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April 22 2012

(SPOILER) Millennials get Cabin in the Woods in a way Boomers never will. Jessica Goldschmidt explains why "Cabin" and other Whedon works so appeal to the "millennial" generation.

That's damned ageist and insulting.
So excuse us while we decide not to devote our lives to work without considering what kind of impact, violent or otherwise, that work is having, on our selves and on the world.

I guessed she missed that Weaver's first lines are actually disembodied, when they first get to the facility. And dragonbats? They looked like just huge bats to me, unless I missed the dragon bats. There was a lot going on.

Oh Lioness the article made me giggle, but this made me LOL. I think she missed something else the Director said, about how it's ALWAYS been about youth.
Reading this, I feel at age 30 officially "old" even though I sit right on the cusp between Gen X and Gen Y. The whole thing feels as though it's written for the sole purpose of sounding hip (and I guess, if I'm using the word "hip," I deserve to feel old).

They’re Ivy Leaguers refusing gigs in finance to start a band; freelancers foregoing health insurance partly by necessity and partly by choice; interns who don’t want babies and live communally and don’t own a car and occupy Wall Street.

and this:
We were Marty and Dana, staring at a proscribed future (be successful! Raise good kids! Die for the sake of humankind!) and finding it at best non-viable and at worst utterly devoid of meaning.

read to me like the railings of an adolescent smack in the midst of her personal fable period.

One of Joss's greatest strengths is the timelessness of the experiences he shows us. Young people have felt forced into roles expected of them by society at large for a very long time. It's not unique to millenials. The roles and priorities might have shifted, but the experience remains the same. It's that combination of zeitgeist and timelessness that is a big part of what makes Joss great.

Maybe I'm a geezer or there are just more people with a platform than there were back in 2002, but over and over again I find myself recently feeling like people writing posts about Joss's work (and Cabin in the Woods in particular which, hey, let's give Drew some credit, huh?) are experiencing it in a very fragmented way and having a hard time appreciating how all the pieces work together.
"no one has ever lived the way we are living now."

This has always been true. "Time marches on" even if you don't have a sense of history, cinematic or otherwise.
Joss Whedon is a Baby Boomer, as am I. The prevalent propaganda about work being our lives, blah, blah, blah, does not necessarily mean that people older than she is have bought into it. We are also victims of the current depression, losing our jobs and our homes.

Sadly, her two-dimensional perspective means the author has her head planted firmly in the hind end of a dragon bat.
Insightful essay, at least the examination of how we're living in an age where even reasonable people speak of apocalypse (not through mythic beasts but through environmental destruction). I'm sorry some people were offended if they weren't part of the age-40s-to-young generation, but I don't think that was her intent. Earlier generations were given a promise to live in to - they could grow old and die in the security of companies that put away for future retirement (I;m sorry, I don't recall the word that this concept used - companies used to offer it, they don't now, the word just isn't coming to me -- PENSION, that was it!), affordable homes, expanding suburbs -- everyone a few generations ago had ample room to expand into. Now, we don't. Now, we are just getting more dense (no put intended - we are very much aware of how we are strangling on our own overpopulation, etc.). It's a smart essay and worth reading.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2012-04-23 03:28 ]
will.bueche, you're right on the money.
Thanks. (And Cabin the Woods takes this concept and puts it into a story in which some kids must literally bleed or the system will come crashing down - and the kids quite reasonably cast judgment on that scenario). Reading her essay again, the only problem was her naming the Boomers as the cut-off point. Probably because that's the only famous generation before Gen-X. Boomers was an incorrect pick, because most of the Boomers are aware of, and have personally experienced, when things started getting crowded. Really she was searching for a cut-off point a generation ahead of the Boomers. The World War II generation, or whatever the name was of the generation that still had plenty of room on the planet. So, A on the concept, but C on that rather important detail.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2012-04-23 03:42 ]
I thought her article was terrible, but, then again I'm a Gen-Xer, so what do I know...

