YYounger members of Generation X, like myself, have encoded in our DNA the supernatural ability to roll our eyes as humanly possible and mumble « whatever » in the direction of any authority figure. Thus, it is with some amusement that Gen X-ers watch the generation war unfold between Boomers and Millennials/GenZ. Baby boomers, as well as some Gen-X elders, have made it their mission to beat millennials ever since younger ones have entered the workforce as an army of newcomers who have come to take over rather than waiting your turn. The boomers responded as the threatened and dying usually do: they downsized and attacked. Difficult.
Generational squabbles, while entertaining for a minute on social media, reveal not only discontent with financial security, but expose our temporality on this rock.
Louder Boomers prone to generational conflict apparently see Millennials (and younger) as bun-coiffed, skinny-jean, avocado toast-munching, coffee-drinking free-shippers. They are lazy, entitled and naïve. Some remain trapped in the mentality that has been loudly proclaimed since 2013 Time cover story that Millennials are « The Me Me Me Generation ». Case in point, during my first day of orientation at a new job, our boss showed a YouTube video making fun of Millennials, seemingly not entirely realizing that a sizable portion of his staff fell into that demographic. . It didn’t go well.
Millennials and GenZ « cheered » as they say, not me, ’cause I’m too cool for that, with the epic « Ok Boomer. » It’s their eyeroll-whatever combination, and I must say it’s a spectacular response, that infuriates the Boomers as it mirrors the dismissal they’ve shown their successors. The New York Times described « Ok Boomer » as « a rallying cry for millions of fed up kids. Teens use it to respond to embarrassing YouTube videos, tweets from Donald Trump, and pretty much anyone over 30 who says something condescending about young people and the issues that interest them.
“Ok Boomer” encompasses the most succinct way to respond to Boomer’s perceived excesses or inattention to everything from income inequality, climate change, expanding corporate power and criminal justice reform, to name just a few. possibility. The phrase is a patronizing and condescending pat on the head for those who have long been convinced that their ways are the right ones.
bBut the fight also illustrates GenX’s angst about its place in the world. Nicknamed the « Forgotten Generation, » the youngest members of Generation X are entering middle age with little to no promise of approaching Boomers’ blockbuster goalscorers. Austin Channing Brown recently called out this angst via a Discussion on Twitterresponding to the idea that we all exist in a stunted adolescence:
Not long after this tweet where Brown explained longer form the challenges faced by the GenX and older millennials, with a particular focus on African Americans. His analysis resonates with many in their 30s and 40s. He writes, “The often-too-easy label of ‘slacker’ is applied to Gen X cusps like myself. But the truth is that when we reached the path that the older generation had prepared for us, it was nothing but a chasm. We didn’t have much choice in terms of stability. »
The 2008 recession affected homeowners and the prospect of home ownership for others. Brown, like many, had to move many times in search of available jobs, explaining that neither she nor her husband had worked at a company for more than four years. Brown revealed that she and her husband don’t have a retirement fund or 401K. Brown sums up what many are feeling: “The American dream, so to speak, was crumbling under their feet. It’s a particular pain to have it all stripped away. A bereavement that deserved more time and attention than it received.
NoThe show highlights the current generation struggle better than HBO’s Golden Globe winner Succession, which follows the Roy family. Logan Roy, played by a ferocious Brian Fox, is what would happen if Rupert Murdoch fathered Trump’s four children: three of whom want the crown, one of whom doesn’t, along with an obsequious son-in-law employed by the family business, WayStar Roico.
However, even when art mimics life a little too closely, there are lessons to be learned. The series debuts with Logan’s 80th birthday creating the expectation that he will announce his successor. Kendall, the second son and WayStar executive, assumes his honor will be his. We first see Kendall rapping alongside the Beastie Boys, a quintessential GenX group if ever there was one, on his way to closing a takeover that he believes will solidify his basis as Logan’s successor. Kendall’s fluidity in « bro talk » is a sad attempt to stave off middle age while retaining some trace of his evaporating coldness.
