Generation X, Y, Z

wax bottlesI’m confused, and you can’t say that it’s because I’m a baby boomer and we’re all in a confused pre-Alzheimers state. I just heard that there is a new demographic known as Generation Z, AKA the Silent Generation, and I’m worried that they have run out of letters for the next generations.

Generation X I get. Supposedly, it came from a study of British youth who "sleep together before they are married, don't believe in God, dislike the Queen, and don't respect parents.” Sound like nice kids. Then Douglas Coupland picked it up in his book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture and the term was off and running. Then came the term “twenty something,” but however you slice it, fizziesGen X refers to the demo that was born between 1964 and 1979, although many will and do argue about the exact dates.

So just as surely as night follows day, Gen X has to be followed by Gen Y, and you can begin to see how we are going to run out the alphabet here. Also referred to as the Millenials or Internet generation, they would be the Class of 2000, having been born in 1982. They also have been referred to as the Second Baby Boom, because as I don’t need to tell you, they are our kids. You could hardly call Gen Y rebels, but it would be safe to say that authority figures have only marginal success with Gen Yers.

That brings us to Z, and it would appear, the end of the line, the 26th letter, the last straw, squirrel nutsgood old Zed. Born mid to late 1990s, the Zeds are being called the new silent generation if you read Generations, the book by Struass and Howe. Their theory is that generations are cyclical and this current crop is going to behave more like the first silent generation (many of whom were our parents). It’s sad to know that they are already being called the Homeland Generation because they must grow up with a hyper ventilating sense that we are fighting terrorists “there” so that they won’t come “here.”

For some reason Gen Z is also known as the Alpha Generation, and while that may not be cause for celebration, it does give me hope that at least there’s room at the head of the alphabet for many more generations to come.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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