A Piece of Work


I was just recently trying to find an article that I spotted on msn.com. The title? Why is Gen Y Broke: Dumb, Arrogant, or Stupid? While I scoff at most prejudices, I was certainly offended by this one. Why is it okay to assume that people of my generation are lacking funds out of their moronic decisions? I’m sure if this article was retitled Why are American Negroes broke? Dumb, Arrogant, or Stupid it would certainly piss people off. So, I had to read it. On my computer at work the Internet is completely blocked. Some small shipment worker at our warehouse perused teen tramp sites and we all must pay for his sins. I could only skim through the first page, which goes on to speculate the numerous ways we youngsters fuck up our lives, what with our expensive learnin’ and high demands. Drafting a few therapists and financial analysts to set the record straight, fingers point to the lack of education on budgeting and finance preparation. I believe the statistics were that less than 30 percent of people under the age of 30 (or something like it) were unaware of major financial planning when entering the workforce. The statistics seemed distorted to begin with, as they were quite vague as to who fits the criteria for being a part of Gen Y. It was simply a condensed version of a bigger problem facing our doom, a doom we all seem to share, as we will hit the wall when raising the bar. They mentioned student loans being a major problem, but the tone of this article suggests that students who bear these monetary burdens are, in fact, crying about the bed they made and have to lie in- if only we went straight into the workforce to pay off their debts to those who birthed them, then, we can attend schools with astronomical tuition and hopefully try to untie the knotted, spider-like intricacies of FAFSA.


I recently read an interview with Chinese author and punk rock Anarchist Chun Sue, whose highly acclaimed book, Beijing Doll, was banned in China for its explicit nature. She could only have the book published in a small province, as no other major house would accept it. She is part of a young generation of flourishing artists, writers, and poets who marry the organic carvings of the artistic craft with a refined acknowledgement (and appreciation for) those finer things in life. She calls herself an anarchist who likes to wear Chanel. The interviewer asks her to comment on the opinions of older Chinese writers who look down at her subculture as one of self-indulged youths whose chase for excess and material success steers them away from the cultural and political concerns that once plagued poets and writers years before them. This is Chun Sue’s answer:

“The past generation was too concerned with politics and culture. My generation witnessed the effects.” (Poets & Writers)

This statement unraveled the inner ideals continually pinned to my breast, a sort of sacrificial feeling that traded in worldly posessions for the better things, for the fruits of unseen labor hanging from trees. While Sue is defying the traditions of her Chinese culture, I wonder if her reasons could apply to us here in the states. So much excess! This is what I think of when stepping outside. And it is only here and some of our other well-known cities and metropolises, where those fruits are smeared on billboard, propped up in windows, decorating all the tiny shops that we pass by. Could Sue be right? Could all generations suffer from the same pressure to perform better than those voices that still resonate from the past? Are we trying way too hard and ending up shortchanged? Sure, my generation has tumbleweeds in their pockets, but-as far as I’ve experienced-I meet many people of my age who have traveled through Europe, volunteered their time to major organizations, learned Asian dialogue for their next big trek. Though, the common dollar does not discriminate, we do. For Sue, her answers to the questions I’ve posed is Yes! We are trying way too hard because the issues our parents and grandparents faced are different from that of our generation, a generation heavily equipped with confounded gadgets and instantaneous gratification at every turn. Progress is rushed, and we are on a time crunch for change. This is where artistic movements are reinforced; this I understand. But, what are we really trying to say about this moment, this moment of sustenance, this moment faced with an inevitable disappointment that we just didn’t get it right at all?

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