Have you heard the term zoomers? It’s what Generation Z calls themselves. I remember resisting using the term millennial because I thought it was absurdly self-aggrandizing. But now I see that the moniker is perfectly aligned to Millennial thinking.
The first time I heard my son refer to himself as a zoomer I said, “What? Zoomer? What’s that?”
“Boomer. Get it?”
“But you hate boomers. You want to disenfranchise them.”
Note: that is not an exaggeration. There are conversations all over the Internet about how if you are going to die soon then you are not voting to protect the future so you shouldn’t get to vote. Lots of young people think late-in-life voting is a big cause of the US ignoring climate for so long. I am not linking here. I am the link. Our dinner table conversation every night is the link.
Anyway, zoomer is a reference to the fact that the baby boomers were so self-involved and Generation Z is having to clean up after them. If you doubt how seriously the zoomers take their civic duty, consider that they don’t even require a fresh, shiny new name. They see themselves in the context of history and their obligation to turn our nation’s path. Really.
This morning as my sons were gathering food for their bottomless teenaged boy breakfast, my older son said, “Mom, it’s 9/11 today. I just want to remind you. Are you okay?”
I don’t say to him, I don’t need reminding. I’ve been writing about 9/11 every year on 9/11 for 19 years. Instead, I say, “I’m okay. Thank you for asking. What does 9/11 mean to you?”
“I guess I think of George Bush calling out countries that had nothing to do with 9/11 and bombing them. Is this for your blog? You should just tell everyone that if they thought 9/11 was bad, wait till the polar ice caps disappear.”
My younger son showed me the Roast of Justin Bieber on Comedy Central. You have to pay for that link, which, apparently, I did, but it was worth it. The whole thing is great, but I was struck by Pete Davidson‘s performance. He’s a comedian whose dad is a fireman who died on 9/11.
Pete made 9/11 jokes and the other comedians made jokes about Pete’s dad dying (yes, really) and I promise you, it’s funny. It was shocking to me, but not to my kids. Which is, I guess, why I can make Holocaust jokes but my relatives 40 years older than me never made a Holocaust joke.
I thought I’d be sad when 9/11 didn’t matter to the next generation. But actually, I’m happy that this generation is so politically aware that they can put 9/11 in perspective. And I’m happy for Pete Davidson. His dad would be so happy to know what an insightful, respected and funny young man he’s become.