For The Record | Issue 23

For The Record | Issue 23

We, The Noughties

As a society, we’re obsessed with labels. So it’s no surprise that we’ve given names to the past few generations. We’ve pigeonholed and generalised, using war as a simplistic reference: the “Greatest” lived through it, the “Boomers” protested it, and “Gen X” ignored it.

I recently read an article that labeled my generation – those born in the dying light of the twentieth century, coming of age in the face of the new millennium – the “Noughties”. Yet save for a rough birth bracket, the journalist in question struggled to define us. I think I can help broaden the description.

We’re a digital generation. Films will be replaced by YouTube channels, newspapers by blogs. We don’t want to press a button, give us a touch screen. We don’t know how to use a phone book, a dictionary, or an encyclopaedia; there’s an app for that. We can’t read a map or send a letter; hell, we can barely manage a telephone conversation. “Social networking” is a cruel euphemism.

We’re a generation of planned obsolescence; it’s in our blood. We subconsciously know that our iPhone will need to be replaced within the year, but that’s okay, because our phones are smarter than we are. We don’t shop in physical stores anymore, how quaint; the Internet fuels our rampant consumption. We’re not a target market, we’re the only market.

We remember the Nineties, but don’t dwell in the past. We’re denizens of the present, caught in the awkward decades of a young century. We have the newsfeed of the world at our perpetually-scrolling fingertips, but we’re unaffected. We’re too cool to let ourselves get drawn into the passionate world of the protester, too cool to speak fervently on an issue, too cool to take a side. Irony is our weapon, and we’re not afraid to use it.

We fear history, so we don’t look back. We fear the future, so we don’t look forward. We don’t believe in the apocalypse, and have seen enough science fiction movies to know that humanity can survive any kind of natural disaster. We don’t fear nature; we own nature.

We are the Noughties, hear us roar. This is our world now, but don’t expect anything to change. Even though it’s impossible to maintain exponential growth with such finite resources, we’re not slowing down.

For the record, music is a pretty decent way to shut out the harsh realities of the world. So for some quality escapism, have a listen to Brian Eno’s “Ambient” collection. Close your eyes, turn off your brain, let the sounds consume you. Everything will be all right.
This article first appeared in Issue 23, 2012.
Posted 4:03pm Sunday 9th September 2012 by Lukas Clark-Memler.