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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

entry arrow12:05 AM | Generationally Eternal (and Porous)

I love Patrick Hipp's generational rant over at Medium! So apparently, looking at the charts, I am "Generation X, Generation Y, and nearly a Millennial." The article goes to the heart of what I've always thought made my generation, well, pretty special. I've always thought it made a specific impact on us that we were born just on the cusp of digital living, and knew what it meant not to live lives dictated by cellphones and social media. And YET we are still very much digital natives anyway, because we were the first to embrace the Internet, and we rode its EVERY freakin' permutation, from mIRC to ICQ to Yahoo Messenger to Facebook chat to WhatsApp to Snapchat. (We know nuances, baby.)

And culture-wise, we were born just at the right time to be able to consume most of the culture (film, music, books, etc.) that came before 1975 without any of it taking on too much of an antique sheen, or without any of it taking on a gargantuan task for sheer volume. And YET we are still around and be young enough to consume what has been coming out of the contemporary. For example, I don't have the twentysomething fear of being confronted by even the idea of a black-and-white film ("Eww, so old AF," I can hear a typical 18-year-old say now), and we can appreciate and marvel at the photorealism of movies like Avatar and yet still feel, in our hearts of hearts, that the stop motion visual effects of Ray Harryhausen in movies like 1981's Clash of the Titans still felt more real and involved even in their obvious fakeness. I can cha-cha and jive to disco and bop feel to the bass of an EDM rave without missing a beat. And in my head, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, the Eraserheads, and Ed Sheeran swim in the same musical pool that transcends for the most part generational taste.

If society changed irrevocably with the late industrial period, and if we mark its full flowering in 1900 (at the beginning of the 20th century), then being born between 1975 to 1990 makes you someone born right in the thick of things, and born in a generation formed in young adulthood right at the very beginning of the transformational age of the digital.

Patrick Hipp writes: "For those born between 1975 and 1990 ... our formative years looked nothing like those of the Millennials. Our television came in largely via antenna, our movies were on VHS, our music was on cassettes. The internet wasn’t around, and by the time it was in any way that meant something, you could be disconnected by someone picking up a phone somewhere else in the house. We look like digital natives, but only because we grew up in tandem with the internet, as if technology was designed like the progressive grades in elementary and high school. Sure, some of us invented Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, but some of us invented Napster and more of us lost jobs during the Great Internet Massacre of 2001 and 2002. We started with GeoCities and Tripod, moved on to LiveJournal and .edu sites, and still only half of us can get by without resorting to SquareSpace today... We collected CDs assiduously, only to replace them ten or fifteen years later with limitless discographies we could toss in our pockets... I probably will not bother to explain film cameras and one-hour photo developing. It’s all hazy now anyway, like an old Polaroid where the chemicals are starting to break down. We were fully formed adults by the time we got our first cellphones."

Yes, we were! Which allows me not to be hostaged by it, yet at the same not be confounded by its uses either. I love my age. We are generationally eternal and porous.

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