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How Baby Boomers screwed their kids (salon.com)
60 points by nsavant 1346 days ago | hide | past | web | 37 comments | favorite



The Baby Boom was a birth cohort that spanned a lot of years, characterized only by high birth rates. (The Baby Boom is the only time in United States history when the long-term trend of ever higher ages of first marriage and ever lower rates of fertility was reversed.) A lot of thoughtful analysts distinguish the earlier part of the Baby Boom (parents who were part of the "Greatest Generation," which participated as adults in World War II) from the later part of the Baby Boom (parents in the "Silent Generation," whose earliest memories are of the Great Depression, and who didn't reach adulthood until after the war was over). I think that makes sense. Greatest Generation parents were about looking out for other people, as a group central tendency, and Silent Generation parents were about looking out for number one. (Silent Generation persons politically did well, gaining the greatest net surplus over the actuarial value of their Social Security benefits through taxation of younger working people, for example.)

In each generation, there are parents of differing core values. There are also children who either accept their parents' values, or react against them. That goes on throughout history. The one sure thing that demographers discovered is that during the Baby Boom there was a lower ratio of care-giving adults to minor children in the whole society than at almost any time before or since. Large family sizes spread parenting thin. So the Baby Boomers had less parental face time to receive parental influence one way or another than the preceding generations, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear (as we do in the opinion essay submitted here) that Baby Boomers, as a group central tendency, are less practiced in traditional parenting approaches than earlier generations, for better or for worse.

(Can you guess where I fit among the generations by what I write here?)


It's not just the parents, but the "boomers," as well. Some analysts see two groups in the "Baby Boom": 1946-1955 and 1956-1964. I don't know where the break should be, but one of my sisters was born in 1963 and has never struck me as a "Baby Boomer." She doesn't remember very much of the 1960s, the draft, Vietnam, etc. An article in USA Today, a few years back, on these "Shadow Boomers" mentioned a woman born in 1964 and both her parents were born in 1946 -- all three are Baby Boomers.


> An impatience driven by two things: First is a gross misunderstanding that things like success, money or happiness come instantly.

This doesn't jive with my experience. College grads these days very often start their careers working for free in unpaid internships. If that doesn't demonstrate delayed gratification or an understanding that success doesn't come instantly, I don't know what would.


Younger people should learn this long, long before they graduate college. By then they're already functioning adults.


I know this article sounds a bit "spray and pray"-ish, using soundbites we've grown tired of. However, it might be because the article is reprinted from the author's book that covers an entirely different topic altogether. (Why Leaders Eat Last)

Incidentally, you can probably get a good summary of the book just by watching this author's talk. It also covers the OP's posted article.

http://vimeo.com/79899786


Born in 1981, I would be classified as a Gen Y person. Some sentences that caught my eye:

> Many employers complain of the demands their entry-level employees often make.

I asked my previous employer that I didn't approve of having a senior employer shout "Ah, fuck off" at me several times a day, or being called "thick", or having to put up with threatening behaviour. That was considered a hefty demand.

> We would prefer that that air traffic controller check his e-mail or send his text messages during his breaks. I think we would all feel much better if access to the Internet and a personal cell phone were completely forbidden (which they are).

I usually don't have enough money to debit my cell phone (The other day I had my first go on a Samsung Galaxy). I rarely have access to these distractions because I lack the capital.

> Generation Y thinks that, because they have grown up with all these technologies, they are better at multitasking. I would venture to argue they are not better at multitasking. What they are better at is being distracted.

I didn't grow up in constant contact with these technologies. I've grown up being expected by Gen Xers and other Gen Yers to be able to multitask and be a tech whizz with said technologies. I would agree that I am better at being distracted than Gen Xers - having to endure abuse and threats is very distracting, as is being expected to know everything about how a computer works.

> They seem flummoxed when told that things take time. They are happy to give lots of short bursts of energy and effort to things, but commitment and grit come harder.

