What is it about America that insists on looking at the 1950s as the norm, as if it's the starting point of history, while ignoring the previous, oh, 14,000 years or so of human civilization?

Nearly 25 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds here live at home.

In fact, the share of Americans living in multigenerational households is the highest it's been since the 1950s, Pew found. The trend is being driven by "boomerang kids," so named because they moved out, then moved back in.

My mother grew up in a "multigenerational household." Her grandmother ran the house while her parents and uncle ran the family store. In fact, when my mother got married and moved out at the dawn of the 1960s, it was she who violated the cultural norms. My grandmother lived with my Bubbe from the day she was born until the day the old gefilte-fish-making matriarch died.

I don't mean to show a lack of empathy for the way the Great Recession has disproportionately impacted 20-somethings, but this not-since-the-1950s meme is annoyingly overplayed. In many, many, many ways, the societal norms established in 1950s America are historical and cultural anomalies made possible by unique, transient, and unsustainable economic circumstances.

Idealize it all you want, but historically, there is nothing normal about the past half century.