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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Generation Z and Generation α

That's the problem with designating groups of anything with a letter - based scheme. It did for car registrations in the UK a few years ago.

When the concept of Generation X - the social cohort, not the short-lived British punk rockers - was invented, they were so named for being the 10th generation since the American revolution.

Why this then took in we English and other Europeans is beyond me. Even in England, the American revolution was little more than "in other news", as a bunch of plucky Brits fought off a largely-German colonial army.

But Gen X was a number - 10 - not a letter. So to call the people born after that Generation Y, rather than XI, was silly. Small wonder we now instead refer to "Millennials", not least as this science-fictiony term perfectly captures the alien appearance of the young-men-in-whiskers currently plaguing London and similar locations.

But if we'd continued with the X-Y pattern originally established, then we're currently about halfway through Generation Z being born.

Generation Z will be a troubled and troubling bunch. Half of them will be dedicated apocalyptics, convinced that - if they are "Z" - there is nothing to come after them. They will reject the previous 50 years of environmental angst, gleefully consuming whatever we leave them of this world's resources in the belief that after them, the Flood. The other Generation Z-ers, convinced that they are the generation that all the previous ages have been in preparation for, will just act like teenagers for their entire lives.

Meanwhile, the offspring of the Millennials will be being born. Having run out of Latin letters, they will be Generation α.

Generation Alpha will, I predict, be the ones that bring it all to an end. Addicted to small-group meetings and dinner parties, they will spend their lives deepening their spiritual awareness and driving 7-seater cars. They will know that Generation Z are sending the world to hell on a Segway but they won't care. They'll have a home in glory land that outshines the Sun - which will be a great consolation as Generation Z declares war on the Moon.

Generation α will be like an extended edition of the Great British Bake-off, set to Matt Redman music, while global nuclear meltdown occurs outside the force-fields of suburbia. Nobody else will be born in the West - Gen Z will be too busy consuming and destroying, while Gen α will never get away from finger buffets and prayer triangles.

It'll be a shame to miss it.

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