Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I was just reading this post over on A Small Victory about labeling generations. Here is a brief excerpt:

"How is your generation defined? Or, how do you define your generation; by its living standards, its pop culture, its social structure or the world events that happened and how you reacted to them?

Is it stupid to label generations and subscribe such qualities to them? Would it be better to just say "what decade(s) did you grow up in?" as in "I am a child of the 60s/70s." Even then it gets confusing. What I mean is, do you identify yourself with a specific decade or decades and why or why not? What parts of those decades do you identify with? Are there certain pop culture references that you attach yourself to - music, tv shows, etc.?" [emphasis mine]

I think it's a little bit silly to try and label an entire generation. To me, it's just another means of assualting the notion of individualism. Certainly, it's convenient for me to have a label. I'm not against generalities per se, but I can't look at a particular generation and define their qualities and contributions and then turn around and apply it to an individual.

I can only think of two labels for generations that carry any meaning to me. They are: The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. Generation X means nothing to me. I don't know what saying that someone is from Generation X is meant to imply. Note: What I think it is supposed to imply is that Baby Boomers did so much more for us than the Generation Xers, so it's very origin is rooted in the selfish desire of Baby Boomers to elevate themselves and their deeds in their own eyes and in the eyes of history. I just think it's kind of silly to attribute qualities (respect, disdain, whatever) to people based on their generation.

C'mon people, when we refer to the great works of DaVinci, Michelangelo, Erasmus, and Gutenburg, etc., we don't refer to them as being a part of Generation Renaissance (Gen Ren - that's a good one) or Generation Enlightenment (Gen En - not so good). Instead, we refer to their actual accomplishments and to the people who actually had an influence on history (good or bad). Labeling a whole generation based on what was popular or important at the time seems a little weird to me - sort of over-inclusive as if we are trying to give everyone credit. It's like saying that everyone in the class has a part in little Johnny's victory at the school spelling bee, except that's crap and everyone knows it. Johnny's little hypothetical victory was accomplished by Johnny, maybe his parents, and (assuming it isn't a public school) there is a remote possibility that the teacher is involved.

Anyway, I just think it's pretty silly to say, "I am a part of [insert label here] generation." It just doesn't mean anything. What views, skills, or deficiencies does it really reflect? None. It just pretty much makes you a pretentious asshole who, in most cases, is just trying to brag about the fact that you only took 7 showers from 1966 to 1972.

Does anyone think there is a real benefit or purpose for these labels (which seem to be a historically new phenomenon to me - though it may not be). I'd be happy to hear an alternate explanation for why we need these generational tags.

Kid Handsome


Blogger The Management said...


3:27 PM  
Blogger The Management said...

Actually this was the one I was looking for...

Child of the 80's


3:30 PM  

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