Apology (to the Next Generation)
The Now Ensemble with Sarah Chalfy, soprano
Alex Sopp, flute
Sarah (Phillips) Budde
Marc Dancigers, guitar
Michael Mizrahi, piano
Peter Rosenfeld, bass
Recording: The Firehouse Studio, New Haven, CT, 12/9/2006, 8/3/2012
Notes: Sam Smith is long time editor of the iconic new left weekly, The Progressive Review.
Text: (bold portions only)
TO YOUNGER AMERICANS
BY SAM SMITH
In observance of the approaching 66th anniversary of my arrival on this planet I would like to apologize to you on behalf of my generation. Even members of Confederacy had the grace to secede from the union; my generation has remained within like a deadly virus, subverting it, shaming it, screwing it, stealing from it, and finally strangling it. It will likely be known as the worst generation
And so, on behalf of all my fellow members of America’s crummiest generation, I make this humble confession,
I apologize for Bhopal and Three Mile Island and, in advance, for all the biological, chemical or nuclear disasters that will occur without the slightest help from a terrorist.
I am truly sorry for Martha Stewart, the Washington Post, Howard Stern, the Brookings Institution, and Bill O’Reilly,
I regret any lasting infirmities – such as the loss of the republic – that occurred unnoticed while the country’s elite was sedated by “Morning Edition,” C-SPAN, Jim Lehrer, and Ted Koppel.
I am profoundly embarrassed by the way we destroyed the public school system of our country.
I regret that we got the Muslim world so mad at us and that we couldn’t come up with any better solution than to get it madder.
I am sorry about all the extra hurricanes, tornados, and heat waves that have occurred while we continued to debate whether there was anything called global warming.
I apologize for those scientists who thought coming up with new ways to destroy humanity was a good use of their time.
I am really sorry that we inflicted upon you the likes of George Bush and Bill Clinton.
I am sorry for paying more attention to our Humvees on the Tigris and Euphrates than to our levees on the Mississippi.
I apologize for the Harvard Business School and the Yale Law School and all the deplorable effluvia from the same,
I regret our having passed more new laws in the past three decades than during the first two hundred years of the American nation.
I regret that you are now regarded as a potential terrorist, addict, or sexual predator more often than you are considered a valued citizen.
I am truly sorry we could make no greater contribution to philosophy than the justification of greed in the guise of free market economics, the sanctification of imperialism in the name of nation building, and the notion that it takes only 12 steps to solve all your problems.
I am truly sorry for what we have done to childhood, including over-scheduling it, replacing Kermit with Barney, teaching children excessive fear and absurd competitiveness, diagnosing them into drug dependency, and punishing them for drawing ‘inappropriate’ pictures in the margins of their textbooks.
And now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, it is time to move on and put it all behind us. After all, while we may have created this mess, it is your task to clean it up. Of course, if you need any advice, don’t hesitate to ask.