Due to brand new research from the Pew Institute, the millennial generation now covers those born from 1980-1996. Myself and most of my staff were all born on the earlier portion of that spectrum, much closer to the 1980 cut-off point. In other words, we’re early millennials.
I lived through five years of the eighties in addition to the nineties, and find that some of my viewpoints are much different from those who arrived during the internet generation. I still pine for much of the eighties and enjoy its art, film, music and style – there was just something about it that I’ve always enjoyed. It was also the age before the modern commercial internet, which really became a thing in ’95 for most people, except for those who had enough money to buy an expensive computer around the time. I actually went almost two decades without the internet and even owned a phone with the cord still on it. I used to love the idea of a cordless back then.
I grew up with Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt and remember playing that game for hours, because it was the only game I had at the time. In this modern age, where everything can be found with one simple type into the Google search bar, it makes me sort of miss the days when I spent more time with the things that I had. There’s definitely too much media out there for anyone to consume, but I’ll get to that topic later.
More or less, we were eighties kids and we often get lumped into this crazy gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan social justice friendly lifestyle that we’re not all fans of. There are articles which read, “Millenials are finding issues with the James Bond Films…” for instance, and these really get my blood boiling. After all, it is not my generation’s fault. What these journalists are not taking into account is the incoming rise of the next generation, Generation Z. Please keep in mind that Gen Z was born on the internet and from ’96 to whatever cut-off date The Pew institute would like to use, Gen Z is now old enough to be in college. We passed the ten-year point when we went from ’00-10 and then sailed right into now, which would make them eighteen. Add six more years to that with ’96-00, and now the oldest Gen Z’s are in their early to mid-twenties at the very latest. Interestingly, that’s also the age where college protests were quite rampant, as well as all of the antifa and alt-right shenanigans or what I like to call the extreme left and right, respectively. I take no side in those fights, as I do not support any form of extremism.
It soon becomes easy to see that most of these instances were orchestrated online by tech-savvy kids who grew up on the information super-highway. That’s not to say that all of these people did, but some Gen Z’s are old enough to share a political voice and that should say a lot about the current societal path we’ve taken, for better or worse.
That being said, I’m sick of being blamed for much of the rhetoric that this future generation is spreading, whether that be in music, movies, comic books, video games or any other form of media. I don’t necessarily agree with much of the virtue signaling that I’ve seen going on, because to me it seems to portray more than just a little bit of hypocrisy and often displays people acting “holier than thou” on random internet posts and discussions. Let’s face it, no one here is Mother Teresa. Not even Mother Teresa was Mother Teresa, at least not in the sense that people think. The same can be said with Gandhi and other leaders that we respect. They each had their own agendas, their own goals for making the world a much better place to live. This also goes with the “no good person” philosophy, or that there isn’t one person on earth that is benevolent all of the time. We might say that certain people are “good people” until we’ve had the chance to know them intimately. We can jump into philosophy here, mentioning the fact that “no one believes they’re the bad guy” but I think you get what I’m saying. That isn’t to say that Gen Z are villains, but I feel that their goals in censoring everything that offends them might be a bit much.
There are obviously things that I do not like in the world, but I would never prevent anyone else from observing those things if they enjoy them. Usually, the response to this is for the other person to mention the most extreme or inhuman thing that they can and retort, “Well, if so and so was into this terribly depraved thing, would you want them to have continued involvement in it?” which in a way completely ignores the point I am trying to make here. There is of course a line, but that line was here before Gen Z and even our generation was born. There’s always a line that determines a moral from an immoral act, but that again goes into the “define moral” node of philosophy, and we can basically Game Of Thrones that question from now into eternity.
I won’t lie, I am tech-savvy and do get into a few things that Gen Z finds interesting. I also know some Gen Z people who consider themselves “old souls” or “old fashioned” so again, I can’t say that everything here applies to either generation.
I actually proposed the term “netters” to describe those who grew up online from those who didn’t, and I believe there is a very different way of thinking between the two groups that needs to be addressed. First of all, I didn’t grow up with Google. I grew up with the Encyclopedia Britannica. And yes, we used to have door-to-door encyclopedia salesman who would sell thick libraries of books that contained essentially; not even a small percentile of what can be found online today. I still remember doing reports with only these thick books, and taking a course on how to use them – even now that they’ve become an archaic relic of a bygone age. I feel that much of the knowledge I’d learned in that era was a complete waste of time and it’s a bit sobering to think that I lost several years of my life in an education that I had mostly forgotten, due to my brain considering it ultimately unnecessary. I wasn’t ever going to be on Jeopardy after all, and soon enough that might be as large a relic as that of Wheel Of Fortune.