There are numerous things I found problematic about her article, but I'll just address one:

"They’re also, of course, by some standards, selfish, narcissistic and snotty. When Sigourney The Director offers Dana a choice—save one or save all, kill Marty and save humanity or perish with all humankind at the hands of the Ancient Ones—Dana chooses (MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT) to chuck Sigourney into the demon pit and get high with Marty as humanity gets what may be coming to it.

"This ending has zero moral satisfaction; this isn’t Buffy saving the world by jumping into a swirling vortex, or stabbing her demon lover through the stomach and sending him into a swirling vortex; there’s no superhero here to whose virtue, self-sacrifice and rad individualism we can all aspire. There are no old ideals worth defending."

I didn't interpret Marty's decision as amoral. What Marty discovered was that he had been living in a world devoid of free choice. He found that, for who knows how long, everything he and his friends had been doing had been manipulated. Who knows, perhaps even outside of the forest he and his friends had been manipulated. Maybe everyone on Earth was being manipulated for all kinds of reasons all the time.

Marty already felt, before finding out about the sacrifice, that society was too manipulative.

At the end of the film, Marty has a choice. It is perhaps the first real free choice he has even been able to make in his life. He can choose to die and save the system and the world which had been killing and manipulating people like him for generations and sate the Old Ones, or, he can choose to let the system fall [and not do what the "organization" wanted], etc.

His valorization of choice, of free choice above all, makes Marty something of an Existentialist hero, of amongst that ilk who chooses freedom even though the consequences may be horrible. In a world of oppressive systems which control us, manipulate us, sacrifice us for unknown reasons, of impersonal bureaucratic organizations, etc., Marty reasserts the importance of free will.

That is far from an amoral act...
Yeah, the apocalypse is a whole new thing. I never sat as a kid and looked out the window wondering if the bomb was going to go off.
DocBenway, amend. Well spoken.
The funny thing is that rant sounds exactly like the rants of the baby boomers about their world and their parents. Le plus ca change.

That said, is the world even emptier now? I'd buy that. These are the kids that were raised by that generation, which ranted a lot, but ended up making no difference at all.
She forgot to include "self-congratulatory" on her list of generational attributes.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2012-04-23 05:15 ]
Well Maggie they tried, but their leaders kept getting assassinated.
Every generation hates youth. So they categorise it. But, you know, it happens the other way, too.
I tend to agree with this assessment, but I don't think it is necessarily about millennials vs. boomers as twentysomethings vs. older generations -- the movie is one written about what it feels like to be young and to feel boxed in, but I don't know if it is actually confined to this specific time.
What William said.
Yeah, the apocalypse is a whole new thing. I never sat as a kid and looked out the window wondering if the bomb was going to go off.

Yes. The early 80s were not fun.
I think the 1950's and 60's had plenty of angst regarding bombs going off.
Who you calling a boomer!
"We’re citizens of a rapidly overpopulating, ecologically imploding globalized world, surrounded by repressive conventions and outmoded systems and vitriolic political debates and brutal conflicts and the very old and the very new and much, much, MUCH more information about all of these things than our parents could ever have imagined dealing with at our age." (My underlining.)

I ducked and covered under my desk in school. I read about Hiroshima in middle school and couldn't sleep for a week. I went to Washington to protest the war - oh, one of the earlier un-winnable quagmires, not the current Big Business/government Miasma. Three Mile Island scared the crap out of me, and so did the Love Canal. The Doomsday Clock was first set at seven minutes in 1947, not at the turn of the last century, and it has moved two minutes since set - it's been a slow, steady progression for decades, with each decade contributing - though it never even reflected a pretty close call: the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 - which I remember from my childhood.

I came out of college facing a similar bunch of crap choices. I've never been offered a pension or financial security at any job I've ever had, other than a week-to-week paycheck. Medicare/Social Security may be decimated by the time I'm eligible, too, and I thought my parents' generation did a pretty fucked-up job with their generation's stewardship of the Earth. I'm 56 and none of this is new to me - I just get to see it all happen over and over and over again. I started out forty years ago radically pissed at the shitty job we all were doing of caring for one another & the Earth, and I've only gotten more pissed over the years.

