RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Tuesday, September 5

[2k=0] Middle Generation Syndrome


I'm tired of the last election being re-elected every damn day inside the cyberwebs. Tired of having two tired ass choices from the Baby Boomer era beaming commercial propaganda at me from all sides trying to convince me to keep throwing good votes after bad at a lesser-of-two-evils process of progress. The lesser-of-two-evils has gotten us nowhere noticeable in my lifetime, and instead of having true rainbow coalition (original Fred Hampton flavor) of choices, we get the binary light switch – back and forth, off and on, like a sugar-upped 5-year-old flicking the goddamn lights at bedtime. That’s not progress; that’s some bullshit.
Mostly though I get tired of Baby Boomer generation controlling so many of the official corporate narratives (of which have become super entrenched in my lifetime – from both binary sides of the political spectrum, as Reagan on has been somewhat of a tumorous explosion of corporate powers starting to fill all the gaps and cracks in the settling foundation of our constitutional republic). They act like two arguing white ass rich as fuck 60-somethings is somehow a BOLD AND IMPORTANT CHOICE BETWEEN TWO SUPER DIFFERENT same things (or at least not different enough for me to see from too far down the socio-economic and psycho-social ladders). But really, this is not about a same thing argument, because that’s been argued incessantly the past six months, and I don’t need comfortable white people blowing up my @s with how my lack of giving a fuck was the sword of Damocles with which Donald Jose Trump is going to decapitate the Statue of Liberty with and destroy freedom for everybody from marginalized communities (who never really had that type of freedom to begin with).
What bothers me is how that generation feels entitled to my support, from both sides of their limited spectrum (two), and that for me to want anything else is out of line. I should clarify I’m a 40-something, thus in the bullshit cultural context of labelling generations, I am Gen-X, not Baby Boomer, and have always felt very much like the younger sibling to that generation, who will not fucking give up anything they have, at all. They’ve held the wealth (we are the first American generation as Gen-X to have less than the one before us), they’ve held the power, and they’ve involved us as little as possible. We were too immature, or not focused enough on traditional shit. We got too many shitty tattoos that ruined our ability to get a real job. We loved too much dumb shit like cartoons and video games because they, as our older sibling (parents) left us to raise ourselves in front of the cable TV box and Nintendo machine (with old TV Guides holding the cartridge in place) while they went out and accumulated all the fucking wealth in the newly globalized world. We could manage their webpages and shit like that, and they gave us a big enough cubicle we could set up some action figures, but we never got access to the big table behind closed doors. Our bigger sibling was taking the family business (if you consider United States a family, which I guess it might be, just a fucked up dysfunctional one where there’s a lot of hatred), and we were going to be given a token role.
As we went to escape from this through cultural consumption, all of that reflected back (in the traditional formats) on them though – the music they made, the books they wrote, the movies they made. They were so fucking brilliant. Our music wasn’t even music, our books not even real literature. We weren’t doing it right, which is why we weren’t at the big table behind closed doors. Greedy fuckers. But they’d talk about that little bit of time when they were protesting to make shit right in our aforementioned fucked-up dysfunctional family, how they took to the streets in the ‘60s, and all that accomplished. Self-important fuckers, owning everything, and looking down on us.
Being the younger sibling was rough enough, but then a third sibling came along, younger than us, cornily titled (because we need corny titles for generations apparently) the Millennial generation. They grew up in the second wave of games and devices and doodads behind us, and whereas we had to fucking complain forever to get a Sega Genesis (being told the Nintendo worked just fine, just stuff the TV Guide into it), they got like 19 different things to play with. And I ain’t really mad at them, because if we could’ve gotten 19 different things, we would’ve took it too. Plus the younger sibling is way more chill. The thing I don’t like though is how all you hear about is them. Older sibling ain’t giving up no loot, no jobs, no wealth, and the younger sibling got nothing. “Millennials deserve something too!” And they start complaining in strange fractured ways through digital mediums that’s hard to understand, but is also kinda our fault, because we used to show them all this shit at a way too young age maybe. I don’t know. But as our older sibling starts to look so tired and binary and full of shit, the family conversation skips us completely, and jumps to younger Millennial sibling – what they’re gonna do, and how they have to work with the older sibling to fix things, or just take over roles from the older sibling completely, and make necessary changes to ensure the family business (of pretending to be free) stays open for another couple generations. Older sibling’s like “we gotta find a good job for youngest sibling, make them a part of this thing!” because they’re sitting around, getting gas money from part-time gigs, but yo, we ain’t really got shit ourselves. They done forgot about us over here in our dank ass cubicles, thinking we happy because we got a Junkyard Dog figure off ebay standing up. Them old motherfuckers got vacations to St. Lucia and spend three weeks every summer at the beach, and think we’re good because we got a goddamned JYD figure, and go camping one week a year (because that’s all we can afford).
Younger sibling has taken the binary problem of older sibling, and blurred the fuck out of it, to where they got a buffet of genders and no real hardcore positive regard for those old racial structures. And to be honest, I don’t really mind it – it makes more sense than what older sibling still tries to enforce through their cultural control, but also it feels overboard at times, like they’re just trying to piss people off, and do wild shit to make the family uncomfortable. It doesn’t really bother us, but it gets tiring when the two of them is arguing about shit, and we’re just sitting there, mostly unheard but not really trying to speak that much at this point anyways. Ain’t nobody listening.

