Claim Your Generation

Generation Meh

In Food For Thought on January 4, 2011 at 9:46 pm

If you had to choose one word to describe our generation, what would it be?

For the makers of a new feature-length documentary called ReGeneration, the answer is this: Apathetic.

Narrated by Ryan Gosling and featuring thought leaders such as Noam Chomsky, Talib Kweli and Howard Zinn, ReGeneration asks two basic questions:

1) Why are young people so apathetic?

2) What can we do to change it?

In exploring these questions, the film tackles topics such as the influence of technology, our tenuous relationship with the natural world, our insatiable appetite for consumption and the economic factors holding many of us back from becoming more active participants in our communities.

By the film’s end, the stories and commentary lead to one universal conclusion: our society is at a crossroads – economically, environmentally, and intellectually – and we must change ourselves and the world for the better.

http://vimeo.com/11579616

What do you think – are we a generation defined by apathy? What compells us to care?

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  1. I had an amazing conversation with a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement about a year ago. I asked him what he thought we, as a generation, should do as a tonic for our perceived apathy. I expected him to agree with the common wisdom that the Facebook Generation is contributing nothing. But he pointed to me, and to my friend holding the camera, and said we’re doing it. He pointed to kids in the inner city who run math literacy programs. He said that these things take place under the radar because we’re still young, but soon we’ll be making the narrative of our time. I think some of us are working against apathy, and I think the proportion of us who will succeed may be no different from previous generations. It’s just not the accepted cultural wisdom to say so. Think of how many in the “Greatest Generation” made their money on the stock market and spend their days watching marathons of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. The Civil Rights Movement, to take an example from the movie trailer, was an extremely small, motivated, and vocal percentage of an otherwise disinterested, self-absorbed generation. This has not changed.

  2. I agree with Joe here, apathy of young people is not characteristic of this generation, it’s simply characteristic of young people in general. It’s a debatable generalization to say that previous generations have been more “concerned” about their surroundings. It would be fairer to say that historically, it’s easier to focus on one major effort by previous generations. Utilizing web access, this generation has a much more decentralized movement that could be better described as a multitude of smaller movements that are often entirely unrelated.
    That’s not to say more can’t be done. I see this point in time as a boiling point for change. I don’t mean the lofty notions of change from a political platform, but fundamentally altering society’s perceptions of the world. I see the biggest obstacle to true development now are the previous generations and their influences.

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