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The Movement Begins...
October 28, 2008 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Generation WE: How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America And Changing Our World Forever (via)

kinda over the top imo :P but ymmv! cf.
posted by kliuless (111 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just as long as they stay off my lawn.
posted by jonmc at 8:25 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


How A Company Has Made A Glossy Site That Will Go Completely Unused By The 12-17 Demographic And Whose Domain Will Eventually Turn Into A Porn Redirector
posted by Damn That Television at 8:30 PM on October 28, 2008 [24 favorites]


First generation to inherit a nation in decline? I don't think so kiddo.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:35 PM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Gen-We? Seriously? As a member of said generation, I'd like to veto this one please.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:36 PM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Please no.
posted by limeonaire at 8:38 PM on October 28, 2008


You're welcome to what's left of it.
posted by you just lost the game at 8:42 PM on October 28, 2008


Shit, man, we just drank beer and listened to thrash metal.
posted by The Straightener at 8:43 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


underage b&
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:44 PM on October 28, 2008


Just so long as the millenarian youth are keeping out of it.
posted by Abiezer at 8:47 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


but do you like how he leaves that extra button, um, unbuttoned to show off his youthful man-cleavage?
posted by kliuless at 8:47 PM on October 28, 2008


More like Generation Wii, amirite? GET OFF MY COUCH YOU WHIPPERSNAPPERS!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:53 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


its better than generation me. as part of the generation i have to say that im still trying to figure out what the hell is going on and how those who came before managed to fuck things up so badly. im not angry so much as confused
posted by Glibpaxman at 8:54 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Glibpaxman, it helps if you think of people as being almost uniformly stupid. They thought it was a good idea to buy everything on credit cards that can never be paid and where the thug who is coming around to collect is actually the immutable laws of physics and when they “break our knees to teach us a lesson” we will actually “die miserably as a civilization.”
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:08 PM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


What do you suppose the odds are that the person who wrote The We Declaration that begins "We, the Youth of the United States..." is not actually young, and is instead trying to sell that book?
posted by dammitjim at 9:13 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We haven't had our turn yet! GenX - not the Billy Idol version
posted by MikeMc at 9:17 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


'trophy kids' at work! + they're more infidelicious :P
posted by kliuless at 9:18 PM on October 28, 2008


Generation X is entirely ignored in the film, lumped in with Baby Boomers - predicted to happen - forgotten, ignored, blamed. Hey, at least someone else has the responsibility to fix the worlds problems, slacking has its benefits.
posted by stbalbach at 9:19 PM on October 28, 2008


Fuck you, GenX - you had your shot. Also, I blame you for the mortgage crisis. No, seriously, I do. It was obnoxious GenXers who got lazy on the credit market at started making shit up. As soon as I learned what was really behind the looming depression - a bunch of worthless, phony, fantasy financial garbage, I immediately knew it was a bunchy of genx slackers trying to look cool and impress their bosses. People in their early thirties, trying to make enough money to buy a boat or some dumb thing.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:27 PM on October 28, 2008


Gen Y, (my generation) is the first to take that technology for granted. We can have a personalized presence on the internet, communicate instantly with others, and a bunch of other shit. We don't know how it all works, none of us do. We expect everything to be instant, effortless, and with rounded corners. If it's not, then we do not have the attention span for it.

Really, I'm sorry we exist.
posted by hellojed at 9:32 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, I don't know anything either. I just don't like it when I'm reminded of how social change is presented to my age demographic; as if it's some low-hanging fruit.

The whole thing has put me into a foul mood. I am off to play computer games.
posted by hellojed at 9:38 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Baby-Balrog:

Yes, we completely undermined Wall Street and have gone a long way to extinguish the rich elites that ran it, and caused the irrevocable destruction of the GOP. By slacking off and screwing with the rich and gullible. You're welcome. Now, if you excuse me, I need to scout out which SoCal McMansion I want to squat in for the winter.

(God, I wish it worked that way... )
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:42 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whatever.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 9:49 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Baby_Balrog: "Fuck you, GenX - you had your shot. Also, I blame you for the mortgage crisis. No, seriously, I do. It was obnoxious GenXers .."

whatever lol .. go fix it Baby_Barlog, your the hero generation right? We need some heroes.
posted by stbalbach at 9:59 PM on October 28, 2008


Being born in 1980 sometimes makes me a Gen-Xer, which I feel totally separate from, and sometimes makes me a millennial - who I also feel totally separate from - depending on the definition.

Because of this, I find both Gen-Xer's and Millennial irritating.

That said, the idea that these millennials are going to change the world though slickly-packaged social networking sites is, in retrospect better then the idea of changing the world via the .com boom. So there's that.
posted by delmoi at 10:00 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I WAS BORN IN 1976 WHAT AM I
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:06 PM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Wait, what? Isn't this the generation that calls Mom and Dad when they don't get raises and promotions at work? Okay, good luck.
posted by dantsea at 10:08 PM on October 28, 2008


Well, that didn't come out right. Should have been "has Mom and Dad call the boss when they don't get raises and promotions." Serves me right for staying up past the 9pm GenX bedtime.
posted by dantsea at 10:12 PM on October 28, 2008


same as it ever was...

the youth
posted by madamjujujive at 10:18 PM on October 28, 2008


Ah good, another generational label for the advertisers to focus on and for the popular media to reduce to stereotypes, soundbites and Top 40 lists.

Just because I just watched The Breakfast Club, drank a Tab, repaired a seam on my Members Only jacket and popped Duran Duran into my Walkman for my commute tomorrow does not mean generational stereotypes have any validity.
posted by MasonDixon at 10:18 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Isn't this the generation that calls Mom and Dad when they don't get raises and promotions at work?

Yup. This is all very one-sided, though. To be more specific, they are practical: they tend to respond to the world by examining the worth of each possible response, rather than through physical action, intellect, or emotion. One of their great skills is their ability to follow through and complete projects that others may have abandoned through boredom or because it was too difficult. This generation is extremely patient and dependable. Their ambition ensures that they are both hardworking and helpful to others.

They tend to be even tempered and solid citizens. Their need for physical pleasure can lead to an overemphasis on money and possessions to the point of materialism, but their innate conservatism ensures that they are cautious and practical rather than extravagant. They may be more focused on status than they should be, and they may be perceived as snobs. However, despite their opinionated appearance, they tend to be tolerant and gentle, and they are always dependable.

