The Boo Hoo Generation
I don’t know if you know this, but somebody blew Boston off the map last week. Well, that’s how it sounds according to the news and social media. Watching events unfold on twitter that night I noticed “Sandy Hook” was trending. I always like to see how people try to tie one tragedy in with another so I clicked it. What I found was this tweet…
“Im still a teenager ive been alive for: -9/11 -the sandy hook shooting -the dark knight rises theatre shooting -and more“
And then another one…
“Sandy hook, theater shooting, Boston bombing, threats from Korea….and im still under 16.”
“9/11 -Virginia Tech Fort Worth Aurora, CO Theater Sandy Hook, shootings -Boston Marathon Bombing. And I’m only 17. #sad”
On and on and on…
“I’ve been alive for -9/11 -sandy hook shooting -theater shooting -bombings in boston – more.i’m only 13”
“I’ve been alive for 9/11, the theater shooting, Sandy Hook and now this. I’m not even 16 yet. :/”
“As a teenager,I’ve been alive for 9/11 Sandy Hook the Dark Night theater shooting and now the Boston Marathon bombing“
They went on forever. These kinds of tweets repeated for several pages, saying essentially the same thing over and over and over. The funny thing is that these kids probably think they’re saying something deep and meaningful, but to me it was just enraging.
Look, people getting killed and having their legs blown off sucks. It’s a tragedy. We all get that. Even though it was a marathon and marathons are stupid as piss and people who stand around watching marathons have to be the most boring people alive, it’s still a tragedy. Let’s get that out of the way. It’s a sad, sad, sad thing. But the one thing I’ve never understood about these types of situations is why people love to wallow in that sadness. We’ve become a nation that is obsessed with grieving and feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s not sad enough that there’s a severed arm holding an empty Gatorade cup lying across the finish line, we have to make it sadder by lighting candles and listening to Sarah McLachlan songs. All the news station will be showing the footage for days while opening their broadcast with the slow, sad, piano version of their normal bombastic, happy, upbeat theme songs. You won’t be able to go to a sporting event in the next month without being forced into a moment of silence where you’re supposed to pray to the magic man in the sky of your choice who could have stopped the bomb to begin with if he actually cared or existed. A few months from now we’ll be watching yet another benefit concert with The Who, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones raising money for crippled marathon runners. We’ll watch the Donkeys and the Elephants argue for and against banning assault pressure cookers and passing blame, because the person who did it is never actually responsible for his own actions. And every April 15th for the rest of time will be filled with remembrances and tributes. People will head out to a Red Sox game a couple of years from now and all of a sudden some guy with one arm and half a leg will get paraded out on the field and Regular Joe up in the stands will be like I just wanted to watch a game and eat a hot dog, why am I looking at this sadness all of a sudden?
Within a couple hours of the event, a picture of a guy with his legs blown off hit the internet and everybody went crazy. People started attaching a story to the picture and claiming this guy was running the marathon in honor of the Sandy Hook kids. I remember one tweet saying “He ran in honor of the Sandy Hook victims and now he’ll never run again. #sad” As soon as I saw that I said I’d bet money this story isn’t true. It turns out, it wasn’t. Not only was this guy not running for any victims, he wasn’t even in the marathon, his girlfriend was.
Later on, somebody Googled a picture of a little girl running in some kind of race and tweeted it out saying it was a picture of an eight year old girl killed while running the Boston marathon. It was obviously fake. Within minutes of it hitting twitter it was completely debunked. Yet it continued to spread. Then the story grew to where the girl in the picture was an actual student from Sandy Hook who survived the shooting and was running the marathon in honor of her friends who died. It continued to spread and spread. It went around for days. Meanwhile an actual 8 year old boy WAS killed but HIS picture has barely spread because his story wasn’t sad enough for the self obsessed Boo Hoo Generation.
Yes, these events are sad and tragic. These people deserve to be saluted and remembered. My problem with all of this is that it’s not real. These are fraudulent tributes from fraudulent people who use tragedy to either further their own agendas or to somehow make it about themselves and throw their own pity parties. You think the news cares about these people? The news is scorching their shorts over this. NBC yanked Revolution off so they could have prime time coverage of a bombing that happened HOURS ago. Why was that needed? It wasn’t. There wasn’t anything new to report by then. And if it was needed, why not take off the entire prime time schedule to cover it? Oh, because The Voice was coming on and that is their highest rated show. But Revolution is only average, live bombing coverage will definitely do better than that!
You think those sports teams actually care? HA! They’re just looking for good press which the tragedy obsessed news will be very glad to give them as they try to shove this story down our throats as much as possible. If that sports team cared about doing something good for the community wouldn’t they let everybody in for a donation? Everybody who wants to see a game and salute those who died can come down, donate whatever you can to Red Cross and you get in the game for free. HAHA! Yeah right! No. They’ll gouge you for a hundred dollar ticket, gouge you fifty dollars for parking, gouge you ten dollars for a hot dog and twenty dollars for an eight ounce beer. But they’ll let that guy with one arm throw the first pitch from halfway between the catcher and the mound.
