“Adulting” is an Indictment of Society, Not of Millennials

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Bashing Millennials seems to be the new national pastime. I see article after article about how they’re entitled, ampoule fragile, sovaldi sale and above all, immature. Perhaps nowhere is this more noticeable than in the complaints against those who use “adult” as a verb:

I cooked a meal today – I’m adulting.

They actually expect me to adult for eight hours every day.

I’m adulting – I put on pants today.

It’s tempting to write off these complaints as killjoys who don’t get the joke, but the rants about how previous generations were holding down factory jobs, raising children, and fighting wars in their late teens and early 20s are meant to be serious indictments of people who won’t get with the program.

Part of this is the idea that the younger generation is always screwing things up, which has been going on at least since the ancient Greeks complained of “luxury, bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect to elders, and a love for chatter in place of exercise.” And part is the sad fact that opportunities that were available to previous generations have disappeared. My father was a high school dropout, but at 21 he got a union job with a railroad and turned it into a nice middle class career that gave me and my brothers a good start on our own lives. Where would he work today, Walmart?

Please don’t make me adult today. Today I want to cat.

I’m probably the last person who should comment on Millennials. I’m a very late Baby Boomer who’s always felt like he belonged in Gen X. Beyond that, my mother said I was born 35 – I couldn’t wait to be an adult. There has never been a time when I’d trade the stresses of adulting for the restrictions and powerlessness of childhood.

With those disclaimers aside, I think there’s something at work here that’s worth giving some further thought. Criticizing Millennials for using adult as a verb isn’t a valid complaint, but the whole concept of adulting is an indictment of our mainstream society.

I’ve decided I don’t want to be an adult any more. If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, coloring.

Millennials – and others – were told they could be anything they wanted. We told them to “follow your bliss.” Of course, we didn’t mean it. What we meant was “you can choose from any of the approved options that support our way of seeing the world.” We removed many (though far from all) of the blocks previous generations had based on gender, race, or orientation, but everyone was still expected to get a job, pay taxes, and contribute to the maintenance of the system, whether that system supported their bliss or not.

But the Millennials heard what we told them over and over again and assumed it was true. And then when it came time to be an adult, they didn’t like what they saw.

“So you want me to put on expensive, uncomfortable clothes, commute to a job, work all day five or six days a week for 50 weeks a year, all so we can ‘increase shareholder value.’ If I play this game really really well maybe in 20 years I’ll be an executive and make tons of money, but I’ll work even more hours. If I don’t, I’ll be kicked to the curb the first time ‘fixed expenses’ need to be cut so some executive can make his bonus target.

If this is being an adult, I want to be something else.”

They told me to dress for the job I wanted, not for the job I have. So now I’m sitting in HR in my Batman costume.

Of course, some bought into the game. They like playing the game, or they can’t imagine anything else. Some, though, are subversives – using jobs in the corporate world to fund their deeper pursuits.

Others are outright radicals, working to wipe all the pieces off the board and start a new game with different rules and different goals.


In his book The Earth, The Gods and The Soul, Druid and philosophy professor Brendan Myers discusses the return of pagan philosophy during the Renaissance after a millennium of Christian domination. Those who began the Pagan revival weren’t Pagans, but they dreamed about what it would be like to be a pagan. Myers said:

People got tired of the austerities of Christian discipline and the misanthropy of the Doctrine of Original Sin. They maintained the appearance of being committed Christians, of course … But they dramatized for themselves a world that never knew Original Sin, and so still existed in a state of original blessing. In that imagined world it was no sin to ‘dance, sing, feast, make music, and love’ … and despite the heroic efforts of puritanical counter-Renaissance activists like Savonarola, the box would never be shut again.

The Millennials – and Gen X’ers and a few Boomers – who don’t want to adult are imagining a world where education doesn’t require massive personal debt, where health care is a universal right, where making sure everyone has enough is more important than making sure a few have the ability to become obscenely rich. They’re imagining a world where providing for yourself and your family doesn’t cost your soul.

