Archive for December 2002

The Kids Are All Right

Why Generation Y Ain’t So Bad After All

No Doubt

According to anthropologist Desmond Morris, there’s a very good reason why humans like to group themselves into groups, as in my family vs. yours, our tribe against theirs, us vs them: Such distinctions helped us to survive by uniting individuals into ever larger groups. In that process, we have refined distinctions based on age – the so-called “generations”. Baby boomers. Post boomers. The War (aka Greatest)... and most recently Generation X and Y. And soon after creating these distinctions, we no doubt started complaining about the generations of people younger than ourselves.

But as a victim of Douglas Copeland’s post-modern equivalent to parachute pants, I cannot continue the trend of putting down the generation below me if for the only reason that they are, as a group, a lot better than mine.

Take Eminem for example. He pisses people off with his lyrics yet storms the charts, and his Jerry Springer-esque background has provided fodder for a movie, 8 Mile. But honestly? His music is good – even to those of us who don’t want it to be. Listen to “Lose Yourself” and try to compare it to anything as good, as rich and as inspired that came out of the 80s. The closest thing it compares to is the raw power of Nirvana’s Smell’s Like Teen Spirit – and that came out in 1991. We Gen X’ers had Prince.

Today’s kids are the product of single parent households more than any previous generation. They spent more time in day-care. They had god-awful parenting, being victimized by the tail-end of the Baby Boom generation – the most self-obsessed of generations.

And an amazing thing happened. They made it – and what’s more – they may be the best generation around since the Greatest. They are level headed, decent, and dare I say, hard-working folk that have more in common with their grandparents or great-grandparents than they do with their navel-gazing parents.

Take for example the recent study that shows usage of drugs – both illicit and legal – has declined by American high school seniors. There are no doubt several factors fueling this trend, but one that hasn’t been mentioned is that maybe, just maybe, the kids have seen what drugs have done to their parents and would rather screw up another way – say by voting Green.

The bottom line is that America has often called upon its young people to save it from tyranny, and today is no different. The men and women stationed in Kandahar at this moment cannot remember a time without VCRs and personal computers. They grew-up watching HeMan and SheRa saving Eternia from Evil and now do the same for their own world.

Finally there is a worthy successor to the Greatest Generation and it is found in their grandchildren. As the Baby Boomers whine their way into botox-injection senility, our nation can rest assured that its future rests in capable hands.