We’ve dealt with nothing but pure bullshit for the last, what? SIX years?
First, we had T**** elected by the hillbillies. That was bad, umkay? Then we had the pandemic. That was worse, umkay!
But the thread for all the jackassery has been, for the most part, OLD PEOPLE. Not all the hillbillies are old, for sure, but it’s the old people that I had an epiphany about recently.
Boomers and older Gen Xers are the demographic that are the loudest and most devoted right wing extremists. I started wondering why that is. I had a conversation with a boomer lady who argued that I was wrong to vote Democrat. I told her, NO, she was the one in the wrong. We argued good-naturedly about this when I realised what I think the issue really is: inability to believe that America could possibly allow misinformation and propaganda to be spread by the news. She simply could not believe that misinformation was being used. (I do hold much contempt for old GenXers, however, since I AM ONE and I managed to navigate all the new tech and managed to CHANGE MY MIND about a lot of things, so they can, too. Assholes.)
Think about it. When they were growing up, they had Walter Cronkite READ THE NEWS without any opinionated input at all. The news was strictly facts, no slant, as much as possible. News reporters took pride in being neutral. Same with newspapers. Now, lies and bullshit have always gone on in the government, that will never change, but the news was dependable. Now think about how that has changed. Now you cannot believe any news source without vetting the information yourself. These old people can barely check email or use a smart phone. They have zero ability to vet news or social posts.
When you pair how they were raised, believing in the news as fact, and not understanding current tech, you can see the recipe for being easily led. I think they simply cannot wrap their heads around the new reality of news being pretty much all opinion at this point. They have no way to figure out what’s true and what’s propaganda since they aren’t internet savvy. So they believe what Fox News tells them. Because they really, truly, cannot discern the lies.
I am NOT giving them a pass, mind you, but I do feel that old people have some legitimate reasons for being so easily duped. Now, the young people who are raging hillbillies DO NOT GET A PASS OF ANY SORT. If you’ve grown up with the internet, you should be able to vet information just fine. There really is no excuse for anyone under 40 not being able to understand what bias is and how to combat it. These assholes are just militantly ignorant and wouldn’t believe the sky is blue unless a right wingnut said so. I’m not addressing this bunch, they are useless and not worth my time.
But the old people. Hmmm. There really is no way to convince them that they are believing lies, because THE NEWS tells them the lies. This covers Covid, too. They are told that the vaccines are useless by talking heads and they simply believe it.
I have no solution for this, but I think I get why they are acting like they do. Giving up the notion that THE NEWS would lie is just something they cannot do. Just as they refuse to learn technology, they also refuse to learn to question and be skeptical of what “news” is being disseminated. It’s just too much for them. They are overwhelmed with all the tech and they have a hard time simply navigating the every day world because of their lack of tech savvy. Everything is a chore to them: smart phones, computers, internet, it’s all HARD.
While I do get it, I also feel sad that they have reached their limits of being able to adapt. I went through the amazing tech changes from the 70s to now as a young person. It was relatively easy for me to adapt. I got into the tech world in 1995, so dealing with the internet has been second nature for me. I did have a pretty steep learning curve for computers, but I did it because I thought the internet was fascinating. In my opinion, other old GenXers could be as tech savvy as I am, or at least be able to change their minds and deal with the new norms.
I saw this resistance to tech with my mother years ago. She refused to use a computer even for typing because she’d been traumatised by DOS – which I totally understand. But she would not learn to use a simple Mac because of her bias against ALL computers. This is very, very common with Boomers. They are afraid of tech because they are not adaptable like younger people are. So they fall more and more behind. My mother watches TVLand all day because it’s all the programs she watched when she was a part of the world. She refuses to use a smart phone, although the excellent accessibility offered would make it very easy for her to use with her limited motion. She has cordoned off her existence and cannot interact with the outside world at all now. At least Boomers who still work (like the lady I was arguing with) are a bit more tech savvy, but they still have these limits of how far they’ll go with tech. Landlines and FAX machines are still important to Boomers.
As I said, I have no solutions to offer, I just wanted to toss out this theory about Boomers and older GenXers. I’ve thought about it a lot and this seems to be why they are the way they are. They are still wrong and misguided and all that, but I see no way to fix it. So I try to be a little bit patient with the Olds. Patience is not my thing, but I try. I will still fight against their misguided efforts to install fascism in order to keep their “values” intact, however. Fuck that. Things change, folks, you gotta roll with it.