Anthony Norman White - Freelance Writer

Historically Repetitious Inaccuracy Causes Generational Repression, Again

I was at a dinner party recently when someone almost 10 years younger than me exclaimed, “There’s no way I’m in the millennial generation. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 16!” It was not received as anything but truth. Everyone agreed.

It had a profound impact on me. I left that party depressed, irritated, and sick to my stomach, despite the fantastic food.

If you were born between the years of 1981 and 1996, you’re a millennial. And it’s a soft border, meaning you might be a millennial if you are born on either cusp. The millennial generation has an odd and bizarre stigma attached to it that is more historically repetitious than accurate. But what that comment from the person at the dinner party illuminates is the control that the previous generation has over millennials. And it’s not Gen X, it’s the Boomers, the only other generation that has equal number of people enveloped inside and they feel threatened as every previous generation of Americans has felt since the 1600’s.

The first Jamestown colony on the New Land that Britain had acquired in what is now Virginia was largely a bust. No crop other than tobacco had grown successfully there and England’s premier tobacco provider was still Spain. Spanish tobacco couldn’t be overthrown by a successor until the King decided to make an announcement that the tobacco from the New Land was much better. This was in an effort to revive his investment and the marketing worked.

As production had to increase the workers that were sent to Jamestown in the first place needed help. They wrote to the King to send some new workers. The King, resourceful as ever, sent a younger generation there, in order to ensure that the farm system was taught to a new group, sustaining his investment long term. Not long after their arrival the letters started pouring back in to him.

King James
King James looking slightly like Tom Waits

The colonists wrote that the new batch of young workers he sent were lazy, unable to be trained, didn’t listen, and were practically no help. This began the American way of complaining about the next generation in order to preserve your own dignity and posterity, as a new batch of individuals is sent to take over.

My grandfather thought my dad’s generation was a bunch of lazy long haired, pot smoking hippies who were glued to their hi- fi stereos. They were, but they also were catalysts for change, ushering in an era where people stood together for what is right. Protests formed for peace, equal rights, and individuality around the country. These are the same baby boomers who are now repressing and propagandizing the Millennials in the same way that they were by the Traditionalist or the Silent Generation.

Make no mistake, not everything since the 1600’s is repetition. This current generation grew up in a socially different time that causes more time in front of a screen than in front of anything else. But what is seldom argued is that the Millennial generation’s world is the world, they grew up inherently global and so there views seem so completely different because they are the first generation to see what they want to see, have all information just a click away and seem generally accepting of all types of people regardless where they are from.

Much in the same way the baby boomer generation was ridiculed by their parents for spending far too much time and energy on rock and roll, radio, and television, this new generation is on their phone. The older generations didn’t grow up with things “going viral” and that term has a negative feel to it, and they themselves find they spend far too much time on their phones and on social platforms. If it’s addicting to them, it must be more addicting to the younger generation because they simply have less experience.

But it’s just not true. It’s always been in our hands and so we adapted much quicker. The issue isn’t addiction from the younger generation, but actually from the older. 62% of Facebook users are over 35, 20% is in the Millennial Generation, and 10% is over 65. All of these generations have had social media the same amount of time. And the numbers are actually pretty similar. The only exception being television. Millennials don’t watch TV they stream off their tablets, phones, and computers. Gen X and the Boomers still watch a few hours of TV every night.

Somehow the TV screen is lost in translation when compared to the cell phone screen.

The Millennials are the first generation to make inclusivity a priority, renewable energy a reality, and social media a tool. These initiatives were largely thought of by a previous generation that wanted to make things better for the next generation, but has now become irate and jealous that it is becoming a possibility. Fabricating things to complain about the next generation is a silly way to show support. But maybe a few of us will use that chip on our shoulder to break the rules all over again.

But how about instead of ridicule there is general support? What if we all worked together instead of drawing a line in the sand of who is right and who is wrong?

The Millennials themselves will be the first to try and weasel out of being part of their own generation. Where does that come from? Handed down from the previous generation trying to prove that their worth is still a worth. If you were born between 1981 and 1996 and you are saying that you are not a millennial you are only being beholden to the previous generations who paved the way and now have shackled you to a slower rate of growth, to their fears, and to their shadows disappearing as the sun sets. You’re buying into 400 years of historically repetitious inaccuracies fueled by tradition instead of truth.

Time to unshackle.

2018 marks the first year we could have a Millennial as president. Young leaders are being elected already. Justin Trudeau of Canada is 46 and Emanuel Macron is 40. The Millennial Generation is now larger than the Baby Boomers and that number will continue to grow larger as the years go by. We are in control. Not monetarily, but in populous and that means that we can start to dictate the direction of this great nation.

