Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, March 08, 2021

It’s tricky enough to anticipate how this Great Recession is going to affect people from week to week. But some are looking back at previous economic crises as guides to how future generations will be impacted:

Children in the stagflated 1970s, meanwhile, grew up in the too-much-information age of Judy Blume. As [sociologist and "millenials" name-coiner Neil] Howe quotes one: “Our parents gave us answers to questions we never asked.” The system that produced Watergate had failed everyone, the lesson was to be a free agent, to take risks. Even today, Mr. Howe said, lottery officials report that those Gen Xers are their biggest customers.

But when it comes to raising their children, the pendulum has swung. Today’s youngest children — the recession babies — are being raised in the same kind of protective bubble as the Depression babies. (When Mr. Howe’s Web site did a contest to name this next generation a few years ago, the winner was “the homelanders,” as in security). They stroll in sidewalk versions of sport utility vehicles, learn to swim in U.V. protective full-body suits.

So while today’s high school and college students will be the ones creating the new public agencies and Internet infrastructures, Mr. Howe predicts, those who follow “will come of age wanting to participate in a system they trust and take for granted” — the next Silent Generation.

A tag-team generational tandem: The risk-takers who are just now starting to come of age, with their overly-coddled little siblings on their heels. The overall societal dynamic should be interesting.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/08/2021 06:40:48 PM
Category: Business, History, Society
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When’s the last time you walked into a pub and couldn’t see at least one television set perched prominently? At this point, drinking in a TV-free zone involves a challenging hunt:

Indeed, given the ubiquity of sports-addicted customers, “television is the standard,” said Patrick Daley, owner of Kettle of Fish, a venerable West Village hangout at 59 Christopher Street. It flaunts two front-of-house televisions and one in the back room, and for Green Bay Packers games, Mr. Daley goes so far as to drag out six more. Blame the diehard Cheeseheads who line up for hours before the bar opens on game days.

But even in fanless pubs, “there is a lot of pressure to televise the World Series and the Super Bowl,” said Mr. McDonald of the Swift, who will ardently recite verses by the Anglo-Irish satirist and cleric, Jonathan — who inspired the bar’s name — at the drop of a tap handle.

“But the onus is on the publican,” he said, “to supply something that not everyone can get at home.”

There are a lot of ways to consider this. One is that, in a lot of parts of the country, “bars” no longer exist — they’re all sportsbars, to some degree or another. With that status quo, the television set is as essential a part of the ambiance as the liquor bottles and the team banners on the walls. For a big part of the population, a bar that doesn’t include always-on television is, by default, a “theme” bar.

Also, the smaller footprints required by flatscreens makes them so unobtrusive that it’s not a big deal to make room for them. So there’s little excuse for not having a TV on the drinking premises.

And yet, now that everyone carries around a mobile phone, and compulsively checks that pocket-sized screen every few seconds, do the saloons that pointed exclude a communal TV screen even matter? The near-extinct tavern culture of old thrived on more or less undivided attention, and today’s always-connected clientele simply wouldn’t participate in that. The distractive pull is still there, but now is even more of a personalized cocoon.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/08/2021 03:07:21 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Society, TV
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The chances are practically nil that they ever met together, but three of Europe’s most notorious future leaders lived within a few blocks of each other on the eve of World War I:

At the same time, Vienna was incubating in its own streets some of the century’s prime virtuosos of violence… An elegant building on Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse housed young Josef Stalin, dispatched by Lenin to explore the empire’s explosive nationalities situation. It was during Stalin’s weeks in Vienna that he initiated his lethal feud with young Leon Trotsky, who, a few streetcar stops away, was publishing the original Pravda. All this while on the other side of town young Adolf Hitler was seething obscurely, painting postcards for a living.

Something in the Viennese water that nurtured a streak of absolutism in these self-styled revolutionaries? Actually, they all already had been inoculated in repressive political cultures since birth; but it’d be interesting to know what they gleaned from their experiences in Habsburg Austria. Not to mention what would have happened had they exchanged notes over a few pints.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 03/08/2021 01:17:16 PM
Category: History, Politics
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