That being said, I didn’t know what chat rooms were, I wasn’t aware of 4chan, social media was completely non-existent and it was considered something special if you’d had a pen-pal from another state, let alone another country. I grew up with tapes and vinyl, music videos were still on MTV and I even remember the fuzzy showings of Beavis and Butthead and Celebrity Deathmatch that I had to sneak around in order to watch. Spawn comics were also something special, because I’d never heard of something that dark and edgy before, keeping in mind that “edgy” wasn’t necessarily a negative term back then.
It was definitely another time and I daresay that the time raised me. In fact, I’ve seen some Gen Z’s deride our generation for being raised in toxicity. Well, they still have a long time to go before we’re out of the picture completely, so there may very well be many Toxic Crusaders for them to tango with for quite a while.
We didn’t really get offended much in my generation and we didn’t care much about politics either, as we were more concerned with cartoons, toys and video games – unless we were told to “go play outside.” I’m not even sure if it’s all that safe for kids to do that anymore. We did have some pop culture, but it wasn’t thrust directly in front of us at all hours of the day. There were just a few shows like Entertainment Tonight that would allow us to keep track of the new movies. Sometimes they would premiere the trailers or show footage from new films before the official release, rather than today’s modern method of releasing trailers and teasers for trailers (which I feel is super redundant).
We also read more books, though did not (arguably) see quite so many movies made from them as there are now. I remember when Harry Potter became famous and changed all that in the late nineties. We remember violent cartoons without edge like classic Looney Tunes for example, which is probably going to be considered an “obscenely vulgar and violent relic from the fifties that should be buried” by the same Gen Z based social justice groups.
We were the age of the “Satanic Panic” and the “Violent Video Game Ban” long before Trump recently called for it. Back then, the culprits were Mortal Kombat and Doom – Grand Theft Auto and Call Of Duty weren’t even out yet. They weren’t even thought of, to be honest. The only real Grand Theft Auto of that time was a top-down shooter. Carmageddon was thought of as pretty rough game, but by today’s standards, it’s a joke. Judas Priest and Twisted Sister were being blamed for everything under the Sun when it came to delinquent foibles, with Marilyn Manson becoming the closest thing to the antichrist that the religious right had ever seen. There’s a massive amount of similarity to the Satanic Panic and the social justice movements of the modern age, but I’m not going into that right now either. We just don’t want to blamed for them.
For those of you who grew up in my age and remember all of these things long before the internet generation, you would be considered more or less, a non-netter. As well as people who do not use the internet period, or those who don’t have a computer (which would still be Luddites respectively). For those who did grow up during the boom of the internet however, you would be considered netters. Even if you are a millennial, that doesn’t mean that you’re a netter. That doesn’t mean that many of the stereotypes being thrown around apply to you.
By this philosophy, I’m not a netter. I didn’t even have a personal computer to access 56k internet until at least ’98 and as you may have guessed, my first computer was a Windows 98. I’d heard about the internet, but was definitely late to the party because my stepfather was adamantly against technology of that sort, due to his upbringing. He thought it was the devil. My mother finally gave in and we purchased a Gateway PC from a rent-to-own place. Even then, I wasn’t doing an awful lot with it. I hadn’t even discovered pornography until my late teen years.
I had AIM or America Online’s instant messenger for several years after that, which is how I started talking to people from around the world, which was pretty cool. Then MySpace came, followed by the advent of social media and what many call Internet 2.0. This new advent gave anyone who had a voice the ability to speak it, regardless of who they were or what they believed in.
Unfortunately, that also resulted in a lot of madness that we see today. No, not all social outrage is complete and utter garbage, as people do have a right to be angry about things and will often. Though I will admit that it has reached the tipping point when I start to wonder as to whether or not I’m living in the Twilight Zone. But that’s a topic for another time.
Just know that millennial or not, not all of us grew up with the internet, and not all of us want to be blamed for many of the events that our generation is being tied to. Millennials are not the cause of all the problems in the world, so stop blaming us non-netters for these internet based fiascos. We didn’t even grow up with the internet, we try not to live on it as well. After all, we remember what the world was like before it. We’ll also be able to adapt in a world completely without it. Remember that.
– The Grim Lord
Stay tuned for Part II of this discussion, with an article from Flight Of Icarus from our partners in Metal Trenches.