"'So excuse us while we decide not to devote our lives to work without considering what kind of impact, violent or otherwise, that work is having, on our selves and on the world. Excuse us while we try and build our own temples and battle our own demons, instead of blindly sacrificing our blood for yours. And if you don’t excuse us, whatever, it’s cool, Joss Whedon does. He gets it. I think."

Oh, Dear Millennial Youth - this could've been lifted almost word for word from My 60's Hippie Hoffman Hayden SDS/RYM Digger Handbook.

I'm not making fun of it - I buy most of it. I'm middle-aged, and have no desire to either piss on youth's fervor nor lock them up in a suburban/war machine hell - au contraire. It just ain't: new. Others before you have gotten it, and others before me: Beats, Bohos, etc., etc. and back and back.

The article doesn't offend me. But it does seem... young. Stay angry, stay aware, sure, but, sorry - each generation thinks they've invented this particular wheel, and: They. Just. Haven't.

BTW, Joss is middle-aged, and... he wrote it.

ETA: He wrote it with Drew Goddard. With Drew, dammit. I hate leaving him out.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2012-04-23 09:12 ]
As a member of the 1920s Lost Generation, Dickens speaks more to me than it ever could to my Victorian parents.
To throw a log on this fire, Paris Hilton tweeted: "Just saw Cabin In The Woods, one of the most genius movies I've seen in a long time. Very unique. @FranKranz stole the show. #Hilarious."
"Very unique." Well, that says it all.
I like what QuoterGal said. She articulated the reasons this is not new far better than I ever will.
Yeah, I thought this was just silly, and I agree with QG; she forgot Joss ain't poart of the generation she thinks gets it so well.
I'm of the same generation as QuoterGal, and I could not agree more with her comments. I also remember duck and cover, as well as bomb shelters, and the panic caused when a squirrel managed to short circuit a civil defense alarm. Etc.,etc. We are seeing the same things over and over. The difference is that there are many more of us around and 24/7 news reveals our general stupidity more overtly. But that same 24/7 news shows that we don't learn from the past, and we are doomed to keep repeating the same errors, despite the arrogance of youth.
A fun read, and I was born only a stone's throw from Joss, so, does that mean I get it too? Having cut my teeth on Dr. Strangelove, Cabin never felt all that out there to me.

Yet, this point pulled by DocBenway exposes a flaw in Jessica Goldschmidt's argument.

When Sigourney The Director offers Dana a choice—save one or save all, kill Marty and save humanity or perish with all humankind at the hands of the Ancient Ones—Dana chooses (MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT) to chuck Sigourney into the demon pit and get high with Marty as humanity gets what may be coming to it.

Dana did choose to shoot Marty, but the werewolf attacked her before she could pull the trigger. Then Marty and the Director tussled until Patience entered the fray. I suppose since Dana warned Marty about Patience, this intimates that she had a change of heart about "saving humanity". And (help me out if I misremember this part) it was Marty who pushed the Director and Patience over the edge, not Dana.

The 8 minute window having closed, they smoked a joint.

It's a niggly point, but Dana did choose to do the right thing. Events just conspired against her.
Warning Marty about Patience was when Dana chose to do the right thing. Threatening to shoot him was choosing to do the wrong thing. Choosing to shoot him is the choice that, in other circumstances, leads to putting on a mask and taking the advice of talking dogs and torturing the cheerleader to save the world. Choosing to shoot him is the choice that, in other circumstances, makes it sound like a good idea to gather a young man and young woman from each region of your country to have them battle to the death in order to maintain control. What I said during Season 8 discussions I say about the busybodies and their sacrifice in Cabin -- the world deserves better than to be saved in such filthy ways.
My children are millenials, and it IS crap. They and their friends who graduated from college are working unpaid internships and moving back in with parents, or sleeping on friends couches. The ridiculous tuition rates even at state schools have guaranteed they will be in debt up to their eyeballs forever. Those that didn't go to college are working crap jobs, and still can't afford their own places or cars that don't fall apart every few weeks.
I'm lucky enough to have a job, and a house in which I can let a bunch of these millenials crash. There is a lot of depression going on.

