IMHO: My Generation

Uploaded by uwmadison on 09.10.2009

[Big Ten Network opening credits]
>> Mike: OK, so let's talk about our generation for a minute. Basically, do you guys think
we have it easier than our parents? Me personally, I don't think that we have it easier, we're
just under a different set of circumstances. For example, they bring up the story, 'oh
I walked fifteen miles up a hill.' Who really did that? Like, come on.
>> Jeff: I disagree with that. I do think we have it easier. I mean, we have access
instantly to news and entertainment information via the internet, I think we consume more.
We're on some level a generation of self-gratification, I think in a lot of ways we have it easier.
>> Mike: I think it's more of the fact that they've never seen the kind of problems we're
facing. There never was a terrorist attack on domestic land, that was a huge thing, and
they never had that. That happened in Pearl Harbor, which is hundreds of miles off the
coast of California, so they never faced an economy that was this bad particularly. I
mean, my parents weren't born in the 30's, so, during the depression, so I don't, you
>> Andreall: I guess my mother is a lot younger probably than some of your parents, and so
I feel that I wouldn't say, I don't think that my mother had it harder than we do. My
mother went to school in the 80s, my mother had access to computers, what I feel the challenge
is for my mother though, and my father, would be to keep up. Because they don't have the
access that we had in high school, with hands-on contact with new technologies. So they're
not as savvy, my mother is not as savvy, with a lot of the things going on today.
>> Meredith: But with all this changing technology, you could say that our generation is at a
disadvantage because things are changing so quickly and so rapidly that we have to keep
up. And we have to keep up and learn all these, not just technology, but just different ways
of doing things and what's socially acceptable and what's not, and all of these things come
together to try and train us for the future. We just have a lot I feel like we have to
deal with.
>> Alex: Right, and kind of getting back to what you were saying before, our generation
has been seriously coined as being apathetic, as spoiled, as all of these really negative
things. And yes, we do have a lot more advantages. We have cell phones, we have access to computers
at a younger age, but I think there is also something to say, that we have to be really
conscientious of that. I have to stop and think, wow, I'm really lucky. I have this
Blackberry, I have this cell phone. And that's something to say. We have to try and make
sure that we're not letting it all get to our heads and taking that for granted.
>> Mike: I think that's the problem. I think that's the problem, that we're too much into
ourselves. We talk about blogging, and Facebook, who really has time, like, my dad would never
think about, ok let me go fix this on Facebook, fix my status. I'm hungry now.
>> Andreall: I guess if you think about it, do you think that our generation is leaving
our parents behind? Because, they like to tell us all the time in the classroom, they're
preparing us for jobs that don't yet exist. And in those jobs, these are all of these
new, fresh ideas that are coming about. I mean, going green. Our generation has really
coined the term going green. And so, it's on our shoulders to actually go out and find
these jobs, and create these jobs, and this entirely new system within our economy. So
will our parents be, you know, apt to that.
>> Mike: I think that it's our responsibility though. This is the way that I was brought
up. My dad always told me, you have to do better than me. If I got a bachelor's, you
gotta get a masters or whatever. So I think that's the way it is. People get left behind.
But it's our responsibility socially, I think to take care of our parents. That's the way
I was raised. My mom and dad brought me up so when I would help them out if they're getting
left behind.
>> Alex: I think the biggest way we're leaving them behind is just, once again, going back
to what we were just saying, is through technology. I mean, my grandma doesn't have a computer,
she doesn't have e-mail, my parents can't hardly work their own cell phones, we're the
ones that are text messaging all the time, that are BBMing all the time, and they don't
know how to do that.
>> Meredith: I don't think we're giving our parents enough credit. Really, I don't. My
dad is so technologically savvy, he's way, way advanced. More advanced than I am when
it comes to working with technology. My mom texts better than I do. I mean, I think people
may not give our generation enough credit, but I don't think we give them enough credit
>> Jeff: I agree with Meredith on this. My grandmother actually used Skype for the first
time the other week. Seriously, she was on Skype and I was talking to her via the Internet.
It was fantastic. I was thinking, my grandmother is hip, she's learning herself, and she may
take longer to digest, right. It may be harder for her to learn initially, but I think once
you kind of gain, once you are able to interpret that technology and that new knowledge set,
it becomes much easier.
>> Mike: I don't think it's a bad thing that we're leaving our parents behind. I think
that that's what happens generationally. We left the Cavemen behind. Whatever, that's
how life happens. It's evolution. Darwin's theory. The strongest survive.
>> Meredith: Once they have kids, they don't just check out, you know. They're still involved
in their kids lives, and they have to know enough that they can help their kids get by,
too. Once we're born we don't instantly know things.
