Paul Journet: Rose, are you selfish?

Rose-Aimée Automne T. Morin: Less and less, but why are you attacking me?

PJ: I’m not attacking you, I’m doing sociology. You’re a millennial, and they say millennials are selfish. In 2013, Time magazine headlined its front page: “The Me-Me-Me Generation.” Are you saying Time magazine made a mistake?

RAATM: If by selfish you mean I don’t want to repeat my parents’ mistakes, then I plead guilty. I don’t want to lose myself in a job that will crush me, exhaust me to the point of divorce and offer everything to children who will become ungrateful and will talk about my worst trials in La Presse, presenting them as failures. And without wanting to offend the Time team, we said a lot, things, about millennials in 2013… Besides, did you feel concerned? You are still the dean of the cursed generation. Or maybe you were watching us young people go by and telling yourself that we were indeed a bunch of narcissists.

PJ: Lots of statements in there. I’m not sure that children become inevitably ungrateful and that the solution is abstinence or mass contraception, but let’s move on, the menu is too vast. Since you’re forcing me to talk about myself, let’s continue with sociology. Indeed, I didn’t feel concerned, no. Although I should have felt concerned by the chronicles about “young people who work with headphones screwed on their ears without looking people in the eyes, nothing is sacred anymore, in my time it was different”…

RAATM: Is that “talking about yourself”?

PJ: As a good millennial, I don’t handle pressure well. But sorry, let’s move on. I am wary of those who attach labels to an entire generation. Either they work in marketing or they betray their discomfort with their status as an aging person. Do you want any references to support my point?

RAATM: Put them in footnotes.

PJ: It’s done. Let’s continue.

RAATM: At the same time, there was something galvanizing about playing such a scary generation, right? I didn’t hate clichés, for once. They made me feel powerful.

PJ: Powerful how?

RAATM: People said about us that we were changing the world of work, that we instinctively understood the web, that our values ​​contrasted with those of those in power, that we would upset the established order. Advertisers were looking for our attention like an influencer looks for free pranks. We were observed, analyzed. We were supposed to be doing something with our lives.

PJ: I’m asking a question with the answer in it. Do you think that’s what happened with Facebook and social media on a larger scale? A small revolution in morals, freedom and extremely innovative innovation was promised, and technology ended up being harnessed to the same old human motivations, for better and for worse. Basically, not much has changed, it’s just that we have the tools to accelerate and exacerbate trends that have always existed.

RAATM: Do you really want an answer or just for me to write: This is an interesting lead, Paul?

PJ: Answer b), if possible.

RAATM: That’s an interesting avenue, Paul. Speaking of disappointment, I have the impression that the fact of having held a lot of hope for the future of our generation means that today, I find myself disappointed in the narrowness of our possibilities.

PJ: It’s certain that the older we get, the less we can imagine different versions of ourselves. Each choice narrows the horizon of possibilities. No generation will escape it, except those who will travel through space at the speed of light in the year 3945 with the cryogenic corpse of Elon Musk IV.

RAATM: It’s also that we were promised a lot of things and now we have to resolve to be average adults. We arrived in our thirties and forties with essentially the same problems and the same options as those who preceded us, but sometimes with fewer resources. I often think about Generation Z who are supposed to change the world because they would be more aware of the climate crisis, justice, equality and TikTok. I tell myself that we have transferred the weight of our responsibilities to her and that she too risks ending up out of breath and vaguely disappointed. Disillusionment is surely the lot of all generations, deep down.

PJ: If you allow me, I would like to contradict myself.

RAATM : Je t’en prie.

PJ: Millennials have experienced something different. I’m going to quote Mark Fisher while trying not to butcher his thoughts.

RAATM: The author of The Golfer and the Millionaire?

PJ: An excellent bestseller, indeed. But no, I’m talking about the other Mark Fisher. The English cultural theorist, the one who was depressed, who had good musical tastes and who died.

RAATM: I’d love to know how you describe me to others, but we don’t have time. Continue.

PJ: According to him, the idea of ​​the future is in decline. By this he means that the future no longer appears as a space that promises progress. The climate crisis can only be mitigated, not stopped. The musicians give in to nostalgia or play with already explored forms. Capitalism disappoints, but we fail to find other modes of social organization. This is radically different from the baby boomers for whom the future was a source of fascination and mystery. He sums up his idea with the title of a Caretaker song: Sadly, the Future Is No Longer What It Was.

RAATM: What do we do with all this? Are we depressed too? We add an eighth tattoo to our skin by telling ourselves that we have to live in the present moment because there really is nothing else?

PJ: Why are you asking me this?


PJ: OK, I’ll try. On a collective level, maybe we need to accept that the world is complex, that no one will ever be completely right, and recognize small advances, even when they don’t go fast enough? Here, summarized in one sentence, is my guru program. For the personal aspect, I’m sending you a pass in the skates.

RAATM: Very good. I tell myself that perhaps we still have the possibility of reinventing the midlife crisis. A final chance for the revolution. I have five years to work on this. For you, time is running out more. Any big plans?

PJ: Hmm… Getting closer to plants – psychiatrist Oliver Sacks said it was good for people with dementia, so it should work for me too. Fewer screens. No more regenerating silences. Find a recipe that makes kale chewable. Read a complicated Russian novel and tell everyone about it. Be a good father. Not necessarily in that order. You ?

RAATM: If I go by the stories I’ve been fed since childhood, I expect to be left for someone younger. But that’s okay, I’ll understand. Gen Z has so much more to offer than millennials…

PJ: You’ll pick yourself up in the metaverse.