, and a skeptic of well — Everything. I read widely and deeply. I try to have an open mind. Like many Americans in the historic months leading up to the election of 2016, which felt like an excruciatingly long and painful bowel movement, I watched the news constantly. I read a broad width of news articles, online and in print as if my life depended on it, and everything I was doing in my life outside of work took a backseat. I listened in full, to the candidates running for President of the United States of America and what they had to offer. As a citizen of my country, I felt an extreme obligation more so than ever before to be actively engaged and aware.

With that, I must tell you; I had several existential crises’ in the months leading up to the election. I lost hope several times and plunged into darkness, and when I came out, my social media friends were there. They inspired me and encouraged me and I felt an obligation to them to continue posting the best information I could. If I could not verify it I wouldn’t post it and I think my friends relied on me and so I continued to fight with information and thoughts and hope and encouraging words.

My motivation was that I was very worried. Worried that there were things at play I didn’t understand completely. Worried that the news may be somewhat tainted and the sources I grew to trust were not telling me everything I needed to know. I was worried that sensationalism and speculation was overriding fact based reporting. Worried that American citizens were not reading the same base information, not scrutinizing every post in their social media feed, and I found myself defending authoritative sources against fake news sources.

…I found myself defending authoritative sources against fake news sources.

In the pre-digital days, it was easier to pinpoint fake news. In that time, most people knew that the trustworthy news with the best sources were on a separate aisle next the stationary and Hallmark cards. You could pick up a National Geographic, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time Magazine (thicker in content back then) and a plethora of well-researched feature articles and thoughtful opinion pieces. One could spend an hour reading and feel reasonably satisfied, up-to-date with the barometer of world news. You could get this news at any grocery store or convenience store. The important news was widely available and heavily stocked. Only at the checkout stand, were the sensational kitsch rags, which everyone might pick up while waiting to chuckle at ‘Bat Boy’ or the most recent Elvis sighting. Only your crazy conspiracy-theorist uncle would think that some legitimate stories were buried in a copy of The National Enquirer or Star. The majority of us knew better and it was obvious.

On Facebook, I received a flood of reactionary comments to my legitimate sources. I tried my best to sort out and clarify for them and myself, responding to everyone and encouraging them to continue the conversation. I was both thrilled to the challenge of debate, but stunned that so many people posted things unedited with irrational and poorly thought out responses. Worse, I tried to engage them to find facts/articles to back up their positions. The few who did post a reference article, referenced an obscure Canadian post from a single blogger with pixilated images or the one video of Barack Obama reading a book with a sexual reference that was supposed to cancel out the years of voluminous blatant sexual misogyny of Trump.

In particular, there was one Facebook encounter that brought out many things. His name was Dennis and through him, I found my archenemy to do battle with. He was relentless in his comments and so was I. It went on like this for several weeks. There were a few moments we agreed and I felt a welling up inside that perhaps we could reach across the brain matter and connect and we did on some levels. We shared some very personal things in private messages as he was from my same hometown and both of our grandparents knew each other. We had history in common that we shared privately, and heatedly debated our politics in public.

I learned a lot through this exchange. I learned that there are times to be vocal and learn from one another’s differing opinions and when to discontinue the dialogue to save your own sanity. I felt that we were engaging in the very thing that would make the founding fathers proud – civil discourse. As Christmas was looming, I felt that our discourse was beginning to sour and I felt angry as our discussion turned to women’s issues. This is where I had to let him go. I first restricted his access as a friend hoping that if he didn’t see my ‘friends only’ posts that we could stay in contact. He then started commenting on every single thing that I liked, not commented on, but merely liked. Instead of rabble rousing on my posts, he was now invading my friends’ pages of who unwittingly made the mistake of posting publicly. I had had enough. I allowed Dennis into my house and he invaded every room. I told him in a private message that we were done. I wish him well, but sometimes you have to shut out, Unfriend, detach, and let go the people in your life if they are depressing your soul.

Blue words are good in private for letting off steam, but are ineffective in conveying an important idea to an opposing viewpoint.

