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Generation X hasn't had a real voice since Axl got fat.
October 18, 2011 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Generation X Doesn't Want to Hear It
posted by spacewaitress (378 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bart: What the hell is this?
Lisa: It's one of those campy '70s throwbacks that appeals to
Generation Xers.
Bart: We need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks a little.
posted by Chekhovian at 3:56 PM on October 18, 2011 [40 favorites]


Generation X needs to look at the goddamn data.
posted by feckless at 3:57 PM on October 18, 2011 [34 favorites]


I can't wait until those Generation whY guys get a blog.
posted by metaxa at 3:57 PM on October 18, 2011


Generation X needs to stop talking about itself in the third person.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:59 PM on October 18, 2011 [26 favorites]


Gen X is used to being silenced all of it's life.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on October 18, 2011 [36 favorites]


Generation X is just getting started. We've got decades ahead of us to go on about this stuff. Generation Y is going to have to learn how to tune us out, like we do with the boomers.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:01 PM on October 18, 2011 [45 favorites]


That's a whole lot of death, there.
posted by oddman at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2011


The 20's are going to make the 90's look like the 30's. Or something.
posted by Artw at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Generation X: First Class, was a refreshing preboot of the franchise.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:03 PM on October 18, 2011 [22 favorites]


Generation X has a lawn, and it wants you off.
posted by FfejL at 4:04 PM on October 18, 2011 [41 favorites]


Um. Dude, So, you know that Generation X is widely accepted to be people born from 1965 - to somewhere between 1980 and 1982, right? — Author of the OP

In case, like me, you were wondering for whom he was speaking.
posted by jsturgill at 4:05 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Generation X has a lawn, and it wants you off.

This. Stop embarrassing me, cranky whiny dude who happens to share my generational cohort.
posted by emjaybee at 4:06 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Generation X is wondering why Ben Stiller is still considered relevant.
posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Generation X is Dancing With Itself.
posted by Len at 4:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


I don't know, I quite enjoyed that as a literary exercise. It had a really nice flow and rhythm to it, and a sense of exaggerated self-pity that was just this side of ironic. Not sure I buy all--or indeed, any--of its assertions, particularly seeing as I am one of the people it doesn't want to hear from, but it was a nie read.
posted by Phire at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


Generation X is going to fix this shit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:08 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Generation X has fond memories of Sarah Michelle Geller, but is frequently disappointed by her choices.
posted by The Whelk at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2011 [86 favorites]


because Ben Stiller is AWESOME.

/adores Mr Furious, also wants to grow up to be a museum guard.
posted by jb at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a kid from '79, I never figured out if I was Gen X or not. Is there even an answer? I remember both the hangover-70s and the '80s. The '70s hangover was longer out in the country where I grew up.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


As a GenXer, I found the article to be insufferably whiny.

Nevertheless, looking at the data feckless posted, I note that the unemployment rate in '82 and '83 is almost the same as unemployment today, especially among 20-24 year olds. It was then, and is now, a crummy time to be graduating from college.
posted by darkstar at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


May Generation Bieber have mercy on our souls.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


late 70s and early 80s - we aren't anyone.
posted by jb at 4:10 PM on October 18, 2011 [38 favorites]


This X-er calls bullshit. Our recession was a rainshower of gumdrops compared to what's happening now.
posted by Trurl at 4:11 PM on October 18, 2011 [29 favorites]


84' strides the gap between Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like a Colossus. .
posted by The Whelk at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Hi Generation X. You think you had it bad, and I'm sure you did, but I'm pretty sure it's objectively worse now. All I know is I watched Reality Bites recently and its depiction of unemployment and twenty-something poverty came off as downright insulting - just a chic slacker/alt backdrop for the more important question of whether Winona Ryder is going to sleep with Ethan Hawke or Ben Stiller and which coffeehouse they're going to write their sensitive poetry in while listening to Lisa Loeb. And in the end the more pressing questions of how we're going to pay the rent and eat food and stuff was just magically whisked away with some offhand humor about spending daddy's money without his knowledge. Not sure what I'm getting at, but if your struggle was anything like Reality Bites then I'm going to continue to ignore it...
posted by naju at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Just so it's clear, the '82-'83 unemployment spike of 16% for 20-24 year-olds predates GenX. GenX would have dealt with unemployment significantly milder than that ('92 spikes at about 12% for that age range).
posted by darkstar at 4:14 PM on October 18, 2011


It had a really nice flow and rhythm to it, and a sense of exaggerated self-pity that was just this side of ironic.

