See, Generation X turned out to be useful. These people became cops. Neat, huh?
Remember all the buzz about Generation X? It used to be the hot button term for everything from the news media to the commercials in between presentations by the news media. While reporters droned on about how these Baby Boomer-spawns were gradually taking over, despite being shiftless, lazy, questionably hygienic slackers, the music and soft drink industries did everything in their power to market their wares specifically to the Generation X demographic. Then, gradually, the world stopped caring about Generation Xers because they had decided to grow up and become people. As we all know, people are not news, nor are they worthy of attention from the advertising world. Only freaks, spazzes, and general drains on productive society are worth talking about. There was something of a lull in that whole aesthetic after Kurt Cobain treated himself to the $5.95 All You Can Eat special at the Buckshot Buffet. That's when Generation X - and yes, fine, Generation Y - realized that they were mortal after all and therefore were not nearly as cool as they had managed to convince their girlfriends they were, resulting in a nationwide wave of breakups and a pervasive feeling of "Unf." We then went through a period where a specific generation was not the target of everything the media generated out of its collective giant, red, inflamed noise-hole (the one on its face). Without a stereotype to use as their target audience, the media floundered for a while until some no-name junior executive somewhere came up with the idea to try marketing products to black people and was promptly fired, then shot. However, after Eminem (A.K.A. Slim Shady, A.K.A. Marshal Mathers, A.K.A. Johnny Weismeuller) appropriated hip hop for the clamoring white masses who were just itching for something to call their own, some highly paid senior executive somewhere decided that it might be an interesting paradigm shift to try marketing products to black people. Naturally, media moguls everywhere jumped at this idea. Well, technically they had their assistants jump for them, but they still had their private masseuses give them extra-long sessions that day because of the vicarious effort.
We are still seeing a good amount of this black pandering now, with rap being used to market everything from Dr Pepper to Foxy lettuce (motto: "Damn, that's Foxy"). However, a shift is occurring as we speak. The first in a growing wave of commercials, news reports, television shows, and movies are coming out that target the new generation. This leaves us with the task of defining just what this new generation is. Luckily, as an internet writer, I am an authority on this subject, and for once I don't mean that sarcastically. The current generation is one for whom the internet has existed for as long as they can remember, if not for their entire lives. It is a generation too young to fully understand the profound an unmistakable impact that the internet has had on the world. For them, email has always been an option, and it's only worth using when the person you want to speak to isn't signed on to AOL Instant Messenger. Any slower mode of communication is a foreign and terrifying thought. Now, even by the most generous figures, I was born just after the cutoff date to technically be considered a part of Generation X or Y, if you want to draw a distinction between the two. However, I can easily remember life before the internet, just like I can remember when talking on a phone meant you had to be inside a fucking building and not just yakking away while sitting next to someone on a crowded bus. As such, I occupy a strange a lonely position in society - betrayed by time and a base ten counting system to end up technically a part of this generation, yet totally removed from its ways. Like Iggy Pop before me, I am the passenger, except whereas he rode and he rode, I intend to bitch and to bitch. Why? Because this generation sucks, that's why.
Ah the Livejournal. It's like a regular journal, only instead of a place to keep your most intimate thoughts and desires, it's a place to force them upon the entire world.
Having had access to it their entire lives, most kids these days have a far better understanding of how to use the internet than most adults. I think maternity wards are handing out Geocities websites to newborns now. Sadly, these infants do not wait to learn the fine art of the English language before attempting to update these websites. That's why this generation has produced, and is currently producing, and endless stream of nonsensical blathering that only bears the slightest resemblance to English after long and dedicated study. Every sentence, if these effigies of punctuation can really be said to actually form sentences, contains between zero and two words spelled correctly, and that's counting "LOL" as a word. In past generations, massive linguistic handicaps were something that held people back. Social workers and speech therapists helped people overcome their fear of embarrassing themselves by using the wrong word, pronunciation, or spelling. Sadly, this generation does not feel even the least bit hindered by their total inability to put even one-syllable words on the page without fucking them up. Instead, they seem to think that everyone else simply suffers from proper grammar and spelling. In order to fight this problem, the current generation feels that they must share every single pathetic detail of their inconsequential, uninteresting, and barely developed lives. Hence, the livejournal, a black mark on the face of the internet. And let's be honest, the internet's face already has enough black marks to pass for a lead in the cast of The Wiz.