I tried my best. I wanted to change minds by keeping my language tame, respectful, and based in fact to the best of my ability. Blue words are good in private for letting off steam, but are ineffective in conveying an important idea to an opposing viewpoint. I give Obama credit as setting an example of profound civil discourse, as he stayed poised and respectful and tempered throughout his presidency on the level that matters to the American people. I think the majority of Americans, regardless of politics, can agree that Obama is inspiring and smart and capable of uniting the people even if they don’t like his policy stances or the color of his skin.

I think of Dennis often, as we approach the inauguration of the 45th President on January 20th. I wonder what he thinks of Trump’s Tweets, the investigations into Russian interference of the election, and the recent polls that show a majority of Americans uncertain of a Trump presidency. I know that Dennis is a lonely old man who seeks out political storms on Facebook for company in the middle of the night, and I, a lonely middle-aged woman seeking facts on Facebook in the middle of the night. I’m not sure how things will turn out. Trump is addicted to his Twitter account showing the American people more and more that he is strange and this is not normal.

As I write this, nothing feels right, or good, or hopeful. Yet, I hope that we will be okay. I hope that democracy stays intact. I hope that there are enough people who will do the right thing, whatever and whenever that may be. I hope that one day I can talk to Dennis again and share the history of our grandparents and that this whole experience will make us better people.


Copyright © 2017 Solo GenX Warriors
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

 

Advertisements

30) Comfort In Fearful Things

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.  – H. P. Lovecraft

I was born in 1974, the same year that Stephen King’s first book, Carrie was published and less than a year after the The Exorcist was released. It scared the crap out of my 11-year-old brother and perhaps incidentally propelled his spiritual life, transforming him into a God-fearing conservative Christian. The film broke box office records with millions of people standing in long lines. Many audience members passed out, up-chucked, and left the theater because the subject matter and raw graphics was too horrific to watch. I discovered the film on The Movie Channel, long after my brother left for college when I was 10-years-old. My parents never thought to dismantle the cable outlet…

I became my own parental control and watched anything that was dark, scary, or controversial. By the age of 10, I sampled a glut of R-rated horror films before I set eyes on The Exorcist. My earliest recollection was Blood Beach (an exquisitely dumb B film), then A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cujo, Halloween, Jaws, and Friday The Thirteenth (just in time for the coming of age of the 13th generation, AKA Gen-X). Rather than becoming desensitized from watching movies that most parents would never let their children watch today, it opened up my mind and hunger for knowledge.

Blood Beach Movie Poster

Although, I could not articulate it as a child, I was fascinated by anything that was physically unfamiliar, strange, unexplainable, and ultimately, anything that would horrify my mother or enrage my father. It wasn’t that I was rebelling from their attitudes. I was curious of why certain ideas provoked intense emotions within adults. I wanted to understand their reactions. At a very young age, I had a sense that the world was full of hidden truths behind closed doors, the back of dusty closets, underneath crawl spaces, the bottom of my mother’s purse and amongst the coins in my father’s pocket.

At night, I was afraid to run to my parents’ bedroom; it was too far away on the opposite side of the house. My dad built it that way. To get there, I had to run past a long hallway of tall closets, and my old bedroom where Mom reScary Treead her Bible every morning and night, and the bathroom, turn the corner past the fireplace, the entry way, the living room and kitchen, and finally, the dark ominous opening of my parents’ bedroom.

I learned how to be still, and breath, and conquer my fear of being alone. I grew to love the stillness of night, the rhythm of the moon, and things that moved in the darkness. My imagination was more colorful than reality and I learned to keep my eyes and ears open without fear of the vampire underneath my bed with his red glowing cape, or the Bogeyman outside my window that might pop his grizzly head up, or the wind quivering the finger-like branches of the tall twin pine trees against the full moon’s light.

I watched everything that was on television, if it peaked my interest. I grew to understand that basic fear was a human impulse resulting from a lack of knowledge in that, which is feared. Real fear was primal, the kind that connected to your gut. I learned the differences and the middle ground in between.

As a young adult, my experiences were haphazard, sometimes pushing the edge of what was good for me, but knowing when to lay low or get the hell-out-of-dodge. Most of my real fear in these situations was in direct response to mortal human encounters: relationships gone bad, deceptive adults, and unpredictable human behavior. I learned how to trust myself: my senses, my impulses, and my intuition. In this way, I have always felt unique in my experiences, generationally and spiritually.

