Skip to comments.Does current generation have it worse? (WHINING BABY BOOMER ALERT)
Posted on 04/25/2007 4:18:43 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
Some seem to think so, but media's glare can distort
"The Millennial Generation has every right to be the Melancholy Generation." -- from USA Today. Is it more difficult to be a 21-year-old American in 2007 than it was in 1987, or 1967, or 1947? Has today's college senior witnessed more defining tragedies than her parents and grandparents?
Doubtful. Every new generation has to cope with tragedies and wars, natural disasters and senseless violence.
But a USA Today article wonders if the the so-called "Millennial Generation," i.e., "those born since the early 80s," has faced an especially rough road.
"[T]he signposts on this generation's road to maturity have been a somber directory of tragedy shared," say the co-authors of the article.
"The Oklahoma City bombing. Columbine. September 11. The space shuttle disasters. Hurricane Katrina. And now Virginia Tech."
The article quotes the author of the book Parenting the Millennial Generation: "They've seen the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history and the worst mass killing ever. . . . They have a more realistic view of the world than previous generations."
Right. As opposed to those happy-go-lucky 19-year-old soldiers who fought in World War II, or those blissfully ignorant twentysomethings who tried to feed their families during the Great Depression.
The Tumultuous Generation A respectful correction. The horrific massacre at Virginia Tech was the worst mass murder shooting, but not the worst mass murder ever. (The Oklahoma City bombing claimed more than five times as many victims.) Nor was it the worst mass murder at a school. In 1927, Andrew Kehoe killed 45 and injured 58 when he blew up a school in Bath Township, Mich. That said, it would be obscene to minimize such seminal events as 9/11 and Katrina and the Virginia Tech shootings. There's no disputing that today's 21-year-old has been witness to far too many historically significant tragedies.
But say you turned 21 in 1977. Just some of the events that would have defined your life experience:
The Bay of Pigs. Racial hate crimes during the civil rights struggle. The Vietnam War. The assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Charles Whitman killing 15 and wounding 31 at the University of Texas. The Apollo 1 astronauts. Charles Manson. The Zodiac killer. Kent State. The resignation of President Nixon.
Tumultuous times then, tumultuous times now.
A whole new (media) world In the 1970 rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar," Judas wonders: Now why you'd choose such a backward time and such a strange land?
If you'd come today you could have reached a whole nation
Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication . . .
Of course, what passed for "mass communication" in 1970 seems Paleozoic by today's standards. Watch movies from 35 years ago and you see people in phone booths, watching snowy TV, sending telegrams, writing letters, and you think: How did they ever get anything done?
USA Today notes this is the first generation that "endure[s] repeated mass catastrophes in the harsh, inescapable glare of a 24/7 media environment."
In 1963, Walter Cronkite told a nation the president was dead. In 2007, we saw cell phone video and almost-instant MySpace postings about the Virginia Tech shootings, as the news channels provided saturation coverage. Whether it's a national story like Virginia Tech or a local tragedy such as Jessica Savin, MySpace and Facebook often offer instant glimpses into the lives of victims. (There are two "Rest In Peace Jessica Savin" groups on Facebook, with dozens of candid photos and messages from friends.)
If the technology had existed, Zapruder would have been on YouTube by mid-afternoon on Nov. 22, 1963.
I'm not slamming the USA Today article. In fact, it makes the argument that the Millennial Generation COULD be the Melancholy Generation -- but it's not. The twentysomethings quoted in the piece refuse to let the world frighten them.
"I don't see what good it would do to just live in fear," says a 21-year-old senior.
"[Shared tragedies] shock us into a sense of community," observes another.
The world probably isn't any scarier in 2007 than it was in 1977 or 1937. We just have a lot more ways of holding up a mirror to ourselves.
Funny how the newspaper business is failing World Wide. Funny how they all print the same BS... Cause and effect... ya think?
I dont understand your comment.
I’d be melancholy too if I was only allowed to use one square.
I have one word for this moronic “journalist”.
What I see is a generation so coddled and sheltered... that they find horrible what a depression-era child would find paradise.
Wussy-boys, the lot of them.
“Waaah! I saw on TV a bad man with a gun. Waaah, waaah, mommy, *SOB*!”
“That’s okay, Johnny! You’re only 22 years old, you can’t be expected to cope with scenes on TV like that. I’ll call the grief counsellor, the psychiatrist, and the pharmacy (for some Prozac). There, there! Don’t cry, it makes Mommy sad.”
Like I said... Wussy little mama’s boys.
(Grief counsellors, for Pete’s sake! AAARGH! I wonder if the children of Al Capone’s victims thought they needed grief counsellors?)
They fought World War One in their youth, they suffered in the Depression when raising their kids, they saw their kids die in World War Two in middle age and then saw America go down the toilet in the 1960's in their old age.
I was almost 21 in ‘77. Rock and Roll took a dive, disco was everywhere and Jimmuh was President. ‘77 sucked!
The debacle of the Superdome may have been the worst example of people acting like idiots, but the San Franciso Earthquake and the Galveston Hurricane/Flood were worse natural disasters.
This is Roeper’s sneaky and cowardly way of saying to the 80s generation that their sacrifices in Bush’s war don’t count for much.
I don’t get the criticism here. This article seems to say that today’s generation doesn’t have it “worse” than previous ones. I agree. If anything, this generation has it relatively easy. We are at war, but few “feel it” as there is widespread prosperity and no draft. Every generation has its trials and tribulations—as it should. But you’ve got to keep things in perspective.
The first thing I thought of when I started reading the article was the new SUV's I see in school parking lots. I then stopped reading.
If we don’t win this WOT - then this generation is going to have a serious wakeup call. Then we’ll see whether they have true grit.
Try being in you 20’s, starting a family and buying a house these days... Tougher than it has been in a long time.
Simply that, in ‘77, we were all out dancin’ the night away whereas ‘37 was the depths of the depression soon to be followed by the war. Generally speaking, of course.
Obviously; but Roeper chooses 1977 as the bottom of the pit. Politically it was pretty low, of course, with the installation of Mr. Peanut as president but for 21 year-olds in general, it was one huge party.
HUH? Seems the article disproves your "alert".
More like a (WHINNING GenX Alert).
But not when compared to ‘37.
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