These are crap times. Getting crappier every day.
I thought this was a terrible article, and I was born in the 80s.
As a (albeit older) Millenial, I'm in agreement that the author's general assertion regarding the young and the old is sound and the specific references to millenials and boomers is perhaps a little precious. Every generation inherits the expectations and mistakes of those that came before them: we just have new names for them right now, as will our children, the ones who are playing with iPads at 6 months old and whatnot.

That said, what I do think it is rather unprecedented is the way the Internet allows us to variously cope with that reality, be it in positive, productive, or creative ways, or escapist, stupid ways.

Battlestar Galactica got it right: this has all happened before, and it will all happen again.
I'm too young to be a Boomer and too old to be a Millennial (I'm not sure my generation ever got a nifty tag). So I'm confused. Is my response to the article supposed to be "get off my lawn" or "Yay!"?
Love QuoterGal for saying everything I was thinking, but haven't had time to say!

By the time the author reaches the age of the current Baby Boomers, I wonder if she'll be pondering which cardboard box she'll be able to score so she can have something like a roof over her head, because that's what an increasing number of us in the latter half of the BB are pondering. It's what the older set was pondering in the US in the 1930's. It's what people below the poverty level have pondered post the invention of cardboard boxes, regardless of age or time period.

A modest grasp of socio-economic history may have proven useful. This period in history is just a more technologically invasive version of other times.
Here's my take on this offensive article - less than two months away from my 30th birthday, I recall life before the internet, life before cell phones became mainstream (in fact I didn't even get a cell phone until 2008, and I sometimes regret even getting one). The thing is - technology, specifically the internet - has been great in a lot of ways, but it's very isolating while at the same time connecting everyone. Sure you can text anyone at any given moment - but the downfall is everyone has that mentality where I've been on dates where the person I'm with will be texting. We are not socializing the way we should be.

Our world is changing, but it's the technology that is changing our perception of the world. We're more readily connected than ever before. I wouldn't say this is a good thing necessarily. With the internet journalism has been lost, and with that comes the voice of everyone, editors be damned.

The problem with this is everyone is informed of everyone's thoughts, when in previous years only our peers were. This ability to share our thoughts with the world is what has changed our perceptions about generational gaps.

Everyone is connected, which has caused blatant differences to be prominent and thus the generational blame game. I wouldn't say any generation has been better than the last. You have to look at the context of the times. Really when it comes down to it, the history of the United States is a horrific tale, yet apparently only god blesses us (when, I'm quite sure he'd have blessed Pangaea).

The Cabin in the Woods, to me, wasn't attacking Baby Boomers any more than Scream did. While Scream pointed out the rules horror films relied upon up until that point, The Cabin in the Woods merely stated those rules were still being carried out and challenged a change.

The problem is, there will be no change until people stop spending money on movies with tired concepts. Hollywood isn't bankrupt when it comes to new ideas (remakes are hardly new - 1903's The Great Train Robbery was remade in 1904), they simply seek to make what will make money. And these days it's all about name brand recognition and movies that are easily accessible to the general public, who for some reason don't want to be challenged with new ideas, otherwise Hollywood really would be bankrupt.
There's a moment in almost every kid's life when he or she thinks, "When I'm a grownup, I'm going to remember what being a kid was like, and I'm not going to treat kids the way these grownups are treating me."

Youth starts by taking for granted whatever previous generations achieved and usually only time brings some perspective on how hard it is to accomplish anything good or even to preserve what others have accomplished. When technological innovation has wrought enough change, older people have a hard time grasping that they are immigrants to a new world in which the young are native born.

We Boomers didn't rein in the military industrial complex, for example, but we and the under-appreciated cohort just before us (the people born between 1930 and 1945) developed the huge environmental movement that's making everyone aware of global warming. Earth Day was invented by Boomers, guys, at my alma mater. We allowed the hard won gains of organized labor to be taken away again, but we broadened freedom of expression, and got equal rights for people of color, women and the disabled written into law. And we didn't, you know, destroy civilization in a massive nuclear exchange, though we came damned close. I imagine most generations would get mixed grades on dealing with the issues of their times.

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