I am less afraid of Bigfoot, Extraterrestrials, Chupacabra, UFOs, and Demon Possession, and more afraid of men with guns, blatant sexual urges, deranged agendas, entitled egos, reinforced by political alliances.

I am less afraid of ghosts, haunted places, werewolves, and vampires, and more afraid of political instability, nuclear weapons, social chaos, and natural disasters.

Born and raised in San Bernardino, California, cult capital of the nation and one of the most geologically dynamic places on earth, I was less afraid of the devil and creeping things and more afraid of large rickety building structures and mass gatherings of people. My Atheist/Agnostic father and Seventh-Day-Adventist mother provided a rich contrast of dispassionate mechanical thought vs. constrained fundamental belief for my inquisitive young mind to ponder; a perfect environment for analyzing contrasting viewpoints playing out in a post-Nixon world. It is difficult to imagine the 1970s without the horrors of the time as it metastasized into classic American Horror films on cable TV.

When I first saw The Exorcist, I had absorbed large amounts of data through television, reading National Geographic magazines and my mother’s SDA literature and the KJV Bible (I think I was halfway through reading the begets of Chronicles, because my mother insisted we read the Word of God from cover to cover – enough to make one want to barf up green soup). Even though the movie was scary, I couldn’t help but feel a hidden hand moving over the whole thing to increase Church membership and tithe. I began to doubt my mother’s religious ideas early, before I was a teenager. I wanted to believe what she did because I dearly loved her and saw that she desperately wanted to transcend all that was bad, but she couldn’t provide answers that were concrete enough for me to accept them.

The Exorcist proved how powerful religion is over the minds of those too afraid to question things they do not understand. I have no doubt that there are evil ‘things’ in this world. But those ‘things’ tend to be human generated through calculated motivations. True knowledge saturates perceived fear. It provides a clear path for humanity to evolve beyond its own planned obsolescence. I take comfort in fearful things and seeking knowledge to understand them.

SUPPLEMENTS:

The American Nightmare: A Documentary
Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown Documentary
Fascinating Facts About The Exorcist
The Movie Channel Commercials – 1980s

 


Copyright © 2015 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

29) I Am Sick To Death But I Still Fight

Angry girlEvery day, I fight for my soul. I try to feed it oxygen, but the air is stale and smells of gasoline and cheeseburgers and rotting garbage.

Every day, I fight advertising and marketing and spreadsheets.

Every day, I fight to find the good in humanity…

I fight to find courage to live.
I fight the sadness of a world falling apart.
I fight to find peace of mind.

With a shifting and restless planet, I take solace in knowing the earth is fighting through earthquakes and pyroclastic blasts, venting the pressures that hold it all together. I let the words pour out, like lava. Words burn holes through the brain, force out the impurities of conforming conventional wisdom.

I am sick to death of conforming to institutions and social norms that are corrupt.
I am sick to death of convention that lacks conviction that should be self-evident.
I am sick to death of the wisdom of tired old men talking business and trading greenbacks and depleting the last hope for democracy, something I believed in once upon a time…

The Constitution and its promise is an illusion, a false store front, high fructose syrup that sounds pretty on parchment, yet everything we do undercuts the foundation of those carefully crafted words. My vote means nothing, but I still vote.

I am sick to death of a world whose religious beliefs, politics, and monetary interests overrides social progress, education, science and the welfare of the planet and all its life forms.

I am sick to death that writers, historians, philosophers, teachers, and artists must fight for their very existence while football players, politicians, lawyers, stockbrokers, and those born into wealth are more influential, privileged, and praised in society.

I am sick to death of oil drills and greasy machines and backyards full of junk.
I am sick to death of plastic and Styrofoam and concrete.
I am sick to death of consumerism and money and GDP.
I am sick to death of buying things that have to be thrown away.
I am sick to death of driving and getting nowhere.

I am sick to death of women giving birth to children without thought or consideration to the massive responsibility involved in spawning a life form into a world lacking everything to sustain that child.

I am sick to death of suburban mansions piled in neat, manicured rows in the desert and SUVs full of burping, farting, wasting human beings that drive 30 miles to soccer practice and idle their engines in long fast food lines.

