Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

 

The world's always in a state, isn't it?

Has there ever been a time when we could just kick back, sip on a decent glass of Valdiguié, and praise the skies that things are wonderful?

As generations pass, the older always think that they know better.

Which makes the younger wonder why, if they know better, they left the world in such a parlous state.

This leads me handily to Clint Eastwood.

The legendary actor, director and armchair conversationalist -- actually, he prefers to talk to armless chairs -- has been expounding on the desperate state of America.

He believes the nation is now in the hands of -- and I'm quoting here -- "The Pussy Generation."

In an interview with Esquire, Eastwood expressed his incredulity about all the people (you know they were mainly millennials) who twitched and swooned at every word that dripped from Bernie Sanders.

"People are saying, 'Why should I work? I'll get something for nothing, maybe,'" he said. "And going around and talking about going to college for free. I didn't go to college for free."

How can it be that millennials might look over at their counterparts in the Europe place and believe that a (relatively) free education is a good idea?

Presumably, Eastwood believes that loading them up with bilious debt will make sterner souls of them.

You might consider, though, that even though Eastwood didn't go to college for free, he didn't finish college either. 

This is, he claims, because he went straight to work.

As an actor, that is.

Eastwood casts his silent gaze at America and believes that people just don't have the work ethic that he does.

The bad example is being set, apparently, by President Obama.

"He doesn't go to work. He doesn't go down to Congress and make a deal. What the hell's he doing sitting in the White House?" he asked.

This a good question. The president hasn't exactly shown a penchant for dealing with congress sorts.

Oh, the President's probably playing boules and watching TV, you might think. Well, when he's not attempting to put out the odd fire or two around the world in his spare time.

Eastwood says that President Obama, like so many other younger Americans, has no excuse.

"Sure, Congress are lazy bastards, but so what?" he said. "You're the top guy. You're the president of the company. It's your responsibility to make sure everybody does well. It's the same with every company in this country, whether it's a two-man company or a two-hundred-man company... . And that's the pussy generation -- nobody wants to work."

Will you hold hands with me as we stroke a stray cat and struggle with this logic?

So the president is the boss of a company in which all the senior employees are lazy?

Wouldn't most presidents just fire the lot and find congresspeople who are, you know, productive?

Sadly, this doesn't seem possible.

It's often tempting to think government is a business, until you realize that it's a touch more complex and maddening than that.

There's something else, though, that bothers Eastwood.

It's this idea that things in today's world aren't quite like they were on Mad Men.

"Secretly everybody's getting tired of political correctness, kissing up. That's the kiss-ass generation we're in right now. We're really in a pussy generation. Everybody's walking on eggshells. We see people accusing people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren't called racist," he declared.

Those high on philosophy might muse that those things might not have been called racist, but actually were racist.

And there goes that phrase "pussy generation" again.

It's odd that someone who lives somewhere quite as disturbingly twee as Carmel, California could describe anyone else as having kitty qualities.

But, as many millennials are themselves discovering right now, growing up does involve realizing that the world spins, rather than standing still. 

Just as feelings about what is polite, erotic and poetic change, so do feelings about what is sexist, racist or gratuitously hateful.

And so does the ability to actually express that something might be sexist, racist or gratuitously hateful.

One of the reasons those feelings change is that people suddenly realize just how mean-spirited, prejudiced, self-righteous, power-crazed, violent and myopic previous generations might have been.

This doesn't solve too many problems, of course.

The younger generations grow up and believe their view of the way things should be is the one, true, righteous way. They become more mean-spirited, prejudiced and self-righteous along the way. Myopic, too.

The next generations look at them and mutter: "Idiots."

And the world keeps on turning.

When it comes to the workplace, concepts such as subservience, motivation, sexism, racism and, indeed, work itself are constantly being grappled with.

Does Eastwood really think that so wrong?

In days gone by, corporations made promises they often kept. These days, you can be out the door in a trice, just because, oh, Wall Street or the CEO's bonus.

It's a terrible thing, change.

Perhaps Eastwood is lucky that he never had to.

Published on: Aug 3, 2016
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