I started practising programming in my spare time about eighteen months ago, and I'm still practising. I'll probably get proficient at it when I'm say, 36. I'm never told by my peers or Gen Xers that it will take time. I'm often told "you're wasting your time" or "stick to what you are capable of" (then I get turned down for minimum wage jobs). I was wondering how flummoxed a person from any generation would be if you told them that even dead simple programs often require at least 100 lines of code. One of the main reasons that I am able to do this is due to a small band Gen Xers (and some Gen Yers) who had the determination and patience to write free software, so many cheers for them.


If I ever read another long, rambling screed about the failings of millennials, it will be too soon.


Man, I know! Look at this stuff. How many tendentious assumptions can we bake into one sentence?

"The economic systems in which they have grown up, ones that prioritize numbers over people, are blindly accepted, as if that’s the way it has always been."

Right. For instance, when OWS, coherent or otherwise, camped out in half a dozen cities demanding radical change, that was the Millennial Generation's generational cry of Blind Acceptance of Status Quo. Likewise when they campaigned (naively or otherwise) for Hope and Change and spread-the-wealth-around.

And think! Just a couple generations back, our systems had a paradise of prioritizing People over Numbers. For instance: when the FDR administration took over the nation's agriculture sector and burned crops in the midst of a famine, then standardized the sector into a series of big-agribusiness factory-farm monocultures in the name of efficiency. And yet somehow when the author implies economic systems should be questioned, I don't think the Agricultural Adjustment Act - still on the books - was the sort of thing he had in mind.


Sssssh. Stop using facts. "Everyone knows" that things were great in the past.


Whether or not millennials are failures, I have no idea. I will say, however, that we sure seem to care about what preceding generations think of us a whole lot more than preceding generations did.


I think that is because we have the ability to talk about it on a much larger scale than that of previous generations. The real test will be what the next generation thinks about itself when they become our age.


I tried to read this all the way to the end but I wasn't quite able to do it in a single round.

There are a lot of interesting points in the article, but you'd have more chance to drown in the Sahara desert than to find a single proof of any of the aforementioned points. Best thing you get is a combination of weasel words and anecdotal evidence. Let's see a few of these brilliant examples:

> it’s easy to see how the Boomers earned their reputation as the Me Generation. Me before We. Putting the protection of ideas and wealth before the sharing of them is now standard.

Fair enough. How does the author know this?

> A New Jersey-based accountant told me that he sees a clear difference between his older clients and his younger ones. “My older clients want to work within the confines of the tax code to do what is fair,” he explained. “They are willing to simply pay the tax they owe. The next generation spends lots of time looking to exploit every loophole and nuance in the tax code to reduce their responsibility to as little as possible.”

What a rock-solid argument!

But wait, there's more!

> Generation Y is said to have a sense of entitlement.

Ok... let's see some evidence of that?

> Many employers complain of the demands their entry-level employees often make.

Could it possibly be the same many employers who try to offer unpaid interships that last basically forever, or who are cutting up expenses by outsourcing work to India so that the board members can buy bigger boats? Obviously, not every employer who claims that the demands of some entry-level employees are too harsh, but without any evidence of whether or not those demands are justified, the number of employers claiming that is no argument, for either side.

The apex of arrogance is, in my opinion, this one:

> According to a study at Northwestern University, the number of children and young people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shot up 66 percent between 2000 and 2010. Why the sudden and huge spike in a frontal lobe dysfunction over the course of a decade?

An interesting point, why?

At this point, you would obviously expect the author to quote one or several serious medical studies which show certain degrees of correlation between the development of ADHD and various factors that have been prevalent during the 2000-2010 decade to a greater degree than before. But no!

> I would submit that this huge spike is not simply because more people have ADHD than previous generations, though this could be true. Nor is it due to an increase in the number of parents having their children tested, though this could also be true. Though there are, of course, many genuine cases of ADHD, the sudden spike may be the result of something as simple as misdiagnosis.

Ok, ok, I'm still reading. Maybe there's a yet-unknown study, or at least one that is in development because someone who's an expert on brain stuff has a hypothesis?

