2018/07/27

Generational Astrology

astrology

If you frequent social media and dissident blogs, it's hard to escape the phenomenon of people getting woke to generational differences. Much is made of Strauss-Howe generational theory. Some claim they can predict where the country's heading based on the age of the people in charge cross-referenced with the general cultural mood when those leaders came of age.

Some folks take Strauss-Howe to an extreme, as if it were some kind of generational astrology. For my money, the most significant fruit of generational wokeness has been an increased awareness not of where we're going, but of how we got to the point we're at now.

What was the culture like when your dad was coming of age? How much was college tuition when he went for his BA? What was the state of the economy when he applied for his first real job? The rising tendency of people to ask these questions is important because the memory hole is a central feature of the Left's ideology. When your worldview is based on the airy fantasy of progress, it pays to discourage people from thinking about the past, lest unflattering comparisons be made.

Another key windfall of our enhanced generational awareness has been the rediscovery of previously forgotten generations. For some reason nobody talks about, the mass media have a decades-long habit of tagging certain cohorts with ready-made labels, popularizing the term, and suddenly shoving it down the memory hole. Remember the MTV Generation? Sometimes previously unknown generational divisions are identified, as in the case of Generation Jones.

One such discarded generational label is Generation Y. Bear with me as I go into some depth on the subject, because it's the cohort I belong to, so it's the only one I can speak on authoritatively in detail.

"Generation Y" was to go-to label for the children of younger Baby Boomers and the younger siblings of older Gen Xers. I remember hearing the term frequently until the latter half of the 90s, when some Madison Avenue type came up with the buzzword "Millennial". Both tags existed side-by-side for a while, with Millennials understood as the children of older Xers and the younger siblings of Ys.

Then one day, the term "Generation Y" was stricken from the public record. The decision to sunset that label is especially odd considering that everybody calls the generation following the Millennials Gen Z. Then again, we live in a post-literate culture.

The label is gone, but the people it used to describe are still around. Media types don't know what to do with members of the former Gen Y, so they get lumped in with either Gen X or the Millennials depending on that day's coin toss results. The incoherence of this makeshift solution is obvious when you apply a modicum of scrutiny. There are millions of people born between 1979 and 1989 who are nothing like Xers or Millennials.

These differences come to the fore when you consider each generation's besetting vices. Everyone who takes an interest in generational trends knows the stereotypes. The Greats are diligent but emotionally distant. Boomers are inveterate narcissists. Xers are cynical to the point of paralysis. Millennials are developmentally stunted snowflakes.

For those members of Gen Y who are enjoying a chuckle right now, you're not getting off the hook. If my generation can be said to have a general vice, it has to be that we're collectively naive, approaching the point of obliviousness.

There's an explanation for everything. In Gen Y's case, we grew up largely unaware of what was going on because our elders subjected us to a ubiquitous and extended gaslighting campaign. Our childhoods mostly happened in the 80s, which were the eye of a cultural storm that started in the 60s and is now rending Western civilization stone from stone.

Generation Y came up in an era that still had something like a functioning economy. In terms of race relations, America was as close to colorblind as we've ever gotten and are ever likely to get. If you were in second grade ca. 1988, you didn't think anything of hanging out with the black kid in your group. He wasn't a POC or even necessarily an African-American. He was just Mike.

Millennials never had that experience of minorities. They were indoctrinated with intersectional race theory, which didn't really come in until Gen Y had left grade school. On the flip side of the coin, older Gen Xers remember the urban crime waves and riots of the 70s, even if they're politically on the Left.

While not as spoiled as Millennials, Ys were members of the first generation born after wages froze and mothers were universally ripped from their children to join the workforce. As a result, GenY's parents embraced the practice of bribing their kids to make up for not spending time with them. These payoffs usually came in the form of toys, and it's hard to complain because the best toys ever made were produced in the 80s.

That's not bragging. The mind-blowing quality and variety of playthings that Ys were constantly plied with goes a long way toward explaining why we've been wandering down the primrose path ever since. Getting a new NES cart or going to Chuck E. Cheese for no apparent reason really did make every day feel like Christmas. Gen Y got started on the hedonic treadmill early.

