Z for Zealous

Generation Z is apparently not generation Zzzzz–as in cured up under the covers and preferring to sleep off the funk they’ve faced in their still formative years. Indeed not, at least based on recent events documenting their channeling of Howard Beale a la the movie Network. Not that the Zs likely know Howard’s famous rant as a fed-up newscaster yelling into the camera I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore! That is, documented not by mainstream, corporate media, but by the outer precincts of social media platforms.

In huge numbers, the Zs have shown up, fed up, and ready to fight for a better future by confronting mostly old, mostly white guys, in certain blood-red states who get their rocks off as they seek to make the U.S. an autocracy. You know: virtually declaring the LGBTQ community illegal, telling women they will be jailed or even executed if they terminate a pregnancy (even in cases of incest or rape–of course!) and as usual protecting the gun lobby no matter how many students get shot up by assault weapons in classrooms from kindergarten to university classrooms.

As a Boomer who witnessed (and sometimes participated in) youthful protests in the 1960s–relating to civil rights, women’s rights, the Vietnam quagmire and more, the Zs are a reminder of those movements. The fact that they feel compelled to call bullshit on the actions of the very few who want to control the very many is, at once, encouraging, and disconcerting. Why? Well, for all the social turmoils of the 60s, the end result gave us still more wars, more inequality, more marginalizing, more political betrayals and eventually a racist, fascist, flim-flam man who for eight years and running is the face of hate, and bigotry. The Zs may or may not have any better outcome than the old school hippies, yippies and other protestors seeking that better, kinder–dare I say–democracy?

I certainly hope for a better outcome. We shall see…

Generation Z is stepping up right now. What is different now than back when is our digital world, and the means to use social media to expose the enemy and serve as a call-to-action against them. The broadcast media dare not give the Zs their due. The current call to ban Tik Tok is demonstrative of how the Establishment fears such a facile form of instant communication and collaboration. What was that expression from Gil Scott Heron’s 1971 song that seems prescient today? The revolution will not be televised.

The last stanza from that song goes:

the revolution will not be televised, will not be televised

the revolution will be no re-runs, brother

the revolution will not be televised

the revolution will be live

Not televised, but viewable from the palm of one’s hand, Apple or Android.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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