This. I thought it was hilarious.

What does it matter. I'll probably get hit by a car anyway.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:16 PM on October 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


I imagined it in the voice of Daria for some reason.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:17 PM on October 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Countess Elena, that's my experience too.

My proposed demarcation is that if you got laid before you had Internet access in your domicile you're part of Generation X.

Oh yeah, apparently floral prints and flannel are back, who knew?
posted by infinitewindow at 4:17 PM on October 18, 2011 [39 favorites]


Generation X is slowly turning into Ron Swanson. Generation X is OK with that. Generation X may not agree with his politics, but Generation X appreciates his stoicism. Generation X is going to start unironically wearing flannel again.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:18 PM on October 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


Maybe someone will invent a new way to monetize, I don't know, blinking and we can have a blinking bubble and everyone will get really rich and go slightly mad until they loose everything and spend the next ten years in a kind of numb cocoon of terror.
posted by The Whelk at 4:18 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: knows you didn’t even read the whole thing
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:18 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hi Generation X. You think you had it bad, and I'm sure you did, but I'm pretty sure it's objectively worse now.

Hi! You know we still exist now, right? We have not all died yet.

All I know is I watched Reality Bites recently and its depiction of unemployment and twenty-something poverty came off as downright insulting

Yeah, that's how it came off at the time, too. But it's not a documentary, ya know.

Not sure what I'm getting at, but if your struggle was anything like Reality Bites then I'm going to continue to ignore it...

If anyone's real life is anything like a mainstream comedy movie you should probably ignore it, regardless of what year that comedy came out. If your life is anything like The Hangover, I'm probably going to ignore it. OK?
posted by The World Famous at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [35 favorites]


I am in the cohort.

The weariness being expressed with the linked piece really resonated with me.

But the whininess prevented me from sharing it with others.

Finally, a cartoon.
posted by everichon at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


The percentage numbers don't tell the whole story.

As bad as things were in 1982, people still assumed things would have to improve eventually.

I don't think many people are assuming that any more.
posted by Trurl at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


(if one person puts on one denim jumper in a major urban area I swear to god I will burn said city to the ground)
posted by The Whelk at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've had it with my generation.
Generation X invented helicopter parenting.
Traitors!
posted by Catch at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw, c'mon, naju. It was a just a crappy movie with a mostly awesome soundtrack.
posted by smirkette at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My proposed demarcation is that if you got laid before you had Internet access in your domicile you're part of Generation X.

This is a good measure. I usually use "if you watched The Day After with your Youth Group and pretty much accepted things were going to play out that way, you're Gen-X.

Also: your parents had a mobile phone that had its own bag.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 4:20 PM on October 18, 2011 [21 favorites]


Just so it's clear, Reality Bites was not representative of anything, except maybe bad movies of the time.
posted by Red Loop at 4:21 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, Generation X is getting your recession on top of ours. Generation X just had an argument with his supposedly progressive, baby boomer mother about whether or not the US response to 9-11 was appropriate. Generation X wants to remind his mother that he wouldn't even be here were it not for her and her husband's resistance to the Vietnam war. Generation X wonders if she sees any parallels.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:21 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Generation X just got a promotion and a big raise!

