The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

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The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 00:37

The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

There is an ideological conflict brewing between ‘woke’ millennials and an older generation, a conflict where neither understands the other

For a while there, in the first part of the new millennium, the generation gap was pretty much assumed to be dead.

People in their 40s shopped in the same clothing stores as people in their 20s, and listened to the same sort of music.

If you were on the left, you all cheered for Obama, and everyone from those in university dorms to the corner office had the Shepard Fairey posters of HOPE, and all ages were engaged in common political struggles (No invasion of Iraq! No blood for oil!).

You’d go to a Bloc Party concert and there’d be a finance dude there in his 40s wearing the same Urban Outfitters jeans as the kid in their 20s, and at dinner parties people in their 30s were taking MDMA, and everyone from the 19-year-olds to those high 37-year-olds leaving the dinner parties would end up at the same late-night bars.

According to an article on the merging of generations in 2006 in New York Magazine: “This, of course, is a seismic shift in intergenerational relationships. It means there is no fundamental generation gap anymore. This is unprecedented in human history. And it’s kind of weird.”

For the younger generation, how to rebel? How to mark yourself as different? Did age even mean anything anyway?

It’s 2018, and if you were a five-year-old in 2006, being rocked to sleep by your hipster dad singing you Arctic Monkeys, then you’d be 17 now. The same age as the Parkland kids – who many are characterising as a “new generation” (this label has been applied to the Parkland kids by outlets including the New Yorker, the New Republic, Christian Science Monitor and Salon).

Those who are a couple of years older are entering workplaces and colleges – and you know what? There is a generation gap – just not in the way that we imagined it.

It’s not about style. It’s not about about taste in music (“Turn down that racket!”). It’s about language and battles over inclusivity, diversity and power structures.

And it’s a whole lot more complicated and confusing than the generation gaps of yore – where the olds were horrified at the Beatles and their long hair.

A new conflict?

Boots on the ground – what does the new generational conflict look like? Inside the newsroom at the New York Times there is an ideological conflict brewing between the old guard and the “new woke” employees. An article published last week in Vanity Fair titled “Journalism is not about creating safe spaces’: Inside the woke civil war at the New York Times” illustrates the tensions.

In the newsroom, the battle lines are being drawn around older hands who believe in reporting a diverse range of views (including those that the left may find offensive), and who think that the reporting of the Trump presidency should be fairly straight down the line.

The younger generation were appalled at the 2016 election results and have expressed grievance at the Times hiring for their opinion pages one writer who has expressed scepticism about climate science and a millennial who supports campus free speech.

Other grievances within the newsroom that Vanity Fair reports as being split along generational lines include reaction to a reporter being allowed to return to work (in a demoted capacity) after being accused of sexual harassment and the managing editor, Dean Baquet, appearing at the same FT conference as Steve Bannon.

According to the Vanity Fair piece “as at many newsrooms and media offices, and in the culture at large, this is a moment of generational conflict not seen since the 1960s”.

n Australia this conflict includes debates around who gets to tell what stories. For example – whether a fiction author has the right to depict an experience that is not her own (so a white Australian woman writing the experiences of a queer Indigenous man).

This issue came to a head at the 2016 Brisbane writers festival – where the novelist Lionel Shriver gave the keynote address and argued that novelists should be free to to write from the point of view of characters from other cultural backgrounds. In the audience was the writer and engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who found the speech offensive and walked out.

She later wrote for Guardian Australia on the experience: “It’s not always OK if a white guy writes the story of a Nigerian woman because the actual Nigerian woman can’t get published or reviewed to begin with.

“It’s not always OK if a straight white woman writes the story of a queer Indigenous man, because when was the last time you heard a queer Indigenous man tell his own story?

“How is it that said straight white woman will profit from an experience that is not hers, and those with the actual experience never be provided the opportunity?”

Or it shows up in a reconsideration of the work of Chris Lilley – once a Gen X icon for Summer Heights High and We Can Be Heroes, but now being chastised and on the nose for depictions of characters such as Jonah from Tonga.

