Sunday, November 02, 2008

The yoof of today...

Are all over 30. Surprised? The BBC was. LibertyCat wasn't.

F&M have blogged about Strauss and Howe's 'generations' theory before. This poll is further confirmation that our cultish devotion to this theory is not misplaced.

Back in 1990, Strauss and Howe wrote a book called Generations. It argued that people did not get more conservative with age. Instead, a devotion to sex, drugs and rock n'roll among the 'yoof' was a cohort effect.

They identified four Generations, which appeared in sequence throughout (American) history. They said it 'looked' to people today that young people grew out of rock chick behaviour with age, because the Baby Boomers (teenagers in the 1960s/1970s) were an 'awakening' generation who rebelled against their conservative parents by smoking weed, protesting and going to rock concerts. Since Boomers dominate the media (because of their age and numbers), they constantly tell us that young people rebel in exactly the way they did.

However, the Boomers are now aging hippies so their children, the Millennials, have only one place to rebel. Strauss and Howe predicted the Millennials would be more socially conservative and less idealistic than their parents.

Three friends in their late 20s have mentioned to us independently that their 21 - 25 year old colleagues/friends are more likely to get married than their friends over 30. Now, it seems, the 'yoof' of today don't like bad-mouthed entertainers abusing elderly actors either. Unlike their parents.

The Telegraph and New York Observer ran articles last year about the so-called New Victorians (Millennials). Admittedly, all their case studies are the seriously privileged, but do you think your average 1960s labourer 'turned on, tuned in and dropped out'.


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