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Are the snowflakes melting into Gen-Zed?

By MICHAEL BLACKBURN.

FOR THOSE PEOPLE despairing of the millennial generation and their demands for safe spaces and trigger warnings, and their blue-haired, social justice snowflakery there are glimmers of hope that things are changing for the better. Behold Generation Z (zed to us in Blighty, zee to our friends across the Atlantic).

Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010 (roughly), are, according to various sources, including Jeff Brauer of Keystone College, socially liberal but more conservative in terms of security and economics than their predecessors. They are also the first generation who are true digital natives, in that they have no experience of a time when there was no internet. The upshot of this is that they are wired (as us oldies still say) and used to getting their information from the net rather than from the mainstream media.

This is important because for the moment at least the internet is a wide open playground of data which the legacy media do not control. You no longer have to rely on the BBC (loud laughter) or Sky for your news and views: you can catch up on that online or just read what’s happening from blogs and international news agencies. But more than that, you can watch videos and listen to podcasts by the new oline celebrities who provide comment, critique and above all satire and humour. You can enjoy the entertaining madness of Alex Jones on InfoWars and tune in to the politically incorrect Paul Joseph Watson, Gavin McInnes, Sargon of Akkad, PewDiePie and others. If you want mindless garbage you can have it. Likewise, if you want heavy duty intellectual discussion you can have that too.

The establishment, as usual, creaks along behind, lamely trying to make sense of it all. They showed themselves up to be absolute beginners (AKA “normies”) during the American presidential campaign of 2016 when they fell for the Pepe meme. The whole of the western media were effectively trolled by a disparate bunch of kids and young people playing around with images of a green frog, also known as Kek, an avatar of an ancient Egyptian god, and the invention of a fictional land called Kekistan. This came complete with its own flag. Pepe-Kek stands for anything you want — because it’s a joke — but the paranoid establishment on both sides of the Atlantic has totally fallen for the far-right, white supremacist schtick. Generation Z, and quite a lot of Millennials as well, enjoy stirring things up and aggravating those who are not in on the joke. It’s what youngsters are supposed to do. It’s just that the New Gen are really good at it.

It seems that along with digital adeptness comes a mental robustness that distinguishes them from the snowflakes we’ve got used to the media telling us about.

And it seems that along with this digital adeptness comes a mental robustness that distinguishes them from the snowflakes we’ve got used to the media telling us about. It accords with my own experience. Over the last five or six years when I’ve talked with students I’ve been impressed by the number of them who have not been taken in by the left wing nonsense dished out to them by their tutors. That includes many female students who you’d expect to be especially susceptible to the corrosive feminism endemic in academia.

I recall one student who had lived for a while in Norway being scathing about the complacent Scandinavian view of the world. “They think they’re safe,” he said, “but they’re not.” Sure enough, along came came Breivik, followed by the rise in immigrant rape and violence in Sweden and the attack in Stockholm. A pity the politicians of Scandinavia lacked this insight.

My own grandson and his friends, now about to enter university or college, are no snowflakes either, and resent being labelled as such. There is, of course, a smattering of classic millennials in their cohort but they’re very dismissive of them. They seem impervious to the hysterics of the identity mob, whether it’s to do with race or gender, for the simple reason that they are not bothered by other peoples’ ethnicity or sexuality. In some ways they’re too liberal for the liberal-left.

The establishment, unfortunately, continues its programme of infantilisation. A company called Campus Living Villages, which provides accommodation to students worldwide, is offering freshers at some universities free wristbands printed with their name and address, just in case they get so drunk they’ll forget what their name is or where they are.

This strikes me as unnecessary as well as patronising. I’d wager that no student these days would get so sloshed they would not be able to use their mobile phone either to contact friends or navigate their way home: the instructions are probably imprinted into their DNA.


suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet, writer and lecturer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire . From 2005–2008 he was the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University of Lincoln where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent collection is Spyglass Over The Lagoon. A selection of his Fortnightly Currente Calamo columns, Sucks To Your Revolution: Annoying The Politically Correct (US), is available as a Kindle ebook.

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