The show did not go down too well with critics in the US and UK – with the Huffington Post describing Lilley as “a 39-year-old white guy in a permed wig and brownface. Yes, brownface. In 2014.” Yet when when Summer Heights High first aired in 2007, the brownface went largely unremarked upon.

This week it’s The Simpsons that has come under fire for its flip response to anger over the depiction of the long-running Indian character Apu (Lisa says “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect. What can you do?”)

Identity politics and the generation gap

Part of this gap between young and old is the rise and mainstreaming of identity politics and intersectionality, a theory originating in black feminism, that calls out identity-based oppression.

This theory, around since the late 1980s and 90s and used to describe interlocking and structural systems of power, was coined in 1989 by the academic Kimberlé Crenshaw. It is used to describe, in Crenshaw’s words, the “multiple avenues through which racial and gender oppression were experienced.”

So how a black hotel cleaner might experience workplace discrimination is different from how a white, upper-class lawyer might experience it – because other forces of oppression are also at work other than gender discrimination.

Intersectionality was once a notion confined to the campus – its concerns did not reach the editorial conference room in the newspaper, in the programming of a music or writers festival, or the writers room of a TV sitcom.

But in recent years it has jumped off the page and into real-life discussions about Me Too and Black Lives Matter, for example.

Back in 2006 – when the generation gap was pronounced deceased by New York magazine (and a year before Jonah from Tonga was shown on Australian television to an accepting public) – words associated with this movement such as no-platforming, the use of “a violence” as a verb, and woke as an adjective, microaggression, and cisgender heterosexual either did not exist, or had not entered the mainstream.

The woke generation (young millennials aged between 18 and 30) brought the theories of intersectionality and identity into debates about a range of human rights issues: campus free speech, trans rights, the Me Too movement, marriage equality, gun control, reproductive rights, Black Lives matter and, in Australia, the Change the Date movement.

This new way of looking at the world has resulted in a golden age of protest, dissent and pushing back against societal norms. Marches in the US – such as the women’s march and the one for gun control – have smashed attendance records, while in Australia, the Invasion Day march surpassed all expectations of crowd size.

The landscape has shifted dramatically in the past few years, and older people (on the left and right) have found that they have been tripped up and called out by their more woke colleagues or friends or Twitter followers.

(The Wall Street Journal, in a piece this week, somewhat gleefully predicted it would be those who policed “wokeness” who would destroy the left).

Left-leaning Gen Xer’s thought that by listening to Rihanna, skateboarding to work and going to Coachella, they could defeat the generation gap. Now they are grappling with the idea that they may be causing offence – sometimes inadvertently – through a tweeted microaggression or an offensive Halloween costume or sombrero worn at a tequila party or a positive comment about Bill Leak’s legacy or personality on Twitter after he died.

The response – at least online – is punitive if offence is caused.

According to the piece in New Yorker on the new campus politics – it’s “flummoxed many people who had always thought of themselves as devout liberals. Wasn’t free self-expression the whole point of social progressivism?”

This is a generation gap – it’s just unlike any other we have seen before.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/14/the-generation-gap-is-back-but-not-as-we-know-it?CMP=soc_567
Last edited by mothra on 18 Apr 2018, 00:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 00:41

This article made me think of a convo you and i had a wee while ago, John. You know, when we were wondering about how our kids would shock us?

Interesting time to be a parent.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby pinkeye » 18 Apr 2018, 00:53

mothra wrote:This article made me think of a convo you and i had a wee while ago, John. You know, when we were wondering about how our kids would shock us?

Interesting time to be a parent.



I hope its a genuine gap 'for change.'

Politically, today.? we have the OLD generation in control, striving really hard to maintain that control, BY espousing... more of the same.!!!
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 01:54

pinkeye wrote:
mothra wrote:This article made me think of a convo you and i had a wee while ago, John. You know, when we were wondering about how our kids would shock us?

Interesting time to be a parent.



I hope its a genuine gap 'for change.'