I am sick to death of college degrees and career aspirations and MBA’s that focus on making money as the ultimate goal.

I am sick to death of cardboard and packing tape and useless pretty things made in China multiplied by billions of air-polluting vehicles delivering the same useless pretty things to retail establishments that throw out large portions of what they bring in; all to sell at discount prices that are palatable for Americans that need cheap stuff to comfort themselves from the stresses of their daily lives who end up storing their cheap acquisitions in their garage.

I am sick to death of the blinding speed of daily life, police sirens more numerous than the chirping of birds, and the drone of air conditioners in a September heat wave.

I am sick to death of the thought that I could be armed with 500 guns and never safe from a nuclear bomb.

I fight to stay engaged, to have a voice.
I fight to love and not to hate.
I fight my thoughts that words are futile.


Copyright © 2015 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

26) The American Dream is a Prison Cell

Growing up, I was under the illusion that my father was good with money and was conscientious about his investments and what he chose to buy. I learned later on that my father’s motivation was entirely based on my mother’s hormones. He would do anything to assure that she stayed with him, even moving our family when we were better off, financially speaking, to stay and pay off the home we lived in. All of this was hidden from my view; yet, I continued to think that he was making sound choices all along.

As I began attending college, I had to take out student loans, like the majority of other middle class students who were lucky enough to attend college. My primary motivation was that I had to pick something that would land me a job. Survival and independence was the ultimate goal. I often wondered why society calls it education, when the reality is to get a job and serve a life prison of work for pay to consume.

I first majored in Business. Like many young people, I was swayed by the idea that knowing business will be a guarantee to get a job and thus achieve success. As I spent the first year of college in business courses, a great anxiety slithered along the edges of my perception like worms in moist earth.

I didn’t like what I was doing or learning. The language was empty, calculating, devoid of the natural world. Dressing up, making appearances, walking the walk, talking the talk, my soul plunged into the void. Oxygen escaped through my pores every time I opened the doors of the creaking building.

The light disappeared into the polished floors of the hall; every classroom was filled with the templates of PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and cut and paste Word memos with cheesy clipart I had seen on thousands of student flyers stapled onto billboards. Being ‘creative’ was equated with changing the color scheme and typography on your spreadsheet.

Everyone dressed in smart suits and shiny, black shoes clicking as they walked, like the sound of register tape pounding out numbers and dollar signs. Some days, I would stroll down those halls, feeling sick, observing my fellow students regurgitate business principles and economic trends mimicking their pale faced heroes on the trading floor of Wall Street, going blind staring at an endless stream of financial tickers.

scantron

About this time, I saw the film, The Matrix. There was no color to this world, no life in it. After taking a marketing class, I realized that my DNA was fundamentally opposed to everything I was being taught. A storm passed over me, a kind of existential crisis. I tried desperately to study for tests. I was a poor test-taker to begin with. Give me an essay question and I can explain everything. Our tests consisted of multiple choice and true or false questions, just like all of the CTBS tests I took in grade school with many rows of dots on Scantrons.

I was never any good at them. I overthought my answers and had difficulty with the process of elimination. Elimination is waste and in my world, everything must be considered before being discarded. My Business Law professor told me I think too much. I was completely depressed. What can I do in this world that has meaning and real satisfaction? I can’t buck up to make this work without going absolutely mad or becoming a sociopathic asshole.

My roommate, Tracy, was also a Business major. I came home to our apartment in tears. After several cigarettes and a few beers, she pulled out the course catalog and showed me a major I had never heard of.

“I was thinking… you are really creative. Why don’t you see about getting into the Graphic Design program?” she said. “It’s still business oriented because you work in marketing and advertising, but you design logos and other stuff.”

I took one look at the catalog and knew that’s what I wanted to learn. I needed creativity. I needed more than black numbers on white paper. I needed color and hues and tints; I yearned for new ideas, research, strange juxtapositions and conceptual exploration.

Three years later, I was in my junior year in Graphic Arts taking a class on Ethics in Design. Once again, I found myself in a panic, questioning how I would make a living in this field and I began to worry. Even though I reclaimed my soul in the creative element, would I be chained to the whims of business interests, would the color of my world dissolve into oblivion with the incessant needs of my clients to sell things I didn’t believe in?

