Digital Culture

GENERATION NOW SAYS NOW WHAT?

August 28, 2011

Andrew Jenks, a documentary filmmaker whose social television found a home on MTV, chronicled his experiences living for one week at a time with young people from all walks of life.   Through the show, college tours, Facebook and Twitter, Jenks uncovers the raw nerves that are jangling through his generation.

Andrew Jenks

Jenks:  The thousands of stories that I have come across have left a deep impression on me. These are not just notes of desperation. These are remarkable stories of resilience. It’s clear that we are a generation seeking answers. Most importantly, each story demonstrates how urgent it is that we make a difference — that we, as young people, can be part of the solution, not the problem.

The resilience of the people I have met shows an underlying theme that is hard to ignore, as I read in this recent tweet:

@CYTXXX “I vote for compassion. It encompasses everything: love, understanding, tolerance, and respect, at the least.”

Jenks:  My generation is enduring the brutality of two wars, a struggling economy that is hitting us especially hard, and a political leadership that is mortgaging our future for today’s votes.  Recent tweets reminded me of what this potentially means:

@McTXXX “‘What’s known as “The Greatest Generation” arose from deep economic problems and war. 2day we have a new set of challenges./I want to inspire my peers to create a future they believe in rather than live the future they have been told to believe in.”

Via Facebook, TaraMXXX said, “It’s really absurd how expensive it is to go to school and how difficult and stressful it can be to get financial aid. To do anything in this age you have to go to college yet it’s so expensive and unreasonable for people to pay that much. It’s not fair.”

A Generation of Slackers? Not So Much

Collective action has worked in the past; the Russian revolution, the Suffragettes’ movement, Ghandi, civil rights, anti-apartheid. The impossible was achieved.   So what is Generation Now to do?

Jenks agrees with @Michelle2XXX who recently tweeted, “I want to help change the definition of my generation. I want to stand up and speak out… I just wish I knew exactly what to say.”

The Indignados of Spain, out of growing frustration with government insensitivity to the plight of the young unemployed, are finding their voice.  After taking over town squares all over Spain, and a march to Madrid, the movement has found momentum.   The fight against the system is becoming bigger and bigger in Europe. Newly formed groups of Indignados and like-minded people are planning and undertaking their own protest marches, on foot, to Brussels to demonstrate in front of the EU headquarters.

There are known to be several groups of people underway from Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Swiss, UK and Holland, there is even rumor that a group from Russia is already marching, all to arrive in Brussels in the next two months.

And exactly because they are becoming many, there has been a date set for one big protest in Brussels, October 15th

With Twitter and Facebook igniting and capturing protests around the world, what will be the tipping point that releases the voices of America’s youth who have the most to lose and everything to gain.

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