National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2008


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 9:1, Spring/Summer 2008. Copyright © 2008 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Shortly before his death in 2002, the British author and dramatist Douglas Adams—author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—composed his “Three Rules” for describing how people react to change (The Salmon of Doubt, p. 95): “(1) anything that is in the world when you are born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works; (2) anything that is invented between the ages of 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career out of it; (3) anything invented after age 35 is against the natural order of things.” While primarily concerned with technological innovation, Adams’ “Rules” might just as easily apply to cultural change generally, including any of a variety of generational cultural markers such as music, dress, leisure activities, foods, and even the latest jargon. Dude, is there a generation alive whose musical tastes or slang expressions haven’t offended the sensibilities of its parents?