But the people who really annoy me in all this are these youngsters. Teenagers…YUCK. I am a very old man. I’m thirty seven years old. I’ve been around for nearly forty years and I’ve seen all sorts of despicable stuff happen in this world. I’ve seen despicable stuff from across the world that didn’t affect me in the least and I’ve seen despicable stuff in my backyard that affected me personally. (One time I was eating peanuts and accidentally threw the shell into my mouth instead of the nut!) But for the majority of my life the world didn’t absolutely lose their marbles anytime a tragedy happened. We sent our thoughts and prayers, we picked ourselves up and we moved on with our lives. We had a two word saying that we lived by. The most brilliant two words to ever grace the bumper of a 1984 Crown Vic. Two little worlds:
There is no logic in this world that is more universally true than that. Shit happens. Shit happens to you. Shit happens to me. Shit happens to everyone. Shit is part of life. When senseless tragedies occurred we didn’t care about them any less, but we did understand that you can’t make sense out of the senseless. We understood that the world wasn’t perfect and never will be. But these days “shit happens” is nothing but a memory. These days people seem to have this idea that the world must be made perfect and nothing bad should ever happen in it. When shit happens we have to make sure it never happens again! This is, of course, impossible. No matter what laws you change, what random things you ban or what celebrity filled PSAs you make, shit happens. If it’s not somebody shooting up a school, it’s somebody bombing a marathon. If it’s not somebody bombing a marathon, it’s an earthquake. If it’s not an earthquake, it’s a hurricane. If it’s not a hurricane, it’s an “always on, always connected” console that bans used games. No matter what it is, shit happens and it always will. But, for some reason, people think differently now. They think everything can be fixed and we can create a perfect utopia where shit never happens. Somebody got shot? Ban guns. Problem solved. Somebody got shot again? Ban video games. Problem solved. All these type of issues have converged and created The Boo Hoo Generation.
We’re creating an entire generation of kids who have been so sheltered from the realities of this world that they can’t handle adversity. They can’t handle it when shit happens. The fat kid in school doesn’t get a Valentine’s Day card so his parents complain to the school and now Valentine’s Day is banned in the school. The fat kid doesn’t get picked for kick ball so his parents call the school and get kick ball banned. When I was growing up I WAS that fat kid. I didn’t get no stinking cards from anybody. Gym class was a nightmare. But never once did I go home and cry to my mommy about it and ruin it for everybody else. I didn’t care. It was ok, shit happens, I’m gonna go home and watch Transformers now. Today’s kids though? Uggh. BOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!! I finished last in the race and didn’t get a trophy!!! BOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!! Mom gets on the phone and gets the kid a trophy. And boy, oh, boy when something REALLY tough happens like this Boston thing, they really lose it. They run to the guidance counselor to help them get through it. I think about when I was a teenager and how my friends and I would react to these kinds of events. It’d be like…
“Dude, did you see what happened???”
“ Yeah, that was crazy.”
“ I know.”
“ I bet some Middle Eastern guy did it.”
“I’m going with crazy white guy. Oh, by the way, I’m starting to think Use Your Illusion 2 is better than 1.”
It’s not that we weren’t empathetic to the situation, but sitting around dwelling on it to the point that we were damn near scared to leave the house was never an issue. But these darn kids today….why, I oughta.
But why did these particular tweets get my goat? Read them again. Can you see what they all have in common? They all feature *I* in them. Not a single one of them is showing any concern whatsoever about the people the event actually happened to. Every single one of them is making it about themselves. *I* lived through this, *I* had to see this, ME, ME, ME, ME. Oh, poor little babies had to see something bad on the news. Awwwww. These tweets enraged me for a few reasons…
1. I know it’s really tough that you’ve witnessed some bad situations in your young, important 16 years, but here’s an idea… go live in Central Africa. By the age of sixteen you’d get raped three times, have your genitals mutilated, be dying of AIDS and Malaria and you’d be making 3 cents an hour working in a mine to unearth rare minerals that cell phones need so some self important douchebag in America can tweet about that time he heard something bad happened on the news. Or, hey, maybe you could go live in Afghanistan where shit happens on a nearly daily basis. Or maybe you’ll be even luckier and the Taliban will strap a bomb on YOU. Don’t worry, these are special bombs that only blow outward, you’ll be fine. *wink wink*
2. Stop acting like living in a time of a few tragedies makes you special. We ALL lived through tragedies. No matter what your age is now, by time you were a teenager you had seen some crazy shit happen. In my first 20 years I lived through the Challenger explosion, the Tylenol murders, several Post Office mass shootings, the San Francisco earthquake, the Luby’s massacre, Mount St. Helens, Waco, the Lockerbie bombing, President Reagan getting shot, Ishtar, Adam Walsh, Son of Sam, John Lennon’s murder, Lynyrd Skynyrd dying and more hurricanes, tornadoes and airline crashes than you can shake a stick at. Never once did I ever think to say, ohhhh, poor pitiful me having to be exposed to this madness!!
