‘New York’ magazine explains case of the missing grown-ups

Even if you read the piece we’re about to gush about solely to keep up with trends important to your job in advertising, do yourself a favor and read New York magazine’s cover story this week—“Forever Youngish: Why Nobody Wants to Be An Adult Anymore.” It’s about adults—many with children—who refuse to grow up with the same set of fixed notions of adulthood as their parents. (Somewhere in the halls of JWT, Marian Salzman is wishing she’d thought of this first.) Don’t be surprised if you see a bit of yourself in this story; if not, it’s so on target that you’ll certainly see the truths it tells in the people all around you. As the story explains, "It’s about the mom in the low-slung Sevens and ankle boots and vaguely Berlin-art-scene blouse with the $800 stroller and the TV-screen-size Olsen-twins sunglasses perched on her head walking through Bryant Park listening to Death Cab for Cutie on her Nano." As that excerpt makes obvious, the story is positively choking with brand names—as long as they combine alternative culture with a price tag that makes whatever the item is unaffordable for someone with a blue-collar job. (In one extremely telling passage, a designer seems stunned at the market for his professionally-ripped jeans. “I was surprised that people would pay that amount of money for something that literally falls apart.”) It’s always excruciating when magazines try to come up with a new buzzword with the obvious intent of hoping it catches on, and this story falls into that category, borrowing the term "grups” from an old Star Trek episode "in which Kirk and crew land on a planet run entirely by kids, who called grownups “grups."’ As the story’s author, Adam Sternbergh, explains, "It’s not the most elegant term, but it passes the field test of real-world utility." OK, good defense. Call ’em grups, if you must.

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor