It’s now boring to be a rebel — or, rather, rebels have become boring. When everyone from cashiers at Rite Aid to associate humanities professors to seemingly every single NBA star has a pierced nose or face, ironic clothing item, an elaborate tattoo and disproportionately strong opinions; when multinational corporations selling hamburgers, potato chips and sneakers are urging you to think different and stand out by buying their things, then the specialness of individual rebelliousness is over. The cultural power granted to symbols and accouterments of dissent — signs once referring to the bourgeois person’s cheeky, recalcitrant individuality, his or her deep infusion with modernism — only work when they remain in the margins, when they mean something over and against what everyone else is doing. Only then do they keep their charge and pointed critique at what is “mainstream.” And even that word, “mainstream,” as we have witnessed, has already been co-opted by those non-mainstream mavericks over on the Palin Express. You see, they like “stirrin’ things up and tellin’ it like it is.” They are all up in your grill. The deluxe, stainless steel Kitchen Aid gas-powered kind. "Irony, Sincerety, normcore", by Jay Magill
I suspect I've been 'normcore' all along. Making a statement one way or another with the way I dress has always seemed kind of pointless--as I believe all attempts to shore up tribal identities are. I believe the impulse to be subversive in a corrupted society is healthy, but not if it's just in the service of being oppositional or hip, of saying I'm not with them. It doesn't matter that you are wearing a team uniform; it matters that you act in the service of something constructive, something good and truthful. Just do it; don't advertize it.
But as I've been writing about here lately, I think that one of the main differences between my boomer generation and the current millennials lies in that in our twenties we were involved in a largely reactive Oedipal drama that just isn't a script for millennials to act out the way it was my generation, and that's a good thing.
Our generation grew up in a world where the "oppressor" was someone we met everyday at school and who was home every night at six. Millennials know there are "bad guys", but they're nobody they know as intimately as we did.They are not likely to be any other adult they have frequent contact with, unless it's a cranky uncle who watches too much FOX News. There's no there there for Millennials to rebel against, so why do it? Oedipal dramas don't change anything; they just waste everybody's time. At best such dramas tear down something that needed to be torn down to clear a path for others to travel later.
Which is how I see our generations contribution--to clear the field this new generation to take the ball and run with it to the goal line. I think they can do it largely unimpeded--if they can find the will, the motive power, the interior resources, the fire in the heart to do it. If they can do it in a way I think they have the potential to do, then I believe the opposition will melt like wet snow on sun-drenched late-April meadow.