Generations
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So this is the end of the world?

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

We get back from vacation to find that you assholes have fucked up the country.

It will be interesting to see how this thing breaks down by age. My feeling is that this was our generation’s great call and we answered in record numbers. The youth vote was largely irrelevant and I’ll put my money down that the senior vote went largely to Kerry. So who does that leave? I’ll tell you: Born again Boomers and Gen-Xers, and poor, rural citizens of all ages.

It’s been suggested since Reagan’s first term victory – our first election – that we were actually
conservatives, and I’m afraid we’ve started that migration, led by the religious right. (The way the Libertarians led many of us toward Conservatism, but in much greater numbers.) We are rallying under the very type of personality that terrified us as children, those smug, self-confident Boomers.

(A lot of our reticence about accepting praise or blame or taking a stand can be found in our troubled relationship to the self-assured generation that preceded us.)

I guess Bush got the “moral values” vote, which doesn’t surprise me, but I am saddened that our
generation has traded our plurality (if this is what’s happen) just to follow certainty. One thing we’ve always had going for us is a strong belief in difference; we’ve always been the least prejudice and homophobic generation in history and championed the right of the individual over the culture even as we’ve attacked the idea of authenticity.

Certainty has been a pretty rare commodity in our lives, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find a lot of
people in the mid-30s turning to religion, but it’s disappointing to find that we’re still prepared to
fluff the Boomers even when they’re screwing us.

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The Spider and the Ant

Tue May 13, 2003


The Echo Booms are confounding predictions. My own feeling is that they will be pretty libertarian, with strong family values and a fierce sense of personal and civic responsibility. In this way they’ll combine the hopeful liberalism of their parents – which stressed personal freedom – with our Gen X pessimism about feeling deeply uprooted.

This means they’ll try to settle down much earlier, but will also make a big deal over this being a
conscious choice. They are less afraid of closing their options than we were at their age, maybe because they intuit their privilege, maybe because they know that there are no geographic pockets of money anymore.

(There may be Silicone Valleys in the future, but right now the economy sucks all over, so why alienate yourself by wandering around looking for a better break?)

These kids are not afraid to work, but work doesn’t motivate them, either. On the other hand, they are not like us. They won’t default to choosing the individual over his or her job… I think they have strong ideals, based on being invested in the economy and local communities, so they’ll eat shit if they have to, but their loyalties aren’t to the company anymore than ours were / are.

However, where we looked at our resumes or made choices based on how satisfied we felt, the echo booms are much more likely to compromise short-term goals for longer-term ones. And I'm not really talking about stock portfolios here, but some deep sense of investment that's hard for us to imagine.

They will be poor managers, but great team workers. They will make fine parents because they will be more likely to sacrifice their happiness for the happiness of their families, but they will also lack the depth to teach their kids about the complexities of moral choices. Not quite as pragmatic as most of us have been, they will succeed based on their powerful cooperative strategies, not their networking or negotiation skills.

The age of the spider is ending. The age of the ant is reaching its dawn.

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