From Slacker to Shitlord – Confessions of a Reluctant Generation X “Activist”
I hate writing about politics. I would rather be writing movie reviews. I don’t even like politics. The only reason I write about politics is because at some point a few years ago, everything became so politicized that it became almost impossible to to disengage and detach from it on any practical level. There is no longer any escape from it in one’s daily life, other than through some form of escapist meditation or mind time travel adventures.
If I so much as check my email, there will be a social justice oriented opinion story on the login screen. If I wanted to watch sports, there would be a politicized protest taking place on the field, politicized sports analysis in the pregame/postgame show, a politicized halftime performance, as well as politicized “public service announcement” commercials. Almost all television shows and movies now have either heavily or subtly politicized themes. The rare ones that don’t, get criticized for not using their film for incorporating social justice issues into their plots, not having “diverse” enough casts, etc. If I want to go to a musical concert, there is a good chance the musicians on stage will be ranting about some political cause, or if they don’t..you can almost be sure that they will be virtue signaling on social media about “black lives matter” or feminism or whatever, if you like their music enough to decide to follow them on there. You will probably regret following them.
I had a very long “career” of hanging out in the indie “scenester” subculture and nightlife from about 1992-2010 without encountering much in the way of political confrontations or discussions (though the number began increasing steadily after about 2003.) I don’t go out much anymore, but I wonder to what extent avoiding politics in small talk is still possible. In many cases people’s identities themselves are politicized, “Let me introduce you to my friend Aubrey, she’s pansexual.”
An old friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he was going to start deleting people, because he was sick of how it was becoming all politics all the time. “We’re all just victims and enforcers now” he said. This was surprising to me given that he was the type of person I would have assumed would be all about social justice identity politics, but he was also close to my age, and regardless of ideological disagreements he probably is nostalgic for the time when politics wasn’t everything, when people had other interests and hobbies, and when we could get away with being “too cool to care.”
As a prototypical Generation X slacker, when I rewatch a lot of my old favorite 80’s and 90’s indie films, I can’t help but think how alien they would seem to many young millennials. Most of my most heated debates in the 90’s were about obscure bands and movie directors, late night angst ridden philosophical discussions outside Circle K or 7-11 (before the cops would eventually kick us out for loitering.) More than anything I remember talking about what girls we were into and over analyzing our dating misadventures (though not in any way resembling the way PUA and manosphere types discuss these topics today.) Sure it wasn’t an entirely apolitical environment, but nobody I knew took politics very seriously or was invested in the political process to any significant degree. Some of my old friends have become so politicized now that it’s impossible to maintain a friendship with them if your opinions veer outside the realm of what they find acceptable (their choice not mine.) Luckily, some are still too disinterested to care, and we occasionally hang out and argue for hours over who was the hottest angel on Charlie’s Angels (1970s version.)
You see a disconnect with a lot of the older writers in the AltRight/AltLeft political sphere, who are often sarcastic, apathetic and misanthropic. When they get pushback from the younger, aggressive and committed shitlord revolutionary types..believers in the cause(or any cause,) they’re often taken aback and annoyed, “Like why are you guys so serious man?, you people think you’re going to change anything? Yeah, Right.”
I’m not a millennial or whatever the new “non-binary” generation is now called after them (Generation Z?) I will probably never be able to identify with them or have the same mindset they do about much of anything. Our life experiences are just too different (remember pagers? I didn’t even have one of those until I was 19, and I didn’t own a cellphone until I was like 25!)
Generation X people and early millennials have to learn to accept the fact that we’re well into a new era. The one we came of age in was a unique period of time which Bret Easton Ellis refers to as “the height of the empire.” That empire has slowly collapsed under its own weight (it was already collapsing even then, but most people were too comfortable to notice or take action.) The identity politics genie is not going to be wished back into the bottle. Those soul searching record store days and shows about nothing aren’t coming back. Still, our cynicism, angst, skepticism, ability to disengage and see through bullshit have never been more valuable than now. I used to think millennials were all going to be useless SJWs. To my surprise, many younger people have energy, talent and commitment to fighting these anti-whites. Maybe we can help them direct their energy towards something other than slaving for globocorp and video game activism. If we’re too apathetic to take their online militancy seriously enough to participate with both feet in, maybe we should just step out of the way. The astute hyper-analysis which we’ve frivolously applied to so many movies, records and relationships over the years, might actually be useful to those millennials determined to hack their way through the PC power structure, and we could help them navigate the pitfalls that our idealistic, striver parents failed to avoid. I don’t know, maybe we can do something, if we feel like it.
Brandon Adamson is the author of Beatnik Fascism