When I was Greta Thunberg’s age, I watched a classmate set fire to his farts.
If memory serves correctly—and watching a half-naked teenager rolling backwards across a carpet isn’t easily forgotten—he succeeded after several attempts. He wasn’t a contortionist and was struggling to maintain his posture whilst striking a match in time with his sphincter movements.
But there was a brief display of pyro-flatulence and then we lost interest. Besides, he was at risk of singeing his pubic hair.
This is what we did at 16.
Unlike Thunberg, we had no aspirations to be international figureheads for environmentalism. My generation didn’t care about saving the world then. And now, too many of us feel compelled to criticise those that do.
Middle-aged men have developed an almost pathological obsession with Thunberg’s activism. Balding, old guys haven’t been this scared of a blond kid since Bruce Willis shit himself in The Sixth Sense.
In that movie, Haley Joel Osment saw dead people all the time. In reality, Thunberg sees dead people in the near future. Climate change supports her claims. Science supports her claims. Experience the rising heat across Singapore and your perspiring scrotum will support her claims.
But some of the older folks are still not having it. Search Greta Thunberg and the rage that surrounds her. Many prominent male media commentators are incandescent. For them, Thunberg is typical of the woke generation, always looking for the latest cause célèbre to boost one’s virtue-signalling credentials. These Millennials are snoozing through life, staging futile protests with homemade placards
Oh, how we knew better at their age. My generation spent its youth wisely and productively. We watched a sweaty teenager hold a flickering match to his spotty arse and shout: “Stand back, lads. This one’s gonna be a beauty.”
And, my word, those fledgling farts of my youth have turned into some of the dullest old farts of my generation.
They are using their soapboxes (which come free for every middle-aged man from a dominant racial group) to castigate Thunberg’s idealists for trying to fix their environmental mess. It’s like torching a house, then mocking the fire brigade for putting out the blaze.
Old male journalists, old male celebrities, old male TV hosts and even old male sports stars—can you see a pattern yet?—have called Thunberg a brat, a stooge, a tool of the Left and even compared her appearance to Nazi propaganda.
The French philosopher Bernard Pivot said Thunberg wasn’t sexy like typical Swedish girls. She is 16, remember, and he is 84. French author Michel Onfray compared her body to a cyborg. He’s 60 and clearly qualified to impose such judgements upon a young woman.
But her brave defiance has clearly upset the fearful patriarchy. All sorts of muddy darts have been thrown at the environmentalist in the hope that one sticks.
She’s a clone for climate change alarmists. She’s a fraud, just another snowflake from a pampered generation with too much time on its hands and not enough cynicism to stay within the narrow parameters of the real world.
Of course, Thunberg really is a threat. Her ability to rally young people is a threat to the patriarchy and their traditional, vested interests. She refuses to be sexualised or patronised. She won’t conform to archaic ideals of her place in society, as a female or as a young person.
Her generation demands action on climate change, not for followers on Instagram, but for survival. Older generations are terrified of change. They’ll vote for Trump and Brexit to maintain the status quo.
For Thunberg’s generation, security is a novel concept from a bygone era. Job security. Food security. Home security. For young people, these are fantastical terms that no longer exist in a boiling, globalised planet. These things disappeared around the same time as CDs, MySpace and Elizabeth Hurley.
In Australia, for instance, old, conservative men regularly soil themselves in apoplectic commentaries about young activists because old, conservative men control most stuff in Australia and they’d like to keep it that way.
A particular favourite stat is there are more men called John running big Australian companies than there are women, which is terrifying on so many levels. My father is called John. I wouldn’t trust him to run a bath.
Young people must also contend with automation in an unknown digital future. A recent Singaporean survey showed that job seekers are more worried about their employability due to digital disruption than anything else.
When I was Thunberg’s age, I collected crockery at my family’s café. At the food court in Toa Payoh Central, a robot on wheels collects the crockery, which I find strangely erotic.
Terminator movies used to be science fiction. For teenagers about to dip a human toe into the job market, Terminator movies are documentaries.
Young people can no longer work where they want for as long as they want, but at least they can eat whatever they want, as my gluttonous generation did.
Oh wait. They can’t.
Last year, scientists warned that massive reductions in meat-eating are required to stave off climate change. Beef consumption in western countries needs to drop by 90 percent. The world requires a shift to a ‘flexitarian’ diet.
The youth of today can’t eat as much meat tomorrow. The older generations ate it all yesterday.
So, in summary, what have all those whiny Millennials got to worry about? They’ve only got no food security, no job security and no planet security. Young women are not even guaranteed personal security when they take showers on university campuses, thanks to modern technology and Jurassic perverts.
They’ve got to address all of the above in a volatile climate, whilst facing criticisms from self-interested, older generations who created the problems in the first place.
Young people deserve our eternal gratitude, not ridicule. They are cleaners, arriving the morning after the most decadent, destructive party in human history.
My age throws me in with Generation X, but my empathy is with the generations that followed. We have something in common. We learned an invaluable life lesson at the same age.
There’s little to be gained from hanging around old farts.
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