Archive for November 19th, 2013

19
Nov
13

cohorts

Every once in a while, my son (who was born in 1980) harangues me about the deficiencies of my generation. I can take it. Anyway, it’s not about me personally, but about other people who were born about the same time as me.

But the other day, a fellow on the radio was saying much the same thing about the Baby Boomers: that they are whiny, narcissistic, self-indulgent people with a simple philosophy, according to George Carlin: “Gimme that! It’s mine!”

Now what this fellow is saying may be true, but that’s my graduating class he’s talking about. It’s okay for me to criticize my peers, to say that we have not lived up to the ideals of our youth, that it’s time the culture has gotten over us and moved on… but it’s an entirely different thing for someone to say that Boomers are the reason for everything that’s going wrong for his generation.

The fact is, generalizations voiced about people born within a certain span of years are simply that: generalizations. Interesting for conversation’s sake, but it’s debatable if such generalizations hold true when you get down to the individual level.

These, according to Wikipedia, are the cohorts I have known in my lifetime:

  • The Lost Generation, also known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term originating with Gertrude Stein to describe those who fought in World War I. The members of the lost generation were typically born between 1883 and 1900.
  • The Greatest Generation, also known as the G.I. Generation, is the generation that includes the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 through 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression. Journalist Tom Brokaw dubbed this the Greatest Generation in a book of the same name.
  • The Silent Generation, also known as the “Lucky Few”, were born 1925 through 1942. It includes those who were too young to join the service during World War II. It includes most of those who fought during the Korean War. Many had fathers who served in World War I. Generally recognized as the children of the Great Depression, this event during their formative years had a profound impact on them.
  • The Baby Boomers are the generation that was born following World War II, generally from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.  The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python.” In general, Baby Boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values; however, many commentators have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America, Boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence. One of the features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before them. In the 1960s, as the relatively large numbers of young people became teenagers and young adults, they, and those around them, created a very specific rhetoric around their cohort, and the change they were bringing about.
  • Generation X is generally defined as those born after the Post–World War II baby boom ended. Demographers, historians and commentators use beginning birth dates from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. The term has also been used in different times and places for a number of different subcultures or countercultures since the 1950s.
  • The Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y, describes the demographic cohort following Generation X. Commentators use birth dates ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
  • Generation Z is a name used (although other terms exist) for the cohort of people born from the early 2000s to the present day who are distinct from the preceding Millennial Generation.

History has always been and always will be about the stories of individuals and individual achievement. The movements of the herd are noteworthy for anyone who follows trends, but the crowd is always wrong.

if everybody likes what you're doing

The actions of leaders are the only things that actually count.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Michael Jackson performing “Pepsi Generation”

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