Turns out, all they’re likely to inherit is a bad case of butthurt.
Still, as a millennial I have watched as our society, our art, and our media outlets have begun to blur traditional ideas of what constitutes a man. John Wayne is out. But not all of us want to (or can) be soft-voiced guys in skinny jeans.
The only explanation I can think of is that my generation has been disillusioned by the discrepancies between what we were told the world was, and reality. We saw the Twin Towers fall when we were at our most impressionable, we’ve seen politicians, from the presidency on down, dwindle in stature, likewise our degrees and our sporting heroes.
An object at rest tends to stay at rest, but for us, an object in motion also tends to move toward rest. This is not good; I know it. My millennial friends know it. We’re just uncertain about our next actions, or our next act.
It’s easy for those of us who grew up in an era where we still had strong leaders, good role models, and parental guidance that amounted to more than a participation trophy to mock this sort of thing. The Millennials are a lost generation for many reasons, among them a lack of the above. You can blame many things for this—- the media and entertainment world shoveling the mantra that it’s okay to fail into young minds full of nothing of consequence. Society, and its destructors, chipping away at the keystones of Western Culture for decades. Academia convincing the impressionable that all one needs to succeed in life is a degree in the Social Anthropology of Light Blue Butterflies. And on, and on.
However, one can only play the blame game for so long before realizing the heart of the matter lies within. What makes a winner versus a loser? Quite a lot of things can influence the outcome, but ultimately we all start out with the same fresh slate, and we either overcome adversity and reach for our goals in life, or we settle for something less, but at least we try. Or, in the case of a fairly disturbing number of Millennials, not.
The mental poison ladled out in nauseating quantity over the last 20 years has certainly stacked the deck against the average 20-something. But that doesn’t prevent them from waking up one fine Monday morning and deciding: Enough. Today I make a plan, and I do the best I possibly can to execute it. And while it is certainly easier to fail today than it was circa 1985, or even 1995, it is also easier than ever to succeed. One does not have to be a rocket surgeon to pull out their parentally-provided laptop and, rather than fire up the newest twitch game, research employment trends and the various metrics of success-of-geography.
Further, it’s easier than ever to actually acquire the skills to succeed once one has done that fundamental research, and find a place to put those skills to work. When I entered the workforce, it was not possible to learn advanced skills while sitting on a sofa at three in the morning in the middle of Nebraska. Nor was it possible to market yourself globally to tens of thousands of companies looking for said skills. Nor was it particularly cheap or easy to relocate to an area of industrial and economic growth. Today, all of that is easier than ever, thanks to the networked and commoditized world. All it takes is the drive to put down the tendies and go do it.
Now, not everyone stuck in that tar pit of suck is lost. Every day I see a gaggle of 20-somethings who got their ass off the sofa and learned a trade, or an in-demand skill, and are putting them to work to better and enrich themselves. In fact, I have nothing but respect for those who do, as perversely, it is much harder to do that sort of thing and remain socially acceptable in Millennial circles. Not everyone need be a welder or a plumber, either. I know of hundreds of young men, Millennials most all, who have embraced the direct-to-market media revolution and do nothing but create content to pay the bills.
The difference? The those guys have discovered balls and decided their own success and happiness is more important than what random strangers on Twitter and Facebook think about their life choices.
The only real difference between successful Millennials and the sofa mold variety, as I see it, is they gave themselves a swift kick in the ass to get motivated rather than inherit one from society.
That, it seems, is what the generation of Lost Boys we’ve let happen so desperately need: A swift kick in the ass.
posted by Mr. Lion | 09/25/17 @ 18:28 | comments (0)
It would seem H-F-D is on the verge of being screwed again. Surprise! It's for the same reason they've been screwed several times before: A steadfast refusal to innovate and market to broader demographics.
Some of the pundits are trying to liken this to the overall concept of: Younger people don't like motorcycles. Uh, guys? Search youtube for "motovlogger" or "supermoto". Then go take a look at the sales numbers for the Japanese and European bike makers. While I'm pretty far removed from a millennial, I do play one on TV, and let me tell you: There is no shortage of them willing to shell out ten grand for a fast, reliable and visually interesting motorcycle.
The key parts of that equation are: fast, reliable and visually interesting. These are words that H-F-D has been tone deaf to for decades.
Let us review the various market trends the company has entirely missed out on:
- Sport Bikes
- Adventure Bikes
- Muscle Bikes
- Retro Cafe Racers
- Cheap/Silly Microbikes
... and I'm probably missing a few. Sport bikes became a thing on the early 1980s fer chrissakes. That was fourty years ago for those keeping score at home. Every other market segment listed has been a thing for at least a decade, if not two or three. Yet Harley apparently thinks that like color TV and the internet, those things will never catch on. Aside from the fact that other manufacturers move tens of thousands of units every year.
Nope. Don't want to offend the 65 year old graybeard who bought a Road King from us two decades ago.
Now, to be fair, Harley has occasionally at least taken a passing stab at modernization. While Buell was roundly panned by everyone who took sport bikes seriously, they did at least make an attempt at the sport bike market. A half-assed, entirely stupid attempt, but an attempt none the less. The V-Rod was the first cruiser I'd actually sort of maybe want to own, at least if it didn't cost over 20 grand, and if Ducati hadn't come out with the massively superior in every way Diavel a few years later.
But generally speaking, Harley is utterly tone deaf to the youth, or hell, even the enthusiast market. I would love to own an American made motorcycle. I really would. But in order to get me into a showroom, you're going to need to at least be roughly close to on par with Ducati, KTM and the Japanese Four, guys. And you very much are not.
Yes, it would require a significant capital investment on the part of H-F-D to, say, develop a sport bike and a streetfighter. They would need to build two modern engines, and modern chassis to go with them. The rest-- suspension, brakes, etc, etc are all available off the shelf. Everyone else uses Ohlins, WP and Brembo for a reason, guys: They work. But there needs to be some hot sauce, and there needs to be some value, which are two things H-F-D seems to not only not understand, but be violently opposed to.
When I was a kid, they made shit like this:
As a result, I mocked them relentlessly. They made cars for old men. Slow, ugly, boring boxes that a young man wouldn't be caught dead in.
Today, they make this:
Do I want one? You bet your ass I want one.
It really isn't rocket surgery, guys. Build an interesting, quick, fun streetfighter and sell it for ~$8-10k. I'll buy one.
posted by Mr. Lion | 07/18/17 @ 09:50 | comments (1)
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