Also, they'll be going on a trip soon... oooh!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:22 PM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


I was born in '65, the year generally accepted as the cusp between the Boomers and GenX.

I therefore think of myself as a member of Generation 'Booxer', which I pronounce Boozer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:39 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've spent too much time in Berkeley to think that Gen Y have any chance of survival at all.
posted by vertigo25 at 10:59 PM on October 28, 2008


I therefore think of myself as a member of Generation 'Booxer', which I pronounce Boozer.

Even though I was born 14 years later, I'd like to petition for honorary Booxer status on the basis of merit.
posted by empyrean at 11:03 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Horoscopes created by marketing departments. Wankers.
posted by mandal at 11:09 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, I've been waiting for this.

I self-identify as a Capricorn; sure, astrology is wank, but so is this generation/tribe/demographic marketing nonsense.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:19 PM on October 28, 2008


Our startup company just bought out your lawn. Now get off it, fogey.
posted by casarkos at 11:19 PM on October 28, 2008


Hunh, I hadn't read mandal's comment before posting mine. We must be part of some sort of astrology/wank-referencing generation, cool!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:21 PM on October 28, 2008



Saxon Kane: I WAS BORN IN 1976 WHAT AM I

GENERATION CAPS LOCK AND MISSING PUNCTUATION
posted by codswallop at 11:25 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Saxon Kane: I WAS BORN IN 1976 WHAT AM I

GENERATION CAPS LOCK AND MISSING PUNCTUATION


Still, better than my parents' generation which I have on good authority is Generation Forwards Every Ridiculous Chain Letter Possible Using Comic Sans And 1 Million Exclamation Points.
posted by empyrean at 11:29 PM on October 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


Glibpaxman, i couldn't agree with you more. I'm also a member of this generation and I'm confused/saddened by how we allowed it to get to this point, especially now that we spend the majority of our day in virtual domains reading how the sky is falling but we're powerless to stop it. Don't mean to go off on a tangent here, but the unfortunate yet defining moment of this generation is 9/11. The disullison, confusion, and ultimately apathy that followed set the course for everything thats happened since then. Although I try not to get down on myself and my peers about this, I feel like we had an obligation to do more. Diversions such as facebook and youtube were our escape from the uncertainty and terror that all age groups were facing, I just think we dealt with it too much in digital reality and failed to act in other areas.

This video looks like too little too late, these 20 child and teen actors don't represent any of my friends and their friends and so on. It's not even up to us now, we can only pray that science wins in the race against energy usage. If the breakthrough actually happens we so desperately need and we can use hydrogen/fuel cells/sunflower seeds etc to power our massive and ever expansive machines, then we're saved. If not, then start building your bunker in Kansas. We're not going to turn back the page and limit technological/industrial growth, we just better find a new way to do it. Unfortunately, I hope my fellow millenials figure out that you can't blog or text your way out of this situation.
posted by andruwjones26 at 11:45 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Hah! You GenXers are just jealous that we can get away with our laziness. Yeah, bitches, work and results are now more disconnected than ever. Watch out, or we'll replace what you do with a Ruby On Rails / Django webapp.

(However, I thought the whole bringing mommy and daddy to the job interview was a joke until I saw it firsthand.)
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:02 AM on October 29, 2008


I WAS BORN IN 1976 WHAT AM I

Thirty-two. Old enough to know that there is no such thing as a generation. Generations are for ad copy and magazine fluff.

You have some things in common with other 32-year-olds, but who you are depends more on where you are, what your parents were like, how much money and education you had and have, and what sex and sexual orientation you are.
posted by pracowity at 12:06 AM on October 29, 2008 [16 favorites]


Andruwjones26,
Postmodernism eats itself after a gluttonous buffet at America Inc?

As for blogging and social networking ourselves out of the problem no. Its not going to work. I've found something ironic working as a political field organizer this year. As technology progresses the tactics people use to keep people away from them progress at the same rate as the technologies like blogs, facebooks, emails etc do. So even though 2008 is certainly the most technologically advanced year in the history of politics I'm willing to bet that the most doors were knocked. People screen calls with caller ID, have spam blocker, and only read blogs & newspapers that appeal to their ideological needs.

We have to get out in the shit and actually do stuff. If you're a scientist invent something. If you're an engineer build some infrastructure. If you're a leader talk to some real people and lead.
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:18 AM on October 29, 2008


Glibpaxman: No, social networking is fixing things. Check out how dead easy it is to get involved on barack obama's page. No, not the mainpage, but, http://my.barackobama.com/. One of the key designers was by a former facebook engineer. Do you see the features that allow you to directly call undecided voters from your home phone, and set up canvassing events and raise money? Try signing up for an event, it's so easy the barriers to participation is close to zero. It allows you to do all key operations of running a political operation, but in an automated fashion. Think of the metrics they have behind the scenes and how easy it is to set up an event and to invite and organize people. Think what the logistics were like beforehand. You don't need to imagine, just look at the way the McCain campaign is run.

We already are social networking ourselves out of the problem. We do need engineers and leaders, it's just WAY easier to do so now. We're being justifiably lazy.
posted by amuseDetachment at 12:43 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I WAS BORN IN 1976 WHAT AM I

Middle aged.
posted by clearly at 2:37 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Social networking won't entirely fix the problem, but it will help to bridge better ideas and connections together, as it does now. Like amusedetachment says, its simple as going to barack.com to help support a good cause. People can get involved in many positive agendas with less effort than it takes to walk up a flight of stairs. However, this shouldn't provide a subsitute for real-life interaction, but merely supplement it. I'm arguing that my generation is so bombarded with social networking that we've lost sense of communication without it. Hell, if it weren't for those raging teenage hormones and the need to party most kids would be content with just AIM and fbook/myspace for social interaction. Back to the barack example, I'm sure that supporting him online is an important campaign method, but it doesn't replace being in the room with hundreds of other supporters making phone calls/meeting people (even if its less annoying online.)

