My core's harder than your core.
It would be pure torture for a Baby Boomer to have to choose a favourite from amongst their cherished collection of Gen Y criticisms. But the “commitment phobe” insult would definitely rate high on their "Most Relished" list. Disregarding the fact that the demographic condemning this Gen-Y character trait is more than likely responsible for its inception, since from the midst of our tender youth we watched them pioneer the loftiest divorce rate in the history of mankind, it may not be so far from the truth. With an average of fifteen career changes in a single lifetime, Gen Y-ers are the Tiger Woods’s of the job market; the average marriage age, for the declining portion that do decide to tie the knot, is increasing like Liberal voters in a GFC; having grown-up in a global village, as more and more of us pack-up and move our lives abroad, we are by far the most territorially promiscuous bunch around.
And yet, our generation has absolutely no problem publicly declaring undying love for a musical ensemble. If you’re after a laugh, all that’s required to watch your peers behave like jealous lovers is to mention that you were a U2 fan all the way back when Bono’s glasses were not blue-tinted, but orange; a Muse fan way before Stephanie Meyer’s vexatious attempt to pin the blame for her inspiration for Twilight on the band; a fan of The Middle East back when asking someone if they’d heard of them would generally provoke a response of, “Um, yeah...have you heard of Europe?” But don’t broach the topic if you’re in a hurry: such statements will only ever result in an impromptu round of lyric trivia backed-up by a bout of verbal roulette as you sound-off the occasions you saw them live. It’s the only way to determine which fan’s core is in fact the hardest. University bell curves won’t stop us sharing notes, and even the most violent game of badminton will end in a friendly handshake, but put an enchanting melody with a sweet soprano and Generation Y will transform into a pack of blood-thirsty competitors.
Apart from the occasional hysterical Britney fan appealing to the hearts of the YouTube world to leave the girl alone (honestly people, obviously she shaved her head cos she wanted less attention...of course she could’ve sold-out a 20 000 seat arena on sheer talent and a completely sound mind) this phenomenon is particularly apparent amongst the Indie crowds. Perhaps those of us who are still telling ourselves that the Indie movement is not mainstream are trying to bolster our own alternative image. Are we like the emos of the early naughties convinced they were a minority, sitting by the thousands on town hall steps to collectively reflect on their solitude, to empathise with each other about how no-one understands?
It could be that I’m just not comfortable thinking of myself as an angsty teenaged boy wearing eyeliner, but I’d like to believe that this inter-fan rivalry has more to do with genuine passion than image. It’s just a little glimpse of the dedication our generation is capable of in a world showcasing the dangers of commitment. When we’re moved by profound lyrics and the soft strum of a banjo, we can’t help but give our heart to a band. So naturally, when they take that offering and jump all over it on a stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people, it hurts like hell. When The Temper Trap left for the States, I think I understood how Jen felt watching Brad upgrade to Angelina. And when they announced a show on every continent, I finally got what it was like for her to see the new couple collecting their tribe of rainbow children. But as the saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.