By David Mandel
Have you ever wondered who is in charge of naming a generation? A classic example of absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The Roaring 20’s; The Depression; The War Years; The Psychedelic 60’s; The Vietnam Era; The Decade of Greed; The Baby Boomers; The Holocaust Generation; The Sandwich Generation; Generation X.
Who determines revolutions in American society? We had the agricultural, industrial, automotive, and technological revolutions. Surely a revolution of disobedience deserved a calling nudged between Elvis and Justin Bieber.
If I had to choose the ideal job, this may be it. It’s like naming a child, just a generation. You have 10 years to select one name, a two- or three-word catch-all phrase. That’s good work if you can get it. Five phrases in 50 years and you’re a pensioneer.
Ten years ago I read about a group of three women who select the colors and patterns that fashion designers worldwide will use for the following season. That’s absolute power. A predominance of women’s fashion houses will follow their decision. An invisible agreement amongst the powerful couturiers. It’s fashion’s way of ensuring you don’t repeat, thus obligating untold masses of millions to shop new each season. Who would mind subjugating authority to this group of three if it reaps staggering billions in profit?
But where’s the profit in naming a decade? Who are the winners and losers?
And what’s the recycle time for a named decade? Or is it once and out. Certainly colors and patterns get recycled every now and then. Except for black, of course. Never throw out any clothing you own in black. Any color is good as long as it’s black.
I personally disdain the term Sandwich Generation so in vogue. I prefer Caretaker Generation. It’s more emotive, caring, not just responsible for the simultaneous rearing of children and parents.
My favorite is Baby Boomers, or Beemers for short. Why bother with two words when one suffices. The age of txtng lvs scnt room fr xtra sylabls. For reasons obvious it would be nice in my 80’s or 90’s to be referred to as a Beemer. A sense of vibrancy.
But will the gods of decade-branding permit this do over? If there was once a man formally known as Prince, surely there can be a decade formally known as Beemers.
So many people nearing retirement age struggle with how they’ll spend their golden years. Retirees search for that perfect combination of part time work, part time travel, part time watching the grandkids, and full time worrying not to become a burden on our children. I hope you find your calling. I believe I have mine.
Will the 2010’s be the decade of the App?
Submissions welcomed. I’m willing to split my commission. v
David Mandel is chief executive of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services.