Oh, that was just me. Sorry.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:22 PM on October 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


Just so it's clear, Reality Bites was not representative of anything, except maybe bad movies of the time.


hey hey hey, don't insult bad movies that way. you're making Troma cry.
posted by mannequito at 4:23 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Generation X just wants a pair of pants that freaking fit already.
posted by The Whelk at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Honestly, with as shitty as things were for Generation X, now having to deal with all of this new shit, can anyone actually tell me when I had it good? It's like the end of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, there must have been a moment, somewhere, but I missed it.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


Hey, I only mentioned Reality Bites because the article did. If it's joking a little, well so am I.
posted by naju at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My proposed demarcation is that if you got laid before you had Internet access in your domicile you're part of Generation X.

I still don't understand how anyone got laid without a modem. But the Internet? You can only get access to that by dating college guys with a VAX password...

Damn, I'm Generation X, aren't I? I didn't ever get a McJob out of the deal.
posted by Gucky at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Generation X was just no damn good after Valley Of The Dolls.
posted by everichon at 4:25 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone. It just wants to sit here quietly and think for a minute.

Well, this much I agree with.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:25 PM on October 18, 2011 [22 favorites]


84' strides the gap between Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like a Colossus.

We also had the first profitable Olympics, so fuck yeah us.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:25 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read this earlier today and it made me feel kind of fighty. This time it's different. There is no comparison to the downturns of the 1990s and 2000s. Millennials have every right to be angry and to complain. Yes, there are many Gex X folks who are struggling right now, but on the whole it feels like we have it easier.

As a member of Generation X living in a western nation, I feel like I was born at the most fortunate time in history.

Speaking for myself, I was young enough to enjoy the wonders of the internet from an early age and profit from them, but not so young that I had to deal with cyber-bullying or classmates trading nude cellphone pictures. My student loan debt is manageable because I had access to plentiful subsidized loans and federal grants; plus, college just didn't cost as much. I've never had to worry about being drafted or lived without indoor plumbing. I was old enough to have time to buy a house before the bubble over-inflated. I had enough time to get job experience before the downturn so that I wouldn't be the first on the chopping block. I have health insurance.

I am super, super lucky. I would never dream of telling someone starting out right now that I had it worse or that I don't want to hear it. In fact, I would rather buy you a beer.
posted by Alison at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2011 [96 favorites]


I don't even remember the 90s recession.

I do remember partying with dot con millionaires, and telling someone on New Years Eve 1999 that we were all going to be rich, be happy and live forever.

I was wrong, but one thing I've learned is that things change, and are usually not as good as you hope or as bad as you fear.
posted by empath at 4:26 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Generation X remembers Suck.com and "homes pages" and what why does everyone have a baby now?
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on October 18, 2011 [38 favorites]


Generation X still listens to Slayer
posted by Renoroc at 4:30 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


The blog post is pretty enjoyable in an Andy Rooney way; the commenters there are crap:
When De-Generation Y actually CONTRIBUTES ANYTHING to our society you can talk. Until then take your Emo/Slacker/Self-entitled/Whining/Sissy-boy/ Ass hanging out of attitudes and go screw yourself. Get a real job, contribute to society- get off your fat, diabetic, porn addicted, PS3 playing ass and do something constructive. Quit waiting for the free hand-out. CONTRIBUTE De-Generation Y losers!
You're ejected from my generation, asshole, and I'm taking all your Mudhoney CDs, if you have any, which you probably don't.

And Trurl and Alison are right: this depression is the big brother of the early '90's dip. The big, mean brother who's done time in prison and gets in bar fights every week, that brother.
posted by furiousthought at 4:32 PM on October 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Generation X hates your generation...
posted by AJaffe at 4:33 PM on October 18, 2011


Guys, guys, three words: "Know Your Enemy." The worst generation is clearly the boomers.

They ate their fucking cake, sold out, fucked everything up and are now looking around asking why everything isn't peachy keen. Those poor brow-beaten Gen X'ers are just one ripple in their self-deluded wake of generational destruction.

Join with us Gen-X'er brothers and sisters, it'll take some work but we'll make it all right!
posted by stratastar at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [69 favorites]


Generation X is the last generation to remember life before the internet, and it's looking like it'll be the last to have second thoughts about it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [21 favorites]


I believe it was the great Nova Scotian philospher Sloan who said "I hate my generation"

And he was right.





And they are a genX band too.