Kendall represents many within GenX who have been content to bide their time, resting on the promise that all generations not only enjoy their time in the sun, but also inevitably repeat similar mistakes for the sake of wearing the crown. He calls it the « Rehoboam syndrome ». When Rehoboam took the throne in Solomon’s retinue, he had to make a crucial decision whether to ease the labor and tax policies of his father, who was the advice of Solomon’s advisers, or listen to his friends and make a name for himself by doubling down on current tough policies ( 1 Kings 12). He chose the latter, ultimately leading to a divided kingdom. Similarly, Kendall Roy also yearns to make her way, even though she has no accomplishments to call of him except the administration of her father’s estate.
Kendall’s aggressive Millennial brothers have their own plans to gain power within the company. Shiv, Logan’s only child, is clearly the smartest of the bunch, but she’s been neglected her entire life due to her gender. Her conniving husband Tom also holds an executive position, completing the other half of the dysfunctional power couple. Roman, the younger Roy, played brilliantly by Kieran Culkin, has dull eyes Hen party competitor, who routinely bows down to Logan’s anger in the name of financial self-preservation. There are no heroes among the Roys. They’re pawns in Logan’s game of keeping her almost literal death grip on his place of power. The name Roy must live on in eternity; this is the only recognizable ethic that guides the Logans and his family.
TRoy’s boys exemplify Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s comment on the debate among Christ’s disciples about « which of them should be the greatest » (Lk 9:46). Bonhoeffer points out Life together that Christian communities, almost from the very beginning, can be assailed by « an invisible, often unconscious, life-and-death contest… sufficient to destroy a communion. » Bonhoeffer describes the insidious pecking orders we create to gain an advantage over each other:
from the first moment a man meets another person, he looks for a strategic position that he can assume and maintain in relation to that person. There are strong people and weak people. If a man is not strong, he immediately claims the right of the weak as his own and uses it against the strong.
Each member of the Roy family engages an endless series of bickering against each other with no off-limits if it means climbing the family ladder: failed takeovers, trips to rehab, divorces and public humiliations are the signature Roy family dinnertime conversations. Such is the life of the billionaire heirs and heiresses for the prize of one day sitting on the throne of Roy.
Indeed, Logan Roy’s important last words to one of his ambitious sons encapsulate the generational struggle: “You are not a murderer. You must be a killer. But, nowadays, maybe you don’t. I don’t know. » While on the surface Logan’s snub appears to be a vote of no confidence in his son’s ability to run the company, his statement reveals either a corporate survival mindset or an acknowledgment that the changing world it might just kill his ideology.I’m not sure which prospect you find more troubling.
Bonhoeffer warns that infighting will destroy Christian communities. I confess that in these uncertain times it is difficult to cheer for younger professionals, especially academics, who could take « my place ». If I focus on my financial and professional stress, student loan debt, and general fear of the future on a daily basis, then I’ll be looking for broad generational generalities — before or after me — that simply make the day’s burden a little easier to bear.
ggenerational squabbles, as they hang out for a minute on social media, reveal not only discontent with financial security, but expose our temporality on this rock. Furthermore, Boomer’s rejection of aptly argued grievances such as « snowflake » whining violates Paul’s warnings against provoking anger (Ephesians 6:4) and bitterness in children (Col. 3:21) . Mature Christians must rage against this impulse to downplay the concerns of young people by justifying their mistakes to safeguard their pride or wealth.
In a later episode of SuccessionIn Season 1, Logan emerges from a swimming pool, displaying many visible scars on his back for the first time, presumably from his brutal childhood. No explanation is given. The metaphor sticks, however, reminding us that we rarely know all the struggles an individual or generation has endured. That said, everyone has scars, including the generations that follow us, many of them wounded by our hands.
So, maybe let’s cool it down with generation warfare. Things are hard enough as they are: you know economic pressures, natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, and so on. Okay, boomers?