Glibpaxman, I think I got a little too vague on some of my claims, but with regards to our consumption methods and cycles how can we ever go back to limiting expansion much less decreasing it? Even if this term's "economic lesson" is teaching us that excess is wrong, and even though we'll be forced to cut back, our drive for materialism (iphones) will still be there. It really doesn't seem possible to fix that, so we've gotta fix the process that gets us those iphones, or at least bridge the compromise somewhere in between. Its just that my age group is so dependent on technology, we don't know how to function without it. God forbid the internet and phones went out for a few days, we would be screwed. How do we operate without them? It would be chaos. But I'm oversimplifying a broader picture here, and I apologize for that. No matter how we boil these issues down to a few concrete sentences and terms, the processes happening are wayy too complex to just be "fixed." There is no magical fix, just billions of people trying to make things better one day at a time, and over the course of a trillion different processes and actions we'll collectively come out a little ahead or a little behind, depending on your own personal situation (and country of origin).

On another note, the point of view of this article offers another theory for why gen Y acts as it does. My friend's dad always bugs him about how he and his friends have so many historic opportunities to do something great using the internet and mass communication, yet they never take any initiative. Maybe I'll suggest the "paralyzed" theory the next time I see him.

Or, the next time my Dad asks why I didn't pay my bills on time, I'll blame the internet. Either way.
posted by andruwjones26 at 3:09 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I am part of this generation and I find this ad offensive. How dare anybody try to define a generation in foresight to pimp for what is essentially another MyFaceEr. I give kudos to Glibpaxman for bringing up the concept of narcissism. But to see narcissism in an advertisement, which this most definitely is, is like smelling chlorine in a pool.

Please please please please please - read. The reason our parents and professional superiors attack us is that they still live in the industrial age. A new age is upon us. It is not yet named but it has to do directly with the recreation of society by the internets.

Blaming GenXr's? Don't waste time blaming. Spend time sharing your experiences as a veteran netizen (which everyone will be in a jarringly short time) with the less fortunate.

The future's history will most likely refer to us as "turn of the century eccentrics" or something like that.

Lets make eccentric a positive word for the future.

I suggest that instead of learning something new everyday, learn several new things everyday. I mean with so much information I cannot help but do so while idly surfing metafilter, or a multitude of other venues. Learning is, I believe, narcissism's natural foe.

Not to draw this back to the US election, but for any nation, its leaders will set an example for its young people. We have not had many people to look up to in a number of years. I am hopeful this is going to change.
posted by dagosto at 3:30 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh sure, we're going to be saved by the generation that can get more people to protest a change to the Facebook homepage than genocide in Darfur.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:38 AM on October 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


Here's something interesting, although I am sure to be flamed for pointing this out, the "We Declaration" is unabashedly Liberal in focus.

To assume the Millennials are 100% Liberal when they are vastly more diverse is a mistake in vision.

The Web itself is Libertarian in nature: "you wrote it, you own it, be transparent". The declaration demands that 'the government must' which hammers home not a DIY, Libertarian foundation - but a Liberal one (or a Boomer conservative one).

I'm a GenXer and I am proud - proud - of my generation's achievments so far - and look forward to seeing my generation starting to take the reins from the Boomers (go Obama!). To blame us is premature. We've only begun. And hopefully can form real partnerships with Millennials since we are so closely aligned in dealing with the fallout of Boomer leadership and hypocrisy.
posted by kmartino at 4:03 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thousanders
posted by poppo at 4:15 AM on October 29, 2008


What do you suppose the odds are that the person who wrote The We Declaration that begins "We, the Youth of the United States..." is not actually young, and is instead trying to sell that book?

I was curious too. In one article citing the book intro, author Eric Greenberg claims "By the turn of the century, I was a paper billionaire at 35 years of age."

More info. Co-author/Writing Consultant Karl Weber. And some more info.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:26 AM on October 29, 2008


I didn't care for this coronation of generations when mine was dubbed "Generation X". The only advantage I see to this "Generation WE" label is it makes Baby Boomers seem less self-congratulatory by comparison.

On the other hand, these kids are probably responsible for Cursebird, which has been having me giggling all morning. I am a child.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:27 AM on October 29, 2008


Generation-Wii

Which reminds me, I saw a t-shirt at a flea market on sunday showing Mario (Super Mario) with bright red eyes, and 'WiiD' as the caption.



.... operation derail complete....
posted by mannequito at 4:42 AM on October 29, 2008


Gene-X was pretty much doomed from the beginning. The demographics were against us. We're too few to take power from the boomers or keep power away from Geny-Y/the millenials/Gen We/whatever-the-hell-they-call themselves-now.

Much like the Lost Generation, we got a cool name, a melancholy moment in the sun, and not much else.

Still, it is a pretty damn fine name.
posted by oddman at 5:39 AM on October 29, 2008


How about we just stop branding generations?

Sure, that would be confusing to the old-school marketing person who needs to target the the audience for a product. Maybe some of the most iconic TV stations and beverage companies will feel a sting. But isn't this the point of social media and the internets in general. To end the old-school top-down hierarchies of market activity formed in the industrial revolution.

Let's just keep in mind that the owner of the term, in the hearts and minds of most (and probably penned the titles), of the term GenX was MTV. For Genereation Y, Pepsi. Don't let any newspaper, magazine, social media website, etc define you and your peers. They are all products and products are defined by marketers. Some are good, some are hacks.

Don't let any marketing hack own the identity of your or anybody else's generation. Lets just agree that we are too stupid to truly understand our own generation and stop trying to figure it out because we will inevitably throw our hands up in the air in frustration and look for the easy answer dangling low on a hook hoping for us to bite. Leave it to the decisions of future generations, who will have the most important tool at their disposal, hindsight, to decide our taxonomic fate. In the meantime, lets hang out together where the conversations are fun and educational.
posted by dagosto at 5:40 AM on October 29, 2008


I WAS BORN IN 1976 WHAT AM I

Delicious roasted.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:47 AM on October 29, 2008


Yeah, "Generation We" is going to change the world. But their moms will drive them there, will call in to work out why their password doesn't work or why the website says they're on a waitlist, and will be waiting there afterwards with the SUV idling to drive them back home again. "Generation We" is certain that in spite of the fact that the rules are very clear and apply to everyone else, they should get a special pass because they tried really hard.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:56 AM on October 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Generations are for ad copy and magazine fluff.

Generation theory is also an extremely useful tool for understanding history and predicting the future. Strauss and Howe who published The Fourth Turning in 1996 have so far been hauntingly accurate in their predictions for what would happen in the USA. It's a model, a way to help understand complex systems and interactions. It's not physics or chemistry, so if your an absolutist looking for certainty than maybe this type of thinking is not for you, but it's certainly not voodoo.