(Shit's so meta it stings the nostrils)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Alison, memail me and we'll find a bar to meet up at.
posted by Aizkolari at 4:34 PM on October 18, 2011


I do not really get resenting 20-somethings for also being unhappy. It's not as if unhappiness is a finite resource. There's enough for all of us!
posted by everichon at 4:35 PM on October 18, 2011 [41 favorites]


Gen X is still using Simpsons quotes despite the increasingly puzzled looks it gets from its nieces and nephews.
posted by emjaybee at 4:35 PM on October 18, 2011 [41 favorites]


We had to pay for porn.

End of argument.
posted by Trurl at 4:36 PM on October 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


Didn't we long ago pass the point where any grammatical sentence in English is a Simpson's quote?
posted by everichon at 4:36 PM on October 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


Generation X really can't hear it because of all the ringing in its ears from years of rock concerts, raves, and earbud headphones.

(Just wait, kiddies... you'll discover why Pete Townsend only plays in a "quiet zone" on stage soon enough.)
posted by hippybear at 4:37 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


late 70s and early 80s - we aren't anyone.

Yeah - I've been having this exact ongoing debate with my girlfriend - she's almost ten years older than me - born in 70, I'm born in summer of 80, and goddamnit, I *feel* like Gen X - I remember the 80s, Reagan, Challenger, 70s hangover fashion, tv with rabbit ears, toploading VCRs, BETA, laserdiscs, Jesse Jackson, K-Tel records - unironic/nostalgic record collections in general, StarBlazers, you name it...

She however, swears I don't count as Gen X... wtf... Man without a country...
posted by stenseng at 4:38 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


LEST WE FORGET:

weaver is tired.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:38 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


1978-1982 Straddler decides he has much more in common with younger generations than X. X is a whiny git who got everything they wanted, we got the shaft.
posted by Yowser at 4:38 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


One thing I learned recently: the Simpsons aired for Scottish people 5 years after it did for the U.S. so there's an entire delayed generation of Scottish people totally into the simpsons, knowing every single simpsons joke etc. Its like a Simpsons fan boomlet.
posted by stratastar at 4:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and life before the internet existed *to the average kid* in any usable/recognizable fashion... I think that in itself should possibly be the benchmark for the Gen X and previous vs millenial/gen y/whatever cutoff...
posted by stenseng at 4:39 PM on October 18, 2011


Our version of My Little Pony is better than yours.
posted by hellojed at 4:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


Generation X is going to fix this shit.

No, Generation X will be at home watching the new Beavis & Butthead episodes.
posted by chillmost at 4:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Great, now I have to hang out with Scots so my jokes seem fresh and exciting.
posted by The Whelk at 4:40 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Speaking for myself, I was young enough to enjoy the wonders of the internet from an early age and profit from them, but not so young that I had to deal with cyber-bullying or classmates trading nude cellphone pictures. . .

This. I was a wild, Gothy little teenager. If I had Youtube, Tumblr or 4chan -- hell, even just an HTML page, I wanted one but I never got it together -- there is no way that I would not have made a worldwide fool of myself before I turned 18. I was bad enough on AOL, Usenet, and my high school BBS.

My proposed demarcation is that if you got laid before you had Internet access in your domicile you're part of Generation X.

I was a nerd and started using the Tandy PC-Link at 12, so I respectfully disagree. Also, I'm not sure I could ever qualify for Gen Y if I remember using rotary phones every day, and pulling tabs out of drink cans.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:40 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I regret that I had only one pair of ears to sacrifice for Hüsker Dü. [And, to a lesser extent, Slayer.]

This auto-tune shit the kids are into now, I won't miss being able to hear it.
posted by Trurl at 4:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


I prefer the Boomers, but the Gen X reader is a good read.