After all, I would have to engage clients whose bottom lines were engrained in their business plans and the bottom line is all anyone can focus on. Was I willing to sacrifice my creative energy to see it produce another useless consumer product, more waste, more of the same? Was I willing to use my design skills to manipulate the public in ways that inherently were wrong and completely unsustainable?

The answer was – No.

After graduation, I took a retail job as a temporary solution with the hope of planning my next career step. After a year, I signed up for a 401(k) and contributed more than was recommended, having educated myself on money and trying to save more than I spend, once again knowing the future was uncertain and I had to pay my student loans. I subscribed to Money magazine and drew up a spreadsheet, keeping track of my expenses and re-balancing my portfolio every year. I did this for five years, careful to plan everything out, how much I would save and keeping my interest income figures low, just in case. That all changed…

I was clearly the wrong demographic for Money magazine, so I let the subscription lapse. Money magazine was for people who had $5,000 to invest, a mortgage, a kid or two in college, and a nest egg of at least $100,000. Nothing in the articles represented anything I was going through.

Four years later and an economic upheaval in 2008, I began to focus less on money, and yet, I saved it because I needed to sustain myself even though I knew the system was absolutely screwed. I began to downsize my living to the bare essentials. I stopped servicing my car and driving only when I absolutely needed to. I became more reliant on my computer for communication than my phone.

Now, my lifestyle is still at bare minimum. I have enough money for my creature comforts; coffee, cheap wine and $1 books at the library bookstore. I pay for a phone I hardly use and pay off my credit card each month. Debt is my enemy; a prison cell and I’d rather just go without, not see my friends, not drive anywhere. I write every day, I read every day and I hope every day for a revolution of consciousness.


Copyright © 2015 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

23) Mortgage Meltdown: A Gen-X Survival Story

Elena was a hotheaded Italian woman in her late 30s. She dressed in breezy skirts, high heels and several layers of makeup darker than her neck, giving her the appearance of a mismatched mannequin. Elena was my boss. We specialized in “expert negotiation and arbitration of credit problems.” I was 21 and this was my first real job.

I worked in the office alone for two weeks while Elena was on vacation. Before she left, we reviewed several credit reports left over from the previous Director, who took cocaine lunches and quit without notice. He used Wite-Out over the bad stuff and faxed the changes to his clients. While Elena was in Florida, I contacted 150 clients to convince each one that we would service their files without the use of Wite-Out. Naturally, I was quite relieved when Elena returned.

We were a two-girl office under the umbrella of New England Financial Corporation, a company based in Riverside, California. NEFC was a fly-by-night that sprung up in response to the mortgage crisis in the mid-1990s. The small brick building lined with purple pansies was like a Norman Rockwell painting, a pretty front to hide reality. The economy was in the dumps and consumers were under water with their mortgages. NEFC offered a solution – for $2,000 they would short sell your home and guarantee no impact on your credit.

The atmosphere in the office was fairly casual. One day I walked into the storage room to retrieve a file. The Executive Accountant suggested we close the door so we could be alone, exploding in giggles. Earlier that week, he brought his newborn son and glowing wife into the office for show-and-tell.

It was worse when he was around the General Manager. They tossed out sexual innuendos, convulsing like Beavis and Butt-head until Elena would curl her lip and displace their comments with a sarcastic punch. Luckily, for us – our office was relocated.

The new office was on the 2nd floor of an attractive business suite in Grand Terrace. I loved my job. I wrote business letters, mailed dispute forms and kept the office organized. Every 20 minutes Elena would go outside to smoke, combing through the pages of credit reports, leaving behind red-kissed cigarette butts like dead soldiers on a battlefield.

Within five months, we made good progress on our client’s files and received few negative calls. The company partners offered to put me through paralegal school.

Then, one day in early April, Elena received a phone call from NEFC. They fired their secretary, a bulbous breasted young woman who would talk about Endometriosis while dropping salad in her cleavage on our lunch break. I was called in to take her place. Elena was pissed. We had a ton of work come in – all failed clients of NEFC – no charge. She was pissed about that, too.

