Jesse Walker on Generational Generalizations Gone Wrong

When some parents of the 1980s and ’90s started
sending their kids to schools where uniforms were required, who
could have imagined the social consequences? Those dress codes
became a core part of that rising generation’s identity—”a defining
symbol of a much larger effort to clean up child behavior,” as one
history of the trend recalls—setting the stage for the “compulsory
uniformed service” that those same kids joined en masse after they
left college. Even outside the service corps, young people took to
wearing “‘general issue’ clothing reminiscent of the G.I.s.” With
time the generation’s conformist style came to represent a
“collective grandeur,” leading historians to see the millennials’
school and soccer uniforms “as harbingers of monumental deeds that
came later.”

What’s that? You say you don’t remember any of that happening?
Strange: Jesse Walker points out that it was predicted in detail in
Millennials Rising, a book published in the year 2000 by
the court astrologers of the social sciences, William Strauss and
Neil Howe. At that point, Strauss and Howe had spent nine years
flogging a generation-based theory of social change that had just
enough believability to hook an audience and just enough hubris to
spin such wild speculations.

View this article.

from Hit & Run

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