Friday, June 12, 2009

Self indulgent twaddle

This is mainly a gripe/moan but there is a serious point about the idea that there are collective generational attitudes.

Today the WSJ has an item titled: “Boomers to This Year's Grads: We Are Really, Really Sorry” in which it lists some of the comments being made at US graduation events. Obviously, the article is going to be selective in the quotes it uses but the message it conveys is one that keeps popping up in the US and to a lesser extent in the UK. These quotes give you a feel for the sentiments:
The collective advice for the class of 2009: Don't be like us (Boomers).

We have been self-absorbed, self-indulgent and all too often just plain selfish.

The grasshopper generation, eating through just about everything like hungry locusts.

We have limited the potential of future generations by burdening them with our poor choices and our unwillingness to make tough ones.
Most of the speakers were from the world of politics, academia and the media (i.e. the ‘chattering’ class).

One contributor to the article said about this collective spasm of self-flagellation: “You think about what an apology does, it allows you to maintain the moral high ground."

Here is how I see it.

Firstly, this bunch of worthies has the arrogance to think they can make pronouncements about “their generation”. Wrong. The belief that you can extrapolate your own attitudes and beliefs to the rest of the planet, because they happen to be born at the same time as you, is plainly daft.

Secondly, these self appointed generational spokesman (I specifically mean ‘man’ not spokeswomen) inhabit the small enclave of people that are continually represented in the media. The more they appear, the more they appear, the more their views of the world are taken as ‘fact’.

Finally, this group share a common trait. They rarely allow reality to encroach and influence their ‘ideals’. What I mean by this is that 30-40 years ago these same people would have been nattering on about whatever the ‘radical’ issue of the day happened to be. They started with unrealistic ideals and are astonished they haven’t been attained. As they push their zimmer frames around they will still be blathering on in the same way.

Lesson for the day. Marketers must look beyond the media pronouncements about generational issues – and any other issue come to that. Dick Stroud

1 comment:

Dick Stroud said...

This is a much more elegant defence of the craze for Boomer Bashing than I could write.