Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Obamanation Generation
The crowd is massive, over two million people thick, standing room only for most. People from all different walks of life are there, from the young suburban mom types to the radical students, to rabbis and priests to old distinguished politicians and lawyers. Blackberry-toting texters abound, as do multitudes of tech-savvy urbanites with digital cameras and phones whipped out to capture a momentous, once-in-a-lifetime event. At the front of it all, a young African-American family is the center of attention as millions watch history being made. The place? Washington D.C., right in front of the Capitol. The date? January 20th, 2009. The event? President Barack Obama's inauguration, an event that will undoubtedly define our generation.
I know I've mentioned the Obamas in passing before as being exemplary of coolness in our generation, but I really do think that the 2008 presidential election and youth involvement in the Obama campaign has redefined what it means to be cool here and now. Like F. John mentioned in class last night, since the turn of the century and emergence of geek chic, obsessive cool has replaced ironic disattachment as the main aspect of popular culture. Everyone who is anyone is getting political or getting involved in some sort of humanitarian project. Angelina Jolie has her thirty-seven adopted kids and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador gig, Ophrah openly supported Barack Obama in his campaign for the presidency, and satirical political shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show actually focus on world events, bringing news to the youth of America in a hip, up-to-date way.
Even though Washington D.C. is the epicenter of cool action, technology has made it possible to experience this coolness anywhere in the world. There are some crazy advantages to being members of such a technologically connected generation: with stuff like podcasts and Youtube anyone can make his or her opinion known, and millions of people use the advent of the Internet fully for self-expression. It only seems appropriate that in a class about finding cool, we use blogs to share our writing assignments with the world. With our newfound connectedness, it seems as if cool for our generation is all about a search for community, trying to connect with people worldwide and make some sort of difference. Despite all of the problems with the world right now, I find ours to be an inherently optimistic generation, continuously working to make things better and brighter.
Yes, my friends, right now D.C. is the place to be. No longer does politics belong solely to old, stuffy guys and gals in drab grey suits. A newer, fresher face is in town, and though I don't know how long this political involvement thing will be hip, right now it seems to be what defines our generation. It's a pretty awesome definition of cool, and I can only hope that it lasts long enough for me to fully take advantage of our cool culture.