Sunday, May 23, 2004

GenX erasure and the upcoming election

That GenX voters “basically have been ignored” by Australian political processes has received welcome recognition. More dubiously, GenXers are said to be firming up as one* of two “critical target group[s]” for the Federal election, which now seems reasonably certain to be held this winter. As to how GenX votes can be courted from a zero base, within such a short time-frame, is left unexplained Incredibly dubiously, Mark Latham is said to be the explanation for GenXer’s newfound political engagement:

just by the fact he's of a generation closer to theirs, that he talks a language they understand. I mean, he's not much older [43], so he's just more 'them' (same URL).

No dice! I may be just shy of 40, but I find PM John Howard much easier to “get” than Latham, in terms of where he’s coming from, quite probably because the PM is my parents’ age. Even though he came at the tail end of the boom, Latham self-evidently enjoyed all its privileges. If he was born three or four years later, he would be just another un- or marginally-employed GenXer, instead of, as Hugh Mackay has said, “another middle-aged baby boomer”.

For his part, PM John Howard seems quite comfortable with the status quo, of thirty-somethings being erased from the Oz cultural** and political landscape.

Possibly inspired by my recent call for first-year law students to do compulsory internships at multinational fast-food restaurants, PM Howard has observed how the manners of GenY – at least those who work in such places – are vastly superior to those of the boomer generation:

Some of the friendliest, [most] well-mannered young people around are those you find in McDonald’s . . . [A] lot of these young people are better-mannered than people in their forties and fifties.#

Hear, hear PM. But what about me and my generation – on our manners, or on anything else?

But invisibility and poverty do have some privileges – at least we’re off the trend-spotter’s cursed radar:

Teenagers are watching mini-soaps and reading love stories on their mobile phones, while baby boomers are sucking on Vodka-flavoured ice-creams and making love on quality mattresses.

* The other target group being $40,000 to $50,000 earners

** As (I think) I’ve previously written somewhere, Australians TV soaps have almost no 30-something characters

# Shelley Gare “The death of manners” (“Manners maketh the big Mac” box) Weekend Australian Magazine 22 May 2004

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