> We know that sometimes our wires can get crossed and the wrong behaviors can be incentivized. Someone who finds the dopamine- and serotonin-releasing effects of alcohol as a teenager can become conditioned to look to alcohol to suppress emotional pain instead of learning to look to people for support. This can show up later in life as alcoholism. In this same way, the dopamine-releasing effects of the bing, buzz or flash of a cell phone feel good and create the desire and drive to repeat the behavior that produces that feeling.

Nope. What the author is proposing is, in fact, a personal hypothesis, based on a fairly superficial understanding of a complicated process ("our wires get crossed").

This wouldn't even be a problem, if the author would at least bother to provide some test -- the hell with that, at least some way to test this hypothesis. Who knows, maybe he got it right, in spite of an incorrect reasoning process (there was a time when reasoning by analogy was the dominant form of hypothesizing, but it wasn't exactly a period renowned for its intellectual achievements). But no.

I don't want to label the article as a load of useless rubbish. It's not wrong per se, I think it's just incorrectly titled, because it doesn't try to give a meaningful answer to the question in its title, just to present some of the author's prejudices. They are prejudices only by virtue of their lack of arguments, not their value of truth. Perhaps Simon Sinek is right, but after reading the article, you are no closer to understanding why he thinks he's right than you were before.


>Perhaps Simon Sinek is right, but after reading the article, you are no closer to understanding why he thinks he's right than you were before.

What do you know, the top comment is a pseudo-intellectual tear down of an article, asking for evidence and proof, admitting that the original article wasn't even read to completion, but offering plenty of criticism.

>Perhaps Simon Sinek is right, but after reading the article, you are no closer to understanding why he thinks he's right than you were before.

Guess what? This is a book excerpt. Maybe if you want some answers and notes you can buy and read the book? Of course, that would require you to read and synthesize something for longer than 5 minutes, fighting the urge to show how smart you are by instantly going to an internet message board to ask for line-by-line bibliographical references.

The fact that this community holds itself in such esteem is hilarious. Reddit redux.


What you say:

> What do you know, the top comment is a pseudo-intellectual tear down of an article, asking for evidence and proof, admitting that the original article wasn't even read to completion, but offering plenty of criticism.

What I said:

> I tried to read this all the way to the end but I wasn't quite able to do it in a single round.

So actually, yes, I did read it to completion. Some of the paragraphs I read, well, several times. I just gave in to the urge of angrily closing the browser tab once or twice, before I forced myself to go through the whole thing.

> Guess what? This is a book excerpt. Maybe if you want some answers and notes you can buy and read the book?

I don't see how this changes my criticism of the material. Do you mean to say that the book contains, say, a list of all the New Jersey accountants who noticed something weird about the patterns in which people pay taxes?

> Of course, that would require you to read and synthesize something for longer than 5 minutes, fighting the urge to show how smart you are by instantly going to an internet message board to ask for line-by-line bibliographical references.

This is fairly presumptuous of my ability to read, coming from someone who hasn't carefully read even the first line of my reply :-).


I mean you really can't get any worse than using something like this to support your point:

"A New Jersey-based accountant told me that he sees a clear difference between his older clients and his younger ones. “My older clients want to work within the confines of the tax code to do what is fair,” he explained. “They are willing to simply pay the tax they owe"

In court that is "hearsay" evidence. It's not even coming from someone who is an accountant who is writing the book but someone just talking to the accountant. For all we know the accountant said that at a party after having 3 drinks. Separately, from my experience with people of the older generation I have definitely not found that to be the case. Not to mention that even that would vary by ethnic group, geography and I'm sure many other factors.


Have an upvote. HN comments have long been a ghetto of a different kind. They're as constructive as YouTube comments, only instead of "ur a fagot", it's all "Not peer-reviewed, replicated, statistically rigorous science!"


I don't have a problem with opinions that are not based on peer-reviewed, replicated, statistically-rigorous science (not that there's any other kind of it). What I do have a problem with are opinions expressed as if they were scientific opinions, but are in fact thinly-veiled prejudices.

If someone claimed Jews are formed as thieves by their culture because he knows a guy from San Diego whose Jewish clients are always behind on their payment, he'd rightfully be labeled not only as racist, but also as stupid, and with good reason. I see no reason to treat someone who claims, as a proof that people born in a certain period of time are more egotistic than others, the fact that an accountant told him so, any differently. That's not only as insulting as racist pseudo-science, it's as idiotic as racist pseudoscience.

