Watch out, baby boomers: the 18-to-35-year-old cohort is about to seize power, warns Mitchell. Call them Gen-Xers or the...

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A NEW KIND OF PARTY ANIMAL: How the Young Are Tearing Up the American Political Landscape

Watch out, baby boomers: the 18-to-35-year-old cohort is about to seize power, warns Mitchell. Call them Gen-Xers or the 13th Generation, but don't, in the manner of so many older types, call them ""slackers."" So urges Mitchell, a 27-year-old contributor to such august publications as the Washington Post and the New York Times. Young people are now entering politics and, Mitchell says, ""redefining"" it. They have the necessary demographic clout to change the world, she adds: ""We outnumber the 'boom'--born between 1943 and 1960--by ten million."" Just how the young are redefining politics Mitchell doesn't make clear; in her numerous case studies of young people who have volunteered to clean up cities, help the homeless, and save the earth, she doesn't quite distinguish her players from activists of the past (and in any event many of her case studies look to boomer idols like Bobby Kennedy for their role models). But Mitchell does show that the young of today inhabit a world different in many ways from that of their elders. One activist of whom she writes properly objected to students being labeled"" 'learning disabled' because they didn't know the word 'skillet' ""--not surprising, given that most of their meals consisted of microwave-prepared fare. And others whom she studies illustrate how media-savvy and resistant to old-fashioned political and commercial advertising the younger generation is, which of course makes life more difficult for the sound-bite spin doctors on whom older politicos seem to rely. (One of those media-savvy types even uncovered illegal campaign contributions in the last California legislative elections by hacking the Internet.) Her arguments are rather thin, but Mitchell's book--despite its unfortunate title--may nonetheless inspire a younger reader or two to try to change the world.

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998