Florence Pugh. Lil Nas X. Kaia Gerber. Tom Holland, Conan Gray. Timothee Chalamet. Zendaya. Ice Spice. Jenna Ortega.
Do you recognize these people? Do you recognize ANY of these people?
If you don’t, that’s understandable and you are certainly forgiven. They are all in their 20’s and they are the stars, singers, and “influencers” of Generation Z. As Odd Fellows, the vast majority of us come from the so-called Baby-Boomer Generation or from Generation X. (although there is a smattering of Millennials among us, and there are even a few from the Silent Generation). Very few of us even understand the concept of “influencers” – so I think I will start by defining my terms.
Humans are tending to live longer lives, and so we are living at a time when several generations share oxygen at the same time. These generations are generally identified as:
The Greatest Generation born between the following years 1901-1924
The Silent Generation born between the following years 1925-1945
Baby Boomers born between the following years 1946-1964
Generation X born between the following years 1965-1979
Mellennials born between the following years 1980-1994
Generation Z born between the following years 1995-2012
Generation Alpha born between the following years 2013-2025
[And I might as well define “influencer” as the term is used today. An influencer is a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service, or idea by promoting or recommending it on social media.]
The vast majority of Odd Fellows today are in the age range of Baby Boomers (59-77) or Gen X (44-58). Yet the majority of the population we will need to fill our ranks in the coming years are considerably younger than we are. A 2020 Brookings Institute study found that over 50% of the U.S. population is under 40 years of age. The oldest Millennial is 43. There are rather few Odd Fellows under the age of 43.
So, what does all this mean for us? We need to be aware of the generational divide. As current Odd Fellows get older over time, and as the general population gets statistically younger over time, the disconnect between generations becomes more and more pronounced. For example, what do you know about the words “Fam” or “Glow up” or “E-boy” or “Dank” or “Cancel culture” or “Ghosting” or “Salty” as used by the denizens of Gen Z. What do we, as Judges, know about their music, their media, their heroes, the ways they meet each other, the sources of their information, the reasons they decide to marry or have children?
The divide between generations seems to be growing. And if you think the divide between Odd Fellows and Generation Z is big, just wait a few years till Generation Alpha starts coming of age.
[And I can’t leave you hanging on the definitions of Gen Z terminology, so here goes: Fam is a shorter word for family, but it can also be used to describe one’s friends. Glow up means a makeover or transformation from bad to good. E-boy or E-girl is similar to emo or goth culture, but they use the Internet to express themselves. Dank is describing something as excellent or of very high quality. Cancel culture is a form of shaming the actions or opinions of a public figure, company or organization. Ghosting means you are ignoring someone or stop texting them back. Salty is a word one uses when one is feeling jealous.]
Hope everyone is now sufficiently woke.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
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