[Updated 12:47 am EST: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson spoke on Twitter saying that the Daily Star fabricated the interview and that he never said anything like that to him. How the Daily Star thought doing something like that would go unchecked is beyond me, but they are trash so I can’t say this is shocking. I am honestly glad to hear this isn’t true because as a fan of The Rock, I really was hoping he’d say something to bring clarity to this and he did. It’s a good thing to be wrong about.
Settin’ the record straight.
The interview never happened.
Never said those words.
If I ever had an issue with someone, a group, community or a generation — I’d seek them… https://t.co/oJdpmfsyCi
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 12, 2019
Former wrestler-turned-one of the highest paid stars in the world Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had an interview with the British tabloid newspaper the Daily Star, in which he called out the younger generation for “putting us backwards” and “looking for reasons to be offended.”
Considering this is the Daily Star, I’ll start by showing you exactly what they quoted him as saying, and how they did so, without embellishment:
“‘If you are not agreeing with them then they are offended—and that is not what so many great men and women fought for.’
“The superstar thinks that while the world has become a more tolerant and better place, whining snowflakes are draining positive change through their constant moaning.
“’We thankfully now live in a world that has progressed over the last 30 or 40 years,’ said the 46-year-old beefcake.
“’People can be who they want, be with who they want, and live how they want.
“’That can only be a good thing—but generation snowflake or, whatever you want to call them, are actually putting us backwards.’”
Again, from the language of the piece, you can clearly picture them cackling about other outlets picking up this story and “owning the snowflakes” by turning one of the biggest stars against him. Mashable, who reported on the story, mentioned that they have reached out to The Rock’s representatives for comment, so if he releases any clarifying statements on the topic, I’ll add them to the post.
Until then, let’s work with this whole “snowflakes are ruining everything and looking to be offended” line of thought, because from both conservatives and liberals across the world, we constantly hear that millennials are somehow so much softer than previous generations, and that’s just not true.
Every older generation thinks the generation that came after them is too soft. The Lost Generation, scared by the carnage was left by WWI, grew up in a wealthy but emotionally toxic environment which was followed by the “The Greatest Generation,” which had to deal with the Great Depression, technology quickly changing, and WWII. Then came the Silent Generation, who were overshadowed by their predecessors and eaten up by their Baby Boomer children, who were the rebels of their day and then the conservatives of ours.
Then comes Generation X (the time of my elder sister and Dwayne Johnson), and then me, the dirty millennial, who will apparently, one day, look at my niece’s generation as the coming of the end of days.
This brief lesson of things you would know if you watched Mad Men is to illustrate that the idea that millennials are special in being looked down on by previous generations is not only historically inaccurate, but also ignores that my generation has been dealing with a lot of bullshit.
9/11 collectively traumatized our country, but as someone who was only nine when it happened, I barely remember life before that time. The ’90s brought us the Ruby Ridge, the Waco siege, the Oklahoma City bombing, and a jump in domestic terror. If you look up domestic terrorism, the United States has the longest list of entries. We’ve had to deal with the effects of wars in the Middle East and an economy that has made it so that my generation will under earn what our parents did, and we still have to deal with politicians who actually want roll back the progress of Civil Rights activists.
Yet, it is us—the people who call out jokes that are homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist—who are ruining things? It’s so disingenuous.
We are not new. What we feel is not new. What’s new is that we can actually make our complaints heard, thanks to the internet. With all the hubbub about Kevin Hart, did we all forget when Eddie Murphy, in 2011, quit hosting the Oscars because producer Brett Ratner said, “rehearsing is for f*gs” during a press tour (and subsequently resigned himself)?
And even Ratner, who is gross on multiple accounts, managed to actually give a decent apology:
“[I’ve] gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.
“As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.”
And that’s Brett Ratner.
If Twitter and live journal had been around during the days of the Lost Generation, not only would Fitzgerald and Hemmingway be blue check verified, but I can almost assure you Dorothy Parker would have been dragging everyone.
If Twitter had been around during the era of Martin Luther King Jr., people would have called him a SJW, a communist, slammed him for being a snowflake and combative, and told him to get over slavery because that’s been over for like a whole generation and lynching isn’t as bad as it used to be. I’m poking fun, sure, but if we take a quick look into the way-way back machine, that is exactly what they said about him. Everyone celebrates King now because he’s dead and his legacy has been whitewashed to ignore that, for his talk of peace, he was a radical. The March on Washington was for jobs and freedom.
Johnson’s comments are wrong not because I disagree with them, but because they are historically incorrect and based on a faulty idea that the need for activism is over, and that this collective generational need for change is new. Many of the things people fought for in the ’60s and ’70s are still being dealt with, and now the newer generation is taking that over in new ways. Hell, the Equal Rights Amendment that was introduced to Congress in 1921 is still not ratified.
As a long, longtime fan of The Rock from his WWF days to now, I am disappointed to hear that he feels this way, especially because part of the reason people love him so much around all spaces is that he has been one of the men who really was pushed masculinity into a less toxic space. For a man of color, that remains something I love the most about his public image. Regardless, these words give us a space to have this conversation, since I know it’s something people feel across the political spectrum.
I can’t speak for Generation Snowflake as a collective (I don’t think we believe in collectives … I’ll have to check my newsletter), but I think that people confuse calling out bullshit as being “triggered” or being “sensitive” when really, for those doing it right, it should be about raising awareness to things long considered a problem that shouldn’t still be ongoing.
People may disagree with us, but it makes it seem like we are the ones taking society back in time, and not the administration that has actively worked to reduce civil rights, just because they don’t like what we say and how we say it.
Well, that seems like someone else is being a bit of a “snowflake.”
(via Daily Star, image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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