Magazine article Art Monthly

The Generation Game

Magazine article Art Monthly

The Generation Game

Article excerpt

The point of the long-running BBC show The Generation Game, first screened in 1971 and hosted by the 'evergreen' Bruce Forsyth--who is to game shows what Cliff Richard is to pop music--was to set one generation against another. The BBC dropped the show in 2002 due to falling ratings, but it seems that the chancellor, George Osborne, must have secretly harboured the desire to host his own version of the show since he has done more than any other postwar chancellor to generate antagonism between generations: between the so-called baby boomers, the generation which, in Harold Macmillan's famous phrase, 'have never had it so good', and succeeding generations.

Nursing their index-linked pensions and mortgage-free properties, this postwar generation, so the story goes, enjoyed free education and health care, and full employment. Some of the benefits enjoyed by this generation were passed on to the next, those born between c1965 and 1985--the so-called Generation X popularised by Canadian Douglas Coupland in his 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, which was also referred to, especially by the right-wing press, as 'The ME Generation'. But such freedoms came at a price--a price that is being paid by the present generation comprising those born between c1980 and 2000, increasingly referred to as 'Generation Y'.

This generation faces soaring rents and, if employed (in the same quarter that the chancellor trumpeted the signs of economic recovery, the number of 16-24 year-olds out of work went up by 15,000), zero-hour contracts, low-paid internships and bogus 'workfare' schemes, worse even than the type of dead-end 'McJob' coined by Coupland. At the same time the cost of higher education, particularly in the arts, puts that option out of reach for the majority, while those in higher education face a lifetime of debt (Editorial AM341). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.