Generation of Swine


Much has been written about Generational Trends in America. Here is a slightly edited snippet from Wikipedia defining the generations, beginning with the first adults of the 20th Century.

Much has been written about Generational Trends in America. Here is a slightly edited snippet from Wikipedia defining the generations, beginning with the first adults of the 20th Century.

  • The Lost Generation, primarily known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term originating with Gertrude Stein to describe those who fought in World War I. They grew up in the 19th Century and were the adults/leaders of the first three decades of the 20th C.
  • The Greatest Generation, also known as the G.I. Generation, is the generation that includes the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 to 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression. Journalist Tom Brokaw dubbed this the Greatest Generation in a book of the same name.
  • The Silent Generation born 1925 to 1945 is the generation that includes those who were too young to join the service during World War II. Many had fathers who served in World War I. Generally recognized as the children of the Great Depression, this event during their formative years had a profound impact on them.
  • The Baby Boom Generation is the generation that was born following World War II, about 1946 up to approximately 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates. The baby boom has been described variously as a “shockwave” and as “the pig in the python.”
  • Generation X is the generation generally defined as those born after the baby boom ended, and hence sometimes referred to as Baby Busters, with earliest birth dates ranging from 1965 to the late 70’s.
  • Millennial Generation is also known as Generation Y, Generation Next, or Echo Boomers, or Millennials. The earliest suggested birth dates ranging from late 1970s to about the 2000s. 
  • Generation Z, also known as Generation I or Internet Generation, and dubbed the “Digital Natives,” is the born after 2000 generation.

Because I was born in 1968, I am a Gen Xer, also known as the Slacker Generation. We were the first Generation to turn adolescence into a lifestyle. We were the first generation where a boy could turn 18 and NOT have to do or be anything all – not a soldier, nor a student, nor a husband, nor even have a job – we were the first generation to be able to stay home and do nothing and be proud of that.  Much has been written about Gen Xers, movies made, songs written, etc.

The Millennium Generation is interesting, cuz I haven’t read much about THEM, nor thought much about them, but here’s what I’ve recently learned about Millennials, the young workers of today in the 20 – 30 age range.

Apparently, according to company managers I’ve spoken to recently, it is not unusual in 2010 for a parent to accompany a 20 something on a job interview, or to call the boss on behalf of their young adult child!  I suppose that is similar to a mother speaking with a teacher on behalf of her child’s report card. Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, might have something to say about this trend, were he still alive.

I heard about this ‘new practice’ from my cousin, who is now a forty-something gen Xer with a house and a family.  My cousin is a manager in his company and he recently told me of interviews.

I asked my cousin to be more specific. “How are the new interviewees different from say us 20 years ago?” My cousin’s answer included the following.

1. “New employees at my company appear to have no problem asserting their opinions at meetings or speaking directly to superiors.  This one kid we’d recently hired was in my office and after talking to him, I said ‘Do you have any questions?’”  This kid had the nerve to ask me, “What do YOU do here?  What is YOUR job exactly?  It sounds rude, I know, but when he was asking me, I could tell, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with asking me that!” 

Considering for the longest time, PUBLIC SPEAKING was the #1 fear of Americans, I’d say, this IS a change from previous generations.

2. My cousin also told me, “I remember when I first got hired at my company, and even outside of work, I always had trouble calling bosses and OLDER people by their first names; whereas, the young people at my company prefer to address everybody by their first name. I have a problem with this trend.  The pastor at my church told my 7 year old daughter, ‘Call me Steve!’ I said, ‘No, she’ll call you Pastor Steven!’” 

3. “Also, I find that the young employees at my company are just as smart and hardworking as anybody I’ve met from any generation. The problem is, often they’ll have suggestions; suggestions that aren’t bad, but suggestions that I know will not work.  Collectively, they all seem to have a problem accepting NO as an answer.  I can tell when they leave my office, they’re not finished trying to push their suggestions.”

Let’s look at these observations.

Penn and Teller, in their Showtime series Bullshit, did an episode on Self Esteem and the whole self-esteem movement of the 1990’s and how the effect of telling kids that they are special etc. is NARCISSISM, an inflated sense of self, and an inability to accept the answer NO.  Sociopathic behavior is a very plausible outcome of constant praise for zero accomplishments, as is the inability to cope with reality.  The INDIVIDUALITY of Americans has only grown more acute, making the part of a society aspect of young people practically non-existant.

