Everybody under the age of 32 is basically useless. In fact you could remove the Youth from the planet entirely and not many people would either notice or care. Admittedly some parents might wake up to discover they have more food in the fridge and a spare bedroom they can now rent out on Airbnb. Some might inhale deeply and marvel at the sudden surplus of oxygen. And the Youth? The Youth can stay frozen and dispossessed in deep space until the rest of us can think of something better to do with them.
Undoubtedly we’re getting older. We’re getting crankier and shorter of fuse – less tolerant and less interested in the self-centred bullshit spouted by Generation Dolt. Sometimes it feels as if sharkinfestedwaters has become less of a photographic collective and more of an underfunded drop-in centre for the needy and the vacuous. I think I’ve become allergic to Youth.
This state of irritation has nothing to do with any perceived generation gap. Stuff wasn’t better back in some faded, bygone era. Movies weren’t better in the 1950s. Music wasn’t better in the 1960s. Sex wasn’t better in the 1970s. Drugs weren’t better in the 1980s and video didn’t kill the radio star because all music videos were essentially crap until Nirvana launched Smells Like Teen Spirit back in 1991.
I can’t remember the last conversation I had with anyone under the age of 32 because Generation Dolt has nothing to say. I don’t believe in The Youth because they have no stories. They have no ambassadors and no representation. Permanently connected to disposable technology and having abbreviated the language to little more than a baby-babble of acronyms and grunts, the future is in the hands of vain-glorious dilettantes and clowns.
Yet Generation Dolt has both the technical knowledge and the communication systems to launch a revolution before breakfast. Unfortunately they’re too pre-occupied with pictures of their painted fingernails and bad parties. The last time the Youth had the opportunity to make a stand was back in 2011. The London riots spread nationwide and for a few seconds the police were powerless. Rather than unite and conquer, however, Generation Dolt just threw a few bricks at TK Maxx and robbed the local corner shop. Who needs an alternative street culture when you’ve just blagged a giant flatscreen TV and a box of Pringles? It will never be allowed to happen again.
I don’t want to photograph the Youth if all they represent is some conformist, self-centred and brain-numbing world of dumb consumerism and cheap TV. I want to meet fallen priests and lost prophets. I want to meet the butterfly collectors and devil’s rejects. I want to hang out with old people who live in the woods and drink tequila and read poetry and light fires and once knew this guy back in Baltimore who drove a truck into a river or something. I want to hang out with people who have never seen Game Of Thrones. I want to hang out with people who understand that a mobile phone is neither a camera nor a bible.
We need to make more room for the Rejects. Because I think we’re beautiful.