Last week, I caught up on some of The Daily Show episodes.
In the queue was the now infamous episode of Trevor Noah’s interview with Tomi Lahren.
Throughout the interview, I was shocked and appalled by the level of narcissism and self-righteousness, the lack of awareness, the sheer multitude of entitlement that Ms. Lahren exhibited. As soon as it ended, I began pondering what exactly I should think…
My initial thought was, oh my God… here is a person claiming to represent a whole generation of people, eschewing labels with labels, a completely selfish disregard for others, a lack of skills in rhetoric and logic and, in all appearances, a walking, talking, breathing, Aryan Nation poster child. Tomi Lahren invokes so much hate and anger and relishes in it… why?
My mind wandered back to conversations past…
…to a university café discussion with a 19 year old who justified cheating, because they believed that was how people “won”. The 19-year old had successfully dodged all culpability and redirected the debate by saying, “Well, other people do it too!”
…to my rhetoric class, where I talked with other students, a good 10 years younger, our desks circled and facing one another. During our philosophical debates and discussions, I memorized some of their faces. I was shocked by the level of narcissism and self-righteousness, the lack of awareness, the sheer multitude of entitlement and… I realize now, that at that moment, I had witnessed, for the first time, a whole generation of people that had NO idea what it was like to want, to suffer, to experience pain, or prejudice. Was this progress?
…to the blog I wrote where I said “…real 1980’s recession survivors took a seam ripper to their ‘Members Only’ jackets, we refused to be labels and walking advertisements…” And I thought, for a second, well, every generation has probably said close to the same thing… why should hers’ be any different?
My mental meanderings didn’t yield any conclusive results, but my psyche continued to ponder what REALLY bothered me about this person and the ‘generation’ she claimed to represent.
I gave up and took a nap. We old people need our naps after all…
I woke up an hour or so later, after a really stressful, angst-ridden-who-cares-what-it-was-about dream… with one blaring, but concise question:
WHERE WAS HER COMPASSION?
A person, with the slightest concept of compassion, could never justify, let alone actually say or do such things.
With the help of technology – twitter, et al – bullies spew inflammatory opinions… take embarrassing pictures of people in Walmart and post them online… they make memes to embarrass and harass other people… the offenses and media platforms are lengthy. The culture that she represents… are bullies who invoke Freedom of Speech as justification for breeding discontent. They are completely disconnected from the repercussions of their actions… how can they possibly understand the true ramifications?
My 9 year old persona stepped in to say that if a kid acted the way that Ms. Lahren and her cohorts act online, counter-bullying would have been a kindness. That shit would have been handled on the playground… parents would have never been involved.
My Mom persona interceded to lament: Where did we, the parents, go wrong? Was it helicopter parenting that caused this? Were we too involved? How did these heartless, cold and selfish, children get unleashed onto an unsuspecting world?
My rational side finally yielded and said that, yes, people of all ages and demographics engage and revel in such practices disguised as humor and mistaken for true debate. But no one grew up with it as normal, until the millennial generation came of age.
Before it became normal behavior, we just called people that acted that way bullies and assholes.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be fair to blame the millennials’ or even Ms. Lahren for their culture… but I can hold them accountable for their behavior and their intentions.
The epitaph of memes, to end all memes should one day read:
Here lay the Internet and Smartphones… establishing ass-holish behavior as the norm since 2005.
And there’s an end.
 There is NO replacement for Jon Stewart, however, Trevor Noah has settled into the role of anchor and is surpassing all expectations.
 Fame. Fortune. Privilege. The usual.
 The irony of the situation in rhetoric class was that I was attending an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and University). All of the students logged in my memory had one thing in common… every single one of them were white and upper middle class, just like Ms. Lahren.
 Remember what is said of Freedom of Speech per my Journalism teachers: It does not give you the right to scream “Fire!” in a crowded theater. (Incitement is NOT free speech.)
 Yes, I witnessed more than my share of these ‘humblings’, they weren’t violent or even really ‘mean’, yet were very effective at leveling the playing field regarding perceived ‘entitlement’.
 Which, by the way, is about the year that the ‘millennial’ generation got their start in the world…