Gen X talked a lot about the revolution, and then went and got themselves some venture capital and started laying into place the oversaturated, paranoid world we live in now. A lot of them tried to tell themselves they were still punk as fuck, but it’s hard to morally reconcile the thing where you listen to Fugazi on the way to your job where you help find new ways to trick people into giving up their data to advertisers.

— Josh Ellis on generations, war, tech, the sorry state of music, misery, hope, and the world.

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Senior editor at Longreads / Automattic

13 thoughts on “Brokenhearted

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this text and the photo, it truly is a perfect match. I’ve read it at least 10 times so far and I think it’s made me realise why writing for and trying to communicate with, let’s face it, my generation, can be so difficult. And frustrating. i don’t know how, I don’t know why, but I still have that “idealistic” bone in my body, but it gets so tiny when people put it next to their various accounts and salaries. It probably sounds weird, but I suppose you all know what I mean.

  2. You never know where your journey may lead. If these guys would have thought more about how they began, maybe things would be different. Our generation might do something worse, so I’m trying to not criticize too harshly.

  3. I think part of the problem lies in the fact that the ‘productivity’ requires an extraordinary amount of waste. In order to listen to Fugazi in your car, how many people have to assemble the CD player, the engine, the car itself etc. We are caught in a catch-22 where we have been convinced we can’t live without our luxuries and even the wide-spread promotion of counter-culture or revolutionary ideas requires technology and the products of labour. In short, we’re fucked. A very good post, by the way.

  4. Good material to trigger attention and reflection. Although I share the concern and even distress of the writer I think that we are still able to be more than banal capitalists who consume without any other choice. Each generation brings its share of greatness and failure. It is possible for us to remain thoughtful and intelligent without turning our back to progress. Our modern tools are powerful and it is up to each of us to set the boundaries. They allow conversations between citizens of the world, something that was not even imaginable in a large part of the 20th century. Only for that I think we are better off that older generations.
    Thank you, Cherri, for another interesting share.

    1. I don’t know what “progress” means anymore. I’m starting to think we can remain thoughtful and intelligent *by* turning our backs on progress, whatever it is. It’s hard to argue with the ease of communication the progress affords us with now. But maybe we should have stopped at the telegraph!

      1. No, our modern communication are great but we are still learning how to use them. See all the conversations people are having now wouldn’t exist without them. But we’ve got to be cautious. Nice to read your comment.

        1. While I pack essentials, check my list, and try to make the best possible plans, my teenager and i go unprepared, unknowingly following our weary hearts and an old fashioned road map. Our newfound homelessness leads us on a distant journey. We haven’t got a GPS, a cell phone, or internet mostly, and we smile because we are alive with adventure. We are towers of tragedy turned triumph. We have each other.

  5. Yes, and some leaders are now convinced that the time is right to begin the war on climate change, as the battles can now be fought with acceptable returns on investment. If you think I’m exaggerating, watch the last inaugural speech. Basically what I’m saying is that collectively we place a lot of blame on a lot of all kinds of individuals, while we remain mostly oblivious to fundamental systemic flaws.

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