There is probably sufficient truth to find among those as well, perhaps, but in my opinion, it's intellectually lazy.


The article was excerpted from "Reprinted from “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t”"

And your comment pretty much illustrates why I have pretty much stopped reading and buying books (such as this which I did in the past)

You get (even when supported) a generally lopsided view based on what the owner thinks that is cherry picked to match with their point of view or what they are trying to prove.

(By the way as far as "Why the sudden and huge spike in a frontal lobe dysfunction over the course of a decade?" Well, that would be pharmaceutical marketing for sure! (My cherry picked boogey man to explain.)


You mean non-fiction, or all books?


Well I meant non-fiction but I don't really read fiction.


And here you are writing this, you dopamine fueled junkie.

This is kind of sad because I use facebook more than anyone and I'm not depressed. Also humans evolve for a reason, if our primeval selves saw us today they would say the same thing.

ADHD isn't real, not everyone in the world can have identical brains, the CT scans and brain scans you use as evidence to prove people have ADHD is nothing more than propaganda fueled by the pharmaceutical industry, to push more pill sales.

What you suffer from is the lack of ability to understand youth, I know, I feel the same way about teens now. Except you took this to a whole new level of hatred and misunderstanding, as to almost call to put them all in camps, take away their phones and get off on them all being distracted while you show them how to live your 'ideal' lifestyle, and preach about what's wrong with them.

Times change, you're getting old and now you're filled with contempt and anger at the fact that humans will adapt to their environments.

This isn't because cell phones and technology. I fail to see any corellation with technology and school shootings.

Maybe we should ban guns, yeah, ban guns, and apples too, I think the shooter had an apple for breakfast.


Regarding distraction, may I posit that the author has the causality reversed? What if many people are seeking dopamine, et al, because they're already unhappy? There was a piece on procrastination which suggested that some procrastination is an attempt to treat one's unhappy mood, and it seems to me there are plenty of reasons why Gen Yers might be unhappy.

The economic outlook for many Gen Yers is quite bleak. Despite having attended college, many people end up working retail or otherwise low-wage jobs. After hearing that you're supposed to "follow your dreams" and that all you really need to do is "believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything," it's not unreasonable to imagine why this generation feels left behind or alienated. I know people who blame themselves even though, in one case, their job (environmental ecology) was vaporized by the housing bust.

So they're[0] "entitled" because they want what the consumer-driven economy tells them they deserve, what they've been told to demand from life, and what their parents had. But they ought to be happy with less than the previous generation had because, well, them's the breaks.

I'm sure I'm not the first, I predict Gen Y will become something akin to a lost generation. Sometimes you need to take a shit job to survive, but if you're interested in upward mobility, nobody wants to see shit jobs on your resume, esp not among the professional class.

It's ironic because retail jobs, for instance, are often hard work! However there's little prospect for long-term gain. What's the point in thinking long-term when you're working a job deliberately engineered to make workers replaceable? There's nothing inherently wrong with such a job, but maybe it's not so mysterious wonder why kids seem more mercenary or prefer to live in the moment.

If I had to guess, I'd say this offers some explanation both for popularity of tech and finance. If you can afford a degree & can hack it in those industries, you'll probably do well. If you can't, your prospects (depending on where you live) are considerably more variable.

---

[0]: I say "they" because I'm somewhere between X and Y. I remember a time before the Internet, ubiquitous digital media, and cellphones, but not before home computers.


I am a "generation Y" and I can explain why I am a bit unhappy.

Honestly, I don't believe this shit that much. Sure there may be a lot of people that have a hard time to concentrate and big thoughts about themselves. But nevertheless I think there are more people today than ever before that works hard and still have trouble to pay for themselves.

But that's not me. I have good job security, I have a well paid job for my age group. But my unhappiness doesn't come from the economy or too large thoughts about my self. My unhappiness stems from the human society having a very dark future. Wherever I go and try to preach, no one seems to care. I see no action taken from any political leaders on this very pressing issue of climate change.

