By now I’m sure you’ve heard about Chris Pratt’s speech at the MTV Movie and TV Awards. I wanted to post it here for posterity. Pratt is a late wave Gen-Xer born in 1979. The award he won was the Generation Award.
Forgive me if I don’t see the strange and ironic collisions here. A Gen-Xer has won the Generation Award from MTV, one of the most iconic touchstones of Generation X. We came of age with MTV. We are the MTV Generation. MTV was my
soul sole occupation during the summer of 1986.
And, then someone ruined MTV, and that pissed off a bunch of Gen-Xers.
Now, a mostly Millennial and Generation Z audience for the MTV TV and Movie Awards has selected a Gen-Xer for the Generation Award, and that Gen-Xer has delivered a speech on the grace of God and His love, among other things.
I’ve been writing about Generation X for a long time. I haven’t really been listening to the conversation lately, because I’ve suffered from burn-out. But, several years ago while researching Generation X, I came across some impressive work. I can’t readily put my hands on it, but I remember the overarching theme of this particular demographer’s study. He — or she — said that the older Generation X grows the more younger generations will revere them. I’ve always wondered if and when this would come true. With Pratt’s speech, it feels like Generation X has stepped into a new paradigm; one that does not deny the graying temples; the smile lines; the crow’s feet. Or any amount of truth that might help someone younger avoid the tragic pitfalls of unbelief.
David French wrote a commentary on Pratt’s speech for the National Review. Here is an excerpt:
…He shared his “nine rules” for life, and embedded within those rules were a series of powerful truths. “You have a soul.” “If you’re strong be a protector. If you’re smart be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, and do not wield them against weak.” “God is real, God loves you, and God wants the best for you.” “Learn to pray.” And then the kicker:
Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you that you’re perfect just the way you are. You’re not! You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way. And if you’re willing to accept that, then you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.
Look, I know Pratt’s speech wasn’t exactly the message a Baptist preacher would share, but it’s an antidote against a lie. He’s speaking to a generation of young people who know that something is very deeply wrong. It’s a generation wracked by depression and anxiety in spite — or perhaps because — of the fact that they’ve been told time and again how perfect they are.