I can't explain generational theory here, but think about it, a kid between the ages of 5 and 18 is easily influenced by the world around him/her - a child that experiences something is set for life by that experience. That's why you have things like "Belfast Syndrome" to take an extreme example. So when an entire "generation" experiences the same series of events, that tends to give that generation a similar outlook on the world. Yes we all have free will, but there are certain points in life when we decide who and how to be, in particular when we are younger, and what's happening in the world around us helps form those decisions, which then becomes the core of who we are as people later in life.

For example the generation who was young during the 1930s and early 40s - they typically grew up with parents who were hard drinkers (or knew a lot who did), WWII loomed over everything making the world seem dark and dangerous, the Depression created a deep sense of thrift and saving and uncertainty about the future. I mean, knowing this alone helps explain not only my parents behavior today, but most people their age. If you simply ignore these large-scale historical influences and say it's all "marketing hype" than your ignoring history and how it influences people.
posted by stbalbach at 6:40 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yawwwwnnn...yet another marketing-friendly title for a fresh group of consumers. And with each new coronation, said generation is heralded as "World Changers". The only meaningful change they could possibly exact would be for them to cease being consumers. Good luck with that one.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:46 AM on October 29, 2008


Great, the boomers have only just stopped treating us like kids and now we're copping it from the next lot. What is it with this inter-generational hate-on? I'm in the middle of the average Western lifespan, and I don't hate any generation. I mourn the older generations who are starting to disappear around me, and I'm hopeful of and fearful for the younger generations. Fearful for, not of, because there's some heavy stuff coming down the line, and it's going to affect all of us.

We're to blame for the mortgage crisis, eh? That's funny, most of us won't even have had a mortgage until our mid-30s: in Britain, "the average age of a first-time buyer has risen by 26% during the past 30 years, increasing from 27 in 1977 to 34 today" (I was 33 when I got mine in 2001, so slightly older than the curve). Before that, we rented from 50-somethings building up their nest-eggs for retirement. Trying to point the blame in all of that is pointless when it's all down to demographics - the same reason so many of my generation have never known permanent employment, but go from short-term contract to short-term contract. Thanks to an accident of history, the boomers got their first, but it's not like they had any say in when they were born either. Blame Hitler, if you want, or Gavrilo Princip. Or try to identify specific people you feel share in the blame, and blame them. "Generation X" isn't specific people.
posted by rory at 6:53 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The young are always overwhelming liberal, kmartino.

It's when they get old and afraid of losing all their stuff that they veer right.
posted by rokusan at 6:57 AM on October 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


This generational conflict is very 1990's, and pointless.

What is happening now in the world is an unwinding of the trends that were set in motion at the start of the Reagan Revolution. The era of easy money and the culture it funded is over. Gone is the Wall Street i-banker culture. Gone are the days of trust fund welfare/bullshit startups that can't possibly ever make money. Gone is the blissful oblivion married to entitlement that masqueraded as youthful optimism. Gone are the endless subsidies from mom and dad to supprt your NY actor/waiter lifestyle.

Welcome to the era where everything is more expensive but paradoxically money is harder to get. Welcome to the Great Depression version 2.0.

The reason it will be easier for young people to adjust is because the bad habits aren't as entrenched. But that doesn't mean they can adjust. I notice this site wants to eliminate the dependence on foreign oil. A worthwhile goal. Should I assume then that tens of thousands of millenials are going to pour into the nation's mechanical and electrical engineering programs to acquire the requisite knowledge to solve the problem? Or do they think that by sitting in their bedrooms making YouTube videos they'll convince enough European businessmen that there is a large enough US market to hire Indian engineers to solve the problems and Chinese manufacturers to mass produce the solution?

I've noticed a lot of articles recently talking about the return of seriousness in the financial industry. The whole country needs to return to seriousness. Students need to be forced to study math and science. They need to learn how to write a coherent and persuasive essay. How to communicate efficiently and effectively. Thhey need to learn that not everything is a "matter of opinion" and that even when it is, not all opinions are valued the same.

Adults need to stop buying shit they don't need. This is approaching the level of a disease in this country. You should be able to go through your whole adult life owning a total of no more than three televisions. If it isn't broken, don't replace it. That means no new TVs, computers, or cars every three years. No "fast casual" dining. Swallow your pride, you aren't too good for McDonald's or scrambled eggs for dinner. Learn to cook from basic ingredients. And learn to do it on a Kenmore stove. You don't need a Viking stove or a Sub-Zero fridge. You don't need to trade up, you need to buckle down.

Businesspeople need to relearn that marketing and branding aren't everything, they are the last thing. Survival means your widget has to be cheaper, better, faster, AND more, not one from the group. I have a Blaupunkt radio that predates Hitler that still works. I have an AT&T rotary phone heavy enough to knock out a rhino that still works. I also have a cordless telephone whose displays blanked out and acquired so much static in the speaker that they are unusable.

People need to learn how to shop again, in which you identify the thing you need and hunt for the best price. That doesn't mean paper towels from Walmart or Amazon.com. It means paper towels from janitorial supply companies. Not 80's - 2000's shopping where if you wanted something you bought it on the spot. People need to learn the colossal differences among the terms "thrifty," "frugal," and "cheap".

We all need to accept the fact that (a) we will get no Social Security (or whatever we will get will be valueless after cost-of-living and inflation) and (b) our401(k) may grow at 6% per year, inflation-adjusted, if you're lucky. Yeah, I know, Obama will save the world and fix everything. Until then, get a job, and then get a second one. And save 25% of everything.

This is the Depression 2.0. There are no saviors or heroes who are going to rescue us. Everyone is going to have to work harder and be more competitive jsut to keep us out of the abyss.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:04 AM on October 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


So, Generation We is new set to take over from the Boomers, eh?

I think they forgot about us.

I fear for the day when the milliennials come to power. A generation raised on Prozac, self-esteem parenting, play dates, hyper-planned daily activity schedules, text messaging and came to work that first day demanding an office, a title, 4 days per week work from home privileges and $85k per year before having done minute's worth of work.

Seems to me that every generation inherits the country they deserve. Never more true than this one: an entitled, poorly educated, overweened and overweight generation, having no clue how to fix a crumbling physical infrastructure an over-extended financial system and a splintered and self-involved body politic, but stepping up for the challenge, Sarah Palin like, and never quite realizing their failing and way out of their depth.

