4 Badass Teens That Make Gen Z Look Like Boomers

So this guy got a Congressional Medal of Honor before I got my art degree? Cool
4 Badass Teens That Make Gen Z Look Like Boomers

Teenagers generally get a bad rap, probably owing to the fact that judgment of them pretty much always comes from bitter, creaky-boned old men like myself. They’re deciding what’s cool and what’s not, making frightening videos on TikTok and trying to convince us that 100 gecs is a real band, even though I’m sure that if I actually google them, I’ll discover they’re just an elaborate prank. So if examined through an unbiased lens, we’d realize that we’re less mad at teens and more mad at the fact that we know and care what lumbar support is.

Throughout history, too, you can find teens who were intimidating not only on an emotional level, but on a very real one as well. They include some who were genuinely feared by people of all ages. If the success of young actors or business wunderkinds makes your skin bristle, the triumphs of these successful teens will send you sinking into a deep pit on ennui in your ergonomic office chair.

Here are four teens from history who even Boomers would be afraid to criticize.

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Joan of Arc

Public Domain

If you get paintings done of you that look like a Magic: The Gathering card, you did some cool shit.

Maybe one of the most iconically badass teens in history is, of course, Joan of Arc. Look, if you get burned at the stake, it’s not because you’re too average. It all started for her when Joan, a farmer’s daughter, began to hear voices that she believed were divine messages from God at the age of 13. Is that necessarily a good thing? Without a time machine and a reputable psychiatrist, it’s not worth trying to diagnose centuries in the future. Be it genuine divine communication or early-onset schizophrenia, it brought her to the attention of the forces of spurned heir Charles de Valois just three years later.

She explained to a magistrate named Robert de Baudricort that she had a holy destiny to bring the “true king” Charles to power. Backed by supporters who believed she was the virgin prophesied to save France, de Baudricort eventually threw up his hands and basically said, “Fine, go fight then,” assuming that she would find out quickly just how much divine protection she was under. She went on to speak to Charles himself and explained that she, like the Blues Brothers, was on a mission from God. She also, according to legend, shared some secret information that she should have had no way of knowing, which is unsettling, whatever the source of her power. 

With his blessing, Joan of Arc set off to lead an army at the Siege of Orleans, capturing an unlikely win. She continued cutting a swath through dissenters on the way to Reims, and Charles, as per prediction, was crowned King of France. Unfortunately for Baby J, now that people had started to believe they had a bona-fide Soldier of God in their midst, whether on their side or not, advisors to Charles felt she was becoming a threat, and when she was captured and charged with crimes religious and practical, Charles didn’t attempt to negotiate her release, instead taking a stance of “that crazy witch? I barely even know her.” As such, at 19, she was burned at the stake in Rouen.

Scipio Africanus

Sergey Sosnovskiy

Up there with the best sons of all time.

Publius Cornelius Scipio was born in Rome in roughly 236 B.C. He was the son of Publius Cornelius, the commander of the Roman Army. He received all the military training you might expect for someone of such esteemed military pedigree, ensuring that if the army was going to be commanded by a military nepo baby, at least he’d know what the fuck he was doing. What they might not have realized is just how soon he was going to need that training, and how well he’d use it. Scipio was probably still stabbing strawmen in the yard when Hannibal (the general, not the controversial gourmand) would invade Italy and kick off the Second Punic War.

Scipio found himself in an honest-to-god battle situation at Ticinius, and as things went from bad to shit, he saw his father surrounded by Hannibal’s troops. At that moment, at an age where most of us were screaming at our dad that they didn’t understand us and punching holes in drywall, Scipio led a charge into overwhelming odds and saved his father’s life. Guess what Scipio: You’re getting that Xbox for Christmas. He would go on to wage a lifelong war against Hannibal, and though he suffered one of the greatest military defeats of all time at the Battle of Cannae, he would eventually defeat Hannibal and the Carthaginians on their home turf years later in 202 B.C., claiming victory in the war.

Galusha Pennypacker

Public Domain

“Mom said its my turn to capture the fort.”

First of all, we’ll address the name. It’s positively insane and completely awesome. It sounds like a guy who runs an antique bookstore with a secret arsenal of weapons to kill vampires in the back. In reality, Galusha did not pack pennies professionally, but became the youngest general of the Union Army during the Civil War. He first joined the fight as a private at the age of 16, and was made a captain only two years later. He and his regiment found no shortage of real action in no time at all, fighting in the Siege of Fort Wagner as well as other engagements. He quickly found himself promoted again at 19 to lieutenant colonel, a rank as impressive as it is nightmarish to spell.

Pennypacker, through skill, guts and an impressive knack for survival in an age of rampant infection, continued to rocket up the ranks. In 1864, he was made a colonel, commanding his own regiment, though he had now exited his teens. He then led his troops in an attack on Fort Fisher in 1865, being the one to personally plant the flag upon its capture. This, unsurprisingly, did not come without scars, and he was shot in the side, which put him in the hospital for 10 months. As a result, however, at an age when most of us were probably puking up flavored vodka on a college lawn, Pennypacker was made a brigadier general and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor

That said, enough flavored vodka can feel a lot like getting shot in the side.

Gavrilo Princip

Public Domain

Yes, World War I was started by a teenager attempting to grow a mustache.

For the last entry, let’s take a look at a teenager who ended up at the epicenter of a turning point in world history, just very much on the unpleasant side of things. We all make mistakes when we’re young, and maybe find ourselves caught up with the wrong crowd. For most of us, though, that wrong crowd isn’t the Black Hand, and the mistake we make isn’t assassinating the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and starting World War I. But when he kicked off one of the bloodiest periods in world history, Gavrilo Princip was only 19 years old, and was currently enrolled in the eighth grade.

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