Politically, today.? we have the OLD generation in control, striving really hard to maintain that control, BY espousing... more of the same.!!!


I had a really interesting rave with my daughter's boyfriend (who is hugely woke) about Game Of Thrones. He turned off it in disgust because of a graphic rape scene. Don't know if you've watched it or read the books but i'd not say the rape scene was gratuitous and was aimed pretty steadily but he was aghast. In his own words "the worst thing you can do to a person" shouldn't be shown on telly, written by men.

Firstly, there are worse things than being raped. For instance, woke boyfriend had no problem with a long tortured character having his dangly bits hacked off and fed to the dog. I think this is worse than being raped. And rape is pretty fucking horrible.

Secondly, why the fuck aren't we telling stories anymore? What's with this trend of not being able to speak on a subject if you are not a personal representative? It's all a bit going in the opposite direction to where i want to head .. and that is towards compassion and empathy for each other.

Dangerous territory, i reckon.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby pinkeye » 18 Apr 2018, 02:50

I think it is about another gap...also,
between reality and fiction.

Fiction like Game of Thrones is, for many , infused with so much more than living their own lives can offer them. A true fantasy, in essence. Made so much more compelling by the human penchant for intrigue and murder.

I read the books, and eventually gave up in boredom. The politics were so convoluted, I really couldn't be bothered. I haven't watched the PAYTV program.

The constraints of our society don't really enable the young to gain real life experiences.. poverty means many never go overseas, never fly in a plane to anywhere...all the golden dreams depicted on the TV are just that.. dreams of a supposed better world, where you get to go to Bali. :roll .

And for those who think a trip to Bali is a must-do experience, and have the money.... :roll :roll
yep you can buy experiences... :roll

but real life is the fertile ground from which so much wisdom has grown.. not the plastic world of advertising and TV. Or Bali.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 18 Apr 2018, 10:09

mothra wrote:This article made me think of a convo you and i had a wee while ago, John. You know, when we were wondering about how our kids would shock us?

Interesting time to be a parent.



I kinda think some sort of generation gap is not only inevitable, it's also necessary for mankind to progress. The older generation are typically set in their ways and overly comfortable with their role in life, too comfortable to risk that comfort (and their families) for someone else. ..... it's the young who are yet to reach that point who will get out there and fight for other peoples rights, for those that can't fight for themselves or are typically ignored. They have nothing to lose.
While I'm sure I will in some ways hate when my kids will challenge me when they are older, I also think it's necessary. If they don't, and all they do is parrot what I've been saying verbatim, then in some ways I haven't played my part as a parent properly. I may as well have raised a parrot instead of a free thinking individual.


mothra wrote:Secondly, why the fuck aren't we telling stories anymore? What's with this trend of not being able to speak on a subject if you are not a personal representative? I

I disagree wholeheartedly with what Yasmin's attitude to Lionel Shriver in the article. While I agree with her that it would be more ideal for a nigerian woman to write about nigerian women, I don't think it should be limited only a Nigerian women writing about Nigerian women. If a Nigerian woman can't get published about the topic, isn't it better the a white man writing from a Nigerian womans perspective gets published than nothing at all? It might at the very least raise awareness of an issue enough that one day a publisher might turn around and say, 'lets hear a Nigerians woman's perspective on it'.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby Dax » 18 Apr 2018, 10:38

There's always been a gender gap, that's evolution in action and the one today, is no different to the past. It's like most things in life, everyone thinks they have discovered something new for humanity, when it's just a repeat of the past. All that's different is the living conditions, educational standards and technology.

When you look around and find 95% of the young are locked to their phones and even older people, especially women are locked to them no wonder some are thinking the gender gap is new.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 13:38

johnsmith wrote:

mothra wrote:Secondly, why the fuck aren't we telling stories anymore? What's with this trend of not being able to speak on a subject if you are not a personal representative? I

I disagree wholeheartedly with what Yasmin's attitude to Lionel Shriver in the article. While I agree with her that it would be more ideal for a nigerian woman to write about nigerian women, I don't think it should be limited only a Nigerian women writing about Nigerian women. If a Nigerian woman can't get published about the topic, isn't it better the a white man writing from a Nigerian womans perspective gets published than nothing at all? It might at the very least raise awareness of an issue enough that one day a publisher might turn around and say, 'lets hear a Nigerians woman's perspective on it'.


