The Concept of Generational Blurring: It sounds like I’m about to talk about a scientific sociological study I’ve done. Is it really a concept if I just made it up?
The distant past seems magical because of the mystery and lack of details we have. Especially the past that occurred before there was 24/7 news coverage of everything. The past that occurred before everyone had a camera in their phone. When I was growing up my parents could tell me about all the craziness and social upheaval of the 1960’s in America. They had specific memories of historical events and pop culture phenomena that everyone of that generation shared. I learned about their past through their stories, occasional old grainy black and white news clips and the history books we read in school.
When I tell my son about my years growing up he has already seen the movies, TV shows and didn’t read about my generation in history. He watched my generation grow up on camera. He knows my pop culture memories as well as I do. He has seen the Space Shuttle blow up and watched 9/11. He can play songs I grew up listening to and quote movies I watched as a kid. There’s not much mystery to my history. It was documented in ways both big and small and has been shared across the internet repeatedly. The funny stories about me and my friends growing up? He’s seen me tagged in all the pictures online. My past is in some ways his present.
In the past before there were 800 television channels and 18 twenty-four hour news channels, everyone knew and watched the same stuff. We all knew the same hit songs, watched the same TV shows, saw the same news and the next day at school or work the whole country talked about the same things. Everything public was a shared experience. Now there is so much media that the generations have become blurred. There is no distinct shows, movies or events that belong to a generation. There is so much media that no one has the same cultural experience as another any longer.
I feel like the children of this generation are missing out on the shared experiences that we used to have. I’m sure I’m just turning into an old guy that thinks the past was better. I’m sure our kids will grow up with generational memories different than ours. Memories of life shared by Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Is that good or bad? Only time will tell.
As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please share. Bonus points for you if you can guess which one of the three guys in the picture above is me. Have a great Tuesday. ~Phil