Jun 27 2016

LARPing with Generation Z

by at 10:58 am under Uncategorized

Having just returned from vacation I had a lot of catching up to do last week. But, there were some memorable moments. First of all, on Monday we had our annual Men’s Event at Morton’s on Connecticut Avenue. There was a record turnout, and while we don’t yet know the final tally in terms of money raised, we almost certainly set a record. The evening started with a briefing on prostate cancer by Sean Collins and me, followed by a cocktail reception and a wonderful meal, and then a live auction. It was great fun. I got to sit at a table headed by Cliff Alexander, one of the event’s co-founders, and found myself sitting next to a retired lawyer who, as luck would have it, literally grew up a couple of blocks from me in the Philly suburbs. It was great fun to talk about the old neighborhood. More importantly, it was wonderful to be surrounded by so many people who are dedicated to our cause.

After a very busy couple of days, I drove down to Charlottesville on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the Georgetown University Executive Committee retreat. We visited Monticello for a fascinating and important in-depth tour with the staff, which included historians, archeologists and preservationists.

We also spent an afternoon learning more about Generation Z, whose older members are now of college age. For those of you who have lost track of generational definitions, here you go: Baby Boomers (1945-1964), Gen X (1965-1981), Gen Y – known by most of us as Millennials (1982-1995), and Gen Y (1996-2015). I don’t know what comes next, but I predict the Greek alphabet may soon come into play. According to our guests, each generation has its own cultural touchstones. Gen Z has never known a world without smart phones, laptops and iPads. Obviously, this changes the ways they interact socially. It changes the ways they learn. Gen Z is less into drugs, but more into LARPing (you can look it up). Gen Z is incredibly tolerant with respect to race, gender identification and sexuality. Apparently when they meet each other, one of the key questions they ask is “What’s your pronoun?”  Any answer is just fine with them. Of course, it is too soon to know if these attributes reflect durable changes or are simply transitory; we baby boomers once fancied ourselves as the Woodstock generation, and ultimately became our parents, more or less. Perhaps youth is just another curable disease, treated best by time. Hopefully, the unassuming tolerance of this youngest generation will endure. That would be nice. But I don’t know about LARPing…

Have a great week.

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