>> Mike: And even if they are left behind, you still help them out.
>> Andreall: You have to think about access though. Because some people, depending on
your socioeconomic status, a lot of times you may not have the access to keep up with
new technology.
>> Alex: So, one of
the hot topics of our generation right now is the environment. Obviously the environment
is very important to us. We've kind of coined the term 'going green.' I think that it's
become a little bit more hip now. MTV is putting out a lot of ads, we have Al Gore and The
Inconvenient Truth. We're very aware of this. Personally, I think we're much more aware
than the generation before us. How do you guys view that?
>> Meredith: I disagree. I think that we are aware of it, but I don't think that previous
generations have completely forgotten about it. I mean, remember the whole Ozone scare?
You know, there's a big hole in our Ozone layer, we can't use aerosol cans. People were
really concerned. Global cooling was a problem for a long time. And that's been kind of dispelled.
So, people have kind of gone back an forth. I don't think this is just a new thing. I
agree, I think it has become very trendy. I think it's the new trend to go green. I
know we were kind of talking earlier about voting, and Vote or Die, that whole campaign.
I think it's one of those campaigns. Hopefully it won't die out, hopefully people will still
stay environmentally conscious, but I think it's become kind of a trend.
>> Alex: It's a cool thing to have trendy though. Who doesn't want something that's
actually helping us in the long run to be trendy?
>> Andreall: But the thing is, if everything is so trendy, it's like OK, we're doing this,
and we're doing this, but where's the longevity.
>> Mike: It will be a fad.
>> Andreall: Exactly. It's an entire fad. It's like, we're doing this, we're buying
all of these products, and we're eating more local, and all of this stuff. And inevitably,
once that's over, what else are you gonna do?
>> Mike: Speaking of local, that really plays into the socioeconomic part of it. Because,
you know, organic foods aren't necessarily available in every type of neighborhood. But
going back to this question, like, are we better than our previous generation? I think
that we are inherently just because of the technology that we have. Global cooling, you
don't hear about it anymore. We've gone, we've progressed more.
>> Meredith: But what about global warming? That could be gone, in like the next year.
>> Mike: It could be gone. And if the next generation comes up and says, hey, you know
what, that's not the real problem. The real problem is global whatever. Then I'll be like,
OK. Then that's what we need to work on now.
>> Jeff: Global warming and climate change are becoming critical issues, irreversible
issues. I think you'll see issues on the environment become infused into other issues in the future.
I think the environment is so inter-related to health, the economy, and other things on
the table. That it's inextricably linked. So, on that point, I do think we're more in
tune than our parents.
>> Mike: It costs money to go green. And most of the time, I think, it costs money to be
organic, and it costs money to, you know...
>> Meredith: Hybrid cars.
>> Mike: Hybrid cars, and solar panels. Those are like 14,000 dollars.
>> Meredith: Well, you were talking about the economy earlier. And how it is so expensive
to go green. This economy, let's face it, stinks. And for me personally, and for a few
of us, we are graduating. Soon. And looking for jobs. I know a lot of people, a lot of
my friends who are graduating, are worried, you know, like am I gonna be able to find
a job. Personally, I'm worried. However, I can't say that I attribute that solely to
the bad economy. What do you guys think?
>> Jeff: I don't see how you could say that, though. Because I mean, we've lost millions
of jobs just this past year. It's affecting almost every industry, even tech. I mean,
some of the big tech industries, I mean Google just this past week reported that their stock
has gone down for the first time. It's completely proliferated. I think we have plenty to worry
about. I'm scared. I'm applying for jobs right now, and I'm not sure it's gonna pan out.
>> Andreall: Not me. Because I'm in the health care field. I do not have one fear. People
are always gonna need help. Now, I feel like it's about being a lot more strategic if you
know that you're in this economic crunch about deciding one, as college students and even
high school students are deciding to pursue a college career, that, you know, what is
my major gonna be, and how am I gonna get myself out there with these internships, and
all these programs, too. You need to be able to market yourself, create a brand for yourself,
so you won't feel the crunch. Because I don't. I'm not sweating at all.
>> Alex: Honestly though, I think that's irrelevant. I've had five internships, and I feel so unprepared
for this economy right now.
>> Andreall: Maybe it was the wrong one.
>> Alex: No, I mean, I personally am interested in the non-profit sector. And um, calling
around to places right now, they're on a complete hiring freeze. The government is another thing
I'm interested in. They can't hire anyone right now. Bonuses are all being cut. There's
just no opportunity there. And that's really scary, especially for someone with, I don't
know, my major. Particularly, I think it's frightening.
>> Mike: What else could you attribute it to, other than the economy? Like, what other
reason would there be for all of these massive job losses and hiring freezes, and things
like that. It's definitely the economy that's doing it. I don't see what else it could be.