If you are already using phrases like “the kids these days” and “back in the day” you are already cementing into place the same repression and historical inaccuracies that previous generations put in place. But it’s not supportive and won’t help us all out long term. The younger generations should use their time and effort to connect with the older generation, to learn where certain things went wrong, and where things went right and accept that wisdom and learn. If everyone was willing to work together we could all be part in making the future of this great nation much brighter.

As long as everyone puts their phones down long enough to listen.

What This Shit Means to Me

It’s so much more than a petrified piece of poo. It’s a sharp reminder that life happens fast and you should never take shit from anyone, especially if it’s something that you truly believe in. It’s a putrid reminder that sometimes shit rolls downhill, that there’s always shit on your mind, there’s always lots of shit to do, and you’re always looking for ways to escape all this shit. But it’s also funny, because sometimes shit is funny.

This shit reminds me to stay patient that sometimes you have to wait for shit. That shit doesn’t come easy. Not all shit that does come easy is bad shit, sometimes quick shit is easy and good, but waiting and being patient for shit usually pays off the best. The best shit makes you wait and that shit feels good when it finally arrives.

But most of all this shit reminds me of my Grandfather. He put this very same fake shit on his head when I was a kid and walked into the room. He got my attention and I looked at him and saw the shit, but thought that shit was real and I was so disappointed in him. All I said was, “Oh, Papa!” and everyone started laughing. Then I found out the shit was fake and I realized that sometimes it’s funny to play a practical joke and that he really didn’t let a big dog shit on his head. And I learned a little something about comedy and love.

But it also shows some humility too, that you’re willing to take some shit because sometimes you have to and sometimes you have to be willing to give a shit, even when nobody else does.

I keep this shit on my desk when I’m writing. I look at it to remind myself to dig down deep into the shit and to be as real as possible. It’s a little reminder that you have to get all the shit down while you can, and you better love the shit you create, but never take that shit too seriously.

This shit is important to me and so is writing. So I keep this shit to remind me of the past, the present, and the future.  It reminds me that I’ll never be scared shit-less, no matter what shit I face.

Thanks for reading this shit.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

So What If We’re All Equal?

In the last 6 months I’ve had more people admit their racism to me than ever before.  It literally happens every week.  I come into contact with a lot of people for part of my job and I never bring up any politics, race, or religion.  I barely bring these things up with family.  It’s just something that you shouldn’t talk about unless you’re ready for a fight and especially when you are representing another company it should never be uttered.  So I don’t bring it up, but it keeps coming up and I find it very strange, irritating, and tiresome.

I am white.  My last name is White.  My mom is full blooded Italian but my dad is a typical American mutt with a broad array of nationalities.  I look like a typical white American man.  And for whatever that is worth, recently people have started to expose their racism to me.  Most of them are complete strangers, or at very best people that I come into contact with only a few times a year.  They’re doing it in such a way as if I’m supposed to agree, as if I’m supposed to go along with it, as if I was thinking the same thing and they’re just the ones that happened to say it.  They’re not waiting for the subject to be broached, but rather launching into soliloquies without provocation.  My ‘whiteness’ must be a beacon for self-assuring validation.

I want to get angry.  I want to lash out.  I want to bring up examples and points to show that they are only being brainwashed by a giant propaganda machine that has snuck into their brain.  I want to explain that racism is not a gene but learned.  They learned to be a racist over time and they could unlearn.  I want them to know that they are the profligates, the minority, that intelligent people don’t think that way.  They never did.  Scared people think that way, people scared to lose money and power.  They’re the ones that started these lies and you’ve bought into that fear and it’s ruining your life.  I want to tell them that one of my best friends is black and I was with him when a whole family degraded him for his color, how mortifying it was for me, and how he had to let it roll off his back.  No one should have to do that because of who they are.  It seems to me that is an un-American thing, prosecuting someone for being themselves.  Isn’t that why we left England in the first place?

I don’t say any of this because I have come to realize that it is too deep a part of their life.  My anger is only going to add to theirs.  They have physically sewn themselves to their misery and fear and walk around with it as their cross to bear.  To talk about it makes them feel a little better, relieves their anguish and anxiety even if just for a little while.  When other people agree with them about their fear of other colors or cultures, it rationalizes their very being. When they find an unvetted propagandist website they proudly post it on Facebook, showing the world they have company, a team of troglodytic lemmings to ban together and validate themselves as rational. But it only proves their insecurity, insecure to be white, scared that another race, color, or culture might be better than them.  Why should anybody be better? Is it possible that we are all humans and equal? And, so what if we’re all equal?  Why is that so bad?