If you haven’t grown up by 50, you don’t have to.

If you think people who don’t want to adult are lazy, you haven’t been watching some of them pour hours and weeks and years into making and perfecting their arts. They’re not averse to work – they’re averse to meaningless work that makes the rich even richer. If you think they’re entitled you haven’t been watching them work to feed the homeless and to advocate for policies that would eliminate homelessness. If you think they’re fragile you haven’t been watching them pick themselves up over and over again after the system smacks them down for being unable or unwilling to get with the program.

Like the Renaissance-era proto-Pagans, they imagine a world that could be, even as though those in power insist such a world is both impossible and undesirable. Savonarola and Cotton Mather were wrong – so are today’s “free market” fundamentalists who support neither freedom nor markets.

The classic definition of magic is the science and art of creating change in conformance with will. Right now I see a lot of people who want a different set of rules for our common society. But I’m starting to see more and more with the will to create a different society.

The West in general and the United States in particular are in the early years of the Long Descent and neither a revolution nor a rewriting of the social contract can stop it. But there will still be more than adequate resources to support a decent life for everyone, if we have the will to demand it, and to create it.

Millennials and others who don’t want to adult aren’t being immature. They just don’t like the mainstream society’s definition of “adult.” And sooner or later, they’re going to change it.

This post was originally published by John Beckett on Patheos.comm

I love myself from FIRE DOG’s “For The Kids”

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“I Love Myself” by Celia & E.J. Funny
From FIRE DOG’s “For The Kids” (c) 2015 Love-O-Rama Records

Puppets by Jeanie Bryan

Drawings & Animation by Matt Bryan

Shot on location in The Grove, STL, MO, by William Benner

Produced and Directed by Jeanie Bryan & Celia

Edited by Mikal Shapiro


Thursday Inspiration

Art and Design, READ

ART FOR RIGHTS: http://write.amnestyusa.org/artforrights   Amnesty International / Art for Amnesty

TUCSON ARTS BRIGADE: http://www.tucsonartsbrigade.org/   Community Arts & Education / Murals Projects

BLADE OF GRASS: http://www.abladeofgrass.org/  Nurtures Socially Engaged Arts

ACTIPEDIA: https://actipedia.org/?mc_cid=56202a4aa4&mc_eid=c37ca56c7c  From Center for Artistic Activism http://artisticactivism.org/

USDAC: http://usdac.us/ We, medicine the People, Do Hereby Create – United States Department of Arts and Culture

Fine Art Photographer Emily G. Stremming on Weaving Photos

Art and Design, Interviews, READ

What is your earliest memory of art?

I always recall very early on my mother weaving baskets. She took a class one year and I would watch her soak the strips of wood and then weave different sorts of baskets with various patterns and colors. She was always working on some kind of project and I would also see her sewing a lot, mainly for clothes for my sister and I or for our baby dolls.

Why did I become an artist?

I have always wanted to create; and I think photography excited me the most. Taking images and sometimes even forgetting about what I had shot and getting excited about what moments were captured.

Finish these sentences:

Photography is…. a framed moment, stripped out of its original context, that forever is frozen in time..
A Photograph is… a memory, a moment, paper and light, a chemical reaction, a piece of history, a story, a means of storing information, a souvenir.

You are on an island for one year with 4 other artists. Who are they? Dead or Alive!?

Dead: Hannah Wilke. Frida Khalo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Andy Warhol
Alive: Jeff Koons, Edward Burtnysky, Damien Hurst, Susan Sontag

How did you first begin weaving photos?

I began weaving photographs after years of experimenting with the actual medium. For years I have been cutting into the image to create collages and trying to create “images” that were more like art Objects rather than prints. I started to weave the image because I wanted to physically weave the information together and I liked the way the images became distorted and sort of imitated pixels.

What steps do you take when creating a new work?