Living in South Korea for over a decade, I was deeply ensconced in a UNION CULTURE: a culture where promotions were given by age and tenure, rather than Individual Excellence; a culture where AGE trumped all other variables; a culture where people did what they were told rather than thinking for themselves.  Like in America, there are advantages and disadvantages to favoring either SOCIETY as a whole or the INDIVIDUAL.

I remember thinking that one major difference in American and Korean business/company practices is that in America, a young man (or woman) can rise to the top in a short time; whereas in SKorea, this almost never happens, as company workers think of themselves more as part of a team, than as individuals. The whole, “It’s 5 o’clock, time to go home,” is a commonly heard statement in American companies. This is almost never said in South Korea where workers stay in the office till the boss goes home, or till their task is complete.

In keeping with this Individuality versus Society issue, in South Korea, NOBODY OLDER IS EVER SPOKEN TO BY THEIR FIRST NAME. This is simply a matter of respect.  Respect for elders keeps society in a certain check.  In America, this respect for AGE simply does not exist anymore.  Once upon a time, elders in America were respected.  For what?  Just for being old and still alive!  In A Clockwork Orange, Alex and his droogies beat up an old man just for kicks.  In modern America, an attorney like Robert Kardashian would argue that it’s a hate crime!
As for the inability to accept NO as an answer – that’s a clear sign of Narcissism and an inflated sense of self-worth. When cell phones first became available in the 80’s with their bulky frames, only doctors and leaders carried them. Why? Because these people of importance needed to be reached. Nowadays, EVERYBODY  has their own phone. Even children!  Does everybody really need their own personal phone? Is everybody’s life so important that other people must have a direct link to them 24-7?

I don’t have a cell phone.  I have a home phone with an answering machine.  Nobody NEEDS to contact me with such urgency that it can’t wait till I get home.  I know the phone number of everyone I call regularly.  I can use any phone to call them if I need to.  Having a mobile phone, once upon a time, was a status symbol and reserved for those who NEEDED a phone at all times.  Nowadays, everybody NEEDS a phone at all times.  Everybody is THAT important nowadays. 

Furthermore, if you look at many so called Celebrities today, many of them have little to show for their success. Other that having shapely breasts and having a sex video on the internet, what did Kim Kardashian ever do? Is she an actress? What is she, other than Bruce Jenners step daughter?  Oh yeah, she’s attorney Robert Kardashian’s daughter. Does America really want to watch a TV program about her and her day to day adventures.  “I have a nail appointment in 20 minutes and Khloe has my car!”  The sinister music begins and that’s the drama.  Her show airs in 30 minute episodes and can be seen on E televison for nearly six hours each day. 

In the past, everybody in the media spotlight was there for some accomplishment or because they EARNED their way on TV or onto the RADIO by being talented.  ‘Paying your dues’ is what performers called the early years of their careers while they honed their talents and built their audience.  Not anymore, Overnight Sensations fill channels every day and every night.

For the earlier generations – Radio and TV were the only real mass media, other than print media.  Today, it’s not just the ubiquity of the internet, it’s the mindset of young adults. People don’t feel the need to EARN anything anymore. People don’t feel the need to put in the time. It’s as if experience does not mean as much as it used to. 

It’s as if Experience has no value, since all experiences can be simulated.  As if…

Perhaps if I watch enough orgy videos on the internet I can write a novel about being a swinger, and still be able to wear my purity ring.

In conclusion, my cousins and I and all who came before us in America grew up with the whole: Christmas Bonus, Your employer gives your your health insurance, 10% of the country employs the other 90%, you get a job at 25 you keep that job till 65 then get a gold watch!  Those days are over.  Those days ended in the 80’s.  American factories and manufacturers no longer exist.  Young people today have no idea that America before USED TO BE a lot like SKorea is now, or should I saw was in the last decade.  SKorea too is changing like America is changing.

Today, young people’s mindset are best described by Jim Morrision.

We want the world and we want it now!

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