And get off my lawn. Sorry for the hate. Just a little bitter after slaving for years on end to try to figure out some way get these brats to show some ownership or pride in their work, pitch in with delivering any work that that isn't "interesting" or "resume enhancing". I've met a few incredibly bright and motivated members of this generation the past decade, but unfortunately, for the most part, the stereotype has held up and then some.
posted by psmealey at 7:06 AM on October 29, 2008


Fuck you, GenX - you had your shot. Also, I blame you for the mortgage crisis. No, seriously, I do. It was obnoxious GenXers who got lazy on the credit market at started making shit up. As soon as I learned what was really behind the looming depression - a bunch of worthless, phony, fantasy financial garbage, I immediately knew it was a bunchy of genx slackers trying to look cool and impress their bosses. People in their early thirties, trying to make enough money to buy a boat or some dumb thing.

...I'm GenX, but the only thing I've used my credit card for in the past six years was to PAY MY RENT BECAUSE I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY AND THE ECONOMY HERE TANKED IN 2002 BECAUSE WE WERE THE SITE OF A TERRORIST ATTACK AND BUSINESSES ALL PANICKED AND LEFT TOWN FOR A YEAR AND I COULDN'T FIND WORK.

And instead of calling Mom and Dad and asking for help, I tried to do the responsible thing and take care of it myself, and the only way I could do that was through cash advances on my credit card, which I am STILL TRYING TO PAY OFF.

But you think my ROOM AND BOARD is "some dumb thing." Because everyone my age must be exactly alike.

So, no, fuck YOU.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:12 AM on October 29, 2008


I blame Douglas Coupland.

Not for anything in particular. It's just handy to have a scapegoat around sometimes.
posted by ook at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2008


I blame Douglas Coupland for writing the same fucking book nine times.
posted by rokusan at 7:37 AM on October 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


From the "Project Free" banner at the bottom:

One of these things is not like the others...

...Does "Generation We" get Sesame Street references?
posted by regicide is good for you at 7:42 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love the stuff about parents getting involved in their kids' work. Aren't the parents as irritating and fucked up as the kids in these situations? That's right, I'm talking about your generation, dick.

"From you, Dad. I learned it from you."
posted by naju at 7:43 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who are the people who write these things? Why do they think that this next generation is going to have any chance to change things anytime soon? Gen X hasn't even gotten their chance yet because everyone older than them are still holding on to the reins of things. One of the things that frustrates me the most about our current media culture is the idea that somehow once you hit 30, it's all over for you and what you might have been.

Or maybe I'm just 29 and have more issues about that than I thought.
posted by threeturtles at 7:47 AM on October 29, 2008


And instead of calling Mom and Dad and asking for help, I tried to do the responsible thing and take care of it myself, and the only way I could do that was through cash advances on my credit card, which I am STILL TRYING TO PAY OFF.

But you think my ROOM AND BOARD is "some dumb thing." Because everyone my age must be exactly alike.

So, no, fuck YOU.


If you were renting a Manhattan apartment without an adequate buffer in savings, you're a perfect example of the living-beyond-its-means-marginal-demand that exacerbated this whole trainwreck.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:53 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


What is happening now in the world is an unwinding of the trends that were set in motion at the start of the Reagan Revolution. [...] I have a Blaupunkt radio that predates Hitler that still works. I have an AT&T rotary phone heavy enough to knock out a rhino that still works. I also have a cordless telephone whose displays blanked out and acquired so much static in the speaker that they are unusable. [...]

I have two tin cans and a piece of string that work perfectly well over short distances for unsecured communications.

Rant on, you old coot!

OK, I'm just being obnoxious for fun because yelling at and mocking each other seems to be the fashion. I liked your rant and I'm sure you're a very nice non-coot. Not there's anything wrong with coots or other waterfowl.

People need to learn how to shop again, in which you identify the thing you need and hunt for the best price.

More importantly, people need to learn how not to shop at all. Stay the hell home. Don't make a sport of shopping. If you think you need something, think again. Maybe you don't need it.
posted by pracowity at 8:02 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gen-We? Seriously? As a member of said generation, I'd like to veto this one please.

Is it short for Generation Whatever?
posted by ersatz at 8:14 AM on October 29, 2008


Meh. I'm immortal. Doesn't affect me.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:35 AM on October 29, 2008


stravros! Booxers UNITE!
posted by rmd1023 at 8:40 AM on October 29, 2008


Echoing some of the things said above.

I'm early 70's born, and it is true Gen-X has had little opportunity to do much because the boomers in front of us are still holding onto the controls for dear life.

We are not many in number, dwarfed by the Boomers, and outsized by Gen Y/Millenials.

The real problem is going to be when the Boomers finally do buy their RVs and retire en masse, Gen X is going to be ready to take the controls, but we are not enough in number to take over everything.

So, Gen Y is going to be thrown into positions of leadership without enough knowledge, training, maturity, or acumen. Them being in charge of anything scares the shit out of me.

That's going to be the real problem.

And yes, there is "something wrong" with that generation. As we've discussed on the blue multiple times, they all believe they are special snowflakes, and their parents will help enforce that opinion on anyone who disagrees.

This generation is incapable of doing anything by themselves. And talk about entitled, this generation redefines the term.

It is already happening in healthcare. There are not enough practitioners to go around, and new graduates are attracting the same salaries that those before them took 5 years or more to attain.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:08 AM on October 29, 2008


Snotty little fuckers, aren't you?
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2008


So, Gen Y is going to be thrown into positions of leadership without enough knowledge, training, maturity, or acumen. Them being in charge of anything scares the shit out of me.

Basically, imagine an entire generation full of Sarah Palin's... people who are convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt they are more than qualified for any task, but to other people it is painfully obvious they are not even suited to do what they are currently assigned, much less anything greater or more difficult.

That's the impression I get more than anything with this generation. They can't even do what they have to do now, and they already act like they are put-upon and unfairly burdened. To ask them to do anything more is beyond the pale.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:18 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


rokusan, I think it is a stereotype that the young are of *any* political bias.

The thing that is very true is the libertarian bent of the Web. And if the Millennial are the "Web Generation" then...

Overall, I think the kids are alright.

