This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Generational backlash

Every new generation needs to prove that it is unique, modern, brand new. The best way to do this, of course, is to come up with brand new ideas, but that is nearly impossible. The easiest way to do this is to just do the opposite of what the previous generation did. I call this the "backlash".

Unless you are a history buff, as far back as you can go is your parents generation, and possibly your grandparents. The world of great-grand parents, for most people, is invisible. In fact, most people don't even know the names of their great-grand parents.

This makes doing the backlash pretty easy. All you have to do is to look at your parents' generation, and do the opposite. If your point of reference is only one generation back, doing something new will be easy. My generation, the baby boomers, backlashed against our parent's generation. What is "old-fashioned" is only one generation back. So, just look at 20-30 years from where you are, and do the opposite of what people were doing then.

What's amusing about this is that the backlash goes back and forth with every generation. Since my parents were thrifty, my generation did "conspicuous consumption". But why were my parents thrifty? Because their parents weren't. Ever hear of the "roaring twenties"? Before the Stock Market crash, people were spending money like water. Go back another generation and they weren't.

Tastes backlash, too. My parents' generation didn't want to live in an old-fashioned "haunted house" style Victorian house. They wanted clean, modern, suburbia. My generation made fun of suburbia and wanted custom homes again with more decoration. Before the Victorian style? That's right, plain. Back and forth, back and forth. The backlash is kind of fun to watch. That's part of the reason I like history.
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