Tag Archives: Millennials

(Slightly) Annotated Predictions for 2017

1)The US government will release some year-end statistics regarding things within their purview with the intention of reflecting their positive handling of those said items. My take: “Statistics are for losers..” (Attributed to many sports personages.)

2)There will be some major announcement regarding contact with aliens, i.e.the space people, not the illegal ones. It could come in the form of a confirmation of intelligible radio signals from outer space or the Trump administration seeking to “trump” Hillary and produce bodies from Area 51. My take: “We meet aliens every day who have something to give us. They come in the form of people with different opinions.” (William Shatner)

3) A  relatively unknown figure will emerge to lead a rebellion in the Democratic Party against the old fogies currently in charge. This middle-aged person will be a centrist opposed to the left-wing bomb throwers who made all the noise during the last election, but had their influence muted by the Machine. My take: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” (Will Rogers)

4) The 2017 word of the year will be “kitchen debate”.  This is actually a term we will revive from the 50s. It was then that Soviet premier  Nikita Krushchev  and American vice president Richard Nixon engaged in public arguments in a model American home in Moscow. They became known as the “kitchen debates”. Current Russian president alluded to these debates at the end of 2016 when he said that he refused to engage Barack Obama in “kitchen diplomacy”.  I assumed Putin was referring to the fact these interactions between Krushchev and Nixon were mainly viewed as a publicity stunt. Donald Trump will continue this kind of diplomacy with bombastic tweets regarding foreign leaders and governments. My take: “If you can’t take the heat, get our of the kitchen.” (Harry S. Truman)

5) Starbucks seems to be taking over the world. However, their bubble will begin to burst due to subtle changes in customer service and so-called “rewards” that have made them more like a pricey McDonalds. My take: You’re slipping Howard.” When we began Starbucks, what I wanted to try to do was to create a set of values, guiding principles, and culture.” (Howard Schultz)

6) Coverage for health care will remain as confusing as ever, if not more so, since the Republicans are going to be fiddling with Obamacare. My take: Find a financial navigator who will guide you through the morass.“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” (Walter Cronkite)

7) After an election period in which many Americans hold young people in disdain, calling them “snowflakes” and decrying their need for safe spaces, some Millennial will become an icon to their fellows and all of the nation because of their courage. This unlikely hero or heroine will completely change youth culture and be universally admired. My take: “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” (Kurt Cobain)

8) With the rise of terrorism incidents and uncontrolled crime in cities like Chicago, Americans will mimic the Germans and begin to form vigilante groups to do the job our federal, state and local governments won’t do. My take: “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.” (John Phillip Curran, 19th century Irish politician and orator)

9) Though Millennials (ages 18-34) now are the largest living generation, surpassing Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) by about half a million according to Pew Research, the latter will not go quietly. Expect loud reactions from older people over the outrages constantly circulated in the media these days. These folks are twice as likely to be conservative than their youthful counterparts. That’s no surprise given the old adage “if you are young and not a liberal you have no heart, but if you are old and not a conservative you have no head.” Though conservatives are generally less likely to protest and just go about their business, the Trump victory in the recent presidential election revealed that Baby Boomers are not going to sit on their hands and watch the culture go down the toilet. My take:” Do not go gentle into that good night,.old age should burn and rave at close of day;
rage, rage against the dying of the light.” -Dylan Thomas.

10) I predict I will be wrong on at least half of these predictions. Therefore, instead of living in the past or future I intend to follow best selling author Brendon Burchard’s approach and slow time down, focusing on today and the moment, taking deepr breaths and seeking to be a better person.  My take: “A great man is a torch in the darkness, a beacon in superstition’s night, an inspiration and a prophecy.” (Robert Green Ingersoll, 19th century leader of the “Free Thought” movement, which  stressed science and reason over religion, tradition and authority.)

Happy New Year!

 

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Responding With Love in a PC Culture

I have to admit that this aging dude has a hard time understanding today’s youth. And I have taught college since the early 90s. An upsetting experience I had with a Millennial last night has just added to my perplexity.

I love classic movies, so when I saw that The Jazz Singer (1927)  was on Turner Classic Movies, I made a plan to watch it in a student center on my local college campus. The National Film Registry selected this film as one of its culturally, aesthetically or historically significant movies. It is the first full length feature film with sound.

