Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mo’ Boom

So the sluggish economy sent the birth rate in the U.S. into a tailspin. Besides not buying homes or cars, people decided to put off having babies. According to a Pew Research Center survey, about 22 per cent of 18 to 34 year-olds surveyed said they postponed starting a family because of economic considerations.

And now what can we expect as the economy improves? That’s right – a baby boom. The children of baby boomers are going to be starting families in a big way, and it’s already being referred to as the “Echo Boom.” Personally, I prefer my own name for it – the Boom Boom. Not only does it have more alliteration, it also sounds vaguely like the name of a strip club (the Boom Boom Room?) with even more alliteration.

The typical American woman plans to have an average of 2.3 children. Don’t get me started on the .3 part of the equation because I have never been able to understand the existence of fractional children, and frankly, I’m not sure I want to know the explanation. What I do know is that the number of women entering their childbearing years is on the rise. They are between the ages of 20 and 35 and they want to have sex. More specifically, they want to have sex that leads to the birth of a child (they’re not just sex-crazed for crying out loud). Oh, and one more thing. They are our daughters.

When I say “our” I really mean “your” daughters, since I don’t have one, but the point is that there are a lot of baby boomers out there (78 million by most counts) and they have a lot of daughters. If only a quarter of them have 2.3 babies…..well, you can see where this is going. It may be time to buy stock in disposable diaper companies.

Personally, I couldn’t be happier that there is a new baby boom coming along. For one thing, it will give everyone a new generation to blame for being selfish/spoiled/self-centered/demeaning-adjective-of-your-choice. Secondly, we need more worker bees paying into the system so that Social Security remains solvent. If we scale back the child labor laws, we could have these babies working at the age of 10!

So I say bring on the Boom Boom.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Social Media. Oxymoron?

If you’ve read some of the nasty tweets that people have put out there and then had to apologize for, it makes you wonder what is so social about social media? When you can insult an entire race, country or individual in less than 140 characters, maybe it’s just too easy.

Perhaps Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and the other social media tools have actually become antisocial media. Trump insults everyone. Louis C.K. insults his fans. Courtney Love…oh, forget it. Hundreds of corporate employees have put Tweets out in the internet-o-sphere and then had to walk them back with major mea culpas if they wanted to keep their jobs.

And celebrity apologies? Take your pick. Oprah has had to eat her words. So has Ashton Kutcher, Alec Baldwin, Anthony Weiner (oy vey, not just words but pictures too), Adam Carolla, Kristen Stewart (sorry I cheated), Hugh Jackman, Spike Lee, Justin Timberlake, Roseanne Barr, Daniel Tosh, Kanye West, and the list goes on and on. If you don’t know some of these names, just trust me. They overshared or said something totally insensitive and idiotic.

But are celebrities really that different from journalists,

politicians and just plain folks when it comes to self-censoring their social media output? Email and social media have just made it so darn convenient to put words, thoughts and pictures out there without a second thought. Could your words be hurtful? Of course. Would be helpful if you reread what you just wrote and thought about whether some people might misunderstand your meaning or find it offensive? You bet. Do the serial Tweeters ever think before they type something and hit the Tweet button? Apparently not, as there are news items each and every day that detail the latest social media train wreck.

One can only guess where the social media phenomenon is headed. I can envision the day when you no longer have to type your thoughts because your computer (or the Mind Reader that replaces it) will know exactly what you’re thinking and blab it out to the whole world. There will be no opportunity for reflection or self-editing. Imagine projectile vomiting of your innermost thoughts if that metaphor is not too gross. If you think that’s what we have now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.