Last but not least, the internet had none of the accessibility or utility for countering the official narrative that it has today. You had your parents' and teachers' word, textbooks, and TV, and that was it. Everything was fine and would continue to be fine.

Surrounding a generation of kids with a false picture of the world produced a whole cohort of sheltered adolescents. We honestly thought things were OK and would keep being OK in perpetuity. The warning signs were hidden from us, ostensibly for our own good.

It's no wonder why Gen X turned out so cynical. They had the personal context to see that the relative peace and prosperity was fleeting, and that the 80s were a small island in an angry sea. They had the advantage of setting out into the real world while Gen Y was still in school, and they got intimately acquainted with reality.

In contrast, I liken the typical Gen Y experience of growing up in America to the harrowing experience of Michael Douglas' character in 1997's The Game. To Gen Y, America's decline felt as sudden as going to bed in a mansion in a gated community patrolled by armed guards and waking up in the trash-filled gutter of a third world shit hole. The transition has been disorienting to say the least, but like Gen X icon Tyler Durden before us, we're slowly realizing what's happened. And we're getting really pissed.


One hard lesson we've had to internalize is that politics is downstream from culture. Normal people are starting to wrest our cultural institutions back from the scum who've taken over the film, comics, and print fiction industries. Independent creators need your support to rebuild what the enemies of civilization have destroyed. Be sure to back indie author Bradford Walker's Star Knight Saga: Reavers of the Void today!

Star Knight Saga - Lord Roland

47 comments:

  1. Naivety is definitely our besetting sin in Gen Y. We were given a false view of life that, while positive and hopeful, was not true or stable, and is hard for us to really get a grip on.

    Many of my old friends or cousins are about the same way. Nice people, easier to be around than Millennials and not as cynical as Gen X, but it's more difficult for them to process information in a negative way.

    Much of it appears to be because of the time they grew up in which was very much a transitional period to "well meaning" people who ended up changing a lot of things for the worse. Even though Gen Y ostensibly KNOWS things have changed for the worst, it is difficult for them to actually admit it. They need a lot of prodding before they finally take a stand.

    But when they do take a stand? Watch out.

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    1. Gen X will stand in front of you. We had a taste of a functioning society and want all of you to have that, too. Our cynicism is our armor.

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    2. Our elites didn't invent the concept of bread and circuses, but 80s America was the first time they had the resources to raise a whole generation at the circus. They turned a whole generation "Minnesota nice".

      While you're right about most Ys being more easygoing on average than Xers or Millennials, that laid back disposition has its dark side in intellectual inertia. Lots of the paypigs cheering the Fox-Disney merger are Gen Y.

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    3. "Our cynicism is our armor."

      It has been encouraging watching Gen X come around. You never completely fell under the spell. The contradiction between what the Boomers told you and your actual experience of the world tended to produce a kind of learned helplessness at first, but Xers penchant for introspection has led many to question what life will be like for their kids, and they're stepping up to bat.

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    4. Most of the complacent Star Wars fans are Y, too.

      Gen X has gotten better as they got older, easily surpassing the Boomers, but I do worry about my generation. Z is reachable, and Millennials are pretty well gone, but Y can still go either way.

      I'm hoping like with X, age and experience will make the difference.

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    5. Naivety is definitely our besetting sin in Gen Y. We were given a false view of life that, while positive and hopeful, was not true or stable, and is hard for us to really get a grip on.

      Well, whatever happens with the children born during the Trump years, I don't think it'll go like that again. Something that struck me earlier about Trump v Reagan; Reagan had this gentle, affable demeanor that made average people, and his supporters, relax. People trusted the way things were going and assumed they'd naturally proceed apace. All that "it's morning in America" stuff cast the tumult of the previous decades as a nightmare the nation had finally woken up from. Like we could go about our business, ignore brewing problems, and everything would be fine.

      Contrast that with how things are now under Trump. Sure, the economy is looking good again and you might be tempted to think we'll have another generation of softies coming. But consider this; Neither his supporters nor his opponents feel like things are safely under control at all. Normies, and even those of us who like what he's doing are keenly aware of how tenuous the status quo is; how badly the opposition wants to roll it all back, and how thoroughly things can be disrupted in a short time by just a few well-placed bad actors. Buckle up for a fascinating experiment in K-shift plus material prosperity, everybody!