Millennials are getting trashed unfairly the way GenXers were. And as in both cases it has to do with marketing by the generation that has perfected the art of marketing by division - demographics and niches.
posted by kmartino at 9:25 AM on October 29, 2008


Essentially, everyone that is buying into the 'GenY' sucks because of reasons a,b,c and 'GenX' sucks because of a,b,c are purposeful victims of marketing by division. It serves to make it easier to sell things to us, and to keep everyone politically impotent.
posted by kmartino at 9:28 AM on October 29, 2008


My favourite part is how the youth are supposed to be so much more environmentally conscious, but they're the ones that buy their lunch and scatter garbage all across campuses (high school and university), ignoring garbage cans and recycling bins let alone going green. And the millennials smoke more than gen Xers do (strangely), and have no compunction about leaving their butts scattered through gardens and on sidewalks, no matter how many butt containers are sitting right there. And how many of you millennials are avoiding driving your parents' cars in favour of public transit?

Being a special snowflake is a high and noble calling.

I don't hate millennials. I just hate this propaganda about how more awesome this generation is. I haven't seen a drop of evidence to support that yet, and I work with millennials every day. I think this propaganda actually hurts these kids more than helps them; they're supposed to be superheroes in almost every arena, but they don't know how to connect to a wireless network.

I suspect it's coming from their parents, who really do believe their kids are jesus reborn.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:39 AM on October 29, 2008


That's the impression I get more than anything with this generation. They can't even do what they have to do now, and they already act like they are put-upon and unfairly burdened.

Yup. Every. Single. One of them.

Ridiculous.

And to the extent that this is true of people of that generation, it's because those who came before them are actively profiting off of a marketing regime which panders to the stereotypes, a technological culture of now-now-now narcissism, and an economy which has left them little but rising standards for increasingly pointless work which just makes the world worse. Poison kids' world (or sit around while it happens and say "whatever" in your plaid shirt and soul patch, depending on which stereotype I'm supposed to be using right now) and then when they show signs of growing up toxic, just say "fuck 'em"? Fuck you.

It takes a village, and all that.
posted by regicide is good for you at 9:48 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow, I never realized so many MeFites were ignorant and bitter turds with no qualms about perpetuating ridiculous stereotypes. Have fun kicking the bucket in the world you helped build!
posted by nasreddin at 10:22 AM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


. Just a little bitter after slaving for years on end to try to figure out some way get these brats to show some ownership or pride in their work, pitch in with delivering any work that that isn't "interesting" or "resume enhancing"

You're 41. How the fuck do you think your elders felt about your sorry ass?
posted by nasreddin at 10:26 AM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


They're just pissed that our generation isn't lazy where it matters: salary negotiation and asking to take time-off.

Seriously though, this probably comes out of having never seen a recession and therefore no fear of anything. It's hard to manage people when they're not scared of their bosses.
posted by amuseDetachment at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2008


Yup. Every. Single. One of them.

Ridiculous.


Yes, because when you talk about a group, whatever you say has to completely and totally represent 100% of that population, or else anything you say at all about the group has no validity whatsoever.

I like to call that the "all or nothing" approach to discussion of aggregates.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:50 AM on October 29, 2008


You're 41. How the fuck do you think your elders felt about your sorry ass?

They felt that it sure was nice to have their coffee brought to them and the copies made and that we were lucky to have a job at all so we can just eat the shit and smile.

So we try to be better, kinder, more collaborative, more interested bosses now that we've patiently and carefully stepped stepped stepped up the ladder. In return we get half-assed work from overgrown teenagers with delusions of grandeur.

While I am also bitter at times, I'm thankful to find that the stereotype only holds true about half the time.
posted by desuetude at 10:56 AM on October 29, 2008 [4 favorites]



So we try to be better, kinder, more collaborative, more interested bosses now that we've patiently and carefully stepped stepped stepped up the ladder. In return we get half-assed work from overgrown teenagers with delusions of grandeur.


You're deluded. Our generation has less to work towards than even you did. If we care about "resume-building," it's because we would all starve to death without it, whereas you had it a whole lot easier. And where you could expect steady employment as long as performance was consistent, we can expect to be fired if we don't show arbitrarily defined improvement. We've received college educations that have become obligatory, twenty years of non-stop, unbearably expensive schooling to prepare us for a market where there aren't any jobs anyway. (Dylan sang "twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift"; we're lucky if we can graveyard shift.) Your soulless corporate world coo-coos to us every single day, telling us what amazing individuals we all are, how we're associates and not employees. If some of us want the corporate world to live up to its promises, you have no right to complain: you're the ones who made them, and you're the ones who got the last slice of the American pie.

I can bet you money that your old bosses don't remember you as hard-working little Santa's elves. They remember you as the same lazy, shiftless, hungover idiot every young person has always been. Keep your mouth shut; your delusions of past grandeur aren't any better than our supposed high self-esteem. Just remember how lucky you got.

“'Tis observ'd that the youth in this Province, are of late Years grown very corrupt and debauch'd, to such a Degree that the whole place seems to be in a state of Corruption.”
(New-York Gazette, July 23, 1733)

"I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting..."
- The Winter's Tale
posted by nasreddin at 11:45 AM on October 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Oh, yeah, and:

So we try to be better, kinder, more collaborative, more interested bosses now that we've patiently and carefully stepped stepped stepped up the ladder


No, you're not kinder or better. You just have glued-on smiley faces instead of glued-on frowns.
posted by nasreddin at 12:04 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I always love these threads because they're always full of bitter, insulting people complaining that young people don't work hard enough to make them happy.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:15 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


While I am also bitter at times, I'm thankful to find that the stereotype only holds true about half the time.

Why are you running around parroting it, then?
posted by sondrialiac at 12:18 PM on October 29, 2008


I always love these threads because they're always full of bitter, insulting people complaining that young people don't work hard enough to make them happy.

And bitter, insulting people complaining that older people had it SO much easier than they do today and our lives were all ice cream pies shat out by unicorns ....

There are haves, and there are have-nots. There are people who did well with their opportunities and there are people who did not. And there are people who acted responsibly, and there are those who did not. But -- you can find all of these kinds of people in EVERY generation. No one generation has any more of a lock on competence or incompetence than any other.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2008


And bitter, insulting people complaining that older people had it SO much easier than they do today and our lives were all ice cream pies shat out by unicorns ....

That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that if young people today are lazier or more entitled (which is unproven), it's because there are underlying changes that have taken place that other generations didn't have to deal with. (For instance, the unpaid internship as a required form of occupational training. At least in the Middle Ages the master was obligated to provide the apprentice with room and board.)

