To look at why no one, including the baby boomers themselves, want to work with the over 50s - we first have to look back at their formative moments to understand the intense dislike.
Octavio Paz in “One Earth, Four or Five Worlds” wrote about the youth rebellions of the 1960s saying that:
“The novelty of the rebellion was not intellectual but moral; the young did not discover other ideas - they lived, with passionate intensity, those they had inherited”
He continues by suggesting that after the adoration or hatred of paternal figures like Churchill, Hitler or de Gaulle in the 1940s that “we went from the glorification of the solitary old man to the exaltation of the juvenile tribe.”
The point for us is that kids had rejected the old mantra of “be seen but not heard” and during the end of the 60s they were very much heard, very much seen and very much disliked by the conservative society that tried to quash them.
The second point is that in terms of new ideas about how the world should be run, they were curiously blank. They followed what could be called a ‘beat’ lifestyle in the mold of William Burroughs, but offered no alternative - apart from the absolutely Utopian and impractical - about how poverty could be alleviated, how the world could be fed and diseases cured.
Nope, this was a generation of the megaphone, where every proclamation had to be shouted in 2 second segments.
It could as simple and workable as “stop the war” to “we’re here, we’re queer...” - it was however, constantly about stopping someone from doing something.
Stop the war in Vietnam, stop oppressing gay people, stop the unequal treatment of women.
No new positive solutions about how endemic problems might be solved and new ways of thinking.
And enter postmodernism, the self-fulfilling prophecy that nothing new can be created and we should all be rehashing what’s been said before with a twist of irony and a maddening sense of self-awareness.
Now, thanks to this unimaginative thinking we’ve had governments like Bill Clinton’s in 1992 that ran on a message of “it’s the economy stupid!” - an idea that isn’t forward facing but suggests we already have all the tools necessary - to musicians like Lady Gaga who looks like Madonna if she robed a hobo.
It seems like we’re going in circles.
We began in the 1960s with a generation that awoke to say “fuck the father”, to the next that said “fuck the father” whilst listening to dad’s music, to Gen-Y which still says “fuck the father” whilst listening to dad’s music, grandad’s music and looks at both of them as the cause of all evil.
There’s no sense how similar the three generations really are:
Childhood, lose virginity, music, alcohol, drug use, university, alcohol, drug use international travel, share house, radicalism
Real job, number of relationships, marriage, house, divorce, conservatism
Kids resent you, nursing home, death
So now, as Gen-Y is in their 20s and 30s are we really surprised that they adopted this unimaginative thinking and sound bite culture to the extreme?
Throwing in self-promotion for good measure.
Is it really surprising that this generation isn’t modernist, post-modernist or post-post modernist - it’s ‘post-everything’. It’s post everything, anywhere possible - hoping someone in oblivion will hear the whisper and recognise the genius.
Take what’s trending on Twitter at the moment; some minor Youtube star called Damon Fizzy (Deefizzy) is inspiring people to beg him to add them. The snowball effect of twitter means that as people see it, they realise there’s a space to scream into the void and quickly through their snowball into the avalanche.
“Damon Fizzy ( @deefizzy ) is trending worldwide!? My #fizzyfamily is fantastic for trending this amazing person<3”
The ‘post-everything’ nature of Gen-Y is also that they’re past ‘isms’ and past ideology. For example you’ll rarely here anyone under 30 say they’re a feminist - even when they show all the hallmarks of supporting women in having legal and social equality to men.
Nope, no one wants to be branded as members of a group they can’t control whether that be unions, political parties or any uncomfortable ‘ism’.
No, this generation’s only ‘ism’ is individualism - Gen-Y took the failing of the 60s to create a generation wide counter culture moment and the self-aware hedonism of the 80s and mashed it together to create a people that are centered on themselves and the organisations they themselves can create.
But the question still remains, why does everyone hate the baby boomers so much?
Essentially the answer is that baby boomers are frustrated by their fustiness which they can’t work out is just the slowing down of old age. Technology is rapidly changing and unfortunately when you’re old and set in your ways it’s hard to adapt as quickly as technology does.
Young people have energy and ambition and the semi-young Gen-X, who are rapidly entering middle age, like to pretend they do.
The real problem is that neither Gen-Y or Gen-X want to look at the baby boomers and see their future - based on a lifetime of living without imagination.