I don’t want to give my examples of the racism that I have encountered.  I don’t want to put it into words because I feel like it just helps spread the hate, insecurity, and irrationalism.  But without going into detail I recently saw a racist meme on Facebook. It was an unlearned suggestion that degraded black people in particular and relied heavily on an inaccurate depiction of history.  It did not have many likes, but it did have some.  Underneath the meme, the first commenter agreed by adding an exclamation point after his comment.  But the proof of a lack of education lies in the commenter’s choice of vernacular as well as their appropriation of the English language.  The commenter simply wrote “Word!” meaning, as I imagine, a term of agreement with the meme.  This is just a tiny example of why racists are not very cultured, intelligent, or aware.

By using the word “Word” what the commenter was trying to say is “I agree with this statement.  It is true”.  You will often times in hip hop culture hear rappers and other artists say “word” on recordings or TV.  Only “word” is not spelled the same as the Microsoft product or the things you are reading right now.  “Word” is actually spelled “WERD”.  It was the call letters to a radio station in Atlanta owned by Jesse Blayton, the first black radio station owner in American history.  He purchased the station in 1949 wanting there to be a station that could speak to the black population of the south.  By the 1950’s and early 1960’s Mr. Blayton had become synonymous with helping spread the messages of civil rights, giving Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists air time.  Jesse Blayton was a pioneer and literally the first of his time.  When someone says “WERD” it is synonymous with “TRUTH” because that’s what WERD in Atlanta stood for: TRUTH.  So when I read some racist commenting on a racist meme and incorrectly using WERD while also referencing WERD I have to laugh out loud.  You’re using an empowering term incorrectly while referencing the very culture you’re trying to degrade.  It’s simply not intelligent.

I guess I’m not surprised.  I have yet to meet anyone believing in racist propaganda that seems to have much intelligence.  Even those who don’t think they are racist can be racist.  If you have ever started a sentence with “I’m not a racist, but…” then you most certainly are a racist.  Please don’t excuse yourself ahead of time for the terrible thing you are about to say about another race or culture, although I certainly appreciate the warning so I can zone out while you are talking.

I feel terrible for people who can’t seem to break the spell.  Almost the same shame and sadness I felt when my friend was degraded in front of me, in my home town, by a whole family of racists.  We are given this one life to live and there is so much that is wonderful and beautiful in the world.  There are so many good people to friend and learn from, to share love with and to laugh with.  But some people choose to live angry, to live in complete fear of all people of color, in fear of different cultures, petrified of strange far away religions.  They have sewn themselves to misery, only living to validate their fears by being around other people who also feel the same way.  They will never venture out and learn about these other cultures on their own, never be surrounded by anyone that they don’t understand. They will only live this one life, petrified of everything that could be and not amazed by what actually is.  They have chosen to live their life in misery and fear and will die in the same vain.

My anger is over.  Some of my friends can testify to times I have almost been in fights with strangers for being racist in public.  I took it as a personal attack to my very being.  I’m done with all that.  I thought that I was leading by example, standing up for what is right, being the moral super hero and fighting the evil forces that bring hate into the world.  I realized I myself was bringing hate into the world.  So instead, I’m offering my condolences to those who believe that one race is better or worse than another.

Their grip is slipping.  More and more people in America are casting aside previous racial stereotypes and accepting each other for who they are.  I believe I’m seeing an increase in admittance to racism as an unconscious survey, to see how many white people are still going to band together for supremacy, irrational fear, and blind hate.  Count me out.  I don’t buy into it and just because I’m white doesn’t mean you’re able to bring this up, even casually, because I know you’re not bringing this up in front of people of color on account of your fear.  I will no longer retaliate in anger, but rather offer a sad shaking of my head and a pat on the shoulder for condolence.  You have lost.  And not is some battle for racial supremacy, but in life, for you have wasted yourself in anger, deteriorated yourself with lies, and will live in the shadows of the rest of us.