“Why don’t you buy yourself a bottle of Wite-Out, Mike? I can’t remove your mistakes,” said Elena, slamming the phone in its carriage.

Reluctantly, I drove to the Riverside office. The last time I remembered being there, employees would stroll by on their way to the copy machine, shoot the breeze and watch the O.J. Simpson trial on the TV next to the coffee machine. No one was around upon my arrival. The constant ringing of phone calls from desperate customers infiltrated the building. The General Manager told me to take messages. I was the only person answering the phones. One client received a 1099 from the IRS moments after waking from a stroke in the hospital. He owed $42,000. Others had similar stories.

“Sir, I’m so sorry,” I told the man, “Unfortunately, there is no one here that wants to talk to you. I recommend that you do whatever you think is necessary to take care of your situation.”

On April 13th, 1996, the day was warm and sunny when I pulled into the entrance to NEFC. Several white, unmarked cars were sporadically parked in front of the building. I parked and walked down the pathway to the door. Two men with bulletproof vests greeted me. One tall, stone-faced man was from the California District Attorney’s Office and the other, from the Employment Development Department.

“Do you work here?” the DA guy inquired.

“Yes. I answer the phones,” I said.

A suited man with a clipboard took my name and instructed me to go into the conference room. We were kept for 5 hours, interviewed by the DA and EDD personnel as a group and individually. By the end of the day, four locations in Riverside County were raided and over 100 files confiscated.

I was escorted to a chair in the conference room and sat back to watch the show like a cat on a limb with coffee in hand. Two NEFC partners and the General Manager were sitting at the long conference table. They looked like prisoners facing a firing squad; their impending doom was palpable. Dark, wet circles formed under their arms and the ceiling lights reflected the sheen on their creased faces.

After the interviews, I was released. I was dying to talk to Elena and drove to the other office. When I walked up the stairs, Elena was walking out carrying a computer monitor.

“Get out of here,” she growled. They were raiding our office, too. Not wanting to go through a second interrogation, I walked past the broad window of our office and down the other stairwell. That night, Elena came back to the office and stole some furniture, a phone and a fax machine. She asked if I wanted to go with her and take some items as compensation for the paychecks we likely wouldn’t receive. I declined.

I never acquired my last paycheck. During the months that followed, I returned to my previous job as a part-time cashier at a gas station. I had to move out of my apartment. I stayed with several friends, sometimes sleeping in my car before my shift. Two years after, I left Southern California and moved to Oregon.

I learned a lot during those 8 turbulent months at New England Financial: always keep your nose clean, if a co-worker asks you to sit on his lap – it’s called sexual harassment, you can live on bananas and Top Ramon, beware of businessmen wearing tropical shirts and never mess with an Italian woman who has a twin sister.

Courtesy of Newspapers.com

29 Aug 1993 • News Record, North Hills • Pennsylvania • Page 43 | Courtesy of Newspapers.com

REFERENCES:

Company Profile for New England Financial Corporation. Updated 17 Jun 2014. Wysk.com Web. Accessed 19 Jun 2014.

Harney, Kenneth. Washington Post Writers Group. Title Transfer To Avoid Debt May Bring Tax, Credit Woes. The Seattle Times, 12 Nov 1995. Seattletimes.com Web. Accessed 19 Jun 2014.

Mulligan, Thomas S. ‘Credit-Repair’ Firms Raided in Riverside. Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr 1996. Articles.latimes.com Web. Accessed 19 Jun 2014.


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

20) Letter to Baby Boomers From Gen-X

Dear Baby Boomer,

We are Generation X or whatever you want to call us. We are the youth of the nation… or were. We don’t give a R.I.P. Our destiny is written on the wall, starting with civilization. We are nihilistic by nature because no one wanted us to be here…

Never mind. We seek Nirvana, a place in the world to shelve our Trapper Keepers, our tear-stained journals of rage, our misunderstood expression of anger toward a world with no future lodged in the throat of Sid Vicious, a casualty to the Boomer drug experimentation legacy. Thanks for the bump.

Oh, the 1970s… a putrefied pustule on the zit of history, like a Halloween pumpkin rotting in late December.