>> Meredith: OK fine, yeah, the economy is bad. There are loss of jobs. But I would be
scared either way. Regardless of the economy is good or bad, going into the job field trying
to find a job and I feel like a lot of people are just hinging a lot because of the current
>> Alex: I mean, I'm deciding whether or not to go to law school right now, based on the
>> Mike: That's the wrong decision though.
>> Alex: I'm thinking I'm going right now instead of waiting a couple years because
there's no jobs right now.
>> Mike: You've got to be passionate about law school, though.
>> Alex: I mean, obviously. I know I'm going. I'm saying, I'm making the decision to go
now rather than later.
>> Jeff: So let's turn to the role of the United States, specifically in the global
community. Should the US serve as the global police. We've seen a lot of aggressive interventionism
the past 8 years now. And I think we need to be much more diplomatic personally in our
efforts and exercise more nuance, so to speak. What do you guys think?
>> Alex: I have some very strong feelings about this. I guess there is a difference
between intervention and impeding on somebody's sovereignty in instances where there's no
humanitarian need. When we're looking at stuff like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, all this stuff
that is kind of at the forefront of our minds right now, yes, there was a need to go in
at one point maybe into Afghanistan. And people can make good arguments for that. But I also
think, when we do that, we're neglecting places that people are actually being slaughtered.
Places where crimes are being committed, genocide. Places like Rwanda. Places like Darfur. If
we're going to be the police, then we need to do so, in, like you said, a more diplomatic
way. And actually helping people that really seriously need it.
>> Mike: I agree with you on that, on the aid part. There are other places in the world.
But I think we should look at home. Look at the way George Bush handled Hurricane Katrina.
Those people were called refugees, and they only showed them looting different stores
and stuff like that. They never said that they were surviving. You know, they just said
that they were down there looting. I think we need to focus here more, before we go on
to other places. There might have been a need in Afghanistan at first, but the way it was
done, completely un-diplomatic. I don't think there was a plan behind it, I think it's been
going on for too long, you know.
>> Alex: And it was illegal under all international law. And if we as the hegemonic country, if
we start to neglect international law, then what kind of a message are we sending to the
rest of the world?
>> Mike: Is it our business really? That's the question I have. Is it our business to
go over there. We have our own problems. We're in a horrible economy. A lot of stuff going
on in this country.
>> Meredith: I feel like they framed this as national security. We're going over here
for our personal national security. We've got a lot of national security issues on the
homefront, let's figure those out first.
>> Jeff: I think the reason has changed over time. It's national security, then it sort
of shifted to democracy promotion, I think in the future we won't be able to get away
with what we did. China and India are rising countries. Economically, they are taking a
greater share of the global GDP. I think the US's role is going to diminish slightly, whether
we like it or not.
>> Andreall: I think that the US really needs to focus on, I do believe that we should definitely
focus on being here, and working on our own economy, and working with our own people.
Especially like the Katrina thing.
>> Meredith: Well, taking this, this cynical view of everything, and the bad economy, are
we being too cynical? Are things really that bleak? How do we...what is your take on this?
>> Alex: I think they are. Going back to what we were just talking about, look at how the
rest of the world views us. Granted, in light of the recent election, things are starting
to look up for us, but when I was in Spain last year, I've never felt so uncomfortable
with who I am. With saying that I'm an American, that I'm from the United States. I felt truly
uncomfortable, and somewhat embarrassed. Really embarrassed. So yeah, I am pretty cynical
about how the rest of the world views us, and I hope that Obama will be able to go in,
to take a step into the UN and say hey, we're starting over now, and this is going to be
a new outlook.
>> Meredith: Here's my problem with that argument, though. I feel, I agree that Obama is a great
leader figure, OK. And I agree with a lot of the things that people say about him. He
can't fix everything, though. He is not the end-all, be-all. And that's my big problem.
>> Mike: Look from where we're starting. After eight years of what we had, good or bad, however
you want to take it, I believe there's going to be an improvement. But I've never seen,
albeit I'm only 20 years old, but I've never seen this much force behind a presidential
candidate. The whole nation was behind it. Obama t-shirts on every corner. Light up buttons,
you know. I feel very optimistic. I think eventually, all the economy is cyclical. It's
up and down, up and down. Right now we're just in a down point.
>> Andreall: Yeah, I mean the markets are completely unpredictable. I really feel that
individuals will go through and, with this economy I think it urges people to be a lot
more creative, and inventive. Going through and just flourishing with, these things don't
work, so now where do we go. I don't think, especially our generation, I don't think we're
gonna stop. It's gonna just push us and drive us, and just lead us into completely different
>> Jeff: I think on some level it's positive that there is some cynicism, in that it's
humbled us. I think it's humbled the American people, I think we've become much more realistic
about certain issues, and the notion of American exceptionalism has been combated I think a
little bit as we've been moving along. So I think there are two sides to the coin.
