In its Dec. 7 issue, The Flat Hat published “Class on ’68 provokes thought,” a brilliant and insightful piece by Confusion Corner columnist Dan Piepenbring. In it, he notes that our generation is perceived as lazy, apathetic, unintelligent and, worst of all, unsympathetic with regard to our fellow man.
p. They’ve named us Generation Q and Generation Z, accusing us of being the “New Silent Generation,” alone and uninformed in an ever-expanding world of communication and Wikinformation. They also call us Generation Y, a nation of embittered unbelievers and uncultured Culture War activists.
p. Yet we’re anything but quiet, and we certainly have our beliefs. Bill Gates got it right when he named our generation the iGeneration, an impersonal electronic community out of touch with humanity, disconnected from a hyperconnected world. It is out of this familiar, electronic isolation that we’ve become what I like to think of as Generation I.
p. Generation I is two-fold. First, as Piepenbring communicated through David Foster Wallace’s Commencement speech, we are, at bottom, a lot of self-celebrating narcissists. It is in our image that we paint the world, and our perception of others is appreciated only in relation to the self. This state of violent self-inspection renders it impossible for us to see beyond ourselves, negating the very humanity of our peers and objectifying them as markers of how much better we can be. The virtues in others must only be ours, and so we go about ambitiously outdoing and obsessively overdoing the other. This is how we are hungry.
p. So, in effect, we have our beliefs. They are as strong and stubborn as any religion known to man, proselytized by Tyler Durden, practiced by Patrick Bateman. Naturally, the poster boy for this facet of Generation I can be found in the character of Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, Esq.
p. Between Facebook and phone tapping, no other generation has been so thoroughly examined as our own. Never has there been a mass of people so seriously self-surveiled, so consciously self-inspected, so eagerly self-exploited as us. We are a Generation of “Eyes,” a generation of voyeurs, compulsively seeing, always unseen. We are a nation of gazers, spaced out on MySpace and YouTube. It is out of this perpetual absorption of the insignificances of others that we’ve become little less than an assorted accumulation thereof.
p. The other face of Generation I is faceless, an entity whose anonymity trounces that of the Lost Generation and whose post-’60s activism is without action. Our irrelevance is made known to us.
p. In a last-gasp attempt to prove otherwise, we blog.
p. The College community is in a rage, heaping its irrelevance onto a given article. They are unforgiving, unyielding and unknown, hiding behind the blanket of a false e-mail address, a friendly first name or an alias. Your given blogger will impersonally attack the character of the author and the integrity of his fellow bloggers in a string of idiocy, incoherence and intentionally incendiary irreverence. Rather than praise an article’s merits or argue a point worth noting, anonymous bloggers beg to differ, disagreeably expressing their misgivings toward a given campus-wide event, activity or known figure — not for the sake of genuine concern, but for their own sake. It is a wonder the belligerent bloggers don’t take up an open forum beneath a relevant, urgent and intelligent article concerning our incapacity for human compassion, opting to rant and rave like mad against a piece on facial hair.
p. Just as staff writers, guest columnists and featured members of the community are being held accountable for their words, unsympathetic bloggers should be held accountable for their posts. The Flat Hat needs to modify the settings on its website so that some sort of e-mail confirmation takes place before the comment is posted.
p. Either way, I can guarantee that the Flat Hat writers are uninterested in what these anonymous bloggers have to say. Only a few will build upon the tradition of investigative journalism; most write with either themselves or their future employers in mind as their primary audience.
p. __Sherif Abdelkarim is a junior at the College.__