Looking at the recent typhoon in the Philippines and knowing that it was pretty much a baby of what is coming if we do not stop our lifestyle is what is making me unhappy. Because in my heart I do not believe that we're going to do anything to stop it from happening.

Knowing all these stuff, and looking at the society just walk it off makes me quite unhappy and I see no reason why I would be the only one.


I am still expecting there to be an "Awareness Awareness" month. Are YOU aware? Buy your see-through anklet now.


Similar arguments, but with more playful tone and drawings:

http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-u...


Equally terrible.

The fact that most people, all else being equal, will prefer maximal reward for minimal sacrifice is hardly news. It's nature. When my cats hear a can open at 7:00 am, they rush out and start demanding food. They also sleep 14 hours per day. Is it because they're Generation Z cats (born in early 2013) and the rising generation of felines has a massive sense of entitlement (the kitty world's going to hell / get off my litterbox) or because they have an evolved tendency to maximize reward and minimize caloric expenditure?

I really fucking hate this shit. I hate that the 90% of us who just expect fairness and decency are being lumped together with a few overprivileged assholes (who exist in every society and generation) who harbor unreasonable expectations.

Church's Law: people who complain about a sense of entitlement in others possess it themselves. Boomers who complain about us are really saying, "Why won't these kids slave away for peanuts, just to bask in our awesomeness?" I'm sorry, but if you think a job title means you deserve reverence and sacrifice, well... isn't that the literal definition of entitlement?


Gen X'er here. Not so sure about many of the points of the article, but this one was interesting:

The problem is that in twenty to thirty years, when our youngest generation grows up and takes charge of government and business, its members will have grown up using Facebook, prescription drugs or online support groups as their primary coping mechanisms rather than relying on real support groups: biological bonds of friendship and loving relationships.

This dovetails with my recent fascination/great unease at learning that Twitter uses Mechanical Turk (an Amazon service I didn't know much about) to program what appears to be a disposable, no-strings-attached human workforce, using an API, to do some categorization for it (a very clever idea I should say); and with my great unease with companies like IBM wanting to track metrics of every kind about their workforce. As the younger kids begin to assume decisionmaking responsibility, is their acclimation to living in this human/computer ecosystem going to open the floodgates to full-on human "programming" (to give the dystopian edge-case a name)? Are computers and the developers and statisticians programming them going to invade every corner of our lives?

Consider OkCupid (a fine Web site). Their algorithms are important for selecting possible matches. How much trust are we putting in those algorithms and in the implementation? These map-reduce jobs (or whatever they use) are now programming to some extent the reproduction of a portion of society. Are we going to see this trend go off the charts?


Lets take the Okcupid anecdote out for a ride. I'd say, from personal experience of myself, friends, and Okcupid's old blog posts, that these algo's do a piss poor job [1]. Not because the algo is bad, but because the person at the top is a capitalist. Their job is to maximize profits, not to get people together. Additionally, people are not honest in their profiles. So you get a case of 'shit in, shit out' for the algos. Also, men in particular, are blind to anything but the face[2]. Still, more and more people are meeting online and staying together. In fact, the divorce rates seem to be lower for online meetings[3], 6% vs. 8% for traditional meetings.

Ok, stats and anecdotes aside, this is straight creepy to me. I agree with you, it seems that the programmer is becoming the only real job left. If some dating algo can do a better job than yourself ever could, the only logical choice is to use that algo. But, dammit, its so freaking sterile to me! Yeah, I am old fashioned here, but having a computer say that I am a better match and will have, statistically, a better life with $person is terrible. I have no control of my life then! This person that I might have children with was not chosen by me. Rather, I chose to reject the algo or roll the dice again.

A recent video produced by "A studio on Fuxing Road" contrasts the Brittish, US, and Chinese election systems[4]. The piece is very pro communist. It glorifies the system of paperwork that insures good governance of China and says this is cheaper and better than the way the US does it. To me, it's bullshit. Even if the 'algo' they used worked and was not corrupt, hell, even if it worked better than democracy, it's still Bullshit. I have a right to say to whom I give my consent to govern me. Everyone has that right. Even if the 'algo' get better than I can ever be, I have to give consent explicitly. I have to know and be informed. I can't stand just rolling over to have the 'algos' determine my fate for me. I can see where it is better for society and for the planet that the algos get the control and we just ride along. But I really don't want that.

