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So, what have subequent generations after the Baby Boomers done, anyway? 
5th-Dec-2005 01:32 pm
It's a relevant question, particularly in light of my previous post. Note that you don't hear as much adulation of young people these days, and some might conclude that they haven't made a difference at all in our lives--but that would be bullshit. If we don't hear about accomplishments of Generations X and Y, it's because the Boomers, like all parents, decry the choices their children make.

Allow me to make a few modest proposals:

Generation X - Responsible for post-feminism and the conservative backlash that, among other things, led to the idea of the female "biological clock," the erosion of Roe v. Wade, the reemphasis of the importance of marriage (even for gays!) and family, and the economic revival of the 90's.

Generation Y - Harder to say as we are, for the most part, just coming of age now. Responsible for changing the way knowledge is understood--it's not what you know but how you process it. Driving the boundaries of copyright and artistic freedom. Blurring the lines between different forms of media and communication.
5th-Dec-2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
I thought the biological clock thing was the boomers.. Eh, never fit in with my generation anyway....
5th-Dec-2005 09:29 pm (UTC)
I don't think so. It's a thing associated with post-feminism--like, I need to get married and settle down and have children because my biological clock is ticking away. Imprisoned not by the patriarchy, as the Baby Boomers said, but by a genetics and biology. :P You hear it from thirty-somethings these days (which would be Generation X) in chick lit, Sex and the City, and stuff like that. ^^;
5th-Dec-2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
You hear it from thirty-somethings these days (which would be Generation X) in chick lit, Sex and the City, and stuff like that. ^^;

You hear it from 30-somethings, but it predates us by a long time.. Otherwise it would be a very new term, because Gen X is just really hitting the point where the biological clock is ticking loudly, we inherited it ^_^
5th-Dec-2005 09:47 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. At least, I remember the talk of the biological clock pre-dating a time when Gen-X'ers would be discussing it. I'd place that as a legacy of the hippie-to-yuppie transformation. IMO, in some ways it's hard to separate the effect of the generations since so much that defines Gen X and Gen Y seems to be based on what the prior generation has done.

IMO, David Brock had what strikes me as a very Gen X experience. Liberal in his youth, his viewpoints turned around after (he claims) seeing Janeans Kirpatrick shouted down at a UC Berkeley talk (overall it seems like he met a lot of the stereotypes of extreme liberalism) until he became a conservative attack journalist. Later, he woke up to the poor journalistic standards of the conservative media and tried to mend the damage in which he was a participant.

Overall, I think the Gen X contributions have largely been about questioning what's come before like Brock. "Alternative" news, self-aware takes on a genre, jaded satire (like The Simpsons and The Onion) and the internet boom are the first few things I'd credit to Gen X. Much of that, IMO, is a reaction to what had come before.

(BTW, I'm following Strauss and Howe's definitions of the generations.)
5th-Dec-2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
It's true that the generations overlap, but I think Gen X made things like the female biological clock "it's own" in a way that the Baby Boomers did not. Ditto for the way Gen Y has embraced the Internet and multimedia technology in a way that Gen X did not. I'm not talking about who INVENTED the ideas, because the groundwork for the things the Baby Boomers did was laid down by the generation before them as well, but for the things that they made their own. For the ideas and ways of living that they made mainstream, that they brought to the fore to affect the lives of everyone in the country.
5th-Dec-2005 11:23 pm (UTC)
Wow.. Well I do like being associated with The Simpsons ^_^

Actually it's interesting, I'm the youngest of four kids and there's some significant age differences.. Two of us are Gen X, and the two older are Boomers. You can definitely see some of the stereotypical differences, especially between me and my oldest sister.. I'm far less traditional, much more cynical, and much more questioning of everything.. Some of that is just our basic personality differences, but I'm sure a lot of it is the different worlds in which we grew up...
6th-Dec-2005 10:40 am (UTC)
I'd have thought that the satire thing went back to things like "Oz" magazine in the 60s. Or even "Private Eye". In the US, you had "Laugh-In". So that's a boomer achievement.

As for alternative media, that's very much a 60s thing. Again, things like "Oz". Here in Australia we had alternative newspapers like Nation Review. In the UK you had pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline. So that's a boomer achievement too.

And questioning what's come before? wasn't that what the 60s were all about? Yet another boomer achievement.

One thing the post-boomer generations can claim as an achievement is the complete eclipse of any sense of history! ;-)
6th-Dec-2005 01:33 pm (UTC)
There was alternative everything back in the 60s and 70s. Alternative magazines and newspapers, alternative music (what were the Velvet Underground if they weren't alternative music), alternative comics (underground comics like The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers), alternative movies (underground movies like Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising). The whole concept of alternative media is a product of the 60s.
6th-Dec-2005 10:46 am (UTC)
The biological clock is simply an inevitable result of effective birth control. Once women could conrol their fertility, the question of whether to have a child before time runs out is naturally going to arise. Since the introduction of the Pill (which you could argue was the most significant event of the 20th century) dates to the early 60s, the biological clock was going to become an issue by the late 70s or early 80s when women who had always had control of their fertility started to hit their late 30s.
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