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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why Us?

Here is another post that I started to write but never finished. The original date on this one was "9/5/05".
"Why is all of this happening to our generation?"

That was the question that T2 asked me yesterday. I asked him what he meant.He mentioned the tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the War on Terror... stuff like that...

I had to think a minute. There has been a lot of horrific events dumped on this generation of youth... more than just what he mentioned- serial murders... child abductions and murders... abuse scandals... all announced on the news nightly, hourly even. But... is it any more than previous generations?

Born around the time of the first World War, my grandparents came of age during the Great Depression. Then they became the Greatest Generation during World War II. My parents, born during or shortly after WWII, grew up during the ramp up for the Cold War and entered adulthood during the Viet Nam conflict. Me? I was born at the end of the crazy 60s, grew up as the Cold War became a way of life, and I became an adult as the Evil Empire was crumbling. My sister's generation (born 9 years after me) doesn't remember the Cold War, may or may not remember the Berlin Wall falling, and came of age during an era of technological and scientific advancement that is astounding to think about. Through all of this, every generation had hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, war, hatred, and evil. So... what's the difference?

The media. The Information Age. Technology. That's the difference. We are made instantly aware of everything that's going on. During WWII, folks got their news from 3 sources- the radio, the newspapers, and the news reels that played before movies at the theater. That's it. During the 60s and 70s, you could replace the news reels with television news broadcasts (on the 3 or maybe 4 stations that you could pick up with the rabbit ear antenna). In the 80s, cable was introduced, and then satellite television. Now, on my little ole tv, I have 4 cable news channels, plus 6 stations that offer local news (4 from Austin, plus the "super stations" on cable). My parents have satellite tv, and I have NO idea how many news sources they have access to.

That's the difference- it's not that more is happening... we just know about more of it...

But... all of that made me think... how do these events... these major global events... affect the generation that grows up during them? The Great Depression greatly shaped the Greatest Generation. The 60s defined the Boomers (correctly or not) as the Hippie Generation. The Cold War, economic booms and recessions, and the collapse of the Soviet Union shaped my generation. My little sister's generation has grown up in a changing world, embracing the new technology and trying not to laugh at "the old days."

The world is a little smaller for the boys' generation (compared to my generation). Other cultures aren't quite as foreign as they used to be. How will that affect their generation?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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