Stephen Colbert: Your Life Is Not Defined By Society
Stephen Colbert – Choose The Hard Path (video)
“If you young folks will take advice from anyone, after all, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, this week’s Time Magazine called you “lazy, entitled narcissists” who are part of the me, me, me generation, so self-obsessed, tweeting your vines, hashtagging your Spotifys and Snapchatting your YOLOs. Your generation needs everything to be about you and that’s very upsetting to us baby boomers because self-absorption is our thing. We’re the original Me Generation. We made the last 50 years all about us. We took all the money. We soaked up all of the government services, and we’ve deep-fried nearly everything in the ocean.
It may seem that all that’s left for you is unpaid internships, Monday to Tuesday mail delivery, and thanks to global warming, soon Semester at Sea will mean sailing the coast of Ohio. In our defense, in my generation’s defense, how were we supposed to know that you were coming? We thought it went like this. Every successive generation of mankind and then us. Ta-dah. Roll credits. While we may be leaving you with an economy with fewer job opportunities for the new graduate to slip into, while traditional paths may seem harder to find, that also means you may learn sooner than most generations the hard lesson that you must always make the path for yourself.
There is no secret society out there that will tap you on the shoulder one night and show you the way because the true secret is your life will not be defined by the society that we have left you. To paraphrase Robert Bolt, “Society has no more idea of what you are than you do because ultimately it has only your brains to think with. Every generation must define itself, and so make the world that suits itself.” If you must find your own path, and we have left you no easy path, then decide now to choose the hard path that leads to the life and the world that you want, and don’t worry if we don’t approve of your choices.
In our benign self-absorption, I believe we have given you a gift, a particular form of independence because you do not owe the previous generation anything. Thanks to us, you owe it to the Chinese.”
– Stephen Colbert