Aww, poor baby has had to live through North Korea threats? I lived through something called THE COLD WAR! I lived every day of my first 15, 16 years with the knowledge that the missiles could already be on the way and we had no idea that Armageddon was right around the corner. I remember going to school and having to do nuclear war safety drills. 75% of every movie made in the 80s was either about nuclear war, a near nuclear war or the post-apocalypse. It was everywhere. I still have nightmares to this day about nuclear war. And you know what? It was awesome. I wouldn’t change a thing. We need to bring it back. Back then we were too busy worrying about mushroom clouds to care if Janet Jackson’s nipple fell out, if a comedian made a gay joke, or if our kids got hit a little too hard while playing dodgeball. The threat of nuclear annihilation trumps EVERYTHING.
3. But enough about me. What about the generation before me? You think maybe they seen some shit happen? I dunno, what about…VIETNAM? How about Kent State, the Munich hostage situation, the JFK assassination, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, The Zodiac Killer, Jonestown, Charles Whitman, bell bottoms, the Edmund Fitzgerald, the unshaved vagina. Better yet, let’s talk to the black people of that generation. They were blasted with fire hoses and bit by German Shepherds because they wanted to piss in the same hole other people did.
4. What about another generation back? Ever heard of a little thing called THE GREAT DEPRESSION? Think maybe that sucked? My Grandmother spent her childhood years living in an abandoned train car. Think that was fun? Hey, how about WWII? You think seeing two bombs go off on the news is bad? TRY STORMING THE BEACHES OF NORMANDY!!! Was it awful to watch thousands of people die on 9/11? Yes, it sure was. As bad as six million Jews dying? Not hardly. Do you realize the worst school massacre in this country’s history didn’t even happen in any of the tweet lists above? It happened in the 1920s!
5. Sure, sure, sure, you’ve seen some shit happen. I get it. But you know what? You’re also living in one of the greatest time periods ever. When I was your age if I wanted to know how to spell something I had to find a dictionary. If I needed to learn something I had to go through encyclopedias that weighed a combined 348 pounds. If I wanted to cook something I had to have a cook book. If I wanted to learn how to play something on guitar I had to buy a guitar magazine for the tablatures. If the VCR broke I had to find somebody to fix it. Today you don’t have to do any of that. You have a little device in your pocket, barely larger than a credit card, which does all this for you. You don’t even have to learn anything or be smart because everything you could possible need to know is a thumb away. When I was in high school I would’ve been glad to go through a few tragedies if it meant I had access to Wikipedia instead of sitting in the library browsing through microfiche. When I wanted to take a picture, I had to take 24 pictures to finish the roll, and then wait a week while somebody developed it just so I could get my picture back and see a lens flare is covering half the damn thing. I sat there for hours playing Pong trying to invent a story in my head to explain the game and you get Mass Effect? You’ve never even blown an NES cartridge! My first TV weighed 3 tons, it got five channels and the remote control was hooked to the TV by a cable. You’ve never even dealt with VHS tracking! You know when I wanted to go somewhere I had to use a map? Maybe even an atlas! You have a magic box that talks to you and tells you where to go. Even your bad things are better. Oh, you got cyberbullied? Boo hoo. Nobody bullied me by photoshopping my face on different things. I got pushed down a flight of stairs. Do you realize I actually had to go to a store and buy music? Do you???? I actually had to know my friend’s phone number to talk to him!!! Can you even imagine how hard that was??
Here’s my advice to The Boo Hoo Generation. Shut up. Just shut your mouth and go outside. Look around. The birds are chirping, the wind is blowing, and the sun is shining. Nobody is out to get you. There’s not a crazy man with a gun fixing to shoot you. I know it sucks that you’ve grown up in the middle of this culture of fear mongering vultures. You’ve had to grow up with 24 hour news channels and social media shoving everything down your throat. You are constantly bombarded with some kind of media. You’ve even dealt with Glee. But simmer down. Your world isn’t that bad. You’ve got it pretty good. Ok, FINE, maybe you will get shot by a lunatic with an AR-15 or have your legs blown off by a pressure cooker, but the odds are pretty slim. The odds of you dying in a school shooting or a terrorist attack are so tiny that they’re pretty much non-existent. So get over your fucking selves.
P.S. I noticed not a single one of you tweeted a damn thing about nearly 200 people dying in that Chinese earthquake. I get it. That happened over there to funny looking people, nothing to bring you down!
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