Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A First Dispatch From the ‘Survivor Millennials Vs. Gen X’ Culture Wars

Let’s talk about “Survivor: Millennials Vs. Gen X.” Wanna know what you’re playing for? Currently America is at war with itself. Two ideologies pitted against one another, fighting for the soul of our country. This is not a joke. This is no time to distract oneself with Skittles or Zodiac signs. The stakes are as high as they’ve ever been. As the dawn of a new era peaks over the ‘morrow, the fate of so many lives hang in the balance.

Your vote matters.

This isn’t the time for carnival games like professional football or the presidential election. We’re talking the most #important competition that’s ever been played.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X.

The culture wars have taken a toll on this country. *Cue the Sarah McLaghlin* Each day, lives are lost. Heroes fall. Internet cities crumble. Too many loved ones #logoff-ed. So much pointless bloodshed.

But the fine folks at CBS are finally gosh darn doing something about it. (Thanks for always keeping that one eye open for us.) They are hosting a reality show competition unlike the world has ever witnessed. Millennials. Gen Xers. Pitted against one another to crown one generation superior for evermore. It’s like that one movie Hunger Games ripped off, but way more real.

I’ll be your faithful correspondent, delivering dispatches from the frontlines. Where this war will lead us who knows? But I’ll do my best to be there every step of the way.

Here’s how it works:

A millennial becomes the Sole Survivor, millennials win the culture wars forevermore.

A Gen Xer becomes Sole Survivor, Gen X (kind of) wins, but millennials will be around longer so no matter what they’ll win, which makes you wonder why we debate about the fate of “the culture” every damn day, unless it’s just some shit we can further thump our chests about, but hey, I’m just a simple war reporter, so what do I know about media? [grinning emoji]

Here are some rules I made up to entertain myself:

+10 points to any contestant who says “I’m not really a Gen Xer/millennial”
-20 points to any contestant who say “I’m a Gen Xer/millennial so…”
-15 points to any Gen Xer who bemoans “participation ribbons”
-15 points to any millennial who brags of “being a free spirit” or “not following the rules”
+250 points to any Gen Xer who wins any competition (reward or immunity), immediately turns to a millennial opponent, and spits the following phrase in their face: “Tweet
that, bitch.” Actually any Gen Xer who tells a millennial to use social media in a derogatory manner will receive these points.
+50 additional points if Snapchat is the platform
+200 points to any millennial who references the following movies to a Gen Xer in a derogatory manner:
Slacker, Clerks, Reality Bites, Less Than Zero, Kids, The Breakfast Club, Say Anything.

That’s it for now. Let’s get into the episode.

This year Survivor travels to Fiji to stage this vital warfare. I get the choice: Best to isolate and contain violence within the most beautiful portions of our world. Like all Survivor seasons, the contestants lack any awareness of the battle about to be raged.

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

Just look at them. Sitting so close together. Enemies sworn to fight one another and they don’t even know. It’s like if I were sitting that close to someone who didn’t absolutely love the cinematic classic Fast and Furious franchise. I’m not saying there’s no shot of us being friends, but you’re making it real hard. I mean, you definitely wouldn’t be invited to my birthday parties is all I’m saying.

So sworn enemies? I can hardly imagine. Probably best they do it this way, not announcing the theme ahead of time. Who would volunteer their life for such a brutal, pointless war? You’re right: Too many.

Anyways, the cast members. To learn more about them, let’s play a game shall we?

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

In the above photo, one of these contestants is a millennial. Bragging about his rapturous, freewheeling millennial lifestyle, he included the following statements: “I’ve been to North Dakota” and “I’m a Peter Pan type.” Guess who? Wow congratulations you’re right. Man bun dude! Who would’ve guessed it.

Now you won’t believe this, I hardly did myself, but a Gen Xer ranted about millennials. Host Jeff Probst asked a member from each tribe to define some characteristics about their generation. The Gen Xer bemoaned millennial work ethics, eventually making the best #humblebrag ever delivered on camera: we “actually had to walk to the store and get milk—it didn’t come in a drone.” Let’s examine the face of such a humblebragging man.

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

Truly the fiercest champions have been assembled to wage this battle.

The tribes go on to pilfer some gear to help them survive the next few days. We learn some surface-level details about the contestants as they construct their shelters. Narratives form: Gen Xers *get to work* while the millennials half-work before playing in the water. Who am I to judge? They earned it.

My favorite tidbits: One Gen Xer claims to have lived off the grid for like five-and-a-half years (though he’s no hope building the shelter!) and a millennial explains her career as a YouTube gamer. Because I’m a good wartime correspondent and not creepy, I looked her up. Guess what? She made a Minecraft parody video about being on Survivor and…it’s incredible.

Now if that doesn’t win an Academy Award, it might be time to finally boycott the Oscars. Maybe form a hashtag to raise awareness: #OscarsSoUnfairlyAgainstMillennials. Now that’s an important cause.

Though a storm approaches into the night and their shelter literally collapses when they sit on it, the millennials remain confident.

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

See, that’s the attitude that got millennials entering the workforce during the recession. While everyone continues to doubt the generation, they fight and find new ways to—

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS
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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

Well, that escalated quickly.

Anyways, Probst rides into the respective camps to deliver this endearing news: the tropical storm has been upgraded to a cyclone. And to those people who say global warming isn’t real, well, I bet you’re still feeling real good about yourselves.

Probst then informs the tribe they’re evacuating them because it’s unsafe and cloud monsters have populated the sky like this:

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

So funny story: The Gen Xers didn’t need to leave because a tree fell on their shelter. They would’ve been safe the whole time!

Eventually the tribes battle in a challenge. Climb through some ropes, walk across a balance beam, assemble a puzzle. There’s some nuance but it doesn’t matter. What does is one generation strikes the first blow in the war: wait whoa it’s the millennials? Looks like Mom was right: not working hard always pays off.

Just look at the stunned faces on those Gen Xers.

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Photo screenshot via Survivor/CBS

You might say, Reality Bites. (+200 points to me!)

The Gen Xers vote out someone not fit for such a battle. We hardly knew ye.

Well it looks like things are just heating up. Stay tuned for my next dispatch from the frontlines because one thing’s for sure: The culture wars have just continued again.

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