There is a well-known scene in this flick when star Al Jolson puts on black face and then sings. I didn’t even think about that clip as being part of this movie when I turned it on. But with about 30 minutes left,Jolson is shown putting on the blackface in his dressing room before a Broadway play. When he appeared on the screen, I heard a female voice say,”Oh my God. Turn it off!” At first I ignored it, but I finally decided to move to another seat with another TV out of her and her friend’s view. This young lady and her friend were African American students.

But apparently this wasn’t good enough for her. She followed me and told me to turn the film  off in my new location. “It’s disrespectful,” she said.

I said,”Ok” and wanted to add “say please” but decided it was not in my best interest and turned it off. I went to get my stuff near them and said,”I get it (why she was upset), but I see it as history.” She wasn’t pleased from her facial expression and I added,”But I turned it off.” She replied (to her credit),”Thank you for turning it off. Have a good night.” She looked away from me and obviously didn’t want to engage me on the subject anymore (Not to her credit.)I sat down for a few minutes, but I felt shamed and left.

Part of the reason I felt shamed was that I am a person who has tried quite hard to understand the African American view on things for a long time, but somehow I missed that perhaps Jolson’s blackface would be upsetting to someone in a classic movie. I actually took the time after I got home to write and call Turner Classic Movies and ask them if they had discussed broadcasting “The Jazz Singer” with African-American consultants.

I wrestled before bedtime with my feelings after my encounter with this girl. I went back and forth. On the one hand I thought she was right to be offended, although I wasn’t sure quite why since the movie was almost 90 years old.  On the other hand, I wanted to know where I should draw the line on such things. For example, should I not watch a World War 2 movie which shows a swastika for fear that a Jewish young person might get offended.

I checked in with some people to find out how they felt about my experience. (They were white.) A couple folks understood her feelings, but thought she overreacted. Others thought that the young lady was “punishing me” for not bowing down to cultural norms of political correctness.  She could not let my viewing of this movie pass in this public setting, but felt compelled to say something, although privately her and her friends might have watched the film and laughed at is outdated characterizations.

After a night’s sleep I have come to my own conclusions. This woman chose to publicly humiliate me.  My problem with this young lady was not in her value system. My problem was in the way she chose to handle her discomfort. The better way would have been to approach me privately, explain to me that what I was viewing offended her, and ask me politely to turn it off. Instead she loudly issued commands to me. This girl’s approach to me was form of fascism.

To her, I had committed a crime and I needed to be publicly punished, perhaps especially because I was an older white male.  Neel Burton M.D. (2014) explains:

“To humiliate someone is to assert power over him by denying and destroying his status claims. To this day, humiliation remains a common form of punishment, abuse, and oppression; conversely, the dread of humiliation is a strong deterrent against crime.”

Once she had inflicted her “punishment” on me so that she was satisfied I was “corrected”, she felt no need to continue a communication with me.

Burton helped me to understand my reaction to the woman’s strategy. I felt violated and was not sure how to proceed in trying to maintain my right to view what I damned well please.

“When we are humiliated, we can almost feel our heart shriveling,” writes Burton. He notes that  we become focused on our humiliation, experience as plethora of negative emotions and internalize our humiliation to such a degree that we lose sleep, have nightmares, become depressed and even consider suicide.

Not only that, but humiliation also erodes our ability to defend ourselves according to Burton. Negative reactions to the humiliation such as anger and violence are useless in any case, he says, because they “do nothing to repair the damage which has been done.”

Burton adds that the only solution is to learn to live with the humiliation, which takes self esteem and strength, or give up our lives completely.

In practical terms for me, the latter means not necessarily giving up my whole lifestyle, but it could mean giving up watching certain films in public. I suppose this is doable, if for no other reason as it it will show kindness to others like this offended black woman.

I am informed by my Christian faith on this approach. The Apostle Paul talked of welcoming others, but not in an argumentative manner. He advised that we should not put a stumbling block in the way of others because of our insistence on upholding our own freedoms.

So I believe I took the correct approach in my actions last night. If giving up my right to a film somehow adds glory to God, then I am all for it. I will just have to trust him to deal with people like this young lady in the way they treat me and others when they are resentful.

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