The Gap Generation
Listen to me when I say... we are the generation of a cusp, living in a culture of panic. That will prove to be the defining concept of this century, currently so infantile in its youth. The seeds are already sown and the pattern is well known; it is beginning to become discernible. We are the Gap generation. No, not the monosyllabic in name and concept global clothing bland, i mean brand; though that would be an apt metaphor; but gap as in the principle by which we are defined. Our parents are the post-war generation, born into the abyss with a duty to rebuild what was destroyed. Visions of the future but clouded by the ties of national pride and focused through the lens of the authorities. Our generation was born into a time of growth and affluence, part of the Thatcherite mull. Grab what you can and watch it's value rise. But we saw both sides of the coin. We knew it couldn't last, which made us all the more eager to grab what we could while it was there for the taking.
The popular culture of a society is centred in its youth. As this mentality of individualistic greed spread like cancer through the powers that were, it quickly trickled down to the new generation who, ignorant of the history which had placed them in their current situation, took selfishness, greed and disregard for others for granted, adopting it as a behavioural aspect to be passed on to the next generation.
So, where does this lead us? As I say, we are the generation born on a cusp. Believe me when i say this. Vietnam, The Falklands, The Gulf War, these are things we know first hand accounts of and saw on the TVs and in the newspapers throughout our childhood. Innocence, the first casualty of war... but these events mean something to us, to a ten year old, they are as relevant as 1066. We also remember Woodstock and what could have been or still be... We will witness the biggest war on record (that is not to say the biggest war of all time, as there is evidence to suggest that civilisations have lived on Mother Earth for millions or maybe billions of years, wiping themselves out with predictable frequency through nuclear means only to rise again, radiated and updated for another bout). Is each subsequent one and better or worse on any meaningful scale of value; if such a thing exists?
But yes, we are the ones who will live to see a nuclear war (probably wrongly described as the first in history) with the memory of Hiroshima and the full implication of the fallout. Luckily, we will be too old for us to have much time left in which to suffer these atrocities. Our best years will be gone and we will have nothing to lose. I can see us, forty years from now, a greying army, fighting a faceless autonomous multinational body for the enduring good of our children and grandchildren. It seems inevitable. The hordes smashing up the state with their zimmerfames. Keep limber.
England, Jan 2006.