I suffered the idiocies of the younger members of my generation for some time. Working for Something Awful, I was subjected to their assclownery in far greater degrees than I had been previously, but still I did my best to hold my tongue. Then, our own Josh "Livestock" Boruff presented us with Wednesday's Awful Link. Thankfully, the actual site is now a thing of the past, but to refresh your memory, it was a livejournal belonging to a girl whose name was possibly Ellie. This fourteen year old mutant slut was the worst language criminal I had ever encountered, and the overwhelming stupidity of her writing was the straw that broke the camel's back. Here's a little taste from the meager offering Josh gave us:
i dydn g3t 2 go0o0o0 2 da britneh knz3rt so0o0o0o00oo dat sux0rz so0o0o0o0 loz!!!1! i men, wtf??? my bf andrew wudnt evn bai tik3tz 4 meh so i wuz lyk "wtfz andrew??!?!?!11? i thot u luv3d meh!!!1!" n he go3z "i d0do lUv3rzZzzZZZZZzz u elli3!!11!!!" n i wuz lyk "i no im so00o0o0o0o luvbl3!!" n hiii go3z "yaaa babiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!
OMGZ SERA CONERZZZZZZZZZ ON!!!!!!!! SHII ROX. onlii shiiz uglii!!!!! bonz babii out da doa git ^ n m000v dun mek meh akt da f00!!11 juz get ya stufz boi cuz im tyrd of hiirin all ur laiz!!!1 babii boi i no ul nevaa fid no0o0o0 stufz as gud as myn!!!!!!!!!!11! u mad ur bed n nau u haf2 sliip w/ meh babiii!!!!!!11!! i saw u der w/ myn on iiz!!!11!! JUZ BONZ!!!!!!!1!! omgz diz s0n r0x0rz azzzzZZZZZzz!!1!1! omgz loli3z im so0o00o herdc0rrr.
Here is a translation of the above verbal Chernobyl, as close as I can approximate it:
I didn't get to go to the Britney concert so that sucks so Desmond Tutu! I mean, what the fuck? My boyfriend Andrew wouldn't even buy tickets for me so I was like "What the fuck, Andrew? I thought you loved me," because I'm a filthy, golddigging tramp. And he goes, "I do love you, Ellie!" And I was like, "I know, I'm so loveable!" And he goes, "Yeah, baby! The Pythagorean Theorem!" And I was like, "Well, it doesn't matter because like a number of guys more than thirty orders of magnitude larger than the number of people on the face of the Earth, which is a larger number than three thousand, three hundred twenty three, me more than you! [Translator's Note: That's right, she went there.] And they would buy me tickets to the Britney concert.
Oh my God, Sara Coner's on! She rocks. Only she's ugly! Bones baby out the door get up and move, don't make me act the fool! Just get your stuff boy, because I'm tired [Translator's Note: Possibly "turd."] of hearing all your lies! Baby boy, I know you'll never fit no stuff as good as mine! You made your bed and now you have to sleep with my baby! I saw you there with mine on he's! Just bones! Oh my various Gods, this song rocks ass! Oh my God lollies, I'm so hardcore.
That's the best I can get it. I will hold all comments on the rampant pedophilia in the second paragraph, because it's difficult to tell if Ellie is trying to quote song lyrics or if she is just bleeding onto her keyboard through a massive head wound.
I can't tell you how much it depresses me that I can read this.
Now I ask you, under what respectable legal system would that sort of crap be tolerated? The only word that is spelled correctly in two full paragraphs of that garbage is "I," and she doesn't even manage to capitalize it. Some of her misspellings are obviously attempts at writing things phonetically, but there are others that don't even make that slim degree of sense. For instance, she takes the word "me" and makes it "meh." Now, I use the word "meh." I use it frequently. It is a Simpsons-born expression of apathy. It is also pronounced just like it looks like it would be pronounced, like "met" without the "T" sound. First of all, on a website where all she does is talk about herself, why would this annoying little bitch want to make the word "me" longer? Secondly, why - sweet lord Beelzebub, why - does she feel that the proper way to fuck up this simple, two-letter word is to add an "H?" That doesn't even keep with her own system! According to the rest of her bizarro-English, she should spell it "mii," since she replaces every other long "E" sound with "ii," as in "onlii shiiz uglii." Also, I have to take issue with some of her quotations. Granted, I don't know Andrew, but I have to imagine that he did not, in fact, say "i d0do lUv3rzZzzZZZZZzz u elli3!!11!!!" It's not that I think he didn't say something along those lines, it's just that I'm fairly certain that by the point in their relationship where she expects him to buy her Britney Spears tickets, (and remember, she's fourteen. When I was fourteen I couldn't afford to buy my girlfriend gum.) he would know that her name does not, in fact, have a number in it. Also, I feel completely confident in saying that this irritating pubescent skank is incapable of being lUv3rzZzzZZZZZzzed by anyone.
