I absolutely had no idea what to write about today for my 300 words a day challenge, so I guess I am going to list down some recaps of things I have read these past few weeks.
Millennials as burnout generation. To be honest, this is such a painful read on the account of how relatable and terrifyingly accurate it is. On top of that, I might have had multiple conversations (with multiple groups of friends) over a number of struggles mentioned in this article. Even more terrifying is the fact that a lot of us feel helpless, unless there is a paradigm-shifting systemic change.
To describe millennial burnout accurately is to acknowledge the multiplicity of our lived reality — that we’re not just high school graduates, or parents, or knowledge workers, but all of the above — while recognizing our status quo. We’re deeply in debt, working more hours and more jobs for less pay and less security, struggling to achieve the same standards of living as our parents, operating in psychological and physical precariousness, all while being told that if we just work harder, meritocracy will prevail, and we’ll begin thriving. The carrot dangling in front of us is the dream that the to-do list will end, or at least become far more manageable.
But individual action isn’t enough. Personal choices alone won’t keep the planet from dying, or get Facebook to quit violating our privacy. To do that, you need paradigm-shifting change. Which helps explain why so many millennials increasingly identify with democratic socialism and are embracing unions: We are beginning to understand what ails us, and it’s not something an oxygen facial or a treadmill desk can fix.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s is the politician we all can finally relate to (so far). If you have been diligently following the US politics especially after the Democrats gained hold of the House after this year’s midterm election, you must have heard of Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Three days after being elected to the House of Representatives, Ocasio-Cortez invited her followers, all 650,000 of them, to chat about as she made loaded macaroni and cheese in an Instant Pot, over Instagram. Over the past few months on the platform, she had been taking her followers behind the scenes of her new job, discussing civic lessons and personal highs and lows, taking silly selfies, talking over muffled videos (which are designed to be accessible with closed-captioning features) — which visceral appeal is described as a fun experiment in how to live a life as a congresswoman.
“She’s acting like a regular person. She embodies this surrealist thing of, like, ‘WHAT IF…you were elected to Congress? What would happen next? What would you do?’”
“She’s the only member of Congress,” someone recently noted to me over text, “I actually relate to on any level.”
Whilst using the same playbook as Trump’s, “while the tone, tenor, and endgame of their politics are vastly different — one pushes tax legislation, the other Trump propaganda and stories about Clinton-adjacent pizza parlor child sex dungeons — they both know how to captivate and play to their audiences, leveraging the power of their followings, deflecting criticism, and staying on the offensive at all costs. That means being unafraid to get in the mix.”, and Ocasio-Cortez has always been seen as “quick to acknowledge missteps, but also because she’s constantly moving forward, advancing her argument, tweaking the agenda, and otherwise antiquating those cable news chyrons that might seek to belittle her”,
On many accounts, it’s still unclear if her strategy is sustainable and this could still backfire:
This is a hall of knives, though. Ocasio-Cortez wants to transform the Democratic Party and the government; she is antiestablishment and ideological in ways that progressives and conservatives understand. Her successes and failures will mean more, if the last few months have taught us anything, because people want her to prove or disprove something about American politics. Maybe it’ll get old, and she’ll flame out or fade away — or maybe she won’t, and this is the beginning of something unusual.
As well as the question of post ephemerality and archiving:
Here’s an additional reading on the question of ephemerality and archiving.
In many cases, it could also be that Ocasio-Cortez is just someone who is just really good at social media:
Like the Parkland teens last year, Ocasio-Cortez wields her generational stance as a weapon — she’s born of the internet and instinctively excels at modern political information warfare. She leans into conflict and she’s quick with a quote retweet. Last November she dismissed some critical tweets from Sarah Palin as “grandpa emails.” She’s playing by the new rules of the internet while septuagenarian pundits on Fox Business are tsk-tsking and calling her “little girl.”
But, when we think about it:
… as Trump and his media apparatus have demonstrated repeatedly, when our political discussion is so easily influenced by what happens on Twitter, the ability to dominate that conversation becomes the ability to dictate the news cycle. And that, for better or worse, looks a lot like power.