There is an obsession at the moment, in the pre-millennial generations, to term today's under 30's as 'snowflakes'. A thinly veiled insult that's supposed to show up the overly delicate and sensitive nature of our post-modern society.
I've, of course, been annoyed by this term for some time now, I'm a member of the 'snowflake generation', but it's only today that I felt annoyed enough to take to my own little corner of cyberspace and shout into my echo-chamber of confirmation bias.
An article on Premier, a prominent and excellent Christian media group, featured a write up about the University of Glasgow. It has been decided that their Theology students no longer have to watch cinematic depictions of Jesus on the cross. The university cited a duty of care, with students having the choice to watch the dramatic re-enactment, whilst others declared it as ridiculous.
Dropping 'below the line' to the comments section, something I'd never advise doing on a news site, the debate got heated.
"The snowflakes of today's youth simply cannot take intellectual or moral rigour. There is only one word of it: PATHETIC. They all need a good beating!", declared an apparent Reverend.
"Snowflake Generation indeed", commented 'Blammo'.
A few people, myself included, chipped in, but were quickly labelled as the 'most selfish and spoilt' generation ever. Mostly derided as so by what appears to be those over 50.
Now I kind of get their point. Yes, isn't it a shame that people are so easily offended nowadays. After all, I agree that offence is taken and not given. But I really want to try and understand why the obsession all of a sudden with pointing out the apparently delicate nature of those who are not them?
I think there are a number of factors here.
I look at who it seems to be that is demanding people be insulted and 'face hard truth's more often'. They seem to be, from my anecdotal evidence, mostly white and middle class men. Often overweight and reaching the heights of their career.
They're feeling threatened.
Hitting close to your retirement, you start to see another generation rocketing up the 'power lists'. Under 30's are making their mark as some of the world's richest, most philanthropic, powerful people. Babyboomers are being usurped and beginning to feel obsolete in a world that no longer seems to need them as much as it used to. These people ran the world before the ascent of China and South America, they were untouchable and could do what they wanted.
Many of these, the Heart of Ice generation, don't seem to understand what's going on with 'snowflakers'.
Not that long ago it was OK to offend someone based on the colour of their skin. "But that's what they are" you'd be told. It seemed OK to be suspicious of anyone east of Rome, they were probably a Communist and trying to destroy your country. Women were only just being allowed to get into visible roles in society and homosexuals were locked away in prisons and poisoned until they no longer had any urges. The world was on the verge of destroying itself with nuclear weapons, we'd only begun to give a damn about famine's ravaging the Southern Hemisphere, and all our charitable solutions were to just chuck cash at people.
It was a different world then, less consequences for your actions.
But that's not where we are today.
Today's generation snowflake give a damn about others. Our white students understand that there is still a massive racial divide, our philanthropists know you can't just 'drop and run' with aid. And we have to be accountable for every action.
Before, you could say what you wanted and no-one would batter an eyelid. Now your life is recorded and monitored in excessive detail and your audience larger than ever before. And along with that we now have choice. The news shows kids washed up on beaches, and images of poverty are more real than ever. If you are someone who want's violent and graphical footage, then there is more than ever online, try Googling "ISIS beheadings". I don't see people declaring that Generation Snowflake should watch the full un-edited beheading in order to understand religious persecution. But if you are someone who doesn't want to throw up at actors pretending to be killed 2,000 years ago, then you don't have to.
The Ice-hearted Generation, who seem to feel a need to insult and attack those younger than them are hypocritical and cowards. Only a few years ago they'd be insulted at the sight of a woman's ankle, which apparently caused them too much arousal and had to be stopped! Now that they are older, richer and safer than ever they need a new object for their outrage. That object is the next generation.
Everyone looks back to 'the good old days' with rose-tinted glasses. Look at the US constitution and the anger that abounds when it's interpreted. Apparently the views of those hundreds of years ago are no longer up for discussion, they are the ultimate prevailing moral guide. Even though it's been changed in the past, it may be changed no more.
In the Christian world, where I do most of my living and thinking, Generation Snowflake are dangerous. Our want to be sure of what we believe, through deconstruction and reassembly is seen as 'abandoning the truth'. Even when that 'truth' was only established a few generations ago.
There is no part of me that WANTS what I've been taught to be wrong. But I've been cultured to believe that you should be sure of what you preach and believe. Tell me that God thinks X and I want to see that he actually does, not just take someone's opinion as fact. That's facing huge backlash at the moment, but it's made Christianity more accessible than ever and produced a generation of Christian's with solid and passionate beliefs. I've no doubt in my faith, though it doesn't look like many before me.
Like everyone before them the Heart of Ice generation have reached that age where they hark back in joy and glimpse forward in fear. I'll be there one day, I'll be insulting young people and thinking myself superior. I'm probably already there.
But I pray that I won't be. I'll never judge a previous generation by today's standards, but I hope to not judge the future by them either.
I certainly hope I'm never insulting people for taking the choice of not throwing up over cheap, overly dramatic acting. And hope to never insult someone for standing up for a bit of decency.
I'm not numb to the harsh realities of the world, more through my media consumption that any generation before me. But as a snowflaker I want to continue to give more than 'two hoots' about others, I want to be careful and appropriate with my words, want to point out injustice and bullying. I'll fight for my right to choose what I do and don't believe and consume, and will do so with vigour and intelligence.
I think most snowflakers would agree, it's better than having a heart of ice.
This blog was originally posted on digitalgruel.com