Where Do Generations Come From?
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
May the Force be with you!
I’ll be back.
These phrases are permanently engraved in my brain. And I wasn’t even here when the movies came out.
In a lot of ways, age included, I can relate to what they call Generation X over here. There’s the same way of thinking, same kind of humor, and some of the same background. In a lot of other ways, I am fortunate to have an outside viewer’s perspective.
I’m fascinated with this whole generation thing. I'd like to take it apart and find out how it works. How do you know when one generation ends and the next begins? I got an email recently that said, “because you were born between 1961 and 1981, we have included you in our GenX group”. Excuse me! How can two people twenty years apart belong to the same generation? Isn’t the second one young enough to be the first one’s kid?
But, the division is far from being artificial. There really is a generation gap. What prompted me to finally write this post was a review I read of Cattiva’s blog, "Does This Mean I'm a Grown-Up?", which I read regularly. The reviewer gave her a 3, which to my taste is a tad too low. The review (second one on the page) starts like this:
I could tell from the name of this blog that it was written by a parent. (I suppose it's sort of a private joke among Gen X parents to say cliche things like this.)
The reviewer then proceeds to basically slam poor Catt. (Oops, did I say “basically”? Never mind, it’s a GenX thing). I thought she was just being generally hard on bloggers, so I skipped over to the complete list of her reviews, to find out if anybody got a five.
Here’s a rave review of this site:
I love this site. I have been reading it almost daily for a few months now. Not because of its generic, blue, movable type format. Not because it has beautiful photos or other art. But because the writer is a 21-year-old guy whose observations and stories are funny, overwhelmingly funny in some instances.
I’ve gone over and read it. It’s funny. I didn’t, however, find it a whole lot funnier than Catt’s. To me, they’re equally funny. I blame it on the generation gap. There are things that I may not get, as they’re out of my age group. Likewise, there may be things that the reviewer in question doesn’t get, for the same reason.
This post is quickly turning into a rant about Catt’s bad review, whereas its intention has been to analyze how generations work. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll get back to that.
The baby boomers fascinate me. They are a lot like my own generation, by which I mean the 30-40-year-olds born in the former Soviet Union. Our 80’s were a lot like the American Sixties, except without the drugs. (We made up for the lack of drugs by increasing the amounts of alcohol consumed). There was a lot of political activity and the liberating of the country and the standing up for the freedoms. Oh, and a lot of rock music.
And they sent our guys to war, too. They drafted the 18-year-old kids and sent them to Afghanistan, to a war that nobody cared about or knew what its motives were. We can relate. Nelson DeMille is one of my favorite authors. I read “Dave Barry Turns 50” no less than ten times over. I can relate to a lot of it. There is probably a baby boomer inside of me, screaming to get out and apply for Social Security.
As I said, I also have a lot in common with the American GenX-ers. We didn’t grow up in the same country, but, incredibly, we speak the same language. I have a sense of belonging. I like to think that one day, I’ll be in some nursing home with the rest of my generation, and we’ll be having some great together time and exchanging the 80’s movie quotes. I just hope I won’t have to listen to the 80’s music. I’m sorry, but it sucks.
Right now, I am wondering about I12 and K9. Being 32 months apart, they clearly belong to the same generation. What will their generation be like? What will they believe, what will they accomplish? What will they be famous for fifty years from now? I cannot wait to see. I12 is already getting into this rebellious stage – you know, the one where you think everybody over age 20 is a moron. I think this is way cool. This will allow them to come up with their own way of thinking, set of values, whatever.
I said it twice, and I will repeat it again. This fascinates me.