      Even though Gen Y ostensibly KNOWS things have changed for the worst, it is difficult for them to actually admit it. They need a lot of prodding before they finally take a stand.

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    6. *nods* It would really help if Congress would fund the Wall already.

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  2. Younger Gen Xers (of which I am one) also don't have any patience for stupidity and whining.

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    1. Indeed not. Try to be patient with stupid Ys and whiny Millennials.

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  3. You have a fair number of Joneses in your corner, too. The 80s may have been the toy pinnacle, but try growing up with access to most any book from the past 50 years available in stores, or mail order, or at worst in a used book store. Because, warehouses full of them!

    That was the 70s ... and then imagine its suddenly gone.

    Society followed the books.

    Indie Pub is back to the 70s for me. I'm on the train for some rebuilding!

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    1. "You have a fair number of Joneses in your corner, too."

      That's reassuring. I have a soft spot for Generation Jones. How to explain? Imagine being Indiana Jones reaching for the Holy Grail in The Last Crusade, but instead of talking you down and pulling you up from the ledge, your dad's out golfing.

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    2. "...try growing up with access to most any book from the past 50 years available in stores, or mail order, or at worst in a used book store."

      Excellent point. Ys were the first generation born after the 1980 SFF collapse Jeffro has pinpointed. Other than Nintendo Power and light fare from the Scholastic Book Club, my generation didn't really read.

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    3. Brian,

      Because the quality and appeal of the books deteriorated. If you compare he titles of my time for Scholastics book club in the early to mid 70 to my nieces 15 years later it's stunning. My parents could buy a wrinkle in time while my nicest had the Winx club.

      The economy stalled in 91 during the 1st Gulf War. Picked up in 1993 with the Internet but got hammered between the Asian financial crisis and then the dot com bust. I lost 10 years of job opportunities and i'm so paying the price for all this.


      PS Gen y suffers from normalancy bias. Gen x suffers from envy
      xavier

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    4. Sure, some people are envious, that's true for every generation.

      What I see in Gen X is a strong case of Boomer resentment. We grown up with constant articles about "30-40-50-60-70-coffin is the new 20!" and "Society is Collapsing. Why this is Bad News for Boomers", plus their Boomerisms. Now X is hitting its most productive work years. Naturally, instead of hiring Xers who have 20 years experience, they're choosing 24 year-olds.

      I have a lot of X friends who are unemployed because Boomer run companies refuse to hire them. Often times Xers with jobs end up cleaning up after their Millennial supervisors.

      It wouldn't surprise me to hear that Y is facing the same things. They're not narcissistic enough to appeal to Boomers.

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    5. "PS Gen y suffers from normalancy bias. Gen x suffers from envy"

      That's a great way to put it.

      I suspect when Boomers are finally out of the way this will start to change.

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    6. "It wouldn't surprise me to hear that Y is facing the same things. They're not narcissistic enough to appeal to Boomers."

      Ys tend to run into hiring managers who've bought the media line that lumps them in with Millennials. Yes, hiring preferences skew toward cheap recent graduates--and semi-retired Boomers--but most of those are foreign grads who came here on student visas and stayed on H1Bs.

      The point is there's a strong hiring bias against American Millennials because they're perceived as troublemakers. A lot of Ys find the redefining of "Millennial" to include us so odious. HR now thinks that anyone under 40 is an implacable snowflake.

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  4. Gen X. Still the coolest generation. Although honestly, I think the Millenials are going to eat everyone on toast. The more lies you feed someone, the more savage they are once they realize they've been played. People weaned on PC and schooling-fish-SJW-politics?

    They are going to have TEETH.

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    1. Maybe the Millennials who can decide what gender they're feeling like today will find their teeth.

      But Gen Z is going to live up to the Zyklon moniker.

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    2. Millennials are simply Boomers 2: Electric Boogaloo. The biggest difference is that the rest of us aren't the Greats. We won't put up with them and have no problem letting them know it.

