Sunday, December 7, 2014

the "Transitional Cohort" : those born after the Fall of France but before the rise of Elvis ...

A cohort ("generation" in lay-speak) is forever defined by the significant external events happening during its key formative ('coming of age') years.

For my cohort - born roughly between 1940 and 1956 and usually defined simply as "first wave Baby Boomers" -  its key characteristic is its 'neither nor' transitional aspect : neither fully and comfortably Modern nor fully and a comfortably post Modern.

Modernity's values were instilled into us by our teachers and elites but before those values had time to harden and to feel natural and inevitable they were assailed by post Modern doubters.

In turn, those doubts about Modernity never properly hardened into feelings that seemed as natural and inevitable to us as they did to our younger siblings.

We have eaten and enjoyed both white Wonder Bread and artisan whole grain loaves but are not now totally at ease with either.

More seriously, the Transitional Generation is quite uncomfortable with young people dismissing vaccines.

We too share their distrust of big drug company profit mantras but we also remember some of our parents and grandparents' fears before most life-threatening childhood infections had preventative vaccines.

But we are not a short, sharp, sharply defined cohort like the WWII cohort - we can't point to six years of war to forever define us.

Nothing really dramatic ever happened with us : modernity just went out with a long long slow gentle sigh and post modernity equally slowly seeped in , almost invisibly, day by day.

There was nothing Super-Hero-like about it : it wasn't a quick clean clear dramatic break between Eras , but rather more 'slow and messy' , contested and plodding : characteristically un-superhero-like in fact .....

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