>> Meredith: I just think we're so cynical, and we're hinging so much on a new president.
And I feel like our generation could still step up a little bit more.
>> Mike: But look at all of the stuff that we did, you know, just to get him in there.
>> Andreall: So given that our generation faces so many different tasks, so many different
things that we need to focus on as we continue in our lives here on this earth, what do you
think the defining challenge for our generation is? What is our charge here?
>> Meredith: I feel like all generations, our generation, the generation before us,
and before that, we all have the same charge. And that is, to leave the world better than
we found it. Granted, that's very broad. Every generation has their own...we've all had our
economic problems, and our environmental problems, I just don't feel comfortable pinpointing
it with one, you know.
>> Jeff: More specifically though, I think just tagging on your point of the economy,
I would say entitlements. We need to re-structure our entitlements program, we've been putting
it off for a long time, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, if we don't do it soon - and I think
it will be up to us, the leaders within our generation - we're going to be stuck in the
>> Alex: I think that, yeah, I'm not gonna go ahead and say that all of the problems
we have right now are because of George Bush, but I think that one of our biggest pushes
here is going to be to try and overcome , to kind of un-do a lot of the things that
he did. Just to try and get ourselves out of this situation. Whether or not it's re-gaining
our good name in the international world, or it's just fixing our own economy. Those
are all really important things that we have to try and un-do.
>> Mike: I completely agree with you on that one. As far as the economy, also just getting
over that. Getting over the last eight years of the presidency we've had. My great-grandfather,
he lived in the Depression, and he told me about it. He was like, I lived through this.
That was one of his proudest moments, was that he made it through that. I think that
we can be somewhat comparable to that generation. If we could say, you know, I made it when
I was young, we made it though this burden.
>> Jeff: It very well could be that way.
>> Mike: Yes, with the same voice and everything.
>> Meredith: But I mean, I guess this could, this could really define our generation and
the time that we're going through right now. But I think when you're asking the question,
what is the task at hand, I think it's the same, you know, general tasks that all of
our generations have.
>> Mike: To do better than the last generation?
>> Meredith: Yeah.
>> Alex: I think that another really big task for our generation is just making sure that
we don't put all of our efforts into one thing. I think that our generation is pretty notorious
for taking one passion that they have and really just going for it, which is great on
some level, but I think we really need to make sure that we're addressing all of the
issues at hand. And not just focusing on one thing, that we in particular are really passionate
>> Jeff: I do think another really important issue, though, is transportation. We are so
dependent on gasoline. On that point, we'll move on. For our last segment, we're going
to do famous final words. The question is, who or what is the defining "blank" of our
generation? Ok. So we'll start with musician. Who or what is the defining musician?
>> Alex: Kanye West claimed it a couple weeks ago. So.
>> Andreall: Didn't I tell you that man is having problems? That man is having problems.
>> Mike: Kanye West is, I've never seen a musician who has changed, like, who came in
wearing tight sweaters with a big teddy bear? Kanye West. He made that popular with a pink
>> Andreall: He's got that swag we were talking about.
>> Alex: Yeah, but the fact that he tried to claim it himself just makes me go, bleh.
>> Mike: I couldn't disagree more.
>> Meredith: You know, Michael Jackson back in the '80s. The King of Pop, you know.
>> Jeff: I agree with that. Michael Jackson. So, moving on. Who or what is the defining
writer? >> Meredith: JK Rowling.
>> Alex: JK Rowling.
>> Meredith: Harry Potter, all the way.
>> Alex: Or maybe someone more political, like Thomas Friedman.
>> Andreall: I've never read a Harry Potter book. Never. Is that bad?
>> Mike: I was going to say S.E. Hinton, for me. Like Rumble Fish. That's how I feel, that
helped define me. Like, oh, this is what a teenager does? Cool.
>> Jeff: I would say Michael Pollan He wrote Omnivore's Dilemma, and In Defense of Food.
He's a professor out of Berkeley who is re-thinking the way in which people think of their own
health, and the environment, and how they're linked together. Ok, who is the defining politician?
>> Alex: Obama.
>> Meredith: Barack Obama, you pretty much have to go with that.
>> Jeff: On the homefront, I'm saying Russ Feingold. As a Wisconsinite. Huge fan. Who
is the defining villain of our generation?
>> Alex: If I want to be a really big brat right now, I could say George Bush.
>> Andreall: I second that.
>> Meredith: What about Saddam?