Same. I was quite disappointed in that. Not everyone gets to be heard. That doesn't mean their story shouldn't. I highly value people with a platform speaking for those we cannot hear.

Interesting clash of philosophies ... both well meaning.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 20:08

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:This article made me think of a convo you and i had a wee while ago, John. You know, when we were wondering about how our kids would shock us?

Interesting time to be a parent.



I kinda think some sort of generation gap is not only inevitable, it's also necessary for mankind to progress. The older generation are typically set in their ways and overly comfortable with their role in life, too comfortable to risk that comfort (and their families) for someone else. ..... it's the young who are yet to reach that point who will get out there and fight for other peoples rights, for those that can't fight for themselves or are typically ignored. They have nothing to lose.
While I'm sure I will in some ways hate when my kids will challenge me when they are older, I also think it's necessary. If they don't, and all they do is parrot what I've been saying verbatim, then in some ways I haven't played my part as a parent properly. I may as well have raised a parrot instead of a free thinking individual.


I've been thinking about this today, in respects to my own children and where they sit. 9 year age gap ... daughter just turned 21 and son is 11 ... so that's crosses a spectrum of generational identity.

My daughter never rebelled. Got a bit silly with boys but you get that. She was raised vegetarian and is vegan now. Raised with feminist ideals and is a much more opinionated and vocal than i. She's like a yee-hah me ... all though everyone tells me i was like that too when i still had adrenaline.

Now my son, tells me off all the time for fucking something up when i honestly didn't think i did. And i'm pretty sensitive. I thought the wave of political correctness was a Machiavellian scheme by the far right to make everybody sick to death of being sensitive to other people (a theory born out by the back-lash .. like, no shit, the Nazis are actually back) because me, my peeps and modern popular culture didn't need to be told.

It seems i do. My 11 year old son has caught me being sexist towards women. True. Or gender normative (to be fair, i've copped that one from the girl too); and technically, they are correct. I ceded, not that i had much ground to give). It's not that we're creating new genders by our permissiveness, it's that we've created a world in which kids are openly saying, "Hey, i don't think like that". Well done us.

This is the bit that reminded me of our convo. Like, we're listening to their music, wearing their clothes, taking their drugs and doing it on skateboards with messy hair ... but they've cornered us on our hypocrisy. Clever little monkeys. They've been raised on our ideas .. they ticked the evolutionary box ... now they are being honed and demands for consistency and universal implementation are making the nightly news again.

I think it's brilliant.

They're just a bit too enthusiastic is all. And they're really going to piss off Frank, Valkie, Hammer and Herbie.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 18 Apr 2018, 23:31

mothra wrote:and is a much more opinionated and vocal than i.


may god help us all :gup :gup :gup :gup :gup :gup



:rofl :rofl
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 18 Apr 2018, 23:32

i like your synopsis there mothra ... makes sense as well as giving me hope. :thumb
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 23:39

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:and is a much more opinionated and vocal than i.


may god help us all :gup :gup :gup :gup :gup :gup



:rofl :rofl


She's like an ethical Viking shield maiden. So impressed.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 18 Apr 2018, 23:44

mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:and is a much more opinionated and vocal than i.


may god help us all :gup :gup :gup :gup :gup :gup



:rofl :rofl


She's like an ethical Viking shield maiden. So impressed.


mamma is so proud :clap
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 18 Apr 2018, 23:48

johnsmith wrote:
mamma is so proud :clap


So fucking proud. She's my best friend.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 18 Apr 2018, 23:56

mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mamma is so proud :clap


So fucking proud. She's my best friend.