What I've noticed is that the people who rant and posture about how lazy the youth are nowadays are generally not the stereotypical cranky senior citizens. They're generally disappointed and disillusioned middle-aged people, in evidence throughout this thread. I think it's because they've never had the experience of being in an older generation before and don't understand how being no longer young changes your sense of perspective.
posted by nasreddin at 12:29 PM on October 29, 2008


I can't even stand to watch the video on the home page. I found this sort of patronizing, demographically manufactured crap targeted at teenagers by clueless oldsters to be insulting when I was a teenager, and at 31, I still find it insulting.

Have campaigns like this ever done any good? Seeing a bunch of paid actors promoting an agenda (any agenda) does nothing to convince me of that agenda, no matter how much the actors look like me, or how calculatedly (i.e., not) hip the framing.

I don't even know what their agenda is, because, y'know, I didn't watch the video. But I assume it has something to do with a cartoon dog riding a skateboard while wearing sunglasses and holding a slice of pepperoni pizza. Because that's what the kids are into these days, right?

The dog may also rap. Very badly.
posted by greenie2600 at 12:34 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Generation theory is also an extremely useful tool for understanding history and predicting the future.

I don't know. I haven't studied it. The concept of a generation might be useful -- such broad generalizations often are -- but only to a point. How accurate can it be to say that a late US Baby Boomer (born from 1955 to 1964) [says Wikipedia] is "less optimistic, distrust of government, general cynicism"? Everyone born in the US during those ten years? And what? Everyone born earlier or later was more optimistic, more trustful of government, less cynical? It seems a bit like reading horoscopes. If such chunking is at all useful, I bet it's much more useful in smaller chunks that use relevant landmark events or conditions to describe certain groups of people in certain ways. I'm sure people must already be doing it. There's big money in predicting the future, or at least in selling one's supposedly accurate predictions before they are proved wrong.

You might describe sexual generations, for example. Women who were first sexually active when birth control pills were first sold, for example, might be distinguishable from women born earlier, such that you might consider them to members of one or another sexual generation. People who became sexually active after AIDS became a widely known threat might be distinguishable psychologically from people who became sexually active before. Such landmarks might (for all I know) demarcate valid sexual generations, though you'd have to test it and not trust your assumptions.

Similarly, people who hit the job market during a recession might be members of a certain financial generation, people who came of age during and after the Watergate hearings might be members of a certain political generation, and men who were draft age during the Vietnam draft years might be distinguishable psychologically from those born before and after.

But just saying that everyone born between 1955 and 1964 is somehow similar, regardless of such things as sex, race, and economic class, seems silly.
posted by pracowity at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


We expect everything to be instant, effortless, and with rounded corners.

So you're the people who leave outraged comments on hulu.com because you have to sit through a couple of 15-second commercials to watch a free, on-demand movie? Because the company should just, y'know, spend all the money to develop and maintain the site, license the content, and pay their employees out of the goodness of their own hearts?

Now I understand.
posted by greenie2600 at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2008


People! It's all going to be over in 2012 anyway! Group hug?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:45 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


So we try to be better, kinder, more collaborative, more interested bosses now that we've patiently and carefully stepped stepped stepped up the ladder. In return we get half-assed work from overgrown teenagers with delusions of grandeur.

How grand that all the other generations managed to have you - the best employees AND the best bosses - to serve them! Gosh, if only everyone else in the world realized how good they had it compared to you.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:20 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


What I've noticed is that the people who rant and posture about how lazy the youth are nowadays are generally not the stereotypical cranky senior citizens. They're generally disappointed and disillusioned middle-aged people, in evidence throughout this thread. I think it's because they've never had the experience of being in an older generation before and don't understand how being no longer young changes your sense of perspective.

We may be on the same page, but different paragraphs. I think what you're getting at is "the people who do crank about 'the younger generation' are being unfair," but what I'm getting at is "not everyone in the older generation is being a crank about the younger generation anyway, so lumping me in with the cranks or 'the people who ruined it for us' isn't fair either."

...See, this is why I usually don't truck with the supplementary classifications like GenX vs. GenY, feminist vs. traditionalist, red state vs. blue state, what have you....I only categorize people into two groups: jerks and non-jerks. It simplifies things greatly, and is probably most accurate -- because you're not mad at the GenX jerk because he's a certain demographic, you're mad at him because he's being a jerk.

And everybody usually agrees on how jerks are just...jerks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"not everyone in the older generation is being a crank about the younger generation anyway, so lumping me in with the cranks or 'the people who ruined it for us' isn't fair either."

I understand. It's just that, when I'm addressed as a member of a stereotyped "they," I'm pretty comfortable slinging that back in return.
posted by nasreddin at 1:37 PM on October 29, 2008


Apologies...I should have made this comment as me, not as "we." Certainly there are plenty of lazy people my own age, and I didn't intend to paint "my generation" as being composed entirely of high-road-taking worker bees.

I agree that things haven't changed THAT much. I'm thirty-four. I also received twenty years of obligatory overpriced schooling to prepare me for a market without any jobs. The point upthread by several people of my approximate vintage is that many of us in "Gen X" don't feel like we got to make very many rules – the Boomers are STILL our bosses, and are still treating us like hungover kids. So when I get the look that says that I'm an evil agent of THE MAN because I'd expect them to spellcheck or show up to work on time, it gets a little wearying.

Me personally? I don't work for a corporation, and don't go in for the soulless associates-rather-than-employees stuff. I work in non-profit admin exactly largely to avoid the fakey fake culture and glued-on smiley faces. And now who's working the broad stereotypes? You don't think anyone over the age of thirty is trying to be a better boss than their own?

sondrialiac, I would disagree that I'm running around parroting anything. But presumably I am permitted to share my experiences in this thread, same as you? Stereotypes aren't made up by super-creative people, and in this case the stereotype does illuminate a disconnect that I have personally noticed. However, it's frustrating to me that you take my glass to be half-empty. It's not.
posted by desuetude at 1:49 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's just that, when I'm addressed as a member of a stereotyped "they," I'm pretty comfortable slinging that back in return.

Eh, I find it just gets counter-productive after a while, but your mileage may vary. It does let you vent whatever other frustrations may be about, I'll give you that.

