Wear that Millennial Stamp with Pride

I want you to stop and consider something for a moment. Our generation is in a truly unique position in the history of the world. We are the first to have not only grown up with the Internet, but grown up on the Internet. This is the critical difference between us and everyone gone before us.

Call us the Millennials. Call us the next Lost Generation. But there is something more to us.

Ok, screw that headline.

After all, it is they that come up with the terms: we surf the Net. We cruise the Web. We are lost in Virtual Space, careening through the system of Tubes that constitute what is, to them, nothing more than an overly addictive game.

But it is not a game. One plays a game. We don’t “play” the Internet. It is as critical and ever-present in our modern environment as the grass beneath our toes or the atmosphere that holds us to it. It is not external—it is connected. It is not alternate reality, but another layer of reality itself.

Which is to say, the Internet is not something we use. It’s something we live—on it, inside it, alongside it, frolicking with it down memory lane, what have you—but it is an inescapable facet of our existence. We use the Internet to keep in touch with those both near and far, to organize, to research, to prepare. We plan with it, chart calendars on it, study, and dream through the wondrous expanse of its pages. Friends and enemies rise and fall online. Love and hate flourishes and dies in its expanse. Some of the greatest debates (and the tackiest) in the history of mankind are no doubt, out there, in the expanse of the Internet…Online, eternal, waiting.

For us, the Internet has never been something we needed to “learn.” It is an evolution—another entity, sitting alongside us in the classroom, aging and lengthening before our eyes. It is continuous. In it, we grow, and through us, it grows. It is. It simply is.

What more need I say? The Net is a part of us. It’s not tacky sci-fi, not some Utopian paradise—it is, at its simplest, the collection of thoughts, ambitions, emotions, which embody Us. It is us. Let the history of mankind be writ large upon it.

And let the folks on it learn to start treating one another as equals. But hey, that’s just commonsense in facet of life, isn’t it?

…isn’t it?

A Short Soap Box in Defense of Sci-Fi

Metropolis’ New Tower of Babel

There are people in the world who do not understand how anyone could love classic science fiction. That declare they have no relevance. I ask in turn: what’s not to love? Heaps of books shouting to the heavens: “WELCOME TO THE DISTANT YEAR TWO THOUSAND OT FIFTEEN; MAN HAS CHARTED THE UNIVERSE (PROBABLY SOMETHING TO DO WITH WHY THE UNIVERSE IS ALSO IN CHAOS), AND ALSO FLYING CARS.” Should damn well put a bloody tear in your eye to see the high hopes our forefathers once had for us.

As for relevance, well, maybe you have a point there…I mean, of course, you had classics like Metropolis that let us all know by the year 2000 we would be living in a highly stratified class system where the poor are brutally oppressed and worked to death as living machines. Thank God that didn’t happen, right?

…Right?

The Assault on Inquiry

Here’s a question for you: when did we become so opposed to questions? Question society. Question the government. Question the media. Question your parents. Question everything. It’s where the seeds of knowledge are planting—in asking questions.

And yet.

And yet many adults—and I assuredly include teachers in this—are put off by that almighty: “Why?” Have you noticed the infinite capacity children seem to maintain for that investigation? Why is the sky blue? What is the nature of a dream? Why don’t we have tails? When was the world born? How deep is the ocean?

From the deepest inquiry to the most innocuous query, we should relish the spark in youth that teaches them to wonder. I say this, because too often we don’t think—and furthermore don’t care—about these answers. We know—or think we know—some semblance of the answer, so we don’t plum them any deeper with “Whys”. And in turn, we take that obstinacy and apply it to those curious youths, answering them with irritation and distaste, ridicule or dismissal, and actively make them feel stupid for thinking outside the box, for pondering depth, or for not knowing what we take for granted.

There are, none of us, who stand omniscient. Mother may be God in the eyes of a child, but we need to remember that we are not, in fact, deified. Just because you don’t know something or don’t care, doesn’t grant an open-ended excuse to dismiss, exclude, or deride. Admit you don’t know. Children won’t hold it against you, and you may learn something new and exciting yourself—we should always be trying to learn. Don’t dismiss if you do know. Sit down and explain it to them. You never know what will strike a chord that resonates with them throughout the course of their lives.

Because likewise, your negativity rubs off. Children are not the idiots many make them out to be. As I said: they are filled with wonder, and more importantly, they learn. If they can’t learn what they asked of you, then they learn to recognize instead how the pursuit of knowledge annoys and aggravates…and thus they, too, come to avoid it. To walk the path to ignorance, and chastisement of those that bury themselves in the knowledge of the world. It only takes a few experiences to ruin them.

You realize we have libraries for a reason, right? And whatever happened to, “The stars are the limit, kid,” because telling them no is a one-way street, but telling them they should grow up to find out—to be the first to know something, well, that’s a whole hell of a lot more incentive than deprecation, isn’t it?

Like a river

Like a river

it’s all just one-way

around the bend, they say

just another lap down the whipple-waves

of human faces, frothing

for a pound of flesh

mermaids

with claws more like

singing out the sounds of life

the lurid lure into the deepest depths

humanity always spoils before

shorelines are an issue

no, ser not me

you’ll not drink the soul

but every protest comes half-hearted

the waves, once seen, always longed for

by child-mind, learned not learning

that the whispers really hide

men’s shapes.

The Hive Jive

Bees are just a function of the hive
so is it soul then that keeps us from the pits?
Too bad we’re all burnt out before we’re twenty-five
if anybody listened we might even ease the fits
the drone game calls the learning curve jive
but even souls can’t fact acquit,
we’ll all shrive before we thrive
not in legion, but in whit.