My Generation

 Posted by on January 16, 2016  Add comments
Jan 162016
 

I must confess that I have a difficulty with the concept of generations, which is why I was troubled when I heard Blindboy of the Rubberbandits using the term My Generation on the Late Late Show last week.

rubberbandit blindboy late late show

Outside of a family, I don’t know what a generation is or how it can be defined, and yet people use it as if we all had a common understanding of the word, leading to endless confusion, since the first prerequisite of rational debate is that everyone shares the same definition of the terms being used.

Can somebody please tell me what a generation is?

Blindboy, when asked what generation he belongs to, replied the current one, and I couldn’t quite grasp what that meant. Surely we’re all part of the current generation, I thought. Isn’t everyone from the age of zero to 109 part of the current generation? Are some of us non-persons?

No?

Or did he mean something else? Was he actually suggesting that some people are not relevant?

I don’t think so, because he’s not that sort of guy and yet I don’t know, since  the terminology is too woolly.

We need a definition of what a generation is, or else we need to dispense with a useless concept and instead adopt some other more meaningful way of looking at our society.

Blindboy went on to explain that the 1916 revolutionaries were the same age as his generation. They were aged from 18 up their mid-thirties, he explained, and the resultant questions are obvious. Does that exclude intelligent 16-year-olds? Does that rule out somebody approaching 39? The definition seems to be full of holes, and when that happens it’s often a sign that the underlying concept might be a little creaky.

I’m driven to ask the overwhelming question: what on earth does physical age have to do with it?  Are there not eighty-year-olds with precisely the same concerns as 20-year-olds? Why do we define generations in chronological terms? Doesn’t the average 20-year-old today relate well to Jimi Hendrix who would be 73 if he had survived?

I’m driven to ask, why do we allow ourselves to be slaves to the age-apartheid imposed on us by the PR world?

David Bowie died last week. Is he not of the same generation as Blindboy, or should he be banished to the outer darkness of irrelevance because he wasn’t in his mid-thirties? Is it that arbitrary? When Blindboy hits forty in under a decade, will he become part of the great irrelevant mass who are not part of the current generation, no matter how much he has to offer?

Is my elderly aunt not part of the current generation?

Decide for yourself, but in my mind, this arbitrary idea of generations is nonsense.

When does a generation start? When does it end?

That question has no answer because there is no answer.

Let’s free ourselves from such trite pre-packaged thinking.

  16 Responses to “My Generation”

Comments (16)
  1.  

    Maybe a generation is based on major events you live through that have the most effect which forms your outlook. For Irish people the war, the bleakness of the fifty,s, the civil rights movement, the troubles, the lean eighty’s the information age, the boom the bust.
    Do I belong to the generation where I could do more and made the biggest decisions around my life? I see my children now in their twenty’s making these big choices so maybe this is their generation.Of course I could be talking shite

  2.  

    Don’t those events affect people of all ages?

  3.  

    The dictionary definition is loose to be sure but as a general guideline,a generation spans thirty years beginning at birth. The idea apparently is that it covers everyone’s formative years up to and including becoming a parent oneself.
    In this context, when you refer to a statement like, “From generation to generation,” you could mean the time when one generation reaches thirty, (or thereabouts), and their offspring are pre-teen.
    That is the loose idea anyway!

  4.  

    You could say that within a family, but how do you apply it to the whole population? It’s as if people somehow set out in batches every thirty years.

  5.  

    Well, over a thirty year span, there is a ‘generation’ of people unknown to each other who have lived through the events of the time, experienced similar influences that were current during that time and will have known the culture prevalent during the period also. For example, my ‘generation’ grew up pre-internet whereas my son’s generation live the net.
    I cannot say this as an absolute but it is my understanding of the word generation as generally used. My own Dad was born in 1908 and his views as I remember them were very much of a generation who lived through WWII and the resultant austerity and shortages.
    Perhaps I am being inaccurate but it’s the best I can do.

  6.  

    What of the people born a year earlier or a year later?

  7.  

    At the risk that you might just be taking the piss, I’ll have a go at this.
    Generations overlap! My brother was ten years older than me being born in the forties, he related to Elvis and Liz Taylor while for me it was the Beatles and Goldie Hawn. But our generations overlapped and we had many things in common also. This was not so much the case with our Father and us because his generation was so far before ours.
    That’s my theory, like it or not.

  8.  

    I’m not taking the piss at all. That’s the very essence of my point.

  9.  

    Very well then.
    While your age is pretty fixed, your generation is fluid. But plus or minus a few years and bearing in mind overlaps with other generations, you are the product of your generation and its effect on your thinking.

    How’s zat?

  10.  

    Not good enough. How do you define “a few”?

  11.  

    Bock, It’s all OK really because the plastic on blindboy’s face affected him like a bad dose and he hadn’t a fuckin’ clue what he was talking about and just spoutin’ out of him……..and yeah let’s forget the word, generations are fluid and really just a concept for geneticists and historians….
    intelligent eejits like ourselves don’t need the distraction….. Onwards…..

  12.  

    Blindboy is actually quite an intelligent lad. I have the greatest respect for his views, or else I wouldn’t be making an issue of this topic.

  13.  

    Not casting aspertions on his character but on the effect of the plastics on him…….out of his mind on polyethylene……..nice guy like you say…will take your word….

  14.  

    I didn’t say he was a nice guy.

  15.  

    Hey basil which part of what Blindboy said do u deem arse talk

  16.  

    John Mallon, your point is perfect.
    e

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