In his view, Gen X is the last generation with memories of an adulthood unsullied by technology, helicopter parenting, full-blown leftism in academia, and other such forces that have made Millennials a world-destroying force.
.. “Before Generation X gets made redundant, I’d like to see us make a last stand,” he proclaims.
.. but surely those young people who increasingly come from non-traditional families are not all getting “helicoptered.” And academic leftism took root in the academia decades ago, thanks to the Boomers (who hardly escape this book blameless; Hennessey considers them and Millennials to be “cut from the same cloth”).
.. “Your generational affiliation provides you with the grammar, syntax, and the context necessary to understand and interpret events,”
.. it is not Millennials themselves from whom America needs saving. It is, rather, the forces of technology, as embodied by the tech overlords of Silicon Valley, who most threaten America.
.. serious explorations of how the more everyday use of tech is changing us: shortened attention spans, reduced human interaction, decreased intelligence. And he leavens it all with a recollection of his tech-free childhood, personalizing his jeremiad, even if there might be some romanticizing nostalgia involved.
.. Hennessey tries to render us willing accomplices to the Silicon Valley “conspiracy”
.. “Encouraged by Silicon Valley’s string of tangible technological successes, not to mention its utopian promises, few millennials will admit a downside to moving every form of human interaction onto the web or disrupting every established way of doing business,” he writes. He calls us, variously, “digital natives,” “digital junkies,” and “digital Maoists.” We are essentially the shock troops of the Digital Age.
.. Millennials are both obsessed by technology and to blame for the woes it causes, Hennessey contends. That conflation, however, is a tactical error, and arguably a logical one as well. Yes, Millennials have ended up — again, by sheer happenstance — as early adopters of technology that has become widely available. At best, though, this makes us second-order antagonists. Or perhaps, I suggest at the risk of indulging in stereotypes about my generation, might this make us not villains but rather victims?
.. Are not the real villains the tech overlords who seek to bestride our economy and refashion it in their own image? Yes, many of them are Millennials, such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. But others belong to different generations: Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Baby Boomer; Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are both Gen X-ers.
.. one wonders whether he really wanted to write a neo-Luddite tract but decided (or was forced to decide), for whatever reason, to present his argument in its chosen form. For the struggle against technology cuts across generational lines.