Susannah Mushatt Jones, died today on her 116 year of life. She was the oldest living human on this planet. To get notice of her passing in this in record time compared to an age of messenger riders is a blessing – it evokes a sense of unity among races and cultures. But what do we really know about her? Born in 1899 she has witnessed and lived through two world wars and seeing humans reaching the moon, as well as the dawn of the internet and following social media frenzy of the last 10 years transforming our societies of brains. Her brain was a digesting and storing conversations and scenes from the last 2 centuries. As we just surpassed one, the 21st, she got still born (not still-born, but crying shouting, breathing and living) to happy parents in the last year of the 19th century. Where did her memory go? Who recalls her stories? Why do they feel to be “lost” for humanity, even if some may have gotten personally narrated and rememberd? The oldest human on earth died today and we worry about our petty little, short lives enclosed in our soap bubble of the Self, drifting. Can worry about our own success or failure. Survival is success. Giving up, seeing life not worth living is a failure, in my humble opinion. Susannah Mushatt Jones did not give up, she kept on living when others are dying of misery and despair. When other, fresher generations forsee their coming, the dawning of a new age of,…newcomers. Business as usual.
“We come” or German “Wir kommen” as for a new generation which does rise right now, mostly born after 1980. As usual, they are complained about by older generations like in ancient Greece: the youth is not behaving well, not in an adapted and expected way as WE did. No, they are coming to change things – or not? They are born around the turn of the Millenium and they seem to be well fed and not amused. After the slacker generation X which fled the responsibility to function properly and chose to rather chill out in the desert or in East Asia, the Millenials are now bored and may feel left alone. They play it cool, well groomed and in desperate search to be different. Egoism might a common ground, but who is not egoistic nowadays, this disease which got instigated also in generation 68, the summer of love. If they fall, all others might opportunistically, too. Egoism, centering around the own self may be a way to distinguish themselves from Generation X. Those were simply too egoistic for a society of producers and searching to negotiate the systemic failure through smoking weed and having long talks under the starry night (as long as they could afford it) but the Generation Y seems to be egoistic to the core, as a kind of rebellion, because it freaks out their parents. Although they might become alienated to themselves through it and carry load too light for them. Also they are actually drifting, but not by choice but by force of getting excluded in decision processes other than those for themselves.
They pretend to be “cool” (a moldering term from the 80ies), but like the shooting star author Ronja von Rönne (born in 1992) it might be a protective attitude, and a well rehearsed one. Not free, but “compressed” to overexpose freedom to the point of rejection. They do not want to be so free, they crave for a voice to give them at least some guidance – because having a voice which has something to say is increasingly difficult in this digital cacophony of voices. Are they a failed experiment of anti-authoritarian education – lost, not creative, cynical and bitter, not playful? In Jan Böhmermann´s Satire show Ronja von Rönne refused to play the silly games because she was there to promote her book and she seemed to be fully aware that this is not an appropriate exhchange with pictures where she would jump trying to bite a Frankfurter sausage from a laundry line. Böhmermann went for it. It is his job. More sacrifice in a world which boasts no values, no guidance – he knows it´s futile to resist, even childish. Maybe that is why in the end this episode of his show got censored and erased from the ZDF archive, of being too childish to provoke Motherfather State law? Maybe Motherfather State law and its current avatars did not understand properly that this was an EXCERISE in showing what the boundaries could be, still believing in the freedom of speech and art and satire? The infamous poem (Schmähkritik) was an announced support and proclaimed challenge for another ZDF satire show (extra3, which made a satiric song about the Turkish president, freedom of press and human rights based on a German pop hit of the 80ies) which already caused diplomatic troubles in between Turkey and Germany. Böhmermann was trying to show where the real boundaries legally are drawn, by openly overstepping them – and advising that one should not and cannot do that. That is bold, wise, stupid and very brave – and his job. (you may watch it here:
All those who are afraid of doing their job properly may cringe here get in a lather. In an overestimation, to give everything may be called “a gift of Generation X” – of course they look like idiots while doing it. And less and less people dare to expose them in a world where they eagerly share what they are eating for lunch. But the designed cool of the next phalanx of authors may very well be the death of carefree opinion. They adopt too quickly. They do not break laws or boundaries. The best they can do is to repeat and make their lives look like movies from the past. Lets hope I am wrong. The smoking 23 year girl on TV drinking wine (wow, anybody remembering the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead smoking and drinking Whiskey in a teenage show at 4pm in the afternoon?) who countered the raptor Böhmermann effectively with narrating dryly that their parents worried why she is going to that show of the “thin man”. But her own laughing exposed how quickly she got slashed in being identified as the real victim by the host. Nobody should be the victim here, as this arena is entertainment, even though the metaphor of the “Hunger Games” was hovering even over the story of Rönne getting vandalized by the Jury at the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Böhmermann will survive even when the German chancellor opens the path for a trial and his show gets censored (the same where Ronja von Rönne appeared and is now erased together with her book promotion), but will she – young amazon without armour but witty eyes and a sharp tongue within a corporate basin of crocodiles? Let`s wish her the best and lets reach out a hand…she has the grip, it seems…