The 1970s

The 1970s

We don’t blame you, Boomers. You were just another generation among many, going way back. We can see far down the pike of human existence and we are uniformly disgusted with all human beings, including ourselves. So, don’t take it personally. You just happened to give us a lot of stupid, frivolous, narcissistic doo-doo that doesn’t matter a hill-of-beans to any human dead or alive… but we aren’t taking names or numbers, just sharpening our secondhand pencils for another round of philosophical debate.

Don’t worry. We have your best interest in mind, along with your children even though they were loved more than us. We slam danced in the backseat of our parent’s VW bugs, smacking our heads up against the windows and flying headfirst into the dashboard when our father hit the brakes. Honestly, we have no deep-seated anger that our own parents didn’t flash that cute little “Baby On Board” sign when they drove us around without seatbelts or car seats. We just laughed it off and stuck our stuffed Garfield plush dolls in the trunk with the butt sticking out to show we have a healthy sense of humor.

Okay, let me explain the whole “punk” thing. It’s not about talent, you silly Boomer. It’s about revolution. I know you know what that is. You don’t understand our music because it’s too painful to listen to and reflects the existential dark matter of human misery that we feel every day. Yes, that’s right. Our music feels bad and sounds bad to you because we feel worse than you could ever imagine. To us, your music sounds like the Intro to Loony Tunes.

We were left alone, watching MTV videos in the middle of the night sucking on Nerds candy, waiting for our parental units to come home, too tired to fix us dinner and so we make ourselves another crappy box of Mac & Cheese. We are born into a world of sustained horror, greed, AIDS, useless politics, and recessions that fall like dominoes every time we try to move up in the world from a cardboard box. We have never felt that anyone owes us anything and only want a better world for everyone. So, we deserve a break today.

Be nice. Give us a hug. That’s all we ask.

With love and adoration,

Generation X


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

16) Where Is There?

There is just here.

WHERE IS THERE?

Is it a ship that arrives with adoring fans
waving and blowing kisses in the wind on a pier?

Is it a coupon book that promises the best price on
Doritos and travel cruises, but wait… there’s more?

Is it a cozy room where you spend your retirement doing nothing in particular?

Is it a gold trophy that will sit behind glass collecting dust?

Is it the moment you lose your virginity?

Is it a check in the mail that makes it okay that the drugs you live on
will keep you feeling nothing for another week?

Is it the moment you wake up from giving labor and realize you can’t possibly live with the beautiful creature you brought into the world because you are more helpless than it?

Is it a purple heart you proudly wear in the darkness of your trunk?

Is it landing on an isolated, powdery moon without oxygen?

Is it a large sum of money you count until you are certain it is enough to sustain you before you die?

Is it a nice polished, mahogany coffin with your hands displayed neatly, slumped and silent?

Is it the moment your chosen creator comes to relieve you of your suffering?

Is it when you learn that nature does what it does and you still suffer?

Is it the moment before death when all you have lived passes before you like a David Lynch film and you search for the meaning and there is none?

Is it the moment you realize that all of history is more relevant than your entire lifespan?

THERE is just here.


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

14) H. R. Giger – Honoring An Important Artist

I recently learned that one of my favorite contemporary artists and an important figure for Generation X died at age 74 on May 12, 2014.

H. R. Giger

HR Giger in the 1980s. Photograph: Louie Psihoyos/Corbis Courtesy of: http://www.sagactoronline.com/

H. R. Giger, a Swiss artist celebrated for his creation of the darkly beautiful aliens from Alien and its sequel Aliens. Giger was an important window into human anatomical psychology. Highly controversial and seemingly perverse by many critics, he laid open the biological functioning of sexuality in combination with surreal landscapes that reflect the darkness of the modern world. Giger won an Oscar for his work on Alien.

Alien Xenomorph Creature

Alien xenomorph developed for the film Alien by HR Giger. Courtesy of: Boingboing.net

I’ve always been deeply affected by Giger. His work depicts a shadowy garden of human sexual functions, exploring all that we are and the disturbing possibilities of a human biomechanical future. He colors the haunting quality of my own childhood growing up with my father’s guns and industrial wastelands that lurked below my pristine mountain home; a world changing at terrific speed and the sense that there was nowhere else to go but rot in place.

