It's true. In the end, we usually become that which we use to rail against becoming. Call it the caving in, call it joining the establishment, call it growing up. As you progress through life, you mellow. It's not that you refuse to acknowledge your inner rebel...you just come to that point in your life where you finally realize that the cause needs to be worthy of your rebelling against.
And, when you've finally reached that point, it's easy to view members of the younger generation as something that was spawned from parents not even remotely human.
About a week ago I received an invitation to become a Facebook Friend of someone named "Alan Wine Merchant". Not knowing who this person was, I was hesitant to connect. My research found that this was actually a wine merchant in the UK. Over the course of my career, I've sold a lot of my wines to a wide number of British merchants, and figured that this individual may have known me through a visit. Seeing no harm in the offer, I accepted their invitation. And, in the course of our short, one-week friendship, I received three separate offers from my new friend on wines he wanted to sell me. Ugh.
Yesterday I wrote to this chap (like how I can slip into the vernacular?) and politely explained that, if his sole purpose to be on Facebook was to spam his 'friends' with such offers, then I would appreciate him removing me from his list. Short, sweet, and - I thought - polite. Within a few hours I received the following response:
F*CK OFF! Get a life old man and stop leaving rude comments on my wall you obnoxious old bastard!!!!
Really? Am I really that old?
There certainly is a disconnect between the "Gen Xers" and me. On the whole they exhibit an enormous disconnect with both reality and civility...especially in the professional world. The overwhelming sense of entitlement that pours from their mouths is both amazing and sad.
Yesterday's encounter reminded me of another encounter with the younger generation. There is a magazine called Wine X, an allegedly hip, trendy wine publication designed to capture the attention of similarly allegedly hip, trendy wine drinkers. It's painful to read, all posturing, posing fluff (and badly-written fluff at that) that has little or no substance. Obviously, enough people shared this opinion, and the magazine soon fell off the radar.
Anyhow, shortly after its launch, I was contacted by the publisher, a one Darryl Roberts, who asked if I would help him on an article they were preparing on Viognier. At that time I was on a one-man crusade to take this hip, trendy grape from obscurity to mainstream, and would have talked to any media type about it...including one who represented his rag. Of the course of our meeting, I provided Mr. Roberts with a number of handouts I had prepared on Viognier. Imagine my surprise when I read the finished piece and found that a large percentage of their 'report' was comprised of verbatim transfers from my handout.
I soon contacted Roberts and expressed my concern that what he had committed was, basically, plagiarism. This hip, trendy publisher immediately responded with, "You should feel lucky that we even bothered to print your stuff!" When I explained that he was perhaps unaware that his actions were not only unprofessional but legally actionable, he decided to print a corrective acknowledgement in the very next issue.
Amazing, but true.
Perhaps my encounters with the self-absorbed, disconnected from reality, 'me-me-me' generation has provided me with a cause worthy of rebelling against? Nah. They're not worth the time and trouble...and it is fun observing their whiny-baby antics.