Questions People Ask
What is this?
The Splinter Generation is an online literary compilation for and by people who are part of the Splinter Generation (born between 1973-1993). It’s a venue for writers from all different backgrounds to tell the stories of our generation through literature.
What’s wrong with the name Generation Y (or any of those other millions of names we have)?
What does Generation Y even mean? What does the Google Generation even mean? We’ve been called Generation Y, Generation Me, the Google Generation, Generation DotNet, Millennials, and Generation 9-11 … the list goes on forever. None of these names seem to fit. Sure, we use the internet; yes, 9-11 was a formative political experience; true, the letter Y comes after the letter X. But I argue that these names don’t sufficiently capture who we are as a group. They don’t capture who we are as a generation.
We offer the Splinter Generation as a possible alternative. Use it if you like it. Don’t use it if you hate it. Just please, for the love of God, stop calling us Generation Y.
Why the Splinter Generation?
1. Our generation is split into a million different cultures and subcultures, whether they are religious, musical, literary, ethnic, class-based or consumer-based. Our identities have become selective and insular. We have each found the little niche we think we fit in and we stay there. As a result, we stay in our little group — or our little splinter — and we rarely talk to each other.
2. Splinter generation is a weapon-making term referring to the creation of fragments, or splinters, that form in an explosive reaction. Our generation has seen a lot of explosions.
3. Our attention is kind of splintered. Do I need to explain more?
Does this have anything to do with Master Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
OK, I get it. We’re a disjointed bunch who are a bit cliquish and who have seen a lot of explosions. Instead of insulting us, why don’t you say what you think our generation stands for?
I’ve noticed that this term really angers some people, and I think that’s because people think I’m blaming them. I don’t blame our generation for being a bit cliquish, nor do I blame our parents generation for making us cliquish. Our parents and grandparents are handing us a world in which we have more social, sexual, and technological options than ever before. They also gave us an incredibly violent and unequal world — a world in which ten year old children only need an Internet connection to watch a beheading and the richest 50 million people have the same resources as the poorest 2.7 billion people. All of this freedom and violence and inequality terrifies me, and I am guessing that these things terrify a lot of us. When I get terrified, I want to be around people who make me feel safe.
Unfortunately, the people who make me feel safe are often quite a bit like me. And I see this same tendency in my friends, in my acquaintances, and in my professional life. This means that as a generation, we are so fundamentally different from one another that it is impossible to make sweeping generalizations about us because we’re not alike. Because we’re so wrapped up in our social groups, we don’t pick up as much on ideas and mannerisms and habits of people we don’t hang out with, so we end up being different from one another in ways that make it impossible to define us as a generation. This might be why Generation Y is the best anyone’s come up with.
This is all a long complicated way of saying that the term “the Splinter Generation” does not represent what we stand for. It is simply a more accurate representation (more accurate than Generation Y, at least) of what we’ve been born into. If someone can figure out one thing that billions of people who fit in our generation stand for, I would be more than happy for them to do so. In the meantime, I think it’s important for our generation to start talking to each other, to start breaking down the boundaries that separate us, so that we might someday figure out what we stand for.
But wait! Your dates don’t line up with Generation Y! Your dates aren’t accurate! You need some demographic help!
Defining generational cut-off dates is a ridiculously hopeless task. Some people say the cut off birth-date to be a member of Generation Y is 1975. Some say it’s 1979. Others say 1980. Still others say 1982 or 1986. We chose 1973 as the start date for the Splinter Generation because when we started this, we wanted a nice round number, and in 2008, 1973 meant writers who were thirty-five and under. Personally, I don’t think it matters all that much when you were born. What matters is what shaped you. I don’t identify at all with the term “Generation X” or “Generation Y.” I was born in 1979. Gen-Xers were supposed to grow up during the Cold War. I was in elementary school when the Berlin Wall fell; I remember it, but barely. Likewise, anyone who was born before 1974 is welcome to use the words Splinter Generation if they identify more with the term the Splinter Generation than the term Generation X.
How can I contact you?
You can email us at splintergeneration (at) gmail (dot) com.