Saturday, May 23, 2009


Maybe I'm just a crotchety old man. Maybe, but I recently listened to two twenty somethings babbling at one another (I don't think they've yet developed listening skills, but I suppose it's enough that they can hear themselves). Their voices were like fingernails over nylon as they attempted to redefine superficiality. Now I had been having trouble with thirty somethings off and on (thirty somethings, own up to it---having your formative years influenced by Reagan had an ill effect on you), but that was nothing compared to the irritation of listening to the twenty somethings.

Now I know we've been quick to label generations. The Boomers. Generation X. Generation Y???? But I want to propose a tag to capture the twenty something, cooked up in a crucible flavored by videogaming, rap, MTV, and Viagra and No Child Left Behind. From now on, let us call those who are now hitting twenty "GENERATION ADHD".

Let us be patient of their shortcomings. Let us carry shiny stuff in our pockets to distract them when they are sad. Let us use polysyllabic words so that we may discuss them without offense. Instead smile and nod and they will think the world is fine.

There will be some from that generation who will comment here. They will begin with intense personalization and abruptly lapse into text-messaging phraseology that will wring the deepest compassion from you for their profound limitations. As they reach the high point of their rejoinder, however, they will suddenly stop typing and head off to the CW Television Network website so that they may bask in all things "Gossip Girl".


Sidney said...

When I was thirtysomething, GenX was the only label you had, and you liked it.

Sidney said...


miller580 said...

You're a little late on labeling this generation...they are called the "Google Generation." In fact, you should google the google generation.

Stewart Sternberg said...

GenX, always sounded like some kind of dietary supplemental.
I Googled it, but much of the information tends to focus on their online behavior. Significant. But I still thing Generation ADHD focuses on their social abilities and potential as contributors to society.

miller580 said...

There's a study, and i'll have to find it that discusses how they have the attention span of a nat and do not have the ability to focus on something long enough to get a thourough understanding. for example, they get bored or lose focus so easily that they quit reading and skim for what immediatly answers question right or wrong...leaving no room for nuanced answers. They answer and move on to the next thing.

But do we really need a study to see this? Look at the success of Twitter. What's happening now. What's happening now. What's happening now.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Let us try not to cringe when they use "like" in every sentence.

Moi said...

I think ADHD Generation is much more appropriate than Google Generation. I'll take GenX over ADHD any day!

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Stewart, just smile and nod next time I see you so I can go on with my happy, barely 30-year-old life, and convince myself that wasn't meant for me.

And, I read every single word of the post and replies, so ha! And I did it all without Ritalin ;)


it's "gnat," "thorough," and "immediately."
How's that for focus.

Bh the way, I hate Twitter, and Gossip Girl.

Anonymous said...

Aww, crap. I made a spelling mistake.
Oh well, I guess it can't be my fault. I'm just victim of my generation. Which, by the way, I blame its ADHD-ness on my parent's generation for letting most of us watch so much t.v.

Anonymous said...

Listen to you all. "They, they, they." What a bunch of ageists. I often come across this behaviour when a customer from the 40-60 age bracket comes into the bookshop where I work.

"You were probably too busy playing the Xbox to read this," they say, brandishing a book in my face.

Of course this is just a politically correct way of saying "You're more stupid than I am just because I've been alive for longer," and it's complete and utter bollocks. Stupid and superficial people have been around for millennia and will continue to be around in the future.

Do not be so quick to write off an entire generation just because we have access to technology.

The logic of the rude old shop customers always falls down in the end. I have free and easy access to information via the internet. I played videogames as a child. I have read Ulysses twice. The former two facts have absolutely no bearing on the latter.

The internet does not make people superficial and close-minded. Superficial and close-minded people seek out certain websites. Did you consider how close-minded you seemed when you posted this?

Simon George Brown said...

No need to be a sesquipedalian loquaciousness - and no need to generalise so much. Jeez, bloody Americans.