      They're going to have a much harder time than the Boomers did.

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    3. "Still the coolest generation."

      Not going to debate that assertion. Still, it's an excellent example of another fundamental difference between Gen X, Gen Y, and the Millennials. Ys don't have the strong sense of generational identity that the other two tend to demonstrate.

      That kind of sentiment seems to skip generations. the Greats had it, and the Silents didn't. The Boomers drip with it, but most Jonesers aren't aware of being their own cohort. Similarly, Xers tend to identify strongly as Gen X, while Ys are more like the Jonesers.

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    4. Detecting a strong undercurrent of Millennial-bashing, here. Yes, they're obnoxious on the whole, but keep in mind that their Gen X & Y older siblings and their Joneser & Boomer parents could have prevented that.

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    5. I have more hope for them when they become parents. Unlike Boomers, they have no safety net from reality if things go wrong. Right now, though? They're pretty tough to deal with.

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    6. Boomers also have no safety net from reality. They just don't know it yet.

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    7. There is also the possibility that in an improved economy millennials might switch gears en masse.

      Given the means to abandon urban vegan arts and crafts playacting in favor of getting jobs that pay enough to buy a home and start a family, I expect many will. Didn't the Boomers likewise pull it together under Reagan?

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    8. Oh I don't bash millenials. NOT WHILE THE BOOMERS STILL LIVE.

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  5. I wonder which of these generations is the most excited about the 1980s. It would be helpful to know. Who is the buyership for stuff like Hotline Miami and vaporwave? How much longer am I going to be looking at day glo clothing at Wal-Mart? How long before everyone stops making new music with synths? And most relevant, how great is the appetite for 1980s-style fun action epics?

    Obviously a lot of this is the cycle of marketing nostalgia to people who are now well-established enough to sink dollars into things that remind them of their youth. This would mean Gen-X and Gen-Y, but not too much else. I think there's more to it than that.

    Remember how after the 1980s *nothing* was organically popular with *everyone*? Example: Grunge rock, a manufactured co-opting of alternative music by the big labels and MTV. No staying power, no real presence on the charts even at the time. Are people out there clamoring for its revival when they didn't like it enough to buy it in the first place? Ha, have fun marketing dated music and movies that alienated people on purpose because they thought pleasing a crowd was "selling-out."


    It could be, dare I to say it, that there are enough nostalgics operating side by side with younger people who organically embrace the artistic flourishes of the 1980s
    music, movies, fashion, tv, etc, that you could do well reviving these things in arts and music for some time to come.

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    1. '80s "nostalgia" has been going for well over a decade, at this point. It outlived the '50s nostalgia in the '80s and the short-lived '60s nostalgia in the '90s by a good while. The '70s were also entirely skipped.

      I'd have to imagine at this point that the '80s trend was organic and is honest because it's still sticking around, even though mainstream entertainment has been trying to kill it for some time now.

      '90s nostalgia has never really happened, despite Hollywood trying very hard with things like the Power Rangers movie or faux-nostalgia series like Everything Sucks, but nothing has taken hold. And, as is getting clearer and clearer, there isn't much else from the '90s to even bring back. A lot of its worst attributes are still around today.

      The '80s aren't going anywhere, because there's nothing to fill the void.

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    2. "I wonder which of these generations is the most excited about the 1980s."

      Gen Y. Xers' nostalgia tends to be split between the 70s & 80s. Millennials missed the whole decade.

      Gen X: A New Hope was the 1st Star Wars movie they saw in the theater. Remember Schoolhouse Rock. Introduced to RPGs through original D&D. The Cold War ended during their teen years/young adulthood.

      Gen Y: Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie they saw in the theater. Watched Transformers & G.I. Joe in grade school and Batman: The Animated Series in Jr. High. AD&D 2nd ed. was their intro to gaming. The Berlin Wall fell during their childhood.

      Millennials: the Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie they saw in the theater. Watched Power Rangers as kids. No personal memories of the Cold War.

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    3. Grunge was awesome, but I can't think of anything else from the 90's worth jack.

