The Generations

by Rick Bretz

Classifying people into generations and marking them with cultural characteristics is an entertaining exercise for sociologists and academics.  However, putting a particular generation into a certain box is only informative when analyzing the different world events that influenced the collective personality characteristics of people growing up in that era. The classification of generations begs the question: Is one generation better than another? Did one generation endure hardships?  Did another have it easier? It’s an intellectual exercise that can generate a discussion. Since Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation” was published, most of the reading public have stated that people who grew up to fight WWII and endure the Great Depression were part of the “Greatest Generation.”  Is there such a title-“The Greatest Generation”–One group of people who have shone brighter than any other  in history.

I prefer to think that each generation has had their own challenges and issues with their own solutions.  Can you say that one generation is better than another because they helped achieve a WWII victory while another fought in Vietnam and landed on the moon?  Another way to view the issue is: without one generation developing a particular technology the other wouldn’t have been able to achieve their significant achievements.

Members of the military are attempting to keep...
Members of the military are attempting to keep Vietnam War protesters under control. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scholars possess different views pertaining to the yearly division between generations, usually a few years separate one list from the other. Here is a list generations with significant (but not all) events occurring during their formative years compared across generations.


BORN:   1901-1928


BORN:   1928-1945


BORN:   1946-1964


BORN:   1965-1980



World   War I Stock   Market Crashes Marshall   Plan Vietnam   War Protests Chernobyl   Nuclear Accident
Spanish   Flu Great   Depression Yeager   breaks sound barrier Watergate   Hearings Soviet   Glasnost
Titanic   Sunk FDR   Elected NASA   formed Nixon   Resigns Fall   of Berlin Wall
Silent   Movie Era WWII   Begins Korean   War Vietnam   War Ends Disintegration   of Soviet Union
Roaring   20s WWII   Ends Cold   War Race   Riots Apple   and Microsoft
Ford   Model T and Assembly Line Atomic   Bomb used to defeat Japan JFK   Assassinated Civil   Unrest Hubble   Telescope
Russian   Revolution 1933-First   Concentration Camp McCarthy   hearings RFK   and MLK Assassinated 9/11
Prohibition The   Dust Bowl Cuban   Missile Crisis Armstrong,   Aldrin, Collins land on the moon War   on Terrorism
Lindbergh Flies solo   across Atlantic Japan attack on Pearl   Harbor DNA discovered Palestinian Terrorism Operation   Desert Storm
Penicillin Discovered United Nations Founded Vietnam War Roe vs Wade Internet   and Social Media



Alternate Listing for Generational Names from the Population Reference Bureau

1983-2001 – New Boomers
1965-1982 – Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers
1929-1945 – Lucky Few
1909-1928 – Good Warriors
1890-1908 – Hard Timers
1871-1889 – New Worlders


English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. Th...
English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Türkçe: Berlin Duvarı, 1989 sonbaharı (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above alternate generations list takes note of two generations that are usually overlooked, the Hard Timers and the New Worlders.  These are the generations that ushered in the industrial revolution, built railroads and began to introduce people to technology that would save their lives such as electricity and the light bulb.

If you look at history’s 20th Century Timeline, there are many events that could be listed that have influenced generations.  These are some of the ones I think are significant. I welcome any other events that you think I have missed or could be included.

Notable Links:

Eight Comedians Who Should Be Vice President

by Rick Betz

I’ve decided to turn the tables on comedians who make jokes and one liners at the expense of Vice Presidents.  Vice Presidents have a difficult job trying to make their days seem important while waiting for the chance to be at the top of the pyramid.  On the surface, this list making exercise may seem easy but hold your punch lines. The selections have to be entertaining since VPs also provide entertainment to the public and the comedy circle.  More than that, they have to appear as though they can take on the responsibilities of President if called upon to do so.

Here are my selections:

English: Flag of the Vice President of the Uni...
English: Flag of the Vice President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Will Farrell-If he can’t be serious, he does a good job looking serious when he needs to be.  He can say stuff like, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” Besides, the government needs more Cow Bell. If you can be an Anchorman, you can be a Vice President.

2. Lewis Black-He can point out all of exasperation, frustrations and irritations associated with the government and the tax code.  He would be our voice for reason.  One of his best lines, “What does the word “meteorologist” mean in English? It means “liar.”

3. Chris Rock-He would keep it real and bring as much pain as possible to the government to force them to get things done.  Some of his best one liners, “I live in a neighborhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot.”  Or “We were so poor when we went to bed my daddy unplugged the clocks.”

4. Louis C.K.-Louis would be perfect for saying that outrageous statement that would take the heat off the President when he needed it. One of his best one-liners, “The meal is not over when I’m full, the meal is over when I hate myself.”


5. Ron White-All together now, “You can’t fix stupid.” I can see Ron White sitting behind the President during the State of the Union message.  I wouldn’t be able to listen to a word the President would say. I would be looking at Ron White to see if he’d snuck in a bottle of Scotch. One of his best lines, “If life has given you lemons, then make lemonade and then try to find someone whose life has given them Vodka, and then have a party.”

Ellen DeGeneres at Hotel Bel Air in Los Angele...

6. Ellen DeGeneres-If she can handle hosting an awards show just after 9/11, she can handle being Vice President.  One of her best lines, “I’m a Godmother.  That’s a great thing to be, a Godmother.   She calls me God for short, that’s cute, I taught her that.”

7. Steve Martin-You get double for your money with this one.  He is a fantastic banjo player who just produced an excellent CD with Edie Brickell, titled “Love Has Come For You”.  He is a terrific comedian and actor. If all of that doesn’t work, he could always bring out the old reliable “arrow through the head” routine.  One of his many one liners, “Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!”

8. Jim Breuer-He is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story-teller.  If you don’t believe me, search out his Pizza Man Story.  He is also another Saturday Night Live alumnus and a Jersey guy, which score points on my rating scale.

That’s my list.  You put these together with the other list (Eight People Who Should Have Been President) and you got something that could work for America.  Some people say this is an exercise in futility.  I prefer to look at these lists as what should have been and what might be.  We can only hope.  Frankly, I’m tired of amateur comedians taking up room in the executive offices, I want professionals in there.

If you have a suggestion, feel free to add your selection to the list.