I come across a place/person or idea of interest and photograph either with digital or film and sometimes digitally enhance or alter the image even before distorting it after printing. After I print the images I slice them into strips (usually 1/4″) and weave one into the other (either the same image, a similar image or entirely different images) and even though the process of weaving is tedious and also repetitive, I still can creatively change how the image will look and can control how distorted the image will be by omitting certain parts of the image or moving the strips around.

Handmade distortion plays a large role in work. Can you expand on this theme?

Handmade distortion is Very important to me, I want to create images that go against the means of reproduction. I have always enjoyed the process of film and when taking and printing photographs digitally, I lose that sense of process but when I weave the images printing is only one of the first steps. I like to create art using my hands and putting my fingerprints on the work to create an actual art object instead of a two dimensional, reproducible print.

What advice would you give other artists?

The advice I would give other artist would be to Always Experiment and always put in time. Some of my favorite images come from a mistake or mis step in the process and it makes me think about the image differently and opens up an entirely new way of looking at the image. I like to put in the time and actually build up the image, more like a textile work or a sculpture, and I think about photographs in that way rather than the work being a digitally rendered image.

In five years my art will…

Get bigger and bigger in scale. I recently made a woven piece 6 feet X 8 feet but plan on making images much larger. In five years hopefully I will have a larger studio space to work in!

Share something that has inspired you recently:

I recently visited New Orleans and went to NOMA sculpture garden. Usually I view art in some kind of museum or gallery, white walls, wood floors… but it was inspiring to see art mixed in with natural elements. I was most drawn to the sculptures that were more contemporary and bright, like Robert Indiana’s LOVE or Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes. The tension from the soft willowy trees against the hard geometrical edges create an interesting juxtaposition.

What is an issue facing our local or global community, and how might we fix it?

Photography is not what it once was and now it is so easy to snap an image and we are constantly taking images, so photography is a tough art form to justify. I think social media has changed how we view photography and now we are bombarded with images everyday through websites and apps such as Instagram and Facebook. I don’t think there is necessarily a way to “fix” the issue I just think photographers need to evolve with the technology and create work that is more than just a few clicks away.

Any final thoughts, shout outs, interview nominations, or memes?

Photography has always interested me more than other forms of art because it is not just a form of expression but also a technology. Photography was not even considered an art form until the 1970s which is rather recent compared to other mediums. I think that the entire history is always changing because the technology is constantly changing…from glass plates and silver gelatin, to images that are not even chemical reactions with light but formed from a digital formula not even tangible in real space but stored on some kind of microchip. There are so many different kinds of photographers and ways to create and use images, I really look forward to seeing what photography will be even just 10 years from now….

One More Line – Orbiting, Timing, Space Disco Game

Games, READ

I have been downloading free games on my tablet. Like a LOT of free games. I can be very picky when it comes to free tablet games and which horror movie to watch next. Through my scrutiny I am going to post the games which are most creative, case visually striking, and fun to play. First up is One More Line by SMG Studio. Steer this little shuttle, hold to grapple and orbit obstacles. Features a space disco soundtrack. After a few hundred collisions you will be begging for One More Line.

One more line 2

One more line 3

Decay as Cleansing for the Soul with Artist Lauren Marx

Art and Design, Interviews, READ

Why did you become an artist?

That is actually a pretty tough question. I would say I became an artist because there is nothing else I would rather do and I have been incredibly lucky with my art career so far. I would say it is destiny in a way.

What is your earliest memory involving art?

My earliest memory is drawing, and then coloring, a bay horse when I was three or four at Mary Margaret’s Daycare. Looking back on it, it looked nothing like a horse.

When and Where do you do your best work?

I create my best work in my apartment in the early afternoon.

Which artists give you the most inspiration?

I am very inspired by John James Audubon, Walton Ford, Christina Mrozik, Mucha and Petah Coyne. That is only naming a few.

Decay and Decomposition are present in your work but it is so beautiful it no longer seems tragic; Share your thoughts on these themes.