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    4. Things lost in the 90s worth reclaiming:

      -Anime and manga (currently happening)
      -Early '90s Music variety (happening in the indie world)
      -Western animation (still dead)
      -Video games (middle market and indie are rising)
      -Comics (Cyberfrog just crossed half a million, SJW comics are dying)

      We don't need a '90s revival. All the best parts of it are on the way back, aside from Western animation. And most of the best stuff from that decade was an extension from the '80s.

      I'm very hopeful about how things are changing and how the changes prove that there are so many fed up with the way things are.

      The '20s should be a very interesting decade, at this rate.

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    5. "Early '90s Music variety (happening in the indie world)"

      As much as I liked grunge at the time, in retrospect it was the death knell for innovation in the music industry. Boomer record executives stumbled upon a loose collection of artists who were mostly doing their own thing and tried to mold it into the soundtrack of a Gen X movement like psychedelic rock was for the hippies.

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    6. It was absolutely concocted. As Razorfist said it was mainly a way to capitalize on Gen X cynicism and cash in on dropping hair metal bands (who were due for contract renewals, and more money), and theywere also disposed once they cornered the market on manufactured bubblegum factories by 1998 that have persisted to this day.

      But until the late 90s, one could hear any genre played on any radio station which lead to a lot of other genres flourishing and indie artists breaking into the mainstream. It was the last time Blues, Swing, Ska, and New Jack, were played on the radio.

      Once the execs learned that payola actually works, all of that went away.

      Thanks to traditional radio dying and the rise of streaming services, one can now find just about anything.

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    7. Brian wrote:"Gen X: A New Hope was the 1st Star Wars movie they saw in the theater. Remember Schoolhouse Rock. Introduced to RPGs through original D&D. The Cold War ended during their teen years/young adulthood.

      Gen Y: Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie they saw in the theater. Watched Transformers & G.I. Joe in grade school and Batman: The Animated Series in Jr. High. AD&D 2nd ed. was their intro to gaming. The Berlin Wall fell during their childhood.

      Millennials: the Phantom Menace was the first Star Wars movie they saw in the theater. Watched Power Rangers as kids. No personal memories of the Cold War."

      Good summary. I think we are only a year or so apart in age so our experience sounds the same as Gen Yers. Though I think being closer to the end of X gives us a bit of their cynicism. At least for me it did.

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    8. My childhood was materially great by any historical metric, but I was always hounded by the nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right. Looking back, it was like living in The Truman Show.

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  6. I've been thinking about this a good deal, and I think the best way to sum up Gen Y is that they "just wanted to play video games".

    Yes, I think Gamergate in all its flaws and positives was the purest expression of that generation. Think about. "Shut up and e-mail", the fallout of those giving up and pretending nothing is wrong (or everything was fixed), and reluctance to do anything for years before the straw broke the weary camel's back, are all the hallmarks of a group of people who only acted because their stability was directly affected.

    Now you'll see those who took GG seriously, and still are, remain very active against these sorts of things, while those who gave up sit in their chairs sneering and pretending one side is "just as bad as the other" so they don't need to do anything.

    That's why you still see the same pattern in comics, anime, and DnD. Those who finally had enough are still standing, while those who prefer things safe and broken covered their heads.

    Things should hopefully go smoother when Z shows up to the table to help. My generation is too wishy washy to carry the load.

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    1. It's the late 80s. School just let out on a Friday afternoon. Your dad is taking you to the video store on the way home to rent an NES game for the weekend. A buddy's coming over after dinner for some cutting edge 2-player 8 bit radness.

      If you just got goosebumps, you might be Gen Y.

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  8. This generational astrology is interesting because we see something that's been on since 1918: Over at HP's blog he reviews a book about Lewis and Tolkien
    https://everydayshouldbetuesday.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/tolkien-101-hobbit-wardrobe-great-war-joseph-loconte/#comments

    What strikes me is how the moaning Minnie precursors of the SJWs began the very long march to denigrate the heroic, pulp and wonder in literature and would've succeeded except for Howard, Anderson, Lord Dursey, Tolkien, Lewis and countless others who preserved the heritage like monks during the barbarian and Moslems raids.