Meanwhile, over the Labor Day cookout, older sibling was explaining how instead of putting new variety of lights in the old home place, we should just keep the same old off-on binary switch and just put in energy saver bulbs. They were asking us which we liked better – the steak (Trump) or chicken (Clinton) without even noticing we didn’t get any of either, opting for cole slaw, potato salad, and kimchi (all of which we brought) and fat cup of homemade chai from younger sibling. Older sibling has inherited control of the old family home place as the eldest, and isn’t too keen on involving the rest of us, other than suggesting what we should do and letting us do it so long as we agree with them.
Younger sibling doesn’t really give a fuck to keep the home place in any traditional order. When older sibling’s around, they act like they’ll help keep it up, but when it’s just us, they’re like “lol I’m just gonna live here until the place falls apart. I don’t have any money to fix it up, so if it falls back into the Earth, fuck it, I’m just gonna go live on the couch at my friend’s house.”
I smile when they say that, because that’s exactly what we did, for like three years. But we got roped into the family business with promises of growing into a bigger role, which never came. Older sibling got us geeked on the way it’s always worked, so now we got a mortgage with about 30% more owed on it than the bank value, so we ain’t moving nowhere, and we can’t afford to even quit unless we want to disappear. Can’t even do that because we got our own kids now, younger than Millennial sibling, and fuck, some nights I lay awake stressing on how chaotic this world and the family business falling apart must feel to them. Not to mention they living in the constant glow of the tiny screen/mirror, to where they’ve got an altered view of themselves. So we – as middle child – try to hold it together, try to keep holding course, and hope it all works out, and we can provide for our own kids. Make the shitty drive to work every day in my late model minivan with one wobbly wheel (always the right front), maxed out on all devil spreadsheets which older sibling told me years ago would naturally start turning from red to green by now if I did everything like it had always been done. Motherfucker’s more red than ever, with no green in sight. So I smile, because even though I feel like my younger sibling gets all the attention, they’re right – fuck it. I hope they do go live on their friend’s couch, and never get roped into sitting in one of these stupid fucking cubicles, looking at their Junkyard Dog figure, thinking that yes indeed, life thumped the spirit out of you.
Anyways, being the middle generational child sucks. Older sibling gets all the shine, and is running shit at the family business. Younger sibling got all the toys, and doesn’t even give a fuck about the family business. Kinda wish I had the power of the eldest, or at least some of it, but at the same time I don’t really want it because it’s pretty obvious what a hypocrite my Baby Boomer elder sibling is. Kinda wish I had stayed crashing on couches and abandoned any hope of assimilation into the family business (of still pretending to be free) like it looks like my younger Millennial sibling seems bent on doing. And at the same time, I can just see it play out now – where older sibling just hands the whole fucking thing over to younger sibling, and I’ll still be sitting here in the corner, overlooked, fiddling around, pretending to care while really not caring at all. It feels like I’ve wasted my life, and by whatever financial metrics one might use (applying more of those devil spreadsheets logic), I likely have wasted it mostly. Sadly, it also feels from basic quality of life heart check-ins that I likely wasted it far worse than I’d like to admit. There’s been no pay-off, no three weeks every summer at the beach, and no hope for retirement. But I’m supposed to be thankful because unlike my younger sibling, at least I have a job, one that I can’t ever quit, and won’t ever be promoted from.
Kinda wish my younger sibling would just burn the house down, absolving us all of any responsibility for maintaining the pretending to be free charade, and I can just wander off into the mountains. Honestly, I’d probably help them if they asked, and likely it would work out better because they’re always the best about planning things like that out, what with self-snitching every waking thought through digitalia. But I’m not gonna bring it up either, because they don’t give a fuck what I think. Nobody does. So I just sit here, miserable and depressed and hopeless, but pretending everything’s going to turn out okay. 

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