À la recherche de la génération perdue

Photo cred: www.forexlive.com
Photo cred: http://www.forexlive.com

More precisely, a génération per-deux point oh.

A Lost Generation, Gertrude Stein’s indictment of expatriate writers in Paris, began as an auto-shop owner’s indictment of a young employee.  Stein overheard the comment while getting the ignition fixed on her Model T (according to A Moveable Feast), and expanded upon the point to a young Ernest Hemingway,

“All of you young people who served in the war.  You are a lost generation.”

“Really,” I said.

“You are,” she insisted. “You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death….”

There is more to this than haughty dismissal: first, did she mean they were a rudderless generation, unable to be found?  Or a generation defeated?

Let us not forget that the indictment is her translation from the French, perduPerdu can mean lost, but an older usage referred to a soldier sent on a mission where he would almost certainly be killed. In the context of WWI, this is less indictment than staggeringly accurate description.

Luckily, Stein’s critical white-washing of his generation didn’t stop Hemingway from writing.  Afterwards he mused, “the hell with her lost-generation talk and all the dirty, easy labels.”

And so should you reject dirty, easy labels.

Remember that this all started with an ignition problem.  Collaborate with your peers and spark something wonderful.  Stein may have criticized, but her apartment was a combustion engine for some of the 20th century’s finest artists.

You are not a lazy, entitled mass of disconnected disenchanteds.  Connect with each other and spark something beautiful.

That is how our generation may be found.




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