In Giger’s work, nature is confined, twisted, wrenched apart, trapped, manipulated and in it the soul is barely visible through filmy eyes of nymph-like femininity surrounded by creeping things hugging, grasping and penetrating every hole. Giger lays open the body to show us the pipes and fittings, juxtaposing sexual organs with mechanical chambers of guns, metal and organic mutating cells. These opposing elements become biomechanical creatures, a new species, a gallery of deformations and experiments. Giger is certainly not the first to explore this organic world. His ideas were greatly influenced by Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch artist from the 13th century dark age.

No. 341, Witches' Dance, 1977 acrylic on paper/wood, 200 x 140 cm   Courtesy of: http://homepage.eircom.net/~donpjkelly/hrgiger_gallery.htm

No. 341, Witches’ Dance, 1977 acrylic on paper/wood, 200 x 140 cm
Courtesy of: http://homepage.eircom.net/~donpjkelly/hrgiger_gallery.htm

Perhaps Giger sensed that we are standing at the gates of manipulating our own DNA, that our technology will thrust us into an unimaginable new existence. There is the feeling of inevitability, that we have no control over the transformation – the most frightening thing about his work. Freedom and choice potentially replaced by servitude and Orwellian control. Have we damaged the planet to such an extent that the only way we can survive is to change our fundamental biology? Giger explored these ideas and the filmmakers used his imagery, pushing the limits of these nightmares not to be grotesque for its own sake, but because we must think about them.

Artists like Giger, force us to the think about the uncomfortable, the icky things about ourselves, the things we must explore in a time we have the freedom to explore them. Without understanding this realm of the human condition, the horrors we could face might make artists’ work such as Giger seem as cheery as Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers in comparison.

I designate H. R. Giger as an Honorary Solo Gen X Warrior and may he rest in peace in a cemetery with a prominent tombstone.

Some people would say my paintings show a future world and maybe they do, but I paint from reality. I put several things and ideas together, and perhaps, when I have finished, it could show the future.  — H. R. Giger


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

13) Letter to Neil Howe

The following letter was sent to Neil Howe, author of several books on America’s generations including The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy – What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America’s Next Rendezvous with Destiny. Mr. Howe was kind enough to suggest that I might want to start my own blog if I planned to write “on an ongoing basis.” I thought it would be appropriate to share my letter with you.

Dear Mr. Howe,

I am in the process of writing an important article on Generation X and my personal experiences with the job market as it is today. I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice on where I might place it. I thought it would be a great piece for Forbes Magazine because it is an important statement on the generations and Gen-X in particular.

As a writer studying Generation X, I feel my voice is a unique and important one. I am a single, un-married female turning 40 this year; the quintessential latchkey kid with no prospects of a career other than as a writer.

My hero is Mark Twain and three big brothers raised me: Depeche Mode. My parents were of the Silent Generation and I am a latter-day-Xer, an outlier of the X generation. The fact that Mark Twain shares my generational experience upon learning this from 13th Gen, it further deepened my love for him and the reason I gravitate to his ideas. I always wondered why I loved the works of Virginia Woolf and Hemingway; discovering through your book that they are kindred spirits in another “lost” generation.

At 40, I have no children, no family and two houseplants. I live with my aunt, who I am grateful to every day for loving me and providing a roof over my head. I had a retail job of 7 years, at which I quit a year ago when I had several panic attacks and hit a wall. I made  $11.25/hour, which was comfortable for me. I didn’t care about the money, but the hours kept going down and I felt constantly abused by angry customers, too much product on the floor and worrying that I was alone at night at the cash registers in a gigantic store where anything could happen and did.

Nothing in college ever prepared me for this type of environment and I had to wipe my self-esteem off of the floor every time I left the building. Luckily, I found an online writing gig for 6 months. At first, there was plenty of work and I scraped by, cutting back on everything I did and savoring the small savings I had to get me through the year. Unfortunately, the work was sporadic and eventually dried up and I had to take my unemployment. Thank goodness for that!

I don’t mean to put all of this on you; however, I know that you understand our generation and what we are going through. I am extremely grateful to you for what you are doing in studying the generations and the importance of this information as we are in truly challenging times.

I thank you for your time and look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Latchkey Lisa


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: