18 January 2013

More on millennials.

“Gumport writes, “She [Dunham] doesn’t speak truth to power, but from it, which these days is as rare and as necessary.” It is universally assumed in American culture that one should suffer to make art. Gumport suggests that Dunham’s work should be thought of as the product of art that need not be struggled for. Gumport’s observation is astute.

We millenials find ourselves in an odd position. Many of our parents have guided us through our lives, so as to give us every possible opportunity to succeed. We are at a loss for something to struggle against. The counter cultural values of the 1960s are now mainstream. Many millenials continue the tradition of counter cultural struggle, but look like parodies of dissent (see: the worst parts of the organic movement).

Though we face the prospect of living less prosperous lives than our parents, no viable movements for economic change have arisen to capture the imagination of our generation. The Occupy movement died just as quickly as it arose, because it was little more than a replay of 1960s era activism, with little to say. It is difficult to organize millenials around economic issues, because we have the security of our parents to depend on.

By pushing us to do the things we need to do to get into good colleges, our helicopter parents have taught us how to succeed within the context of established institutions. Institutions are crumbling around us, and what is needed is not the ability to succeed within institutions, but the ability to create new ones.

Though she may not know it, this is what Dunham is doing. With little to rebel against, she is rebelling against her lack of anything to rebel against. She is drawing upon her life to create something new in a new way.”
http://nplusonemag.com/made-in-manhattan

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