Personal Manifesto Part I: Abolish The Snowflake Narrative
The modern media seems to be obsessed with trying to put today’s youth in box and complain about how we represent the end of one vital piece of American culture or another. This isn’t new. My grandfather still blames my mother’s generation for ruining Jazz . My great uncle thought that my mother’s generation of baby boomers are far too soft. What is new, and disturbing, is that unlike my parents’ generation my cohort has to live with this omnipresent disdain, fear, anxiety and useless platitudes 24/7. While the greatest generation might have disproved of the freewheeling baby boomers, at least for young people in the 50’s and 60’s, unplugging from this onslaught was a viable option. Yet my generation has to hear about how we all live with our parents after college yet still feel entitled to everything 24/7 on social media, print media, television, and not mention the parents that many of us still live with.
I’m tired of hearing about it. Not just because the criticism is wrong, though much of it is. I’m tired of it because we are, more than anything, our parents children. We are exactly what our parents, pastors, teachers, MTV and movies taught us to be. I’m also not interested in blaming our parents for our current problems either because if there is one thing we can all agree on, is that it is up to young people to solve the problems the world faces.
So here is to every child and grand-child of the Baby Boom Generation. Here’s to every black rimmed glasses wearing, sandaled, tattooed, pant sagging, God Fearing or Dawkins loving side show freak that wanted to write the great American Novel. This is for everyone who refuses to conform because they feel that they were born to be different and for every conformists who does it because it’s not cool. Here’s for the teetotalers, for the drunks, the druggies, and the high-on-lifers. This for the weed smokers, the abstainers, the occupiers, the workers and couch potatoes proud to be the grandchildren of the Tool Makers, Stackers of Wheat, Players with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handlers. This for everyone who was told by their parents and grandparents, by their teachers and coaches, and by everyone who ever thought that they could sing or act that they were special.
This, is for everyone, everywhere, struggling under the daily oppression of a society that makes us think average is a dirty word. I’m here to tell you that your gut was right, that nagging feeling telling you that striving to be “more unique” is as pointless as it is absurd, was the one you should have been listening to.
We have become a generation that conforms to nonconformity and is only unique in the sheer ubiquity of our attributes. Therefore we need to abolish the snowflake narrative. We need to reach deep within the obsessively organically fertilized soil and rip the roots of this idea from our collective consciousness. Being unique will not solve climate change nor will it end poverty. We need to realize that our power and our individuality comes not in our collection of personality traits and possessions but in the narratives we actively create and how we move about the world.
I am not arguing for mediocrity. Rather, I am arguing that instead of focusing on discovering our “unique story” and finding a way to regurgitate it in self centered therapeutic narcissism at dinner parties we should discover our unique voice within the euphony of the narratives in our community. With unique voices we can start powerful dialogues and began to tackle the challenges ahead of us.
Our voice is what gives us strength and a resilient identity. Like our bodies our voice adapts to our environment and grows and matures with age. Yet our voice never needs to whither or grow feeble and, because of the arts, it never needs to die. Our voice is how we express our needs, our wants, our desires and our loves. Our voice is how we move through the world. Our voices can overturn governments, comfort crying children, express our history and agitate for change.
When was the last time a snowflake did anything?