On the Ethics of Dumpsterfires
Holly Wood, PhD 🌹

How you were able to shove so many “hallmarks of lazy writing” into such an articulate and compelling piece is beyond imagination. Wow. Hat tip. And thanks.

While I slipped in during the last birth year for official Baby Boomers, I wholeheartedly agree with your theories of the world we left for Millennials. The only difference is in generational vernacular. Instead of dumpsterfire, this would be called a train wreck. But to me, that phrase lacks enough tragedy, so I have defaulted to calling it a plane crash.

Dumpsterfire is a far more useful term for supporting your points above; , and so I’ll use it for my comment as well.

As I see it, most GenXers had already been thrown into the dumpster before it was set on fire. Millennials started getting thrown in, on top of the GenXers, as the fire started. There was no way for GenXers on the bottom to escape, but many Millennials were in a position to climb out, even if they emerged with third-degree burns.

Which is why Millennials are the ones establishing a new paradigm for society. They were in the dumpsterfire, so they understand it’s capacity for damage. And like every survivor, they are now willing to fight for change.

Just like every gigantic societal shift, it is all horribly messy and horrifically hard, but it is undeniably happening.

America began as a society grounded in the Andrew Jacksonesque idea of frontier individualism. Once that paradigm stopped working, the US adopted hopeful if under-thought institutionalization, formed by Roosevelt. With every institution now collapsing, if not already gone, we can safely say that stopped working.

It is always dangerous to claim understanding of what can only be viewed historically, but I see us moving toward an age of meaningful connection. And while I agree with you that it doesn’t feel much like it right now, history would correctly assign this paradigm shift to Obama. For it was in those speeches he articulated the ideas and ideals of Millennials: Hope and Change.

Obviously, we might first slide into a period of rageaholic fascism. If so, it will be transitory as requires totalitarian rule, sustainably implausible within a society of distributed communication. It would be a final spray of gasoline on the dumpsterfire set by earlier generations; not a signal of the direction of generations to come.

In fact, all signals of the emerging generations point toward probity, inclusion, and compassion.

Millennials are rejecting blind faith in corporations, shaming everyone into more sympathetic language, and made viable an artisan/maker culture that values the integrity of practiced amateurism.

Following is the Homeland Generation, born right in the raging dumpsterfire.

Their lives began around 9/11 and their childhoods were awash with financial instability, punctuated by mass shootings and environmental “superevents.” They could only emerge from this unstable reality as a naturally compassionate and connected cohort.

But they were also born into a world where the boundaries of their lives were not confined to their neighborhood, homogenous by default. Rather, they grew with unfettered access to every corner of the world—its vast ethnic, sexual, and cultural diversity an accepted reality rather than a distant concept.

So, I guess I am saying that yes, I agree with you that my generation built a hell of a raging dumpsterfire. But I counter what I understood as your ascertain that Millennials are just charred remains with the idea that they are, in fact, actively changing our entire society.

It’s a slow process so it is sometimes hard to keep believing it’s happening, but it is. And, BTW, thank you for the impossibly hard work of doing it.

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