Generational Hostility

There are a lot of snide comments about people who, because of their age, don’t know things, or can’t do things. Older people natter on about “kids these days,” while younger people often dismiss elders as being technologically clueless. It’s all bullshit, and it’s just mean-spirited.

There was a video of someone who gave a young person a rotary phone, to see what he’d do with it – how he could make it work. The person couldn’t do it. He couldn’t figure out how to dial a number. This was evidently proof somehow that the younger generations are stupid or spoiled or something.

There are other videos and images of older people who have difficulty with computers or phones. Again, they’re portrayed as stupid.

It’s not so.

First, it’s no shame for younger people to not know how to do things that we Boomers grew up knowing. Why should they know how to dial a rotary phone, when you’d be hard-pressed to even find one anywhere. Why should they learn cursive writing, when it is no longer used for much of anything?

I ask the Boomers – do you know how to knap an arrowhead from flint, or to cut a goose feather into a quill? Not very likely. These skills are no longer useful. Some may find these things interesting and learn them for enjoyment, but we no longer need to rely on these technologies.

And to the people – usually younger – who think Boomers are ignorant of technology – most do well enough. Keep in mind that the Boomers are the ones who started development of these technologies. We’re not really as clueless as you might think.

Even more irritating are the ones who point to a generation of people who are so “helpless” that they have to take classes in cooking and cleaning. They’re not helpless. They weren’t properly taught, and that’s not their fault. They’re doing what’s needed to rectify the mistake made by their elders.

I think the elders may have forgotten their younger days, when they were the target of “kids these days” comments. In my generation, wearing long hair or a beard (as a man) was deemed unacceptable.

The point is, no one is good or bad because of his generation. No generation is better than any other. We’re just people who were born at different times.  And if we can set aside the bullshit, we can all profit from treating each other with respect.

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