How do you define generations? Are you more of a parent-grandparent-etc. person, or a Gen X-Y-Z type?
I’m tempted to describe myself as a traditionalist in this matter, but I see via blogger Jann Freed that Traditionalist has a specific meaning in modern generational parlance, one that may be at odds with my own definition.
This whole Generation (fill in the blank) thing has spun out of control in recent years. It would be fashionable these days to blame it on the Baby Boomers, the first labeled generation in my memory. The unprecedented wave of post-World War II Boomers have driven cultural change in America for some 60 years now, right into their twilight years, where they are seen increasingly as a liability.
But, if the Boomers were the first, they certainly aren’t the final word in this arbitrary generational pigeon-holing. The whole concept is absurd, when you think about it. Do you think a Generation Y (or Millennial) person born in 1980 is going to identify more closely to a fellow Gen Y’er born in 2000 or to a Gen X’er born a few months earlier in 1979? And it’s possible, though illogical, for a Generation Y parent to have children also of Generation Y.
And, who exactly, is in the Pepsi Generation?
This whole exercise is an artificial demographic concoction that lends itself to artificial demographic manipulation. As a “traditional traditionalist,” the only generations that are truly meaningful to me are those defined by my own family lineage. I define my parents, grandparents, etc., by their relationship to me, not by the whims of someone else.
Photo: Lehmer family in late 1950s by lwlehmer.