Awesome that at 21 she's your best friend ... sounds like you raised her right


give yourself a pat on the back

(even if it was a fluke :roll )
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 19 Apr 2018, 00:12

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mamma is so proud :clap


So fucking proud. She's my best friend.


Awesome that at 21 she's your best friend ... sounds like you raised her right


give yourself a pat on the back

(even if it was a fluke :roll )


Thanks. Really, she's been a breeze. The boy is on the spectrum so he's trickier ... but fucking hilarious.

I'll let you know in a few years if i arsed it first time 'round or if i'm on to something.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 19 Apr 2018, 00:17

mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mamma is so proud :clap


So fucking proud. She's my best friend.


Awesome that at 21 she's your best friend ... sounds like you raised her right


give yourself a pat on the back

(even if it was a fluke :roll )


Thanks. Really, she's been a breeze. The boy is on the spectrum so he's trickier ... but fucking hilarious.

I'll let you know in a few years if i arsed it first time 'round or if i'm on to something.



attended a parenting class once where they told us that to succeed as a parent, you only have to get it right about 30% of the time.

It was their way of telling us it was ok to make mistakes, no one expected perfection
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 19 Apr 2018, 00:22

I think the only thing you really need to do is treat them respect. Then they treat you with respect. Easy. I've never smacked or screamed at either of my kids. I've honestly never felt inclined to.

Just treat them like little people with their own way of looking at the world. Get to know them and you can work with them.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 19 Apr 2018, 18:06

mothra wrote: I've never smacked or screamed at either of my kids.


obviously no Italian blood in you
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 19 Apr 2018, 18:11

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote: I've never smacked or screamed at either of my kids.


obviously no Italian blood in you


Not a drop. I'm one of those awful Irish sorts.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 19 Apr 2018, 18:13

mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote: I've never smacked or screamed at either of my kids.


obviously no Italian blood in you


Not a drop. I'm one of those awful Irish sorts.


Irish? So the kids yell at you instead? typical.


:c :c
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 19 Apr 2018, 18:17

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote: I've never smacked or screamed at either of my kids.


obviously no Italian blood in you


Not a drop. I'm one of those awful Irish sorts.


Irish? So the kids yell at you instead? typical.


:c :c


Never. So far i haven't ever had a "i hate you" either, or a "fuck you".

I think perhaps my daughter spoiled me. I'll get back to you.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 19 Apr 2018, 18:25

mothra wrote:
Never. So far i haven't ever had a "i hate you" either, or a "fuck you".

I think perhaps my daughter spoiled me. I'll get back to you.


really? my soon to be 6 year old has already started with the 'I hate you' .... he thinks it's funny. In his defence, he always follows up with 'just kitting, I love you daddy' (he hasn't mastered the word 'kidding' yet)
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby mothra » 19 Apr 2018, 18:29

johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:
Never. So far i haven't ever had a "i hate you" either, or a "fuck you".

I think perhaps my daughter spoiled me. I'll get back to you.


really? my soon to be 6 year old has already started with the 'I hate you' .... he thinks it's funny. In his defence, he always follows up with 'just kitting, I love you daddy' (he hasn't mastered the word 'kidding' yet)



I tell my kids the reason there's such a big age gap between them is their siblings displeased me and i stuffed them in the wall cavities. So they behave themselves.
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Re: The generation gap is back – but not as we know it

Postby johnsmith » 19 Apr 2018, 18:36

mothra wrote:
johnsmith wrote:
mothra wrote:
Never. So far i haven't ever had a "i hate you" either, or a "fuck you".

I think perhaps my daughter spoiled me. I'll get back to you.


really? my soon to be 6 year old has already started with the 'I hate you' .... he thinks it's funny. In his defence, he always follows up with 'just kitting, I love you daddy' (he hasn't mastered the word 'kidding' yet)



I tell my kids the reason there's such a big age gap between them is their siblings displeased me and i stuffed them in the wall cavities. So they behave themselves.



get real ... my oldest is already scared to sleep on his own (he shares a room with his brother) ... if I tell them that then the whole family will have to move into his room. :roll :roll
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