-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
Lately I've wondered where the greats of my generation are. The ones who will write the books and music which will catalyze us, speak the words which will engender in us some form of motivation. The ones who will be delightfully, poignantly weird. Who have lived in and through insane times, and came out the other side with a mind to rail against the madness. To push back the tide, even though it's all gone to sand, slipping through their fingers and caking up at their feet, shadowed ridges like the wrinkles deepening on their faces.
Instead all I see are narcissistic Toys-R-Us kids for whom apathetic despondency has become a mating ritual.
We bitch and moan, on blogs just like this, and think the world is changed simply by the movement of electrons. I include myself in this existential ennui. Our country is in the hands of, as the lamentably late Kurt Vonnegut said a few years ago, "upper-crust C students," and we argue and shake our fists and then go back to our television shows or overly complex obsessions about nothing much at all.
Barely two paragraphs into a whinging rant about the state of my contemporaries, and I find it impossible to continue (full of despondent apathy, no doubt).
Instead I will say:
We will see no more Kurt Vonneguts, no more Hunter S. Thompsons, no more Johnny Cashes. Look instead to yourself, to your closest friends. Try to energize them. While we may all eventually get our five minutes of glory (if only in the scanning Northrop eyes of Big Brother), you must stop living for the camera whose only concern is you fucking up or chipping away at order.
Be a catalyst to those who surround you. Inspire them. Force them to cleverness, to forget there ever was a box to think inside. And do this, for the sake of all the small gods, in Real Life (there's a reason it is still explicitly defined, after all), and not on blogs just like this.
If not you, then who?
Do not ask what Kurt Vonnegut would do. Or Hunter S. Thompson. Or any of the crumbling, fading dinosaurs of the counter-culture, before it shattered and fragmented into...
Ask yourself, instead.