If I were on the editorial board of The New York Times, and someone turned in this fluff piece, I would suggest a rewrite. Well, actually I would reject the piece for drawing fairly dramatic conclusions based on flimsy evidence and mistaking The Grapes of Wrath for The Beverly Hillbillies.
Alas, it’s The New York Times, which lives to elevate Thomas Friedman’s catchphrases in lieu of thought, reveal where in Park Slope one can get a delicious $18 frittata while breastfeeding and teach us how to decorate a $3 million apartment in Midtown. You know, “All the News That’s Fit To Print.” More than almost anything, The Times also really gets its rocks off on denigrating the generation currently coming of age, the unfortunately named “Millenials.” So this piece is right up their alley, and was therefore Born to Run.
So if I were stuck with it, I’d have the authors of the piece just cut to the chase and have them rewrite it as an open letter to this sedentary generation. “Just get to the point,” am I right?
But since the article is already out (found here), and that’s the way they chose to publish it, I guess I’ll have to do it myself. I, for one, also have a few suggestions for where the Buchholzes can go:
Sure the economy has kept you unemployed, underpaid and, make no mistake, it will continue to do so. Because of when you were born (and thus when you graduated college or high school), you will always earn less money over your lifetime than people who happen to come of age at other, better times, but only an idiot attribute that to luck! The wealthy, cosmopolitan people are the unlucky ones: without a fluid, grovelling work force devoid of personal ties and self regard, they’re forced to pay living wages to people who happen to be around.
So do yourself a favor and forget your home. Forget your friends, family and place you might know and love. You are a faceless, placeless, interchangeable cog in an economic machine that doesn’t care about you and your little problems. You exist for it, and you cannot serve two masters. Any insistence on your own humanity is inefficient and frankly, immature. An identity based on a place, as it has been throughout almost all of human history, is a luxury that you just can’t afford.
The other generations weren’t like this! Haven’t you read about what a thrill immigrating to America was? All those immigrants couldn’t wait to cram into the Lower East Side and assimilate. And what about going somewhere to kill or be killed? That doesn’t appeal to you? It used to be quite popular. Well, everyone who was a kid in the ’60s served in the Peace Corps.
Also, the Internet-socializing thing has got to stop. Don’t you realize that’s valuable time you could be spending in a car? Aren’t Bruce Springsteen songs about cars better than his ones about what a drag capitalism is? And isn’t that how you should make life decisions? Based off of how good pop songs make something sound? And don’t start with the “Pollution! Expense! Isolation!” routine. Buying a car is easy, and gas only recently became astronomically expensive. Sure you’d be bad drivers (ha ha!), but someone has to buy this Dodge Shadow. It’s cheaper to insure than your health.
Look, money is your new family, friends and home. If you move to where you’ve heard there’s money, everything’s going to work out swell. So sell $200 worth of plasma, get on a Greyhound (forget your possessions!) and get a job fracking in North Dakota. Why you aren’t all flooding to North Dakota? North Dakota!
What did you think The Grapes of Wrath was about anyway?
Two researchers who appear to have a college graduate living in their basement and are sick of it.
Todd G. Buchholz is the author of a book that’s seriously called “Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race.” Victoria Buchholz, a student at Cambridge University, is at work on a book about the neuropsychology of the teenage brain. So you can see why they are qualified to tell you how to live your life.