Symbolic Incoherence: Millennials and YOLO

When Kurt Cobain had snarled the words, here we are now, entertain us, he was heralded as the voice of Generation X. Lazy and entitled Generation X, the MTV generation; too apathetic to take an active-part in the story, they wanted the story dictated to them– only be sure to make it entertaining; they didn’t have the attention span for Education, they wanted Edutainment.

Millennials don’t have a rock star to capture the thematics of their generation, rock music is a dead art, but luckily a Twitter troll gets the job done. In a seven-word tweet, Godfrey Elfwick, a self-professed Transracial black man who started the hashtag #WrongSkin, has captured the spirit of the Millennial. Responding to the claim that “the black experience is built through birth, heritage, ancestry, & tradition,” Elfwick states plainly: “I decided it wasn’t. Deal with it.”

And with that, Elfwick perfectly captured the Millennial ethic and the post-modernist spirit: hijack, and redefine.

Millennials don’t want to be a part of the established story, the world is too esoteric, complex, and frightening. Millennials instead want to write their own story where they can revise and redefine whatever they see fit. In this regard, Caitlyn Jenner has redefined gender and courage, and Emma Sulkowicz has redefined rape, both to raucous applause.

If you take a look at the aesthetic style of the typical Social Justice Warrior they have hijacked and redefined the rebellious aesthetic of 70s-era British punk rock, stripped it of venom and music, and re-defined it through Feminism. The modern Punk Rocker, as Social Justice Warrior, doesn’t “give no fucks” as her aesthetic inspiration had forty-years ago, she instead “gives fucks about anything and everything” (well, except heterosexual white men).

Adults raised in an era where intellectual discourse had a higher threshold of acceptable credibility will be confused by the Millennial’s Spirit of Redefinition, as was Feminist professor Laura Kipnis who received protests, in the form of mattresses arriving at her classes, for penning an essay regarding campus politics and consensual sex. While Emma Sulkowicz used her mattress as a symbol of Fake Rape, Kipnis’s students were so eager to get in on the fun that they had already redefined the mattress symbolism as applicable to… just about anything. Kipnis termed this “symbolic incoherence.” 

Welcome to the world of the Millennial where YOLO. 

So when Rachel Dolezal made national headlines by utilizing the newly re-defined notion of bravery and courage to inadvertently assert the very first mainstream claim of being Transracial, a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body, she was swiftly tossed from the party by the same people high on Caitlyn Jenner and the idea that it’s possible, and somewhat likely, that a person may feel they are humorously mismatched between their biological sex and authentic gender.

Buying into the possibility, and very real crisis, that a person can be subject to such mismatch goes against the typical party-line of the Progressive, that there are no tangible differences between men and women outside of genitalia (childishly reduced to the term “plumbing” to drive the point home even harder). If there are no tangible differences, it stands to reason that the concept of Transgender is a mental illness- let’s call it a “bad brain” for the childlike reductionist crowd- and it should be treated as such; why should a bad brain be granted credibility and given agency for its own decisions. Is the anorexic given diet pills? 

None of the above matters, of course, because YOLO.

If we are willing to accept that a person can be mismatched between biological sex and authentic gender, why couldn’t a person feel they are mismatched between biological race and authentic race? Why can’t Rachel Dolezal and Goldfrey Elfwick feel as though they identify with black “heritage, ancestry, & tradition” to a significantly greater degree than their biologically white appearance would have you believe?

Well, because, YOLO.

Transracial will always be left out of the Progressive Acceptance All-Night House Party because it doesn’t work toward accomplishing the ends of the Feminist agenda. The foundation of Feminism is the notion that women are oppressed by the Patriarchy- fictitious white men who are limitlessly entitled and privileged. The modern patriarchy is personified by the masculine male who rejects long-term commitment with average women, and therefore becomes the basis for Feminist rage.

The inability to tame the masculine-male into accepting the feminine-frame of commitment has engendered a hatred of masculinity; “[the female] response to male power is typically an attempt to annihilate it [as to test its authenticity], and if annihilation fails, to cast ownership over it; if all else fails, to get fucked by it.”

The Progressive high-fives, and juice-box toasts, that Caitlyn Jenner is receiving has its roots in the celebration of masculine annihilation disguised as moral superiority. If you can convince a man to excitedly high-five a dude for becoming a woman, you can easily persuade him to further relinquish his own masculinity to the point where he develops a pronounced hatred and jealousy of masculine men. He will thereby begin initiating his own high-fives over things like Men’s Health teasing a female-to-male transgendered for their magazine cover; in this case, the emasculated man is toasting the mainstream media for sticking it to the implicitly-masculine reader of a magazine like Men’s Health.

How do you spot a masculine man? They are too busy to give a fuck about post-modern pronoun usage.    

The authentic Transracial, words I never would have imagined typing only several short months ago, isn’t invited to the Progressive Acceptance All-Night House Party because acknowledging the possibility of being Transracial only serves to diminish the biologically black experience; an experience that serves as a sacred cow to the Progressive. If anyone can tap into the black experience, the black experience consequently becomes meaningless. A meaningless black experience is useless in achieving Progressive ends.

As expected, the Mainstream Media was quick to extinguish the possibility of anyone actually being Transracial- poor Michael Jackson must be spinning in his grave- but sadly even Internet commentators are missing the point. 

The story of Rachel Dolezal isn’t about a woman being caught with her pants down in the game of Identity Politics; the moral of the story isn’t about the necessity of leaning further into Identity Politics as a pre-requisite for speech or action.

The story of Rachel Dolezal is about Progressive hypocrisy.

If the story becomes one of identity heresy, we should question whether identity matters at all… and why should it? Black, white, or Transracial, identity doesn’t make Rachel Dolezal any less qualified to run the NAACP, it doesn’t make her less qualified to teach African American studies, and it certainly doesn’t diminish whatever good she may have achieved in these roles. 

The story of Rachel Dolezal is about questioning what constitutes identity, what identity means, and why identity matters. The story is about why we are culturally willing to accept one person’s account of identity redefinition, and reject another’s attempt at it entirely.

Of course, to the Progressive, none of this matters because YOLO. 

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  1. Farmer Giles · June 14, 2015

    Millennials can be very annoying. It is interesting that many fans of Nirvana may not realize that Cobain’s quotes lines are mostly likely intended as a mockery of what he saw as people’s lazy self-contentment.

    I do think it is relevant to mention that nobody ( or, at least very few individuals) cares if White people want to, “act Black.” I’ve been around this type of behavior quite often. Whites who fix their hair into corn-rows or tight curls (as Dolezal did), who have seen all the Media movies, and date interracialy. Most people either just ignore them or accept them. Nobody condemns them as bad actors.

    Dolezal didn’t just identify with and embrace Black culture, no, she presented herself as being Black. Likely, she profited personally from this misrepresentation. This is not like Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner who is being very straight forward about his situation. I don’t really see a parallel here.

  2. andreafromoblivion · June 16, 2015

    Interesting posts that clearly highlights post modernist hypocrisy. Rachel has fallen on the wrong side of the fence. That doesn’t mean however she is any less valuable, or that she isn’t exactly what she says she is, a woman who is partly black.

    • B_Tampa · March 3, 2017

      Except she isn’t. So there’s that.

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  4. tb · August 12, 2015

    Quick heads-up – Elfwick is a satirist and @GodfreyElfwick is a parody of the SJW crowd. He (she/it/xi/xo/etc) is hilarious.

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