    HP's post strikes me as a propos and well worth a read.



    xavier

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  9. I think a big part of the Gen Y experience is we witnessed the last bit of true American culture come and go. I remember growing up in a nation with a culture. By the time I was getting close to graduating HS in the late 90's, the culture in the USA was dead. The block parties had stopped. Kids didn't play after school throughout the neighborhood. Music died. Families fell apart as divorce sky rocketed. The only positive was the improvement in video games and that the girls at our HS were willing to put out before college (I was an atheist then, because I was clearly at my intellectual peak as a teenager).

    Fight club and Matrix came out in 1999 and summed up how many of us felt the nation had become, as did Offspring's Americana album in late 1998. I went through a depressed period as I tried to figure out what was the point to growing up to just be a debt slave married to a shrew of a wife who was going to put the kids in front of the tv and eventually divorce rape me in court.

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    1. "I went through a depressed period as I tried to figure out what was the point to growing up to just be a debt slave married to a shrew of a wife who was going to put the kids in front of the tv and eventually divorce rape me in court."

      All of my friends and I went through the same crisis of identity and loss of faith in the American Dream. Our Boomer elders responded with confusion and outright anger. Tyler Durden's yearly phone call to his dad played out verbatim in millions of households across the US in the late 90s.

      "The block parties had stopped. Kids didn't play after school throughout the neighborhood. Music died. Families fell apart as divorce sky rocketed."

      That this wholesale social unraveling was done to us on purpose puts it in the running for worst crime against humanity in known history. Two concurrent acts of gaslighting aggravate the crime: 1) Propagandizing us into thinking it wasn't happening. 2) Browbeating us into thinking it was our fault.

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    2. I remember going through the same thing at the same time. By the time the 90s ended I realized everything I had loved or enjoyed had been destroyed or taken away in such a small amount of time. And none of the adults appeared to notice or care. That was when most of my peers wither went full nihilist or hedonist.

      Those that aren't now dead are at a crossroads, now. They either continue to pretend nothing is wrong (and they are pretending, as a few well timed and placed questions always reveal), or they turn rabid. They're not going to be able to continue down the path of the former much longer, especially now that they are having children and directly confronting what they'd been avoiding for so long.

      It's time to pop the claws.

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    3. Amen to that. I’ve gone full rapid, and I’ve taken my millennial wife with me into that fervor. Neither of us want to raise our kids in the hellscape left to them by the previous generations.

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  10. "The block parties had stopped. Kids didn't play after school throughout the neighborhood."

    These are still a thing in the midwest. Kids probably don't play outside as much as they did prior to the 90s cultural shift but there isn't the fear of getting arrested for letting your kids play unsupervised. The safety nazi cult is a plague.

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    1. Your mileage may vary. My folks live in a midwestern blue state in a town where white kids would be out playing tag, hide and seek, and riding bikes till sunset in the 80s. By the mid 90s, those kids had grown up and moved away. I remember thinking even then how weird it was to walk down the block at 4:00 on a summer afternoon, and the street would be silent where there'd been shouting and laughter just a decade before.

      This was in a decent neighborhood full of single family houses that had catered to low-middle to mid-middle class families. The kids who'd stayed up playing into the sunset those years ago were Gen X and gen Y. I don't know if there were simply fewer Millennials, if they just preferred TV and video games, or if their helicopter parents forbid them to play outside. The effect was the same: empty backyards and sidewalks.

      The black and Hispanic families crept in during the 2000s. The kids were back, but they weren't playing scratch baseball or even shooting hoops. One brood of mismatched kids had a mini motorbike they'd race up and down the block at all hours, sometimes till 1 AM. My folks were awakened one night by two loud cracks they thought might've been the bike backfiring until cops showed up and pulled a couple of 9 mm slugs out of the tree across the street.

      I wish the safety cult would come and make some arrests.

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    2. The safety cult is the equivalent of that teacher that punishes the whole class for one smart mouth student making a funny joke.

      They were always lazy, useless scolds who affected no positive change yet still pretend to this day like they did.

      It sure is an improvement from seeing kids wandering all over town when I was younger to waking up with used needles littering the streets on Monday morning now.

      Hooray for progress.

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