How to Lose a Generation

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Political Commentary / Society & Culture

In exactly 3 months I’ll be celebrating my 26th birthday. Having been born in 1981 I am part of 3 classified generations: I came in for the end of Gen X, the beginning of Gen Y and right in the middle of the “MTV Generation”, which encompasses parts of both. It’s too early to tell how my generation will pan out when we are the ones making decisions and leading our nation, but it’s a question I find myself constantly asking.

Today’s teens might not understand why we are called the MTV Generation, but it’s quite clear to us. When we were kids music was only on the radio or on cassettes. Then we heard of a TV channel that played music all day, and the artists made videos to go with their songs. This is back in a day where bands did not have websites that you could just go to for pictures and videos. The founders of Google were still in elementary school. Watching your favorite artist on television was the COOLEST thing we could imagine, and many of us spent many hours a day doing so. That was the beginning.

In MTV’s early days it was basically a bunch of punk rockers with a low budget, working out of a small studio in New York. They started putting together shows revolving around music and videos like “Headbanger’s Ball”, “Remote Control”, and “The Grind” to spice things up a bit. They were all extremely inexpensive productions. Then came “Liquid Television” which featured a series of animated segments including the world’s first glimpses of Aeon Flux and of course the oh-so-wonderful Beavis and Butthead. MTV then hit on a series of events that led them into the mainstream. Taking a “reality” concept from the show COPS, the producers of “The Real World” managed to produce a hit show with no script, no actors, and nothing more than a house and a few cameras. They followed that by giving Beavis and Butthead their own show in 93, and a year later when MTV News announced and covered the death of Kurt Cobain, they had officially become a huge, mainstream presence in the youth culture of the 1990’s.

By the turn of the millennium MTV had transformed into a completely different creature. They had moved into a shiny new studio, which they now filled with huge pop stars and adoring fans, and rarely played music videos at all. They’ve lost a lot of their original audience over the years, but have remained a prominent figure in youth culture. I have one problem with that. If there has been any theme on MTV in the last 15 years it could be summed up in one statement: “life is about fulfilling your selfish desires.” And the one’s they’ve chosen to highlight are money, fame and sex. Anyone paying attention would see how they blatantly promote these ideals. And this is what my Generation is named after?

In addition to the corruption of the youth of America through MTV we have also faced a shift in our education. There could be a lot of discussion about why and how it happened, but our educational system, primarily in academia (higher education), has taken a hard-left turn. Surveys show that 72% of full-time faculty are classified liberals. Fundamentally there’s nothing wrong with liberalism in my book. It encourages free thought, which is essential to the advancement of our lives as individuals and as a society. But Liberalism and Progressivism in America has come to equate with Secularism. It is an ideology that has taken the principles of free thought and applied it in a fashion that presents a new way of life. One where there are no limits, boundaries or consequences in life other than the ones we set ourselves. It has abandoned the concepts of our Judeo-Christian heritage and instead opts for the “free” life.

This is what is being taught to young minds who enter college today. Christianity is made the enemy because it places boundaries and sets guidelines on one’s life. It is mocked and ridiculed as outdated folklore that is designed to make people feel better while denying reality. If you believe in such rubbish you cannot possibly be intelligent, and therefore you will also be ridiculed and given poor assessment. Perhaps this is one reason conservative professors have been rejected from teaching in academia. Essentially, they are being rejected because of their traditional values, although they are perfectly qualified. Yes, I can see how free thought is being encouraged.

What MTV did for our generation was pull us into the media-driven, “entertain me” mindset. Actually, I might go as far as to say that it was the emergence of children’s educational programming in the 70’s that really started this trend, but it was MTV and Nickelodeon (owned by MTV Networks/Viacom) that kept us drawn to the set well into our teen years and beyond, and with that loyalty the media has been able to influence an entire generation as it never has before. Our love for media has spurred many changes in our modern society. We now get our news from the internet and 24-hour cable news channels, or for some, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. We have iPods, Blackberries, and tons of websites pumping out media and information as fast as we can click.

Is there anything wrong with having quicker access to media and networking? No. But there has been a change in the way we socialize, and in the way we receive and perceive information. When I look around at my own generation I see a lot of good people. But I also see a lot of people who are only interested in getting their own. Somewhere between MTV’s money, fame and sex, and academia’s “think free-live free” message, people seem to have taken it to heart. It’s like the hippie revolution all over again,… and maybe that’s because it’s the hippie generation that’s running everything right now.

I was inspired to talk about this after reading an article stating that the Republican party is losing it’s support among 18-29 year olds. I thought to myself what a shame that was. I am a moderate Republican because I believe that the principals of their political philosophy encourages a strong and secure nation and protects individual freedom… but I also believe that there are always stupid and/or lazy people and you can’t just let them suffer, therefore I concur with some Democratic ideals, and I think most Republicans would agree on that. But the reality of the matter is that most of my peers could not give me a solid explanation of what the two parties stand for. All they know is that Republicans are greedy rich white men who are only in politics for their personal gain. Unfortunately, Republicans have done a crappy job of addressing this misconception.

When it comes to talk radio conservative and Republican ideals dominate, but in every other major media – newspapers, magazines, television, and the internet – Left-wing liberal ideology takes precedence. Liberal websites like ThinkProgress, MediaMatters, MoveOn, DailyKos, and many others have completely covered the net with hateful propaganda, designed to cast Republicans as an enemy, and ridicule their association to Christianity. Does this occur on the Republican/Conservative side? Yes, but it’s much more focused instead of a widespread practice. You might have Michael Savage spouting off, or Anne Coulter saying something hateful, but you can’t point to a couple of bad apples to justify the behavior of an entire group of people. The reason you don’t get so much of this on the conservative side has mostly to do with the fact that they are more often religious and feel it is simply wrong to slander people in such a way, so the argument presented to the public becomes one-sided.

In addition, I think that as youth culture has shifted left, the web environment has done the same. It’s people under 40 who are running most of the popular websites. So that fact that liberalism has completely taken hold of the blogosphere is no surprise. In my last blog I spoke about the irresponsibility of the so called “journalism” on many websites whose sole job is to criticize Republicans and promote anti-religious “progressivism”. It’s a dangerous place out there, and we have to be able to think for ourselves.

I believe in traditional values. America is an incredibly prosperous nation with a strong economy, secure defense, and a respect for personal freedom and social advancement. We are a great country, and we got this way because of our values and traditions. We are the most Christian nation on the planet, and I believe that those principals of family and respect for God and neighbor have created a wonderful place and I want to do everything I can to preserve it.

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