The Saeculum Decoded
A Blog by Neil Howe
Oct 262009
 

I’m talking about the Homelander Generation (born 200? – 202?) . And I mean—literally—silent in the case of this article about using sign language in the classroom.

Let’s glimpse ahead 15 years… to K-12 classrooms where every kid is polite, sensitive to the needs of others, and unwilling to “disrupt” classroom flow for a mere personal request. Another Silent (born 1925-1942) generation in the making?

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  • Curious observer

    Add to that the fact the Homelanders are being relentlessly programmed to pass standardized tests under No Child Left Behind, to the detriment of actually, you know, learning stuff. Truly the Dumbest Generation in the making.

  • BoomerXer

    Gosh, I hope that's not true! Homelanders should give us a great batch of artists and intellectuals – although not in the same vein as the mid-century Silent. I think it might be a mistake to make too much of saeculum to saeculum archtype comparison.

    Two more interesting articles regarding Hero/Artist nurture in the news this morning…
    One, in the NYT, "Drop the Halloween mask, You May Scare Someone!" is about discouraging dark, bloody – "negative" costumes in favor of "positive" costumes. The other is found in the LAT… "Schools putting the moves on hold" is about using contracts to discourage sexually suggestive or "freak" dancing at school functions.

  • Guest

    Read the book "Unequal Childhoods" about the fear of making personal requests. I'm not sure if it's a generational issue or not.

  • Matthew

    Neil-
    I was wondering if you have watc hed the show Mad Men on AMC? It is set in the advertising world of the late 1T and revolves around the main character Don Draper, a GI/Silent cusper. I believe the show does a great job at capturing the mood of the early 1960s with all its inner passions and tensions waiting to erupt.

  • Yes, I have watched it.  I was less impressed.  These retro shows spend millions making sure all the visual details are exactly correct, but then they hardly give a thought to generational personalities.  I admit I haven’t seen a lot of episodes, but what I’ve seen makes me think of Xers at a costume party.  Too much cynicism, irony, and snarkiness—and way too much edgy/foul language.  To many of us who recall the young-adult Silent back then, the general mood was innocence, vulnerability, trust, good humor, a sort of boy-scout earnestness.  Yes, there was also a darker nervousness, even nervous fatigue (give rise to the word “beat”), and a sardonic humor roiling beneath the surface.  But this was beneath the surface—and, in retrospect, most of that “beat” humor seems pretty tame if also very funny.  To appreciate what the Silent were really like back then—or at least how they liked to see themselves, even when they moved out  to the edgy side—go and rent “The Apartment” with Jack Lemmon or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn or “I Love You Alice B. Toklas” with Peter Sellers or just one of the beach blanket bingo movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.  One thing you notice in these movies is that most people, most of the time, (and certainly the main characters) try really hard to be *nice* most of the time.  That remains a life-long Silent personality trait.  And apparently it’s something that’s really hard for Xer actors to simulate.  –NEIL

  • Matthew

    I have two nephews who were born in 2005 and '06. I guess that would make them early cohorts of this generation. I also have an older nephew and niece who are late-wave Millennials ('97 and '01 cohorts). I look forward to seeing how this new generation of Artists turns out. I don't particularly like the name "Homeland" because it was made up on the forums in the aftermath of 9/11 when everyone was sure 9/11 was THE catalyst for babies who are now more likely the last MIllennial cohorts. It also is too early a name and may reflect little of this generation's actual lifecycle as it progresses over the next century. I believe the new Artists will get their true name in due time as they begin to come of age just like the Siletn and Xers did.

  • Isabelle

    I was born in 1994, my brother in 1996. Understand that we are the early cohorts of this generation, or at least he is. If anyone truly understood what he was going through in school right now, you would truly believe me. My brother is very athletic, one of the best in his grade, girls like him, and he is literally nice to whoever deserves it. He has always been so nice to anyone who does not try to work the school system, but more importantly, all of the severely disabled children love him, and he loves them. As you can see, he is somewhat like the “golden boy”, but he will not tolerate any person who uses the system to get what they want. These are the types of people his assistant principal loves. He does not go looking for trouble with these kinds of people, but he will not go along with what they do. He is learning that, instead of living how he likes, he has to be “nice” to everyone, not genuine and real.
    I see it with my teachers, mostly, they have to be so careful of what they say in the classroom.
    He and I are both part of the transition, I believe, between generation Y and Z.
    These are my worries:
    “They also say Millennials are held to higher standards than adults apply to themselves; they are a lot less violent, vulgar, and sexually charged than the teen culture older people are producing for them, and, over the next decade, they will entirely recast what it means to be young.” This is from Wikipedia with a summary of Strauss and Howe's book Millennials Rising: The Next Generation(2000). I would like to point out that that it says they are “a lot less violent, vulgar, and sexually charged”. This is an awfully close parallel to George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. To have the ability and the right to do offensive yet generally harmless things represents freedom. This does not mean that everyone has to participate in these things, but if one wants to, he or she should be able to.

  • Isabelle

    I was born in 1994, my brother in 1996. Understand that we are the early cohorts of this generation, or at least he is. If anyone truly understood what he was going through in school right now, you would truly believe me. My brother is very athletic, one of the best in his grade, girls like him, and he is literally nice to whoever deserves it. He has always been so nice to anyone who does not try to work the school system, but more importantly, all of the severely disabled children love him, and he loves them. As you can see, he is somewhat like the “golden boy”, but he will not tolerate any person who uses the system to get what they want. These are the types of people his assistant principal loves. He does not go looking for trouble with these kinds of people, but he will not go along with what they do. He is learning that, instead of living how he likes, he has to be “nice” to everyone, not genuine and real.
    I see it with my teachers, mostly, they have to be so careful of what they say in the classroom.
    He and I are both part of the transition, I believe, between generation Y and Z.
    These are my worries:
    “They also say Millennials are held to higher standards than adults apply to themselves; they are a lot less violent, vulgar, and sexually charged than the teen culture older people are producing for them, and, over the next decade, they will entirely recast what it means to be young.” This is from Wikipedia with a summary of Strauss and Howe’s book Millennials Rising: The Next Generation(2000). I would like to point out that that it says they are “a lot less violent, vulgar, and sexually charged”. This is an awfully close parallel to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. To have the ability and the right to do offensive yet generally harmless things represents freedom. This does not mean that everyone has to participate in these things, but if one wants to, he or she should be able to.

  • Guest

    I was born 95 so by demographic definition im in the early years of generation z or the Net Generation. With Cell phones and internet accessing devices becoming smaller, easier to use, and more connected to the current world teens, young adults, and pre teens are becoming more informed of worldwide influences and problems and some are taking a stand and people connect with electronic media which allows for very quick organization of upset and resentment toward any cause for alarm. In my own personal experiences, my generation is much less reverent or, in some cases, hateful toward todays government. Individualism and independence is becoming hihgly demanded. And technology advances at an astonishing rate and young children are adapting to these new technologies just as quickly and have valid ideas on how to improve them. My two cents come down to A much less government controlled nation in america and even more amazing technologies at a faster pace

  • We have all heard about the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Generation Jones and the Sandwich Generation. Inevitably, a new generation is now taking shape: Generation Y, otherwise known as The Millennials. The Millenials are the children of …

  • CaliforniaSauron

    I noticed that too – in the Silent Gen, NOBODY swore. Everybody was coining their own substitute swear words (“frack,””fudge,””darn it all to heck!”…) Think Minnesota Nice, but on a bigger scale. Also add to it the chivalry. Women simply did not open doors if there was a man present.