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In November 1951 Time Magazine published an article by an unknown essayist, reflecting on its young adults (the millennials of the time), saying “It does not issue manifestoes, make speeches or carry posters. It has been called ‘The Silent Generation.’ But why the silence? What, if anything, does it hide? The Silent Generation are those born between 1925 and 1942. Now, in their late 70s, 80s and 90s, this generation seems to be the generation least spoken of. Not often enough spoken to. Whil ...
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Full episode available on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/SilentGeneration Many parents today tell their children to simply “be a good person” and do not offer them moral guidelines beyond that. “Being a good person” isn’t a robust enough moral framework to deal with the complexities of everyday life, so many people resort to creating their own mo…
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As previously noted, Nathan has a general aversion to bikes and bike infrastructure. But where does his “bike skepticism” come from, and why do many other Americans feel the same way? On this week’s episode of Silent Generation Joseph gets to the root of Nathan’s bias (the temperament of cyclists, tacky bike lane infrastructure, and the “aesthetics…
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In Western culture men often wear little to no jewelry, often opting to only wear a wedding ring and/ or a watch. What meaning can be discerned from the jewelry that Western men do wear and why don’t they wear more? On this week’s episode of Silent Generation the boys begin by discussing the form and function of the types of jewelry men most common…
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On this week’s first ever sequel episode the boys are joined by Shan Beaste, best known by her stage name Zombelle, who was one of the co-creators of the Seapunk movement and aesthetic. As detailed in episode 12, Seapunk (2011-2014) was a ‘90s inspired aquatic subculture that Nathan participated in during high school. Zombelle recently re-released …
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Americans generally travel domestically in four ways: road trips, air travel, train travel, and boat travel. The boys start by sharing anecdotes about their experiences with each type of domestic travel; Joseph says that he traveled for free on military aircraft as a child and Nathan shares how he grew up in a house with a boat in the backyard alon…
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Trailers for Alex Garland’s Civil War have tantalized the general public (and the hosts of Silent Generation) for months with scenes of explosions and themes of political polarization. This weekend the movie debuted as the #1 film in the nation, being the first A24 film to do so. On this week’s episode of Silent Generation the boys are joined by th…
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This week Joseph and Nathan discuss an American cultural figure that can be found at the cross section of many themes thus far covered in Silent Generation: the early 1900s, train travel, ethical codes, and situational homosexuality. Hobos are perceived as yesteryear’s equivalent of the modern homeless person but they were vastly different, hobos w…
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Electroclash is a musical genre that was most popular from 1999 to 2005 and is described as being a 50/50 mixture of electronic and rock music with an ‘80s bent. Unlike prior electronic genres, live singing, dancing, and stage performance were deployed by electroclash musicians who wanted to channel the theatricality and sex appeal of 1980s rock st…
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Vaporwave is a 1980’s inspired musical genre and aesthetic that thrived on Tumblr from 2012-2020. Broadly, vaporwave musicians slow down and remix samples of 1980’s songs in order to evoke nostalgic memories of the Reagan era, Yuppies, and globalization. On this week’s vaporwave episode of Silent Generation, Joseph and Nathan are joined by Peter (a…
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Yuppies get a bad rap. In his seminal work The Culture of Narcissism (1979), Christopher Lasch described how the coming generation of baby boomers would broadly exhibit symptoms of pathological narcissism such as hedonism, envy, greed, and an aversion to aging. Yuppies (young urban professionals) migrated en masse in cities during the1980s and were…
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Sky Cubacub is a local artist who designs custom clothing for the full spectrum of gender and ability through their clothing line Rebirth Garments. While the majority of the garments Sky now makes are made out of stretchy spandex material, much of their early work was made out of chainmail and they remain one of the World’s foremost chainmail artis…
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In anticipation of the impending Summer 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Joseph and Nathan question why the games seem to appeal to people who are otherwise uninterested in sports outside of the Olympics on this week’s episode. They point to the opening ceremony, “hometown” athletes, and (comparative) lack of corporate advertising. They then address the h…
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Shifting to fresh water, why does America undervalue one of its greatest natural resources? The Great Lakes are in many ways culturally invisible; many Americans underestimate their size and economic importance. On this week’s episode of Silent Generation the boys are joined by their friend David (a recent transplant and Great Lakes enthusiast) to …
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Seapunk was a subculture and musical genre that emerged in 2011 after people started sharing ‘90s aquatic imagery on Tumblr, and Nathan (Silent Generation host and ex-Seapunk) gravitated toward it while he was a diver in high school and adopted the aesthetic. While Seapunk, Nathan created an extensive 120 slide slideshow that documented the Seapunk…
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The ‘70s can be construed as being one of the darkest decades in American history. Crises such as stagflation, declining union membership, the 1973-1975 recession, the Energy Crisis, and the Vietnam War all occurred simultaneously. Said clothing produced during the ‘70s showed a shallow optimism which can be seen in garments like newsboy caps, sati…
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This week the boys are joined by Kone, a local fashion designer who co-owns the eponymous Kone Ranger clothing brand along with his brother Kevin. Kone Ranger opened up a permanent location in Avondale in 2022 to offer Chicagoans the opportunity to buy handmade Western-inspirted garments. But what do cowboys mean to Kone? To answer this question, t…
