Tag Archives: Baby Boomers

Five Requests Of An Angry Young Man

I’m not going to pretend that I speak for all Millennials.

I grew up overseas. The 90s nostalgia over cartoons, cereal, and toys was never part of my life. I’d made plenty of trips back to the US, but never really spent any time in the culture until I was 17, arriving on the shores of the new world like the opening of some cliched immigrant story.

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Not quite so dramatically, but I was still very much a stranger in a strange land…

So maybe I’m looking at things through a strange, distorted lens. Maybe I’m alone in feeling that I’ve been seriously shortchanged on my future in the land of opportunity.

But I don’t think so.

Still, as I was writing this, I was starting to have second thoughts. Maybe my tone was too harsh, my criticisms to generalized, my frustration too warrant-less.

And then I watched this SNL skit titled “The Millennials

“Beautiful twenty-somethings (Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Miley Cyrus, Jon Rudnitsky) search for the love and success they’re entitled to on The Millennials.”

We watch a couple god-awful caricatures of Generation Y make outlandish demands of their sensible, long-suffering precursors. Near the end of the sketch, one of the smarmy Millennials threatens to jump out of a window. The two older workers stand back and say:

“Just do it.”

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Cue the applause and cheers from the audience.

So yeah, **** being nice and measured here. Let me break down what I’m sick and tired of hearing from Gen X and their Boomer counterparts:

I. Kindly Ease Up With Demanding That I Get Married/Have Kids

Yes, Millennials are getting married later than previous generations, but the average has only only gone up by a couple years. Yet to hear some folks talk, you’d think Millennials were actively attempting to dismantle the institution of marriage entirely.

I guess I just don’t understand what the big deal is.

Right along there with the pressure to get married is the pressure to spawn offspring- though again, the exact why isn’t ever really covered.

It almost seems to be presented as some kind of civic duty. That establishing the nuclear family is vital to ze velbeing of ze fatherland.

And I could deal with that.

I disagree with it, but I could deal with it as an argument. Just not one presented by the Boomers and Gen Xers.

I mean, seriously.

Boomers? Continue reading

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What Do You Want From Me?

As this Sunday draws to a close, I’m bracing myself for the inevitable chorus of “So… what did you do over the weekend?” I’ll be encountering at work. I’ll be giving the same answer I always give:

“Nothing.”

Well, that’s not entirely true. I slept in, did a little reading, cleaned up my house, shopped for groceries, and surfed the web a bit. Barring the occasional oil change on my car, that’s pretty much all I do.

And for some reason, people take issue with that. I really and truly can’t count the number of times I’ve been called “old.” “You’re the oldest 22 year old I know.” “Your idea of fun… it’s like a 50 year old’s.” “You’re like an old man.”

Continue reading

Instances of Apology to the “Younger Generation”

One thing that’s striking me lately is the attitude of the older generation – Baby Boomers and even Gen Xers – towards the plight of the current young adult population. Take David Simon’s commencement speech to Georgetown, for example.

You did the work, you got the grades. Your parents are out there with you, prouder than hell. This is your day. And theirs. And who the hell is this lumpy white guy to come here and drip doom and despair all over the lawn in front of the Healy building? For the love of God, he’s sucking the life out of the big moment.

This is part of a trend, I think – there seems to be a handful of apologies from the old to the young being passed around. I keep expecting them to pull out a phrase like “the headlines these days”:

And every day, it seems, the headlines offer fresh examples of the greed and selfishness with which my generation has laid waste to its own possibilities.

I want to issue a sincere apology from the Baby Boomer generation to the younger generations. We have failed you profoundly. With a quick look at headlines, no one can escape the conclusion that some of you were raised without an ethical foundation.
– Pamela Wright on SpinSucks

We had contempt for our parents believing that “Father Knows Best” and “Leave It to Beaver” and “Superman” — with the show’s motto of “truth, justice, and the American way” — were good things for young people to be exposed to. So we replaced these shows with MTV’s mind-numbing parade of three-second images and sex-drenched shows for teenagers. Sorry.
– Dennis Prager on creators.com

There’s a lot of mention of MTV. One guy apologizes “for using sexual attractiveness as a substitute for all other forms of acting talent,” though his was not at all the first generation to do that, and some 25-year-old reply-apologizes for the types of music that he doesn’t like (including “3-chord pop rock songs,” which largely predate 25-year-olds).

This isn’t really much – I’m just thinking about the relationship between the older generations and the younger as time moves on. Is every era like this? Will we some day lament our failings to the younger generation, or is this just the new-ish self-deprecating-self-consciousness thing playing out in old age?

I have no good thoughts. It seems a little self-serving to use an apology to the younger generation to criticize the actions of your “generation” (ie, whoever was president while you were 30). David Simon’s commencement speech is pretty transparently anti-conservative:

Even during wartime, with our armies afield, we whine about paying taxes, though our tax rates are the lowest in modern American history. Meanwhile, though less prone to overt racism, we have nonetheless abandoned the precepts of upward mobility for all Americans, conceding the very idea of public education, of equality of opportunity. And as our society further stratifies, as the rich get richer and the poor become less and less necessary to our de-industrialized economy, we wage a war against our underclass under the guise of drug prohibition, turning America into the jailingest society on the face of the earth.

Whatever the intentions are, these apologies do little more than boast of the speaker’s political regrets, and are often just a “told-you-so” directed at whatever party happened to make a bad decision last, or just a frustrated “you suck” to the corruption in the political system in general. But do these things help? No. Did David Simon’s self-referential commencement speech give energy to the generation of students listening to it? Maybe in the last two sentences – he should’ve stretched these out and made the rest of it shorter:

But tomorrow’s task is to make this moment matter to your communities, to your country, to the world. And to make sure that at the end of your run, you leave that world better than you found it.

That’s what we need. We don’t need to be apologized to – we need to be inspired. We need unselfconscious enthusiasm, not snobbish jadedness. We need someone to tell us to pick ourselves up by whatever straps there are on our footwear, if the economy is going to be rebuilt. Well, actually, I’ve heard that we need the Euro to stay constant and fiscal policy reform, but the bootstrap advice is necessary too.

And as this is a quotey post, I leave you with the immutable words of Woody Allen:

More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.