#478 – Dick Bernard: The Greatest Generation, the Boomers, Millenials and all that.

Written by admin on November 21st, 2011

Sunday afternoon, after the Vikings lost, I watched the endless rerun about the coming end of the world on the History Channel. For those who’ve missed it, the end is scheduled for December 21, 2012. All that is certain is the date: exactly what, or who goes where, is open for endless debate.

Idle speculation about our future is foolish, in my opinion. Best to do the best we can with whatever time we have left. (We may have only ten minutes, but what good does it do to worry about that?)

But ‘officially’, apparently, we still have 13 months. And the Mayans and Nostradamus and Merlin and the others could be wrong, or their writings misinterpreted. Till we check out, we’ll be part of the solution, or part of the problem. There’s no neutral zone, in my opinion. It’s not “their” fault.

Earlier Sunday, I read a very interesting analysis of the assorted generations stake in our future. The piece was written by Lori Sturdevant, a long-time and highly respected columnist on politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She has earned her accolades.

Here is her take on the data about the assortment (baby boomers, millenials, etc.) It is a recommended read.

Here’s my very brief response to her writing:

It’s not easy to challenge the opinions and labels of pollsters. We live in a time of polling and the Pew Research data cited by Ms Sturdevant can be seen here, along with endless other pieces of interesting data.

I’d challenge only a bit Pew’s categories.

I was born in 1940, my oldest child in 1964, and for a long while I’ve known I was in the Silent Generation, which Pew for some reason classifies as the folks born between 1928-45 (Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Ed in Sturdevant’s telling).

I’d start the Silent Generation a bit later, perhaps 1937. The folks born before 1937 were old enough to have living memories of the bad times of the Great Depression, and the oldest were old enough to have vivid memories of, and some even old enough, to be drafted into World War II before it ended in 1945.

We silents were too young to have much of a direct memory of the era experienced by what Tom Brokaw called “the Greatest Generation”, but our entire early living experience was with and around people immersed in that era. We couldn’t avoid WWII or the Depression, even if we didn’t comprehend exactly what they were. But all that is unnecessary argument.

But the very interesting analysis of Pew, further analyzed by Lori Sturdevant, is well worth your time, before you wander into the political minefield of Turkey Day.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving (research does show that the vast majority of us do have more than adequate resources to have a happy day on Thursday.) Enjoy. But as the ubiquitous disclaimer on beer, wine and spirits ads suggests: “with great privilege comes great responsibility”)

Related here and here.

 

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