The bunk of the new kind of tribe: For what it's worth, we played high school basketball against the late Bill Strauss, or at least we think we did.
Years later, he and co-author Neil Howe coined the term "millenials." (Bill also co-founded Capitol Steps.) This fact was mentioned yesterday in the New York Times, as Jonah Bromwich desperately searched for a name for the next big non-entity.
Uh-oh! The generation after millennials doesn't yet have a name. Bromwich defined the imaginary problem about the imaginary group at the start of his report:
BROMWICH (1/25/18): Millennials are getting older.The essay moved along in that vein. In the end, Bromwich asked for possible names for this alleged new cohort.
Not that much older, of course. We're a roughly defined generational cohort, but arguably the oldest members of our demographic set are just beginning to reach the age of 40.
Meanwhile, the American generation behind millennials has started to move into the workplace. And while some have proposed names for this group born in 1995 and after—Generation Z, Post-Millennials, The Homeland Generation, iGeneration—all of these names are bad. The first two don't even strive for originality! Come on.
Then again, it's hard to know what makes a generational name stick.
Why do we call this new cohort "alleged?" For the obvious reason! Bromwich announced that this new alleged generation starts with births in 1995. But he never answered an obvious question:
Who says that people born after 1994 constitute a new generation? While we're at it, who says there's any such thing as a "generation" of this type at all?
The thinking isn't always top-notch when this topic arises. For one example, note the way Bromwich defined the last three alleged generations:
BROMWICH: One stumbling block is a lack of agreement about the birth years for each generation. People on the fringes can feel as if they've got almost nothing in common with the rest of the group. A few years' difference can determine if you could have been drafted for Vietnam, watched the first MTV videos, or were born into a world of instant messaging.Hmmm. It's one thing to say there's a lack of agreement about each cohort's birth dates. It's another thing to define the matter as Bromwich does:
In 2015, the Census Bureau said that there were 83.1 million American millennials (born between 1982 and 2000), exceeding the 75.4 million baby boomers (between 1946 and 1964), and the 65 million that Pew Research said belong in Generation X (between 1965 and 1980).
But the generation after millennials is still so ill-defined (probably because of the whole name issue) that an accurate count has not yet been established.
Baby boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964It's fun to belong to a generation! But if you were born in 1981, it looks like you're [BLEEP] out of luck!
Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980
Millennials: Born between 1982 and 2000
It was already bad enough that we had racial, ethnic and gender "identities" mercilessly assigned to everybody by the commissars. But at some point, we got it into our tiny heads that we all had to belong to a "generation" too.
This notion makes no obvious sense. Nor does anyone ever seem to feel the need to answer some basic questions:
Who gets to set the boundaries for each alleged group? On what basis do they decide where "generations" start and end?
Those questions go unaddressed. The only thing that matters is this—we now have another, very dumb idea to play with. We have another "identity," one no one can really explain!
Without question, people born at different times have different types of experience. People born in the 1780s had never heard of Chutes and Ladders, to cite one familiar example.
People who came of age in the late 1960s did so at an unusual time. Facts like this are fairly obvious. Inevitably, they gave way to an industry of incoherent group assignment.
The idea that we belong to different generations has created a mountain of blather, especially in comment threads. Now, Bromwich seeks a name for a new non-existent group.
How about "The Overdefineds?" After that, let's come up with a name for folk from 1981 ("The Roanokes?"), with one more name for the journalists who are prepared to forget them.
We thought Bromwich blathered a bit. Then again, it's just so typical of his g-g-generation!