Charlotte County Florida Weekly

Alpha males



If you’re reading this, you have parents. And the likelihood is you’ve known them and perhaps their parents, too. In some cases, you might even know or have once known your great-grandparents.

That means you’re intimately familiar with people who represent at least three or four brand-name generations, or even the full spread. At the moment, we live in a world where seven generations of people share the same air and the same rough patch of time, if not experience.

Walking among us like the living — well, not yet dead — are surviving members of the Greatest Generation, the youngest in their mid-90s.

Joining them are the Silent Generation, born between 1928 and 1945 (our current president); baby boomers (our last president, but enough about boomers); Generation X, the 1965 to 1980 crowd; Generation Y or Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996 — they’re running neck and neck with boomers for the most populous generation, at just over 72 million; and Generation Z, born near the end of the 1990s and right up until about 2010 or 2012.

Finally, you might know or be the parent of members of the newest generation, Alpha, born starting 10 or 12 years ago. For good or ill, nothing self-made is yet attached by history to their résumés.

It’s one thing to be a female in any generation of Americans, so far; there’s always pressure to behave and to appear in ways prescribed in part by a bunch of good ol’ boys. But now imagine the cultural pressure of growing up in Generation Alpha as a kid equipped only with a pair of big brass XY chromosomes. How do you even introduce yourself?

“Hi. I’m Jimbo and I’m an ALPHA male!” You know what’s expected of them, of course: muscle cars, hyper trucks, guns, big bucks, splashy women, all of it.

I guess it’s better than having to introduce yourself as an Omega male on some distant day — that’ll end up the be-all-and-end-all generation — but it still carries a lot of freight.

Already, those who leap to characterize generations are hard at it, working to give all Alphas a brand like other generations carry — “greatest” or “silent” or “boomer” — or to label them with words like “disaffected,” as if that pitiful appellation could describe the men and women of Generation X.

The labels come with a host of characterizations, too, showing how different from others their generation may be.

“Generation Alpha are the most materially endowed generation ever, the most technically savvy generation ever and they will enjoy a longer life span than any previous generation. … They will stay in education longer, start their earning years later, and so stay at home with their parents later than even their predecessors, Gen Z and Gen Y,” according to an Australian prognosticator.

That all sounds nice, unless you don’t like your kids hanging around the house after they’re 12 or 13, or 18 or something.

By 2025, 2 billion Alphas will be living on the planet, demographers estimate, probably about 40 million of them in the United States.

You know what that means, so brace yourself: 20 million more Alpha males by 2025, to go with all the other alpha males from previous generations.

Generation Alpha will be “global, digital, mobile and visual,” the prognosticators say.

Perhaps. But in the United States they could also be regressive — throwbacks to times more myopic, less tolerant, more self righteous and jingoistic, less welcoming and respectful — especially if they embrace the values of significant numbers of their parents and grandparents.

Alphas are coming of age in a nation where women and minorities do not share fully in the nation’s largesse: statistically, their salaries, educations or opportunities lag behind those of white males, still.

This is a nation where women can be forbidden by man-made law to abort pregnancies even under conditions that include incest or rape.

A nation where books may be censored and history sugared and mythologized by order of a governor.

And a nation where gun salesmen have captured the hearts and minds of countless politicians and private citizens.

Led by one of the nation’s strongest lobbying groups, the National Rifle Association, those salesmen insist with straight faces that assault rifles are the guarantee and promise to every American made by “the Founding Fathers, whose knowledge in this arena was how long it took to load and reload a musket only,” as former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy put it in a recent letter.

The gun bunnies continue to insist that those wig-wearing, slave-owning framers “authorized and protected, somehow, this insane and twisted killing spree,” he added.

Mr. Molloy is now in private practice on the southwest coast, which means he can also frame reality in a rhymed couplet, if he chooses, something I hope Gen Alpha heeds closely:

“The Second Amendment makes no sense/When talked about in present tense.”

What it all means is simple: The labels, even the characterizations of generations are significantly less important than the actions of individuals.

When it comes to chromosome XY and what it must strive to be in any generation, Raymond Chandler put it like this, in 1950:

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. … He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.”

That’s my kind of Alpha male, and I’ve seen them in every generation. ¦

One response to “Alpha males”

  1. Antoinette Morris says:

    👍. Thank you Roger.

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