Thursday, April 4, 2013

You are all a lost generation," Gertrude Stein said to Hemingway. We weren't lost. We knew where we were, all right, but we wouldn't go home. Ours was the generation that stayed up all night.” 

For the last few weeks, I've read The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and a few supplementals. This book is the 2013 Academic Decathlon book. It's a book about the Last Generation, the group of men and women after the Great War (World War I) who moved to Europe in search of something that they longed for but never found. They dreamed big and lived in the moment. They Drank and were merry because tomorrow they might die. This notion is repeated throughout history.
After World War I, it was the Lost Generation and flappers (women who defied the niche that society had forced upon them from birth).
After World War II. there was the Baby Boom. Soldiers who'd returned home--sometimes whole but more than anything, broken in both physical and emotional ways--and their wives were more in love than ever. These men had left home and could've died at any moment. Now that they were home, they were going to raise a generation better than their own.
After Vietnam, there was the sexual revolution of the '70s. People weren't into the power that The Man had over them. They defied society and its restrictions: Sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. This was the time of the hippies and the Love Movement (which may or may no be the real name of this movement).
Now, soldiers returning home from battle are faced with our generation. Teenagers who aren't really teenagers. Kids enter the 'teen' phase of life earlier than ever. Nowadays, our youth lives in the moment, often making questionable decisions that even they don't understand--although they believe themselves to be 'mature.' We no longer live with the eloquent thought of be merry today for tomorrow, we might die. No, the motto that future generations will hear about is YOLO, a dumbed down version of the classic Carpe diem (Latin for Live in the day)

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