Millennials and the moments that made Us: A Cultural History of the U.S. from 1982-Present
Author: Shaun Scott
Zero Books, 2018,
Shaun Scott’s Millennials and the Moments That Made Us: A Cultural History of the U.S. from 1982-Present portraits Millennials or «Generation Y». Born sometime between 1982 and 2000, the members of this generation are characterised as being tech savvy, slow to adulthood, and easier to accept racial, ethnic and sexual diversity. The author describes the «Millennial condition» by using puzzle-like fragments of his personal biography, neoliberal economics, politics, pop culture, sports, and video games. Even if written about the USA, the book can be easily understood by Europeans, as most of us live in the same cultural and economic zone, apart from the fact that the social system in Europe is not yet totally destroyed.
Raised by TV and video games
I, the author of this review, am a Millennial, only I was not born in the USA but in the Soviet Union, which collapsed when I was seven years old. In the beginning we, the kids from the other side of the wall, wanted it all – MTV, sneakers, Barbies and colourful ice cream. Time passed and we started to be critical of the superficial consumer bubble the American culture was hypnotising us with. Fifteen years ago I visited the US for the first time and I still remember a conversation with a middle-class mom who couldn’t stop speaking about all the work she does to pay for her children’s private school. The sad thing was this mom seldom saw the children she was so overly concerned about. Her children, like the ones Shaun Scott describes in his book, were raised by surrogate parents: television and video games. The times when one working parent could support the household were over and commercial pop culture did everything to fill the gap.
Politics are Pop
However, it was not only music, films and video games that served as entertainers. The politicians participated in the same game. In the 90s, when millions of Millennials were hitting puberty, president Bill Clinton’s sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky became an entertaining reality show. Making jokes about blowjobs became a part of a youngsters everyday agenda.
With 9/11 in 2001 the game got more serious. Television played a big role to assure us that America’s collective …
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