Sorry, that derailed there. But I hope you see where I was going. I, too, fear that the programmer, in their data driven wisdom, will step too far.

[1]Unfortunately, offline now: http://contently.com/strategist/2013/08/19/whatever-happened... [2]http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-things-i-learned-from-worst-on... [3]http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/31/1222447110 [4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M734o_17H_A


Is this fiction?


Don't we need dopamine to just about anything? What is this belief amongst people that whatever they feel in their body is anything other than just chemicals?


Dopamine my ass. They are simply spending more time doing what makes them happy over doing what others perceive is good for them.


This article is utter rubbish :)


This is terrible analysis.

“Don’t let people get things from you if they aren’t willing to compensate you for it,” goes the thinking.

What the fuck is wrong with that? Why should anyone give their all (in the workplace) to someone who doesn't value them? Yes, for practical reasons, you should probably obey laws and basic courtesy without expecting compensation-- not littering is just what you're supposed to do, a part of the implicit social contract is using public spaces. But if someone's asking for you to commit serious energy or favor, you better make sure you're doing it for someone who values you. Otherwise, you're wasting your energy, and that's quite finite.

Gen X, growing up before the Internet, interpreted that lesson as putting your head down and getting to work.

Really? 20 years ago, the reputation (undeserved) of Gen X was that it was a lazy, shiftless, loser generation. Now that they're older and have proven themselves, their reputation has improved somewhat. Oh, and every generation for the past 50 years (maybe longer?) has been called a "Me, Me, Me Generation" when it was young.

First is a gross misunderstanding that things like success, money or happiness come instantly.

I blame that on the age discrimination culture in most careers (if you're not at level X by age Y, you're a perma-loser) and, in tech, we see that the get-big-or-die insanity comes from the VCs, not founders. Most Gen-Y's/Millennials would be happy to tread water and thrilled to get rich slowly by, say, starting from a solid base, working hard, and improving their pay at 10-20% per year.

The impatience comes from the shitty time pressure imposed by age discrimination, volatile housing costs, and the fact that it's almost irresponsible to have children given the increasing importance of connections and the (directly related) obscene expense and competitiveness in educational positioning-- that now begins before grad school.

So if we take the life and death part away, why would we think that we can do our work, check our phones, write a paragraph, send a text, write another paragraph, send another text, without the same damage to our ability to concentrate? Generation Y thinks that, because they have grown up with all these technologies, they are better at multitasking. I would venture to argue they are not better at multitasking.

First of all, I know that I (and most people) am generally terrible at multitasking. There are specific kinds of multitasking at which people can perform (coming up with creative ideas while walking and listening to music) but, in general, context switches are damaging. I think this issue is environmental: open-plan offices, constant interruptions, and a social climate that just expects high availability. It's not one generation's fault; it's just the way people are becoming.

Cigarettes are out. Social media is in. It’s the drug of the twenty-first century. (At least people who smoke stand outside together.)

Silly. When smoking was at its peak it was socially acceptable to do it indoors. What, you think fucking Don Draper is going to stand out in the fucking cold of a Manhattan wind-tunnel January?

Where alcohol replaced trusting relationships as a coping mechanism for teenagers who grew up to be alcoholics, so too are the positive affirmations we get from social media and the virtual relationships we maintain replacing real trusting relationships as coping mechanisms.

Alcohol was (and is) used as a low-grade anxiolytic, which it is in low doses for people without a tolerance, that helps people overcome the social anxiety produced cognitive dissonance of a hypercompetitive culture. (Modern medicine offers superior anxiolytics, but those don't target social anxiety nearly as well, and physicians frown, for good reason, on recreational use of them. The most powerful non-Rx anxiolytic is probably kava, which makes you sleepy more than sociable. Anyway...)

