Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Tense Generation

The story made the cover of LOOK magazine in 1963. "The Tense Generation" is all about a generation of American teenagers who were aimless, apathetic, hanging out, wearing the uniform of blue jeans and white socks, destroying property and wasting their lives. Here are a few quotations from August, 1963:

"Across the country, from cities down to small towns, a novel note of tension, even of danger, has lately been added to the normal strains of life. It's as if a new population element had seeped into residential America, at odds with the old settlers and implacably determined to show its malice."

"To describe those who engage in these and many similar activities, it is necessary to use a terrible judgement: They are the 16 year old failures in American life."

"Many come from middle class, or even well to do homes. Their common denominator is that they have lost their way."

"Affluence itself is part of the problem."

"Experience shows that once normal middle class values are relaxed, the descent is rapid. The National Education Association has noted that there is a curious tendency these days for middle class youths to imitate the slum dweller, to speak his language, to wear his clothes, to act as they imagine he acts."

That was 1963, during the Kennedy administration. Keep your chin up, because a sixteen year old in 1963 is now 60 years old. Next time you see Grandpa, ask him why his generation was so tense, destroying things and making nothing of themselves.

Even a 16 year old tense failure like me can pull it together...


Love from Wilson World,

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Wow! If I didn't know that was from 1963, I would have thought it was from this generation. Nothing much has changed, in fact it seems to have gotten worse with all these obnoxious, precocious teens. Very interesting find.