I’ve wondered for a long time how the millennial generation would cope with a real crisis.
Not one of the myriad crises many of them claim to have every second of every day, triggering the biggest explosion of ‘anxiety’ and ‘triggering’ the planet has ever seen.
No, a real one.
One that impacts every one of us, one that causes genuine hardship and strife, one that causes huge numbers of deaths and rips the global economy to pieces and, one that is a proper valid reason to feel anxious because it’s indisputably frightening and none of us, not even the world’s top scientific experts, knows how bad it will get before we come out the other side.
Well, now I don’t have to wonder because it’s happening.
And whilst some millennials are being perfectly stoic and sensible, recognizing the gravity of the situation, some are behaving like complete and utter cretins.
I couldn’t believe the idiocy of so many Spring Break students flocking to the beach in Florida, hugging and kissing each other like it was VE-Day.
Crass and insensitive: Vanessa Hudgens unleashed her thoughts on the coronavirus outbreak onto her Instagram stories to her 38.4M followers
Or the crass stupidity of all those flocking to bars on St Patrick’s Day around Britain and America yesterday, when even Ireland shut down every pub in the country and cancelled all the parades beloved by every town in the country.
Or all the blinkered arrogance of all the cocky young chumps bombarding me with ‘Stop being so f*cking hysterical, it’s just the flu!’ abuse on Twitter every time I try to warn them of how bad this pandemic may get, and how urgent it is that they take it more seriously.
What kind of mentality, I pondered, makes people so brainless when the we’re in the grip of the greatest potential threat to our existence since World War 2?
For the answer, turn to High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens, 31.
Yesterday, she turned on her Instagram live ‘story’ and broadcast her thoughts on the coronavirus to her 38.4 million followers, many of them young and impressionable.
Reacting to the news that the virus may still be wreaking havoc through the summer, she said: ‘’Til July sounds like a bunch of bullsh*t. I’m sorry, but like, it’s a virus, I get it, I respect it. But at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are gonna die. Which is terrible, but like inevitable? I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now.’
You, like, THINK?
As understandable outrage greeted this staggeringly tone-deaf response, Hudgens dug an even bigger hole by deciding to further clarify her position.
Naturally, this involved blaming everyone else for all misinterpreting her disgustingly callous jabberings, and immediately positioning herself as a victim to try to draw the sting out of the vitriol pouring down on her stupefyingly dumb head.
‘Hey guys,’ she whimpered, flicking her hands through her frizzy hair like a ditzy dimwit, ‘so yesterday I did an Instagram Live and I realized today that some of my comments are being taken out of context. It’s a crazy time, it’s a CRAZY time and I am at home and in lockdown, and that’s what I hope you guys are doing too, in full quarantine. And staying safe and sane. Yeah, I don’t take this situation lightly. By any means. I am home.’
Then Hudgens gave the obligatory millennial vacuous smile and peace sign to the camera and concluded: ‘So stay inside, y’all.’
Unsurprisingly, this disingenuous load of self-protective crap did little to dampen the furor.
Oblivious: The shameless partying while hundreds of thousands are in danger of becoming sick reveals a dangerously cavalier attitude among the people the government needs the most in its fight against the coronavirus
So, an hour later, her publicist presumably took charge and ordered Hudgens to issue a grovelling new mea culpa statement saying: ‘I’m so sorry for the way I have offended anyone and everyone who has seen the clip from my Instagram live yesterday. I realize my words were insensitive and not at all appropriate for the situation our country and the world are in right now. This has been a huge wake up call about the significance my words have, now more than ever. I’m sending safe wishes to everyone to stay safe and healthy during this crazy time.’
In the general scheme of things right now, the thoughts of someone Vanessa Hudgens shouldn’t matter.
But when someone with 38.4 million followers who hang on her every word is spewing such dangerous nonsense, it actually does matter.
It can literally mean people live or die.
And her casual, self-absorbed gormlessness explains why all those Spring Break students are partying on the beach, why so many others are still hitting any bars and club still open in Britain and America, and why they’re so furious at their holidays being cancelled, or their gyms being closed, or their favourite sport being canned.
This is a woefully entitled generation that’s grown up whining about absolutely everything – yet has so little to legitimately whine about given how much safer, healthier, less war-ravaged and more prosperous the world is now compared to any other time in recorded history.
Appeal for help: President Trump and his team of virus experts have repeatedly said that millennials are the key to defeating the virus
They mock and scorn the ‘Boomers’ (men born between 1946 and 1964 – I don’t quite qualify, having been born in 1965, but this doesn’t stop them calling me one) for being old, out-of-touch, boring and narrow-minded.
But one thing my generation knows is the horror of World War 2 because our grandparents who lived through it told us about it.
My own grandmother was in her late teens when WW2 started, and I had many conversations with her about what life was like for young people during that tumultuous period.
She said it was very very tough, obviously, but it also taught everyone to be strong, resilient, selfless and caring. ‘We were all in the same boat,’ she said. ‘So, everyone helped each other. We had no choice.’
It also taught that generation perspective.
Millions of young men had to go and fight for the country, and many didn’t come back.
Today, the biggest sacrifice we’re being asked to make is not go to the pub or beach and sit at home for a while watching TV.
Is that really too much to ask?
No social distancing: Revelers out in Dublin for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations in defiance of the Irish Government’s closure of pubs – an extraordinary measure designed to keep people from congregating together and spreading the coronavirus
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hasn’t enforced measures as draconian as most other countries because he doesn’t think we’d have the patience to stay inside for months on end.
In other words, we don’t have the stomach for the fight.
I find that notion offensive, and his worryingly vague strategy of half-social-distancing very wrong – perhaps disastrously so – but sadly he’s probably right about many millennials judging by the ludicrous antics of people like Vanessa Hudgens.
Fortunately, there are some people of her generation who DO get it.
Take pop superstar Ariana Grande, who four days ago tweeted the following message to her 72 million followers: ‘I keep hearing from a surprising amount of people statements like “this isn’t a big deal”, “we’ll be fine”, “we still have to go about our lives”, and it’s really blowing my mind. I understand that is how it felt weeks ago but please read about what’s going on, please don’t turn a blind eye. It is incredibly dangerous and selfish to take this situation lightly. The “we will be fine because we’re young” mindset is putting people who aren’t young and/or healthy in a lot of danger. You sound stupid and privileged and you need to care about others.. like, now.’
Ariana added: ‘Like, your hip hop yoga class can f*cking wait, I promise. This a national emergency and a pandemic of global proportions.’
Heroes come in many forms at moments such as this, but Ariana Grande is a true hero for grasping the severity of this situation and taking action to properly inform her massive army of young fans as to what the right response should be.
We need a lot more Arianas on hugely influential social media right now and a lot fewer Vanessas.
This Coronavirus crisis is a war and everyone needs to grow the f*ck up and understand just how serious it is.
Especially those young people who still don’t get it.
To them, I can only say that every one of your parents and grandparents is incredibly relieved this is a virus that predominantly kills members of our age-groups and not that of our kids.
But if it WAS the other way round then I can assure you we wouldn’t be taking a single reckless chance with YOUR lives.
So, stop taking a chance with the lives of those older and more vulnerable than you.
It’s time many millennials stopped being so bloody selfish and asked themselves the question President John F. Kennedy asked in his 1961 inaugural address: ‘And so my fellow Americans,’ he said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – but what you can do for your country.’
Before it’s, like, too late y’all.