I kept meeting amazing, wonderful, smart, driven and optimistic Gen Yers who were either disillusioned with their entry-level jobs or quitting to find a new job that will “allow me to make an impact in the world,” discounting the time and energy that is required to do it.

Or they were getting fired/laid-off for reasons that weren't their fault and (well taught by their Boomer parents) spinning it to sound like it was by their choice, since young people are better to appear flighty (it's expected of them) than to suffer the status hit of an involuntary termination. There's more than meets the eye in this sort of thing.

What they seem to fail to notice, however, is the mountain.

Alternative theory: there are plenty of Gen-Yers scaling that mountain. However, since the eldest in that generation are only in their early 30s, none of those have had any prominence because they're still working their way up. Instead, it's the lifted pieces of shit like Evan Spiegel and Lucas Duplan getting the attention. Generations always put an unrepresentative foot forward first, because the "successes" are (with very few exceptions) manufactured by their elders.

According to a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control, suicide rates among Baby Boomers rose nearly 30 percent during the past decade, making suicide one of the leading causes of death in that age group, behind only cancer and heart disease. The biggest jump in suicides was among men in their fifties — this age group experienced a whopping 50 percent increase. With the increase of suicides among Boomers, more people now die of suicide than from car accidents.

Cars and roads are becoming safer (so the "car accident" comparison is not all bad news). Age discrimination is hitting single-income older (50-65) men the hardest right now, so that explains a bit of it. That and health problems explain most of the suicides, I'd bet. Also, while teenage girls may have the highest suicide attempt rate, men over 50 have always had the highest suicide completion rate.

The problem is that in twenty to thirty years, when our youngest generation grows up and takes charge of government and business, its members will have grown up using Facebook, prescription drugs or online support groups as their primary coping mechanisms rather than relying on real support groups: biological bonds of friendship and loving relationships.

Give me a break. This is ludicrous junk science. Most people using "prescription drugs" need them, and people get tired of Facebook fake friendship after, I don't know, two or three years. (And there are people for whom Facebook provides a real benefit; by age 60, most of your friends live far away from you, and online contact is better than what was common before the Internet-- dropping off completely.)

In 1960, the number of notable school shootings was one. In the 1980s there were 27. The 1990s saw 58 school shootings, and from 2000 until 2012 there were 102 school shootings.

First, those events are getting more coverage now. It's worldwide. If something fucked-up happens in Colorado or Connecticut or Norway or Japan, the world will know about it. It seems like violence is becoming more common, but all evidence suggests the reverse. (Also, the worst school massacres aren't perpetrated by school students-- see: Bath, Beslan, Newtown-- but by older people.) School shootings are horrible, but in the late 1960s, Americans started worrying about the fucking draft as the Vietnam War ramped up. Does anyone really think that Facebook is going to cause more "antisocial behavior" than an illegal and demoralizing war in Vietnam, into which people were sent involuntarily? I really doubt that.


It's no surprise that Baby Boomers are a disaster in every way possible; after all, they were the spoiled children of the victors in a devastating war.

However, look to their parents and you may have some sympathy for the boomers. The Boomers were born in the 1940s to people born in the 1910-1920s period when social mores evaporated, the "Jazz Age" took over, and people basically became vainglorious self-important drama queens.

"I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited — they went there. They got into automobiles which bore them out to Long Island, and somehow they ended up at Gatsby’s door. Once there they were introduced by somebody who knew Gatsby, and after that they conducted themselves according to the rules of behavior associated with amusement parks. Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission."

That's a fairly brutal and accurate condemnation of that generation and its social mores. It's worth noting that many of them, especially the East Coast elites, went on to become Communists.


Generation X dropped the ball, which is too painful to admit, so now they blame Generation Y instead.


No one dropped any fucking ball. The failings of society are deliberate. Housing bubble? Consumer credit replacing Fordist/Keynesian wage increases? Tuition catastrophe? Those "incompetents" who make health insurance innavigable? The increasing social and economic distance between rich and poor? All intentional. It's the Haves becoming Have-it-Alls at the expense of the Have-Littles and the Have-Nots.


I'm not claiming it wasn't intentional. I'm saying that generation X either played along or didn't do anything about it.




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