Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Home ownership and a difference (sic) of opinion

I watched ABC’s newish post-Media Watch show, “Difference of opinion” for the first time last night. For the previous five (?) weeks, I’d watched the first 30 seconds, scanned the membership of the four-person panel (which changes weekly, as each week has a specific topic, relating to which the panel members ostensibly have some expertise), and then quickly hit “OFF” before I popped a vein in my forehead. While gender equality/diversity (two men, two women) is always obviously of the utmost importance, age equality/diversity has apparently been of zero consideration. I’m fairly sure that not a single Xer man (aged 30-44) has been a panel member to date.

Certainly there was no Xer (male or female) panel member on last night’s show. Which is rather strange, because if you’re taking a serious look at the future of home ownership in Australia – which last night’s “Difference” purported to do – then you’ve got a readymade “now” with the current crop of Xers (born 1963-1976).

Home ownership (/buying) among this cohort is currently 50-something per cent. Anecdotally (I haven’t seen any stats on this), home ownership among university-educated Xers is below 50% (no prizes for guessing why 30-44 y.o. tradies live in owner-occupied McMansions, while 30-44 y.o. professionals live in rented inner-suburban McLifestyle pads; take a bow, John Dawkins). These home ownership rates are obviously unlikely, because of the cohort’s age, to significantly increase in coming decades unless house prices fall by a very significant amount (I’m guess-timating by half or more, from current prices).

In lieu of this current reality, which “Difference” did not even momentarily allude to, three baby boomers (2F, 1M) jostled among themselves for the honorary award of the being the Night’s Biggest C*nt to My Generation, while the token non-boomer – GenYer (= 20-something, and so the stats aren’t even in yet) Ryan Heath, got to take some of the three boomers’ copious over-flowing shit.

Thanks, Ryan. Well, sort of. If it had have been me, I think that the particularly vile, prissy SMH journo Elizabeth Farrelly (the Night’s Biggest C*nt, by far, BTW) would have left the studio with her Paddington (?) terrace house title deeds newly encumbered, as it were.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Xers are from Mars, boomers are from all the other planets combined

Kevin Rudd was Director-General of the Queensland Cabinet Office at 34y.o., while PM John John Howard was something or other at least as senior, younger.

Meanwhile, disgraced senator Santo Santoro had to content himself in his early 30s with being being Young (sic) Liberal State President for Queensland, and a paid lackey/assistant for a senator of the day.

Fortunately for Santoro, however, he apparently possesses the mother of all Get Out of Jail Free Cards – the year of his birth (1956, but any year between 1946 and 1961 would do).

How else to explain how this craven oaf got to rise so high – and is not currently remanded in custody for corruption?

Meanwhile Xer Christopher Pyne (39) has more or less miraculously entered Cabinet, courtesy of Santoro’s exit-lite. After 14 years in Parliament and almost nothing to show for it promotion-wise, if I were Pyne, I’d be thinking very seriously about chucking a Latham, and retiring on “medical” grounds while laughing all the way to the bank.

But Pyne is gracious to a rather creepy degree:

He said last night of his slow climb to the ministry: "Some would say it was a long period — 14 years in the Parliament — but I chose to go into Parliament at only 25." He was "grateful for the opportunity the Prime Minister has given me".

Umm, did the PM or Peter Costello (or Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard) have to wait until they were 40, and only then fluke it, into their first position of real responsibility? Sheesh.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Xer work/life balance

I know I shouldn’t be blogging two days in a row, when it is a fine and sunny long weekend in Melbourne. But I can’t help it – my system is in ADHD mode because of the fact that tomorrow I’m getting paid not to work. It will be my first paid public holiday* in seven years – I’ve done plenty of work in the intervening years, but always as a casual.

Plus there’s a fresh generational abomination on the block, in the form of Matthew Bristow, from recruitment agency Talent2:

“Gen Xers . . . will not sacrifice their personal time for their career.”

Oh yeah? Lack of work/life balance is a Xer hallmark. Australia’s working hours – the second longest in the Western world, after Japan – crept steadily up in the decade and a half to 2000, as Xers’ reproduction/fertility rates plummeted in tandem. The statistical corner that was turned in 2000 with both these trends was only due to GenYers (born 1977-) entering the workforce and maternity wards in numbers. Australian Xers’ reproduction/fertility rates are astonishing in fact, with their only precedent being times of famine or other extreme deprivation.

“And bosses say [Xer] employees deliver a high dose of scepticism which is very hard to manage”.

Derr. Next.

“Gen Xers do not plan on staying with one company or staying within the one career during their lifetime”.

