Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Alphabet Kids
(Will the REAL Baby Boomers Please Stand Up)

What letter are our kids? "A", "Z" - what?
Peg from Bacchus Marsh during a phone conversation about kids, October 2009

Generation X is the generation generally defined as those born after the baby boom ended, extending from around 1960 to the late 1970s. Generation Y spans from the late 1970s to the early 1990s.
from Wikipedia's Generation List

Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'.
From Bob Dylan, "The Times They Are A-Changin'? ©1963; Special Rider Music

A Generation-Xer  January 1970
Stand while they can, that is. For to quote old Bob, we are now "Rapidly agin".

I do hope I'm not becoming an apologist for "My Generation". It was bad enough having to explain ourselves away back in the sixties when we felt we had tell tell our own parents "don't criticize what you can't understand". To come full circle and to feel we have to justify ourselves yet again is a bit over the top. Babes!

Yet it seems that is the case, as our offspring look at the world they have inherited in horror, thinking in many cases that the bad stuff is all our fault.

But that's not what I intended to write about. I wanted to write about Generation Y - the offspring of those boomers who procreated late in life, or the X-ers who procreated early. The digital children who have grown up with FaceBook, Twitter, cell phones and all things digital.

Interestingly, these "children" - who can subsist in the world by texting rather than talking, FaceBooking rather than fraternising, googling rather than gossiping - are now letting it all hang out.

Baby Boomers Living It Up circa 1958 (outside their Nissan Hut Home, Broome WA)
"If they're not letting you know every specific detail of their menstrual periods, relationships and emotional state, they're undertaking their morning ablutions on the train", writes Avril Moore in Baby boomer lament: too much information from generation.

"I don't wanna know what kind of cocktail you are, which member of the Beatles or which 1950s movie star. I don't give a toss if you're a ninja or a pirate ...", sings Gen-Y Kate Miller-Heidke in "Are You F*cking Kidding Me". Which begs the question, "does anyone?" Care, that is.

I'm always amazed when I see the enthusiasm with which many people (and not only Gen-Ys), partake of the character quizzes on FaceBook. Which superhero are you? What sort of tea-cup are you? I even saw one claiming to categorize people into groups of pen-types. Are you a Texta or a Biro? How truly bizarre.

And how supremely self-centered. Because of course, people are only interested in what sort of whatever their own selves are. They are hardly going to take the time of day looking at what sort of farm animal some "friend" that they have yet to "un-friend" happens to be.

Has anyone done, "What Letter of the Alphabet Are You"? Or should that be "R U"?

And more to the point what will the Generation Z people - the Gen-Zs - be like? The Gen-Xers supposedly grew up on a diet of television, the Gen-Ys on media, communications and digital apps. What's in store for the Gen-Zs? And will they grow up complaining about the Gen-Xers? And if so, what will be THEIR gripes.

"Oh dad," they will text, or perhaps telepath, "did you REALLY spend Saturdays 'working out' the gym and did you actually OWN an iPod?" "Why was your carbon paw-print as big as a Yeti's?" they will silently transmit. "Did you have a cat-slave and WALK your dog on a leash?" Or some such 2020s blah.

And what letter will the children of the Gen-Ys be? Their parents, the Gen-Ys being into recycling will not know whether to re-use "X" or start again with the letter "A". And what will Gen-A's be like?

By then, the pre-alphabet people, those people who pre-date even the Baby Boomers, those people who lived through WWII will be long gone.

I'm alphabeted-out!

I have only one thing left to say -

Will the last Letter of the Alphabet please turn off the lights.

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