You never liked the sun anyway.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.

baseball vs football

Baseball is Timeless

It’s playoff baseball season but you probably didn’t notice.  Maybe you saw a passing story line in the runner on the bottom of ESPN, a quick blurb that indicated that teams have been chosen.  But it’s difficult to notice baseball buried deep under the NFL’s teeming headlines, every injury report, every power ranking, arrest, comments, analysis, drama, and every single little side note taking precedent over all other sports.  The NFL is king of ratings and the talk around most water coolers every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

Each NFL fan tunes in on Sunday’s in fall and winter, a crucial time in advertising for the holiday season. If they sit for all 3 games on a Sunday, that’s about a 12 hour day.  Every NFL game contains around 100 commercials, according to The Wall Street Journal, accumulating around 75 minutes of air time per game.  The same NFL game will contain around 17 minutes of official review and only around 11 minutes of actual football game action on the field.  If you sit for 12 hours of games you will have watched over 300 commercials totaling almost 4 full hours.  You will have watched an hour of officials reviewing calls and about a half hour of actual football game action.  The other 7.5 hours leftover in those 12 will be spent watching teams huddle, referees line the ball up with chains and sticks, players milling around waiting for a call from the sidelines, and analysts discussing various players and strategies.

It’s playoff baseball season, but you probably didn’t notice.  Most NFL fans aren’t Baseball fans.  The game is too slow they say, not enough action they claim, not enough excitement, and the game is way too long.  The average NFL game is around 13 minutes longer on average than that of the average baseball game.  Baseball’s time of action rings in around 17 minutes compared to the NFL’s 13, and due to the nature of the game only stopping for inning changes, the average amount of commercials is around 50.

This doesn’t equate to baseball being more or less “exciting”.  The question is why is baseball considered boring and why isn’t the NFL?  Baseball has fewer collisions and less serious injury. Maybe the clear and present danger of a season ending injury looming over the head of an NFL athlete is enough to keep the viewer more engaged?  The NFL also has only a few games in comparison to baseball, and it could be argued that every NFL is extremely important, while in baseball not every game has the weight of the entire season.  But starting an NFL season 0-2 usually results in missing the playoffs. Why watch your team after week 2 if they probably will not make the playoffs? (NFL teams have a 10% chance of making the playoffs if they start the season 0-2)  Starting 0-3 makes it even less likely.  Could your season be over by the end of September?

The game of Football is very intense.  We are told that every play, every single down matters in a season because the season is short and tough.  Everyone plays at 100% all the time which means you have to be tough in will and endurance.  It is not a game for the weak and so its fans are just as intense, burning their eyes not to blink, not to miss a game, never to miss a play, to be there for their team; if the players must act like gladiators then so must its supporters.  The time clock in the corner of the screen forever reminding you that the game is short, like the season, and that it is imperative that you must win, you must conquer the opponent, give your body up for the glory of another “W”.  The season is ticking away.

So much of life runs on a clock.  There are always deadlines to meet, business hours, commute times, call times, wait times, conference calls, meetings and everything running on a time clock.  We count down the days to the weekend, to vacation, to our next big project and so on.  It makes the day nerve wracking, the weeks fly by, and the years seem like hours.  Baseball is a beautiful and graceful game played with no clock.  There is no time ticking down and away, no deadline to get the next point or score.  It’s just a game.  To watch its best men and women play is like watching ballet or an artist at work; you can see the years of practice, the time that it took to build their skill, their repertoire and you can lose yourself in it.  These things are priceless and timeless and it’s meant to be relaxing, not boring, it’s meant to be graceful, beautiful, artful.  Its nuances aren’t pointless, they’re poetry.  Baseball is meant to be enjoyed, at a summer’s pace, with your friends and family, at ease.

The argument that football is more exciting than baseball could just come down to aesthetics.  Maybe football is just inherently more exciting because of all the things previously stated and not just one being more important than the other.  Maybe the time of year, plus the inherent danger, plus the weight of the season, plus the overall showmanship of the camera angles and slow motion replay make the NFL seem more exciting.  Mathematically by the numbers it’s not.  Or maybe that’s too complex.  Maybe it’s just the time clock in the corner of the screen, pushing the viewer to stay tuned, keeping them on schedule, forcing suspense onto the viewer as the game, the season, and the day ticks away.

There shouldn’t be a comparison.  They are two different sports meant to be enjoyed differently.  Take away time and there is no comparison.

 

Playoff Baseball: A Poem

Everyone says,

“Baseball is boring”

“There’s not enough action”

“Too many people standing around

Looking awkwardly at each other and

Talking at the bases with the other team”.

“Where’s the blood and chronic traumatic encephalopathy”?

“Where’s the comparison to gladiators and war”?

“Baseball is too boring!”

But they’re wrong.

It’s not boring.

It’s timeless.

They should be asking themselves

“Why does a time clock add so much suspense?”

To hell with time!

Let’s go watch some playoff baseball, dude.

And just for once, forget time exists.

 

Anthony N. White is a writer currently living in Rochester, NY.

He can be heckled on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Ruthieshusband

Or on Facebook, of course.