Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On Fleek

atheist blog
Or An Fleak
Or En Phlyque.
Or whatever. Which ever way I would write it I would be wrong. It's all about generational identity; I'm not supposed to get it.

Sometime during the late 80s my younger sister and I were at a stage performance somewhere in our small little hometown. She was about 18 so I was about 25. The stage set background had all kinds of hep symbols and things that made the show (which was a very old show) look edgy and cool. Among the words and symbols on the set pieces was the round-shaped word Phish. I asked my sister what that was and she said to me It's an underground band; you don't know who they are.

My rude but obvious reply was Well, there it is. The fun's over; I know about it now.

I assume that most recent generations of teens have their own identifying secret codes, language, music, fashion, etc. My own generation had the cave paintings at Lascaux. We know what that shit means, but we ain't saying. There are hidden symbols among the paintings but you have to know where to look to decode it. It's something that only we know.

I've been thinking about this a bit tonight and I'm thinking that it might have something to do with the general angstiness of the teen years; like even though we don't have anything else we still identify with us. Which makes me wonder if it is a phenomenon that has been around in one way or another forever and for always or if it's a more recent development. Have humans in the teen years always experienced the what is it all about...thing and then have they created meaning and identity in their own way? 

Did Nefertiti's six daughters say to their annoying ruler of a parent It's a SUN thing; you wouldn't understand? Did Tacitus's children tell their respected elder quod suus ' a juventute, with attitude? I know that Galileo had one daughter and I know that she told him Thou aren'tst even close to understanding me, Father. And surely Hermann Göring's daughter lamented es ist außerdem ein Geheimnis, Sie verstehen nicht , Vater. And certainly the Jolie-Pitt children have their own secret language that their parents don't know about. 

Generational identity.
It does seem that these identifying markers are moving quickly, though, rather than every twenty years or so, seems like a new set of cultural markers seem to pop up every five years or so. Thanks to social media, most likely. The usual cultural identities are based on language usage, fashion, music, shared specific values and trends, the general climate and cultural events of an era, poetry/books/film, and a general mindset. I promise you these logger beards won't always be considered so hawt because fads such as this pass so quickly. Just moments ago we were wearing giant shoulder pads and earrings that looked like cough drops. Confidently. 

I'm not sure when generations started being named by the media, surely it started before the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials. I understand that the term Generation Alpha is being considered for the next generation already. What if they want to be known as something else? Surely social media has its own power, not just spreading culture but also creating it...Hmmmm.

So if we study generations, do we impact them?  Hmmmmm.
Does looking at the phenomenon of generational identity somehow falsify any knowledge we seem to gain from that study, muddy the waters a bit? Hmmmmm.

Anyway, just a few thoughts after spending a few hours on a college campus today. I was on my own working at a booth at a campus event. My observations and interactions were interesting and so eye-opening. Just not erudite.

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