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Department stores are in many ways the ultimate third place. You can use them to meet up with friends, to avoid the elements, to get a bite to eat, to look at interesting displays, to get advice on your wardrobe, and to buy a wide variety of consumer products. So why are they declining and what can be done about it? This week Joseph and Nathan begi…
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This week the boys are joined by their personal friend and the pod’s first ever guest, Rafa, a Palo Alto native and Chicago transplant. They begin by examining the aesthetics of individual FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) before examining the tech industry and silicon valley as a whole. Amongst other things they discuss sk…
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Are men in crisis? What role can uniforms play in mitigating the “deaths of despair” and anomie we see in our larger society? This week Joseph and Nathan begin with a quote from Uniforms by Paul Fussell and start to address the various social and psychological effects that uniforms induce: patriotism, pride, shame, and (on a darker note) deindividu…
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This week the boys discuss one of the most controversial ideas alluded to by the Strong Towns organization: “legalize slums.” Strong Towns is a non-profit organization that advocates for walkable neighborhoods, higher-density housing, ending parking minimums and many other urbanist policies but they have largely avoided addressing the topic of info…
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The interwar period is defined as being from 1918 to 1939 while the modernist period is loosely defined as being from the early 1900s to 1940s. What were architecture, design, and art like during the time period where the two overlapped? Within this week’s episode Joseph and Nathan pay particular attention to the Streamline Moderne, Bauhaus, Deutsc…
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Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Aeropostale, American Eagle, and Pink were dominant clothing brands during the mid-2000s. Despite their immense popularity during this time period they are scarcely referenced in alternative fashion today. In this week’s episode Joseph and Nathan suggest that said logo-centric aesthetic be labeled “logoprep.” Amidst …
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Crystal Castles was a Canadian electronic music group known for their experimental sound characterized by video game sound effects and synthesizers. It was initially formed in 2006 by vocalist Alice Glass and producer Ethan Kath and lasted until it ended in controversy in 2017. Their music has become popular on Tiktok recently and has influenced a …
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This week the boys discuss saudade, an emotion unique to Portuguese-speaking cultures that is similar to nostalgia. In the second half of the episode they discuss notalgia-driven media in American culture. Amongst other things they discuss Nathan’s undergrad thesis, culture bound syndromes, the stories of how they got their names, Grief and a Headh…
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Silent Generation is a Chicago based cultural analysis that covers topics in art, fashion, politics, and urbanism. In this episode Joseph and Nathan discuss the flaneur, a French literary archetype that described modern young men who wandered around Paris and observed modern life in the late 19th century. They also discuss Paris’s boulevard system,…
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BARRIE WATTS Born1/10/38Born in 1938 in Wellington, NZ, Barrie's hometown was all about science and sheep. Finding his calling at an early age, Barrie recalls the man on the front page of The Evening Post, that changed his life. The man was a famous foreign correspondent. It was an image that lit a fire in Barrie's heart and lead him into his own s…
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NORMAN 'ED' BAILEY5/11/1938Ed Bailey is a creative legend of sorts. To many an amateur and professional actor (think Bernard Curry from The Castle). But long before he discovered his talent and passion for music and performing, he'd grown up as a child in Wales during World War 2. Ed recalls with clarity hearing bomber planes overhead, and the hous…
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CHRIS MAYOR Born 19/8/28Growing up during or soon after The Great Depression changed the course of families all over the world. Chris reflects thoughtfully on his childhood growing up in a privileged environment, with a father who owned a Rolls Royce, to a reverse in fortune created by The Great Depression. As with so many who lived through this ti…
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ALAN LETTS Born 10/6/22MARY LETTS Born 17/9/29Mary learnt to waltz at 12 so she could go to the local dance. In the late 1930s and 40s, if a man wanted the attention of girl, he didn't just 'swipe right', he had to ask her to dance. Mary shares why she believes people nowadays have got the game of love and dating all wrong. Back in Mary and Alan's …
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LOUISA HAMILTON Born 17/4/21When Louisa Hamilton entered the world in 1921, the world was a very different place. King George V was ruling and Russia was entering the 'Great Famine'. It would be another 22 years before a woman would be elected into Australian Parliament. Now aged 98 years old, Louisa reflects on a life that saw her famous English d…
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HELEN GRAYBorn 8/1/36Helen Gray is a woman who epitomises the kind of resilience known of The Silent Generation. Raised by a father who could still see the bright side of life, despite being thrust into the family business at 16 years of age after his father's sudden death. A job that required him to go door knocking to collect rent from families d…
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BERNIE JACKSONBorn 3/12/24With divorce rates higher than ever in Australia and the US, it's hard to imagine how one man could manage to live 25 years in one marriage, and 40 years in another. Bernie is still married to his second wife, Helen. In World War 2 he survived a submarine torpedo blast in the middle of the night while serving for the Briti…
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ANNE ALEXANDERBorn 27/3/33What happens when you hear a movie trailer for a story you lived through when you were seven? Anne Alexander lived through Winston Churchill's famous 'the darkest hour' speech days. Although easy to forget how close the world came to being taken over by the Germans, Anne still remembers. Life positioned her in many countri…
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