...I still say let's blame it all on the jerks instead, though (grin).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:54 PM on October 29, 2008


Me personally? I don't work for a corporation, and don't go in for the soulless associates-rather-than-employees stuff. I work in non-profit admin exactly largely to avoid the fakey fake culture and glued-on smiley faces. And now who's working the broad stereotypes? You don't think anyone over the age of thirty is trying to be a better boss than their own?

I do think there are people who are doing so, and you may well be one of them. But then I'm not entitled (I don't think, or at least I try not to be), overly reliant on my parents, or unserious. I even bring my boss coffee on a regular basis. So since we've all established that we don't conform to the stereotypes, can we not throw them around? I guess what I was trying to show was that it's possible to make the generation-based ranting go the other way. If calling you all conceited fake capital-mongers sounds unreasonable, so does all the bullshit about "generation we" or "millenials" being entitled or lazy or infantile or whatever. (The positive stereotypes are the same way. The site that this post links to is mind-bogglingly stupid.) But yeah, EmpressCallipygos is right--it's better to blame it on the jerks, who are more or less evenly distributed through the generations.
posted by nasreddin at 2:54 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Stereotypes aren't made up by super-creative people, and in this case the stereotype does illuminate a disconnect that I have personally noticed.

You're missing the other part, the fact that stereotypes conceal more than they reveal. "Black people are poor and uneducated" is a stereotype that might, statistically speaking, be true. But if it is, it doesn't say anything meaningful about the moral worth of individual black people. It hides the fact that there are broad systemic reasons behind it. Just like the obsession with resume-building and the lack of commitment supposedly common to "Generation We" comes from deeper structural factors--for instance, the massive growth in casual labor at the expense of long-term full-time positions that has taken place over the last decade. That causes two things to happen: 1) intense competition for the remaining full-time jobs, leading to "resume-building" and the like, and 2) complete lack of trust and faith in companies that treat you like disposable labor power, leading to laziness, absenteeism, and underperformance.
posted by nasreddin at 3:03 PM on October 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's a nice point, nasreddin. I agree there are absolutely useful ways to think about generations - it's not an outdated idea, and is fun to read about on occasion - and that devolving into personal battles and stereotypes misses the point.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:18 PM on October 29, 2008


I agree there are absolutely useful ways to think about generations - it's not an outdated idea, and is fun to read about on occasion - and that devolving into personal battles and stereotypes misses the point.

pracowity's point above gets it pretty well, I think. What makes you part of a generation is having a particular experience that was common to a sufficiently large group of people at one time: the Depression, the growth of non-jingoistic history textbooks, or whatever. I definitely think labor market conditions in the '00s are one of those experiences. But to be so essentialist about people's personalities is just stupid. I was born in Russia and spent my childhood there--does that mean that if I go back I will magically have the same thoughts, opinions, and behaviors as every other 21-year-old Russian? What about someone who grew up in a poor part of Los Angeles and then moved to a gentrified neighborhood in San Francisco? Even the stuff about self-esteem, helicopter parents, and so on is only a description of a small group of upper-middle-class children, generally white and living in an urban area. This generation is a lot bigger and more varied than that.
posted by nasreddin at 3:29 PM on October 29, 2008


Just like the obsession with resume-building and the lack of commitment supposedly common to "Generation We" comes from deeper structural factors--for instance, the massive growth in casual labor at the expense of long-term full-time positions that has taken place over the last decade.

Wasn't that lack of commitment supposedly common to Generation X, too? And for much the same reason: the long-term full-time positions were disappearing well before a decade ago. The students of twenty years back graduated in the middle of a recession too. Any millennial coming of age in this economy is going to have plenty in common with 35-45-year-olds on that score, sadly enough.
posted by rory at 4:16 PM on October 29, 2008


The students of twenty years back graduated in the middle of a recession too. Any millennial coming of age in this economy is going to have plenty in common with 35-45-year-olds on that score, sadly enough.

Yup - I graduated in 1984, and it sucked. Ronny Raygun was elected to a second term (I hope that all the new voters this year don't suffer the same disappointment of having a crappy president elected for a second term despite your [precious, new] vote). There was very little work and a high likelihood of nuclear war...and AIDS! That was cool too. Yup, golden years!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:24 PM on October 29, 2008


Look, I'm lazy and shiftless. The Boomers and Gen-Xers I work for are generally scared, technologically clueless and corporate toadies. The Gen-Y folks I know, mostly through my mother's students (and the folks I had classes with just a couple years ago), are vapid, narcissistic and shallow.

I do think that more than anything else, a lot of the resentment of the upcoming generation is more class-based than age-based—the nihilistic consumerism that pervades my mother's students' (at a top-tier state school) outlook is much more pronounced and galling than where I went to college down the road (a third-tier state school). The entitlement that our intern had was incredibly obnoxious, but the interns we had at the last magazine I worked for were mostly just earnest kids (who didn't realize that magazines are a terrible career).

That and my peer group is mostly folks who are either grad students or folks in the arts and academia. The older folks I deal with don't seem like part of their generation because they're not old and stupid (because they've kept learning), and the younger folks don't seem as much part of their generation—young and stupid—because they're working hard to fit in with older, more learned peers.
posted by klangklangston at 4:54 PM on October 29, 2008


I can hardly wait until the kids born this decade are old enough to be defined (self or otherwise). Call them the Zeroes.
posted by philip-random at 8:24 PM on October 29, 2008


(I hope that all the new voters this year don't suffer the same disappointment of having a crappy president elected for a second term despite your [precious, new] vote)

As much as I can't stand the Republican party, even *I* don't think they are capable of THAT kind of voter fraud.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:37 PM on October 29, 2008


pracowity: "But just saying that everyone born between 1955 and 1964 is somehow similar, regardless of such things as sex, race, and economic class, seems silly."

Yeah that's actually one of the standard arguments against generation theory. I won't get into it here because I don't know enough to defend it. But something to keep in mind is that generational theory works along national boundaries, so there is something of a national nature to it. A generation in the USA does not match up with a generation in Iraq for example, each are on different cycles (although they can sometimes be in sync). People have looked at Iran for example and determined Iran is currently in a phase comparable to the 1960s in the US, it is not therefore much of a danger. The Iran-Iraq War was its version of WWII and it's only been about 20 years since, they are in a sort of cultural revolution and unlikely to be initiating global conflicts with Israel.
posted by stbalbach at 1:23 PM on October 30, 2008


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