I see the decay as a cleansing of the soul and my attempt to address my fear of death or my fear of becoming nothing. In reality, death in nature is just a way of donating our bodies back to the earth. It rebuilds and grows in other organisms. I try to portray this in my work as a comfort. I have many reasons. All I know is that I never wanted the decay to be upsetting, but rather beautiful.

How do you develop the composition of your work?

I tend to just “go with the flow”. I hardly ever sketch. I just begin a drawing and see where it goes from there. Because of this, every now and then, a composition comes out terribly, but that’s part of the fun of it.

Share something interesting about nature that has caught your attention or fascination.

Just how fragile it is and how much each organism needs others to survive. It is terrifying how quickly the smallest change to an ecosystem can destroy it completely.

In five years your art will…

Hopefully be making me a somewhat steady income haha.

You get to be a plant or animal for 24 hours. Which do you choose to be?

A spoiled house cat. Air conditioning, a bed, free food, all the toys you could ever want, and cat nip?! That’s the life.

What advice would you give an artist today?

Practice being disciplined with your art. Learn how to work on it after school or after your job. You must keep working. I know way too many talented artists who do not make new art on a regular basis and it hurts their future careers. New work is what you need to have a portfolio that shines when you approach galleries or jobs.

Any final thoughts, shout outs, interview nominations, or memes?

I want to say thank you for interviewing me. It means a lot.


A Flag for Planet Earth

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Flag of Planet Earth

Artist and designer Oskar Pernefeld has created a new flag. The following is an excerpt from his website:

Current expeditions in outer space use different national flags depending on which country is funding the voyage. The space travelers, tadalafil however, are more than just representatives of their own countries – they are representatives of planet Earth.

As a graduating visual communications student at Beckmans College of Design, I took upon myself to create a proposal for planet Earth’s official flag. I researched the world of vexillology, the the doctrine of flags, to create a correct proposal.

The proposal could be used while representing Earth. But also remind the people of Earth that we share this planet, no matter of national boundaries. That we should take care of each other and the planet we live on.

Read more at:

Cullen Curtis on his Art and Current Woodcuts

Art and Design, Interviews, READ

What is your relationship to art?
Friends with benefits, but it’s starting to get serious.

How and why do you create?
Art is a means of communication between my subconscious and conscious self, I have a nagging suspicion my subconscious is much much smarter.. Art for me is sort of like dream interpretation. I do probably 50% of my creating via stream of consciousness; I doodle until something comes out that I like, and then i get serious and redo it with hours of concentrated effort. Only when I finish do I really try to figure out what I was trying to communicate usually. The other 50% of the time I’ll have a really great idea and either not do it justice in my mind, or just never get around to doing it.

Share your earliest memory regarding creativity or art.
I remember back when I was 6, that’s the year 2000 in case anyone wanted to feel old, my dad used to take me to the City Museum every weekend, they had season passes you could buy back then. I was obviously awe-stricken walking into this 10 story fantasia land, a fresh minded 6 year old who wasnt yet bogged down by the tedium of reality. Beatnik Bob’s was always my favorite part, I think that shows in my work. Ever since then I’ve enjoyed building contraptions with no real concern of whether or not they actually work, I just enjoy assembling the parts.

What themes are you exploring in your work now?
I’m currently working on the first woodcut print of a series about the perils and pitfalls of the modern world. It’s a humorous sort of exploration of things that annoy me I guess. One such thing is people being preachy so fear not, I’m not that artist.

When/where do you do your best work?

I do my best work in the middle of the night, usually on adderall in my studio (bedroom.)

Which artists are most inspirational to you?
Bob Cassilly of the City Museum, Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenburg, Tom Huck and Jon MacNair to name just a few.

In 5 years your art will…
Age like a fine wine

What advice would you give an artist?
Don’t be that artist that always complains about how hard it is to be an artist.

Do you know any cool human tricks? If so what?
I can travel time, really slowly and only forwards.

Any final thoughts, shout outs, interview nominations, or memes?
Thanks to Joe Hess for putting together Undercurrent last year. Going to those shows radically changed my art.