This guy’s brilliant. Even before I left high school at the end on 1982, it was drummed into me (and the rest of my generation, I’m sure) that the days of job security were over. Twenty-five years later, Matthew Bristow is mistaking a hand that we were dealt decades ago, for a card we are supposedly starting to strategically play only now, in middle-age. WTF?

“Bristow says whilst their work ethics are vastly different, Gen Xers love technology and are early adopters, they love learning and change and get frustrated if they are not provided up to date technology”.

Umm, I think that you’re mixing up your Xers and your Yers here, Matthew. The point is that technology-lurrving is strongly correlated with age simpliciter, not generations. Twenty-somethings dig technology, and always have, thirty-somethings bear it, while forty-somethings fight it. Like grey hairs being grimly plucked, technology for me is a death of a thousand cuts.

Update 14 March 2007

Janet Albrechtsen is a rare creature: a tertiary-educated (PhD, no less) Xer woman with children. Upscaling her rarity still more is that she seems to be the only person in the world who can combine a regular OpEd column gig with self-identifying as a proud and shrill 1950s housewife. Here’s her knife-turning f*-you to the majority of her generation, in today’s Oz:

Women of my generation were fed the 1970s mantra that women can have it all. Most of us remained unconvinced. Something has to give. And when it came down to priorities, small children counted for more than careers. Old-style feminists will be horrified to learn that being part of the opt-out generation had less to do with unfriendly workplaces and more to do with the gravitational pull of loving and caring for a child.

* Which phrase would have been a tautology, pre-1979 revolution at least

Thursday, March 08, 2007

RIP Jean Baudrillard

Back in the mid-1980s, when I was a pretentious (which in its Xer day meant portentious) Melbourne Uni arts student – as well as, rather more grudgingly, a law student – I got the good oil on Jean Baudrillard. Meaning I went to a public lecture he gave at Melbourne, as well as bought the book; an exquisitely expensive ($6.95) for its thinness tome called Seduced and abandoned – the Baudrillard scene.

Ah, the “XYZ scene” – those were the days. But I digress.

Oddly for the genre of famous-and-had-a-good-innings obituaries – which are generally written well in advance and it shows – Baudrillard’s obit actually contained some fairly startling, for me, information: that in the mid-1970s, he had urged France’s intelligentsia, at least, to Forget Foucault.

The shame is, of course, that somehow the mid-1970s did not happen (there’s an in-joke there, folks), resulting in Foucault soon being elevated to centre-stage, in the complete opposite of being forgotten. The late 1970s, as well as cementing Foucault, “made” one of his pet subjects, the Ayatollah and Islamic fundamentalism (and wannnabe-Ayatollah fundamentalists Reagan, Thatcher and Hawke) as well as, of course, boomer punk rock’s troubling legacy.

It was thus only a short step, albeit over 22-odd years, from Foucault to 9/11, and a few years later, in “9/11 the confusingly subsequent prequel”, to Saddam’s snuff video being YouTubed by the snotty offspring of ageing boomer Once Were Punks.

In homage to the old boomer-youth catchcry about never trusting anyone over 30, I’d like to impose, having now learned of Baudrillard’s valiant, if flawed effort in the mid-1970s, to impose a retrospective fatwa on Foucault: Never Trust a Leather Queen on Fashion – like any fundamentalist, they’re all bite and no bark.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The real Rudd-gate

Brian Burke – yawn. One baby boomer, a state Premier at 36, has been whoring himself across the political – but not age – spectrum 20-odd years later. When your full-time job is, like Burke’s, to ensure that history never repeats – i.e. to never allow a GenX leader of merit within his own lifetime – sleaze and corruption will inevitably abound. The real Rudd-gate, of course, is that Kevin Rudd’s full-time job is exactly the same as Brian Burke’s.

Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s his latest Xer-hating bile:

"People over 45 and very low-low-middle income earners gained nothing [from the Australian government’s recent superannuation changes]. The reason for that was they were never going to pay the exit tax in the first place."

“People over 45” and “gained (or gain) nothing” should never be used in the same sentence. Certainly Google thinks so.

As to what Rudd was driving at, who knows. The reference to low, or middle income earners has some basis in fact: under the old regime there were no exit taxes on the first $120k or so. But “people over 45”? Is he crying poor on behalf of rich bludgers like Mark Latham (born in 1961 like Rudd’s deputy, and so just within Rudd’s cut-off)? Or is his brain’s speech-centre just set to Xer-hating auto-babble, as per his (unofficial) job description?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?