Magazines that are printed on mashed tree pulp (it is an ancient and, some say, fascinating technology) are alway eager to create “covers” that grab the attention of passersby. Here is one I saw as I was walking through the Philly airport yesterday.
The cover text reads “Dear Baby Boomers. Just die already. We’ll take it from here. xoxox, Generation X.” Congratulations cover design team! You got me interested enough in your magazine to write a post about it. Well done.
The cover’s message is presented on an Ipad cause you know old people don’t get all the new-fangled technology. AARP archly notes…
As a proud iPad-owning baby boomer, I was a bit annoyed by the cheap trick, but not surprised. Consumer magazines in the U.S. are seeing tough times these days. Though the story package offers point andcounterpoint, it has predictably touched off some strong reactions and was called out by some of mycolleagues.
The irony here is that it was Steve Jobs, an iconic baby boomer, who brought Gen X their cherished iPads. And it’s the iPad that may ultimately cause most of Gen X to stop buying paper magazines.
I have essentially two reactions to this…
1) As noted above, this kind of headline is now the normal form of mass media attention grabbing. While I see this particular example as being somewhat morbid, we all know what’s going on. The media is now operates along the lines of professional wrestling. Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink. Only the rubes fail to understand that it’s all make believe.
2) The Post War generation’s impending collision with the end of adulthood and its members’ awkward and halting exploration of elderhood really do represent of crisis of generational proportions. In all of human history the old have always given way to the young (not always happily or willingly) and the same will happen here. Despite how they may feel about it, the years remaining to the Boomers are, in fact, numbered. The real issue here is how the inevitable generational transition will play out. Will they grow into elderhood, become the elders of our people and exercise the gentle art of influence? Or, will they cling to adulthood and refuse to surrender the levers of its power until death swings its heavy scythe? No one can know, in advance, what course the bulk of the 80 million will choose. What is certain, however, is that the change is going to make one heck of a show.