Playing happy families? Or is Generation X mediating the war between the woke, and ok boomer? A quick guide to keeping some kind of family balance…
The pandemic has been hard on families. Not actually being able to touch loved ones living in a separate household has been difficult, for example. Until recently you weren’t even able to let your dear old mum hug your reluctant teen (always hilarious), let alone host a roast with all generations in attendance.
But we’ve got through it right? Only increasingly, as ‘woke’ faces down the old school, it seems that inviting your fam into a social bubble for dinnertime chat might make your relationship with them all go…
There are so many schisms – and isms
It all started with Brexit – discussions about which ruined many a family shindig – and it’s currently hanging out with #BLM and the TERFs.
The language your grown children speak is almost the polar opposite of your parents’
It seems like there’s nothing binary in the world any more. Well, unless you’re talking 5G maybe, but even that’s controversial (remember when David Icke just had an opinion on football?! Ah, those were the days).
There’s a Brave New World of hashtags, acronyms, and pronouns bringing inter-generational strife into your life. The language your grown children speak is almost the polar opposite of your parents’ take.
And whilst in the past that’s been confined to ‘ugh what do you understand?’, now the chasm is far wider and has more words. It’s embedded in misunderstandings around racism, misgendering, and sexist or political differences.
And poor old Generation X is stuck in the middle. Kinda hoping against hope that everyone can be reasonable. Yay.
It used to be easy to spot who was in the wrong
They’d usually have had one too many at the golf club do. And start bandying around the words we all knew were shameful, whilst at the same time asking the mortified (underage) waitress for a quick peck on the cheek.
These days you can fart in the wrong direction and upset someone.
In those days it would oh-so-humorously still be called being ‘politically incorrect’. Being liberal was to be applauded and there was still comedy on TV.
But at least you knew where you were. These days you can fart in the wrong direction and upset someone.
Gen X, the peacemakers?
So here we are, Gen X silvers, pleading with everyone to ‘play nicely’, as the roughhousing gets out of hand. Wondering how we handle the inevitable discussions about toppling statues, burning flags, and the need to rethink the history syllabus without giving Grandad an aneurysm and letting wrongs go unchecked.
Surely there’s some middle ground? How can we #BeKind to everyone and move forward? Indeed, can we?
If you’re concerned that your, ahem, micro-aggressions might be triggering your favourite snowflake, here’s a guide. And yes, it’s supposed to be funny. Keep your wig on. And no that’s not baldist.
How to handle the woke, without alienating the Daily Mail reader in your life:
Get a gender-neutral sign for your toilet door. Your ageing parents will be none the wiser, but your Gen Z will grudgingly appreciate this when they visit. If they visit, obviously; they have a march most weekends.
Ignore social media virtue signaling. Does it really matter that your vegan goddaughter is sharing her work with PETA online every single bloody day? If she wants to tell the world that she’s ‘being the change she wants to see’, let her. Who cares?
Try to understand white privilege. If you’re unclear (because let’s face it, you didn’t learn it at school in between canings and talk of the Empire), it describes the unseen, unconscious advantage those with white skin have. Like when you go tights shopping at John Lewis, they have a whole host of hosiery that matches your legs? And how nobody calls up the police just because you’re outside their house? That kind of thing.
Accept that for some, being a polemic is a lifestyle choice. It might not be your lifestyle choice, but there you go. It takes all sorts and 2020 is all about tolerance. Unless you’re gluten, nobody likes gluten.
Agree to be in a TikTok. Just make sure you look bougie. Like Judi.
Say ‘all lives matter’. Not because it’s not true, but because the point behind the Black Lives Matter campaign is that it is black people’s lives that are undervalued and under threat. It’s a lesson in human rights, not in grammatical nuance. This is their moment, not yours.
Appear on Question Time and roll your eyes. In fact eye rolling anywhere is to be avoided. If you find you need to, go into the bathroom and do it alone. You filthy frustrated beast.
Mention how incomprehensible you find Sam Smith and his, ahem their, pronouns because correct grammar was drilled into you at school. Almost literally. You’ll just open a whole another can of argh.
Plop yourself down on public transport and open your legs as wide as possible, if you identify as a man. It’s called manspreading (that phrase probably needs updating) and it’s the epitome of entitlement. As in, I’m entitled to your seat as well as mine. It means something else entirely if you don’t identify as a man though. Also avoid, probably.
Have an opinion on Twitter. Ever.
And finally, don’t @ me, because I’ve switched off commenting. I’m all for freedom of speech, unless of course, it’s directed at me.