The GenY/GenX conversation has been percolating in my head, and I want to get some thoughts out.
GenY has repatriated the 80s, at least in Brooklyn. For me that's a fertile ground for discussion.
As an Xer, I think the revival is a bit exploitation and I'm more thinking about the dirth of GenY's own culture/cultural content - is it just tattoos, gourmet cheese, and board games at the bar? I know there is a civic/community sense as well, but i think within the group there's struggle to define their purpose and direction. #Occupy may have had good intentions, but really fizzled, and embarrassed itself. I realize the group is young, but coming of age - if it's happening - will be later in their lives. (Like for some of us as well.)
There are factors, as akin to being our younger siblings, they both - looked up to us, and were also more sheltered. We were the latch key kids, the independent group, that started today's work cycle of indy jobs, self-reliance and switching jobs every 2-3 years. We adapted to the changing face of business, ie we realized there were no 30-year factory jobs, no 1-company careers. Just not a reality for us, and I think we felt this at a young age, and were able to set forth a path, or platform, for some semblance of individual success in an increasingly unforgiving corporate environment.
I know GenY is into green and community - and they do everything together, which for me, comes back to the sheltered space, along with the extended education piece. I think Gen X - we kind of bareknuckled it out to the real world.
I also think, though, when i was today's Gen Y age - during the mid90s, it was the 70s that were making a cultural comeback. I bought and wore vintage 70s threads, and remember films like Carlito's Way exploiting the 70s landscape. Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson brought back Starsky & Hutch, there was the indy Royal Tannenbaums. And let's not forget Matthew Mcconaughey of Dazed and Confused. So we also borrowed, to be truthful.
Sterling Brands had a recent post also on the subject, noting GenY doesn't know about Jeff Spicoli, but we as Gen X know about Snooki.
The board games at bars is another connecting piece. Sorry, Connect4 and Monopoly being commonplace at bars is like the kids taking their home family rooms out now to the bar. This is a departure from GenX. We are a transitional generation - we embrace and respect older values, but execute and interpret for today's world. We didn't play board games at bars. We followed the Miller High Life Man, and Homer Simpson when they went to the bar - we drank and hung out, shot the shit. We respected the bar as adult playtime, not kiddie playtime.
So, the time is coming near for GenY to make a statement. Are they playing the coddled kids who go bad in Over the Edge? What will be their impact per the civic/community mindedness Strauss and Howe have laid out for them? Charles Murray on the other hand sees the tattoos, clusterization, and is stark in his call for strength, character for the benefit of the nation.
I'm biased through my X lense, that my upbringing was sound and enabling. I like they youthful spirit of GenY, and I like the tech platform, but I'm reserved in my grants of respect. I need to see it.