New York City
April 5, 2011
Here we go…AGAIN.
This time, we’re getting it from HuffPo and a Mr. Michael Kaiser, whose affiliation with The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., makes him a powerful proponent for the arts. Unfortunately for our nation’s capitol, his personal feelings about the Millennial Generation make him a powerful proponent for pulling the funding from young artistic endeavors. Who’s going to want to finance a generation of drooling, ambivalent, self-entitled, adolescent Peter Pans, who have never, according to Mr. Kaiser, been exposed to “high art?”
I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Liz Maestri for responding to Kaiser. She gives him a run for his money and I encourage you to read her post today, entitled Join Michael Kaiser In The Fight For Youth
And of course, I had to respond to her excellent post. All of us need to champion another voice rising up against this regurgitated argument. Kaiser’s position is offensive not only because of what he says about Millennials, but also, because his talking points have no evidence to support them as anything but pure conjecture.
Can I get a round of applause, here? Will fellow ladies and gentlemen of the Bacchae, please stand up? Make some noise, hail Dionysus and antagonize this Pentheus out of his walled city to play….
SNAP! You are awesome. Thank you for writing a brilliant testimony. Excellent use of the classical method for deconstructing the reputed position, I might add. Ad hominem rhetorical redundancy, meet the Millennials! (And they say we’re all too dense to appreciate the arts.)
Very articulate, passionate and cogent response to this Kaiser’s HuffPo article, one I fear to fully read myself. Having a personal investment in the fight for my generation, it feels damn good to see someone else standing up against the senile and redundant rhetoric.
I’ve been actively refuting the Millennial stereotype since I saw the front page of January 2005’s TIME Magazine and read its “TWIXTERS,” Opinion/Editorial. The ripple effect of this Lev Grossman piece has been astounding. Six years later, reading about our (as in Millennials) ‘cultural-sociological evolution’ in the mainstream media has been torturous for folks like us but like candy for the elder generations, primarily Boomers. Even more frustrating, they loathe any Millennial who dares to write an article defending the stereo-type. I’ve tried. The effect is a wonder to observe. How seething with rage and sadly disenchanted people seemed, as made evident in the responses. Why such anger? Why the disenchantment? Why is it our fault?
The position being argued, despite all the circumstantial evidence and statistical analysis, remains offensively weak. In almost every article written, the same three errors in judgement appear. Unfortunately, people like Grossman and Kaiser forget what it was like to be 25 or 34. That is their first mistake.
The second mistake is the most egregious because its hypocrisy augurs a kind of transfered neurosis. Their own experience of transitioning from an adolescent to an adult is not a qualifier for negating the promise of youth, the character of a generation. On the contrary, it is a qualifier for an empathy that every generation begs of their elders. “I’m sorry, I thought the whole James Dean, Juvenile Delinquency, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Hippie Movement, and stuff, was younger generations rebelling against the elders who misunderstood them?”
The third mistake is one I cannot believe they keep making because it is so damn obvious: Technology. We are in the middle of a technological revolution that is rapidly changing our culture, our society, our environment, ourselves, but it’s not like it is the first time in human history this has happened (Guttenberg’s Printing Press? The Industrial Revolution?)
And if you look at our history, who has benefited most from these changes? The Arts. Every time a new technology is introduced, the elders quake in fear, predicting the death of one artistic form or another. Then, the artistic medium, apropos of imminent doom, proves how they underestimated the arts, yet again. We are better at adapting and surviving than given credit for.
Simple logical deduction reveals how our generation is facing an unprecedented and yet-to-be defined set of obstacles appropriate to this world we all share. Um, is it just me or is this NOT rocket science?
It is not going away and is only getting worse. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing such a powerful post. We need more people, more voices making noise in the face of this nonsense. MTVN’s and Reality Show’s depiction of American Youth/Millennials are far from the reality of who we are. Sadly, Kaiser is neither the first, nor the last in a long line of misguided, agist, tired old Pentheites. But keep in mind, they do not win their fight against Dionysus and the Bacchae. For the same reasons Euripides’ play is still being adapted and staged today, the moral of the story has relevancy thousands of years after it was written. Some folks just never learn. I say, we take THEM to school.
(Does this Kaiser have ANY kids? Seriously, because if not, he’s insulting his own generation more than ours at times. My parents want their money back from all the productions they took us to at The Kennedy Center. That’s 30 years of patronage, times 5 seats per production, adding up to quite a hefty sum.)