Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Noble But Failing Attempt at Cultural Renewal

The American Conservative's Daniel McCarthy's latest struck home, literally — The Flannel Generation Turns 40, and Millennials Go for a Walk. His conclusion:
    It wasn’t just the Boomers’ ’60s ethos that dismantled the social order but the consumer junk culture as well, and much of that consumerism only made sense within status hierarchies that both an unsustainable economy and Boomer sensibilities (or later generations’ revulsion against them) have destroyed. If a fortysomething Generation X’s success is hard to measure, it’s because the old measures—traditional, commercial, and countercultural alike—have been hollowed of meaning. Human driftwood is just what you’d expect to come of this.

    The Xers have suffered worse from this anomie than millennials only because they have some memory—if only second-hand memories from TV—of what life was like for the Boomers. They had jobs, intact homes, and what seemed like a purpose in changing the world. The Xers knew what they were missing. The millennials aren’t defined by that absence in the same way, and I think they have a sense that what they want they’re going to have to build anew, or rediscover.
This Xer invited his Boomer parents to live with him two years ago, expecting The Waltons. Having my granny at home with us when I grew up in the '70s and '80s was kind of Waltonesque, but having two Boomers in your house, with all due respect, is like having another set of children to raise. Sure, my Xer nihilism doesn't always help things out, but please, a little more wisdom and less TV from time to time would be nice. That said, my Xer stoicism will carry us through.

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