It’s not all about when you’re born
It’s not all about when
BY BETSY BEAN
There’s a new book out that caught my eye — “The Generation Myth: Why When You’re Born Matters Less Than You Think,” by Bobby Duffy, who’s British and identified as a “generational analyst.” He writes it’s shallow thinking to see everything through a generational lens, that in fact, there are three separate mechanisms that mold our attitudes and our society. Along with the era we’re born into, there are also “period effects” that are experienced by everyone (think 2008 or the coronavirus) and “life-cycle effects” (leaving home, marriage, children, even gaining weight as we age).
As publisher of a magazine for Baby Boomers, I naturally had to have it. It particularly resonated right now because I had just been thinking about one generational quality that I do think defined Boomers during our youth and middle-age — our infatuation with movies and their meanings in the 1970s, ’80s, and part of the ’90s. Those were the days of must-see movies, and now I think it’s over, truly over, and it makes me sad.
This particular season particularly brings back those memories. Christmas Day movies were a big deal back in the day. “Tootsie” in 1982; “Broadcast News” in 1987; “Schindler’s List” in 1993. The theaters would be packed. It was great to laugh or weep with a big group of people who had been similarly affected. Oh, the times I would walk into the lobby and see other people filing out, teary-eyed like me.
Don’t get me wrong — I like streaming but some things need to be seen on the big screen and shared with a lot of others. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think truly defines the Boomer generation and is not a period or life-cycle effect. You can post your comments online at the end of this article or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.