Understanding Y : Expectations and Motivations

In our first month’s issuing of articles, there was this one personal piece, you may even have read it, that told a story of a guy getting tossed around by adulthood’s newest questions of him. It was all there: the “who am I?”s, the “what now?”s and the stone-faced sobriety one reaches for when facing the onrushing weight of new-found responsibility. I felt that something eerily accessible was brooding there. And these layered questions of becoming, whether we acknowledge them or not, and each in their time will be presented us, ”whether for the bane or enlightenment of man” (as Camus so aptly described generational battles in La Peste).

Who are these kids?

With a shifting into modernity, the family support structure isn’t what it once was. Gone are the days of countless siblings by which to play with, conspire against and confide in under the invigilating auspice of monolithic parents. Even the latter have seen their familial roles declining for some time. With all the day’s evidence (dual-income households, the emergence of technological isolation and the undertaking by the education system to play a larger role in the formerly parental discussions Puberty, Sex and Ethics), one is nervously brought to imagine a family matrix cast without much use for the familiar pairing of the paternal guarantor or the maternal Bastille of support. More and more, the winding of the hourglass has come to announce a new way for us millennials to cope with the solitude of our growth; the boundless access to fingertip information. But what happens when this membership to a larger network plays parent with us. Studying our unique propensity to replace (or indeed countermand) mom&pop’s wisdom with readily packaged data from our IPhones and Galaxys (and/or whatever-the-f**k-else), can we still maintain being the sons and daughters of a marital pairing or have we being raised in the micro-climate of the online community? Naturally, we’ve all heard the dinning-room rabble about how we don’t entertain sticks and balls with the same passion as our progenitors– and it is also true that technology has made alone-time all the more desirable, but does that warrant the societal concern for our apathy? Are us generation Y-ers, the cult of “right here, right now”, having our youths prolonged by never having that crucial childish curiosity leave us?  Is there a link between technology and gerascophobia (the fear of growing up)?

While this is rather summary view of those of us who came to be in the noughties, it does beg a larger question: what kind of contribution could be made by our manic lot?- And who should be allowed to issue the grade? I’d grant that these interrogations are every bit too “social science-y” but one can hardly be expected to tackling generational studies without a wide-angle lens.

Now that you’ve been barraged with all the (tedious) questions that are asked us, trenches need digging. This generational critique of our apathy is simply too much… it has to be! That flawed critique allows for the elderly elements of society to snigger at those with the real power: those who’ll pay for their social security and entitlement programs. Once this dynamic is understood, many of the stereotypes fall into comprehension. This explains why the education we’ve received has seen reinforce roles and standards of a bygone era. Truth is, the information era has spun convention on its head, leaving little to negotiate between the old world and the new one. Make no mistake, these boomers & seniors would much prefer we plugged into a 20th-century view of, firstly, providing the state and its crusty ruling class with a great sum of our hard-fought earnings. Secondly, we are reminded to lunge at the opportunity of being a “company men/women” whereby all of our irrational concessions to our career go into solidifying the promise that this job may follow us straight through to retirement. This view, though beneficial to the companies in want of yuppies, seems an antiquated one as labor statistics indicate that the millennials need only wait 2-3 years on average before being turned over. Once more, we are made to realize that this world isn’t made for us. What’s more? There seems to be the a new departure from western imprudence, of the value of sustainability is back in a big way, tall and wide. Nonetheless, in matters such as education, we should perhaps borrow certain concepts from biomimicry and favor methodology and adaptability over concepts and material that risks a certain amount of obsoletion. Biomimicry is the new-ish science trend having to do with reducing the complexity of our problems by asking simply how nature would solve the presented problem.

Thankfully (for everyone involved), this isn’t the type of article where I lambaste large segments of the population for having muddied our waters, broken the family dynamic, gambled with deficits and impoverish the future’s job market, though much can be surmised on all those points. This isn’t a protest, this isn’t a “J’acuse”, this isn’t class warfare and it’s not ageism. What it is, to the extent that it is anything, ought to be explained with a pinch of reflection: if we aren’t the catchy sum of negative superlatives decried by the posterity of ancient régimes, then…who?…what?…why? and how, dear reader, does this pertain to you?

With no elderly expert in the room to seize our mic from us, the task becomes simpler: we are in the generational fight to characterize our kind, to illuminate our private nature and order of things in order that we may, putting it mildly, speak up for ourselves. This may seem like a star-gazing experience in practice but history offers us consolation.  As JFK famously boomed in his 1962 Rice University :

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

In case you were curious, in the concluding months of the decade, the 20th of July 1969, the Apollo 11 mission was successful and heralded as a defining moment for science and a telling one for the hearts and minds of the sixties. Now… I’m not asking anyone to boldly go about embarking on a lunar conquest of their own (though there would be a job waiting for you at PirateMTL.com should you care to share such experiences…). What I’m forwarding, therefore, is that the narrative of our lot, is both ripe and fertile– and not fertile in the same way garden soil is, but rather the way a blank page is.

What we’d like to do about it…

Who, rather than yourself, could be trusted to talk about what you know and how it’s relatable to yours’ and others’ experience? What we want, here at PirateMTL.com is to shape a platform where contributors write about what they deem important and editors carefully trim the bonsai branches in order to wax the article’s truth, so that, for want of standards, no voice is silenced. To be fair, it’s an odd thing to get into, and still more queer is the calm, warming satisfaction our (25+)contributors have all cited from banging out, key by key, the sharpened thoughts of their learning.

There are many reasons why someone would want to join in on the fun. Not least of them is the personal challenge of releasing information, of some value to the author, unto a group of strangers of curious, busy, 21st century polymaths. The work is play and the play is work. Another popular comment I’ve received is how surprised and elated people are at the efficiency of their writing. We’ve gotten some grade-A material from such interesting and diverse people as can be found. There’s also a marketing aspect to this which one can’t pretend to overlook, let alone ignore. As aforementioned, in a world that expects us to hold a job for no more than 2-3 years, the developing and promoting of the self, arrived-at by the calculus of the disentangling of our personal projects, the ever-protracted pursuit of happiness and the opportunity to join in to the projects of others.

We’ve so far helped artists, writers, cinematographers, performers, journalists and others frame their work in their owns words and let their intentions run unspoiled on what becomes their magazine. It has been a pleasure for all of us at PirateMTL.com to wed voice to thought, throughout this (at the time of publishing) 2 1/2 month journey. Truth is, for all these reasons (and many more!), people have broken the wall of reservation and presented some powerful first-person reportages– and with a staff like ours, now reaching 35+ people, we can pursue and refine the project to make the most of our talent, at all levels for the greater pirate good.

To leave with you all with something that will fit neatly alongside the burning in your heart and the electricity of your fingertips, we offer you the paraphrased ideology of PirateMTL.com, as per firebrand-extraordinaire Oscar Wilde…

“Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. This has become an absolute public nuisance.”

So what remains of this nuisance is up to you, cher lecteur, would you rather bottle up your being and personality in a world growing more crowded by the day, or take a swig at the chance of doing you in the active, at your own pace, with a cohort of high-minded scalawags?

Why do WE PirateMTL.com?
For the same reason others won’t: the hungry can be as restful in pursuit as the satiated in slumber.

-Nick Zdan