I belong to a broad generation known as the “baby boomers”. I’m a bit nearer the tail end of it, being born in the late 50s, but I’m definitely in there. “We” (I say with breath taking authority) were the punks of the time, rather than the hippies. I was too young to be part of the original generation X, but I grew up in that time which regarded itself so highly, and so significantly. There were indeed some things which were of great significance, but there’s this sense in which the 60s and 70s became a badge of agreement, rather than the honour it thought itself to be.
Of course the majority of our generation were not hippies, punks, activists and protesters, or any other single thing, apart from ordinary people getting by; it was just the image which a significant minority identified with. What bothers me is the way an influential segment of my generation seemed to view successive generations. Somewhere in here, being the eventual replacement parent generation no longer sufficed. It wasn’t enough to be people who had experience (for good or bad), had their own world view that was just what it was, and would provide the resistance for younger generations to push against as they grew (which is what happened to us). That wasn’t good enough for us. We had to be “down with the kids”. We had to be perpetual critics of “the establishment”. We had to ridicule maturity as some kind of “patriarchal” scam. We weren’t like them. No, we were going to speak directly to the next great hope, the younger generation, the people we thought we once were. What that ends up as is advertising and marketing of course, but it is also just plain creepy.
I don’t mean that everyone in my generation behaves or sees things that way. No, far from it. But “most of us” isn’t the media, the arts or academia (oh the blessed refuges of the eternal youth!).
What seemed to get culturally pumped out after a while is a vision of the world in which adult authority, credibility and responsibility decays, and children have the real answers. Yeah, that would be cool, right? The kids are alright! Except actually they’re not, because they’re just kids, and while they sure pick up on you wanting to sell to them, telling them all about their “rights”, and how you’re their real friend (though you’re actually a corporation), and that adults suck and that they are the cool ones; when they actually get to adulthood they find there is no special treatment, that they aren’t in fact geniuses with all the answers, and that nobody cares. Including you, because you now have a new marketing (read “belief”) demographic. It’s generation Z now, dontcha know.
Kids don’t need bigger kids on their side. They need adults with bullshit that they can push against (and maybe learn later that it wasn’t all bullshit, maybe). I think this is what half the indigo children thing is about. It’s not about the kids, it’s about their boomer parents. If you’re part of the “me generation” (which wasn’t actually an entire generation) you can’t just have children – you have little saviours of the future (just like our generation was meant to be!). When they have fuck ups, they can’t be fuck ups. No, they’re indigo. They’re special.
You really want to say “just stop, please!”.
You are ordinary. Your children are ordinary. Our generation was ordinary.
But sometimes it is time to grow up.19th April 2015, 23.00: minor edit to third paragraph.