Ellie's atrocious livejournal, which I rate alongside Dachau as one of mankind's most grievous cruelties, makes use of many of the most common techniques that this generation employs to let everyone know that not only should everybody care about their worthless lives, but that they intend to make the English language their bitch in the process. She misspells every word with such precision that I immediately assume it's intentional and move on to wondering whether she can type like that without having to think about it, or whether she labors over each word, thinking, "Hmm, how can I best mutilate this first-grade vocabulary so as to make it almost completely unrecognizable?" Then there is the substitution of numbers for letters. This used to be an annoying method of communication used only by hackers and other computer elite, who were eventually became "Leet," then "LEET," then "L33T," then "l33t," and finally, "1337," which officially signaled the transition of these individuals from human to cyborg. And you thought there would never be such a thing as a retarded cyborg. However, this technique was appropriated by huge swarms of internet denizens wanting to show how hip and with it they were. I've gotten so used to seeing the letter "E" replaced with the number "3" that I almost don't notice it anymore. Of course, eventually I do notice it and immediately fly into a murderous rage, stalking the streets, brutally killing all I encounter until I am eventually stopped by Batman.
Ellie also uses a technique - although not as much as many others do - in which she capitalizes basically at random. The standard practice is to not capitalize anything. After all, if you don't capitalize anything, you'll never capitalize the wrong thing. There are those who decide to eschew this, though, and capitalize every other letter. For example: lOvE iN aN eLeVaToR - lIvInG iT uP wHiLe I'm GoInG dOwN. Note how the first letter of the sentence is not capitalized. Now, I could understand this tactic if the letters that are capitalized represented something. If a person capitalized carefully chosen letters which, when strung together, made some sort of secondary comment about their main point, that would be one thing. It would still be more annoying than a twenty-four hour Survivor marathon, but at least there would be some reason behind it. The capitalization of alternate letters is just blatantly irritating. It makes the writing itself into an eyesore. Furthermore, it's actually hard to do! Just try writing out a couple sentences like that. The rhythmic holding and releasing of the shift key actually becomes fairly tricky. That means that members of this new generation actually have to put concentrated effort into making their already boring, abrasive, pointless ramblings even more of an assault on the remaining brain cells of anyone foolish enough to read it. This technique is frequently used when these kids are choosing their incredibly tough internet moniker. In order to properly convey the size of their e-penises, these individuals create names like xXkIlLaJuGgAlOxX, XxSkAtRsAtN701153449xX, and xXdEsMoNdTuTuXx. The use of "X's" before and after the name alert the public that the user's name is approaching, then give notice that the user's name has just passed. Naturally, people who do this are to be hated unconditionally.
Despite their slacker stereotype, many members of Generation X have grown up to be useful and productive members of society. That tends to happen. A generation starts out being annoying and useless, then eventually steps up to the responsibility of keeping the nation running. If history is any indicator, we should not waste time worrying about the current generation, as they should manage to pull themselves out of this fog of utter IQ deprivation and get to work. Nonetheless, I am worried. I'm very worried. Sure, they might grow out of it. I'd love to see these kids thirty years from now when they look back on the way they used to write and laugh about how moronic they were, except that I don't intend to let any of them live that long. But even if they did survive, there is something in me that doubts that they would really turn themselves around. There are certain inventions that irrevocably change human behavior. The first generation to grow up with the telephone didn't stop using the telephone. The first generation to grow up vegging out in front of televisions has largely not yet learned to stop vegging out in front of televisions. The first generation to grow up with the internet might stop posting infantile bullshit with the grammatical skills of pastry products, but then again, they might not. When this generation of wiggers, sluts, and wannabes grows up and takes over, we might well have a President who, in order to understand what it says, has to read the State of the Union address off a teleprompter that looks like this:
Mai f3loOoOoOoOoOo uhm3ricnz:
3vriithiing z kewl!!!111!!!1 Xpt 4 diz t3rrizt gai. Hii suxorzzzzZZZZZzzzz!!!!!!111!!!!@1
K Gawd bl3zz uhm3ricuh.
Actually, come to think of it, that's not a whole lot worse than what we have now.
The Weekend Web: You Knew What This Was
Hello internet friends, Zachary "Spokker Jones"Gutierrez here. Do you love pigeons? Do you love sex? Do you love teenagers? Do you love all those things put together? Then you'll love this week's feather-filled edition of the Weekend Web! Just check out one of the many "fowl" images I have put together for you this week.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.