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More generational garbage

October 31st, 2004

Talking in terms of generations (Baby Boomers, X, Y and so forth) is so intellectually lazy that it seems to give practitioners a license to turn their brains off, and speak almost entirely at random. Still, even at its worst, there has normally been some sort of attempt to keep the dates straight. But how about this piece from Bernard Salt of KPMG? Focusing on Generation Y, born over the 15 years to 1991, Salt says Generation Y is too hip for the Boomer humor of “Hey Hey, it’s Saturday” and goes on to observe “Generation Y humour is best encapsulated in Seinfeld.”

So Generation Y is “encapsulated” by a show about neurotic, self-absorbed boomers[1] that started its run when they were still being born (1989), and showed its last episode at at time (1998) when lots of them were more interested in collecting Pokemon cards than in watching sitcoms.

I don’t know why Salt is bothering with poor old Ozzie Ostrich. On this dating system, he could identify the boomers with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, or for that matter with Lily Langtry and Lola Montez. Will no-one ever call a halt to this nonsense?

fn1.Seinfeld was born in 1954, three years after Daryl Somers

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  1. Tony Healy
    October 31st, 2004 at 10:43 | #1

    John, I agree. I think a big problem with these sorts of generational analyses is that the authors wrongly interpret their own interests, failures and aptitudes as being characteristic of entire groups. In a sense, articles like this point to the narrow backgrounds and exposures of the authors, which certainly applies in the type of accounting firm Salt works in, with their rigid hierarchies and plastic arrogance.

    Did anyone else catch the obligatory reference to happy workers able to get they want from employers? This has become a standard feature of material from groups like accounting firms and business lobby groups, along with the myth of the happy casual worker, able to choose their own hours and do interesting things with their lives.

  2. Don
    October 31st, 2004 at 10:45 | #2

    Hang on John, this is serious. Just think about this:

    “Generation Y is still too young to have forged a separate identity. And since they follow on from Generation X, they must be Y.”

    Ths means that the generation after Y must be Z. And the generation after Z must be… Holy Cow! It’s the end of the world?

  3. Homer Paxton
    October 31st, 2004 at 11:07 | #3

    which in turn relates to the Revelation about the EU.
    holy cow even the europeans were watching Ozzie Ostrich!

  4. October 31st, 2004 at 12:28 | #4

    Worse; “Seinfield” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is about whiny New Yorkers. That isnt generation dependent.

  5. October 31st, 2004 at 12:46 | #5

    Well done Prof, for calling them on this huge pile of BS!

    Typical of self-absorbed baby boomers (or muuuch MUUUUCH older 100s3Rs!) who try to show us how “hip” and “in-touch” they are… when they really don’t have a clue!

    We know is from an accountant… but I would bet is an ODER WHITE MALE (from a well off, “safe”, traditional professional background, as we know!)

    Their own kids probably reckon they SUCK! (That is, if they’ve proven themselves to be barely socially capable, to get a mate… and they’ve got kids!)

  6. paul2
    October 31st, 2004 at 17:29 | #6

    Thanks all, for reminding me of my favourite abusive acronym: LOMBARD (lots of money but a real d…head).

    I guess Salt would be a pillar of the Lombards.

    Me go now.

  7. October 31st, 2004 at 18:52 | #7

    A splendid rant. What a pity it shows your age…

  8. October 31st, 2004 at 20:31 | #8

    The Simpsons started their run while Gen Y was still being born, and most of the best episodes were done by 2000…

    Apparently I’m a member of Gen Y (b 1984), and many of my friends know and love Seinfeld. Ranks up there with The Simpsons and Futurama for many…

    On the other hand, maybe I’m not a member of Gen Y. For instance, I have four siblings. Actually, you’re right, almost everything he said was a load of bullshit, and I agree that Seinfeld is not where you look for Gen Y humor. The Simpsons are a much better start…

  9. November 1st, 2004 at 09:06 | #9

    What about ‘South Park’?

  10. November 1st, 2004 at 11:13 | #10

    Seinfeld is so NY-Pre-S11.

    As for the author’s poor grasp of the historical material: “Hey Hey It’s Saturday” is Gen X not Boomer, assuming Gen X means what I think it does which is basically “too young to be a hippy”. Daryl’s viewers started by watching Cartoon Corner after school, then Gene Autry movies on Saturday morning (followed by Epic Theatre) and kept on watching until adulthood and into prime time. Ozzie Ostrich on the other hand was definitely Boomer material doing his best work along side Joffa Boy on the Tarax Show.

  11. Blair S. Fairman
    November 1st, 2004 at 11:37 | #11

    I always reckoned someone should have trademarked “Generation Why?” as it sums up the stupidity of trying to put me into the same boat as kids born in 1990. It would make a great t-shirt anyway.

  12. November 1st, 2004 at 12:43 | #12

    Isn’t the whole point of the Gen X and onwards distinction supposed to be that generalisations about what they all watch or listen to can no longer be made?

    I think Xers were obsessed with Seinfeld and the putrid Friends, but Y couldn’t care less, preferring ICQ…

  13. November 1st, 2004 at 13:18 | #13

    Even Virgin airlines is in on the act. Chris Sheedy’s article “Growing Pains” identifies a new species – the well-fed, well-travelled ‘Adultescents’ who may have turned 30, but still don’t want to grow up. But, argues Chris, can you blame them. (70% of PLAYSTATION users are between 18 and 39 years)

    Apparently, ‘Adultescents’ work hard, may be in a stable relationship but some how the ‘settling down’ gene never got passed down.

    What are the other features? They are committed to socially reconstructing the world for themselves, they question more, are less likely to settle for second best, and their expectations are much higher – which is apparently one reason why more of them remain single.

    Although, one swallow does not a summer make, my personal experience of having an 34 year old son who is an aerospace engineer who might affectionately be described as having ‘gone feral’ but who has, in fact, dedicated the past few years of his life to ‘finding out what I am meant to do – so I can get onto doing it’ makes me wonder that, if ‘Adultescents’ are a class of their own, are they in enough numbers to make the comparison significant, or does the use of the term just add more noise and confusion.

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