Man every generation is the same. You've got bad shit and good shit, weirdos and conformists, heroes and villains, and in the end its just another retrospective. In 100 years people will remember one or two names and that's it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


For the internet as we know it to have existed their entire (memorable) lives, Generation Y would be born after about 1994. They are not born after 1994.
posted by Yowser at 4:42 PM on October 18, 2011


Yeah - I've been having this exact ongoing debate with my girlfriend - she's almost ten years older than me - born in 70, I'm born in summer of 80, and goddamnit, I *feel* like Gen X - I remember the 80s, Reagan, Challenger, 70s hangover fashion, tv with rabbit ears, toploading VCRs, BETA, laserdiscs, Jesse Jackson, K-Tel records - unironic/nostalgic record collections in general, StarBlazers, you name it...

I feel for you. I was born in '70, my girlfriend in '79. She has most of the same recollections and experiences I do, excepting the existential dread from the Cold War. But every once in awhile she'll give me a quizzical look like "you remember what?"
posted by MarvinTheCat at 4:42 PM on October 18, 2011


Of course, I'm a voracious consumer of wwII- ~1990 or so pop culture, so I also "remember" a lot that I wasn't actually around for...
posted by stenseng at 4:44 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


What is the issue? The mini-generation between Gen X and Gen Y are called "Millennials". We straddle both worlds.
posted by stratastar at 4:44 PM on October 18, 2011


I thought Gen Y were the Milennials. I'm so confused, but maybe this Gen-Xer is experiencing premature senility.
posted by jonmc at 4:45 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Our generation is so small that we have no name, stratastar. And Millenials usually refers to those who grew up in the 00s.
posted by Yowser at 4:45 PM on October 18, 2011


The issue is that "Millenials" sounds like a pamphlet for sale next to the crystals in a Taos bookstore.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:46 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh, never mind... I just looked it up and it turns out millennials doesn't mean what I thought it meant.
posted by Yowser at 4:46 PM on October 18, 2011


I think if you played with Stompers as a kid, that's enough to count as Gen X...
posted by stenseng at 4:47 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just wait until Generation X realizes that it just made it's first "Kids these days" speech, I bet it tries to pass the whole thing off as "just being ironic" before quietly crying in front of a mirror as it tries to comb hair over it's bald spot.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:47 PM on October 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


Ok I agree the definition of millenials is over-extended. There's a HUGE difference between being born in 1981 and 2000.
posted by stratastar at 4:48 PM on October 18, 2011


Our version of My Little Pony is better than yours.

The one we watched? Boomers made that for us. Man, those boomers. They meant well, I guess?

The current one is the one we made for you. Plus we still watch it. I'm calling this one a win for X.
posted by darksasami at 4:48 PM on October 18, 2011 [26 favorites]


The Generation X depicted is pretty much the opposite of Honey Badger.
posted by exogenous at 4:49 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is pretty good - Pew Research - How Millenial Are You Quiz
posted by naju at 4:49 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


...it's bald spot

Now if you'll excuse me I'll be trying to comb hair over my apostrophe.
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


you might be a generation x'r if...............
posted by robbyrobs at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Gen-X quote that still resonates with me was one from (I think) NY Magazine right at the heart of the dot.com boom... something along the lines of "When we graduated, they told us we'd never make as much as our parents did. But no one told us we'd also never make as much as our younger brothers and sisters." Ouch.
posted by Mchelly at 4:50 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Generation X depicted is pretty much the opposite of Honey Badger.

Fucking honey badger is a sell out, man.
posted by birdherder at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Honestly, with as shitty as things were for Generation X, now having to deal with all of this new shit, can anyone actually tell me when I had it good? It's like the end of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, there must have been a moment, somewhere, but I missed it.

Amen. My attitude isn't really "stop your whining," it's more, "so wait, everyone's listening to you, but they didn't listen to me? What the FUCK?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


I have a theory bouncing around my head that the culture that is being produced today is so self-referential and meta that younger generations who aren't anchored by those references have absolutely no hope of knowing what the hell anything refers to. The college students I taught seemed to have no idea.

So their culture is by its own nature ephemeral to the point of non-knowing. At the same time, if they cared they could look up and watch anything they wanted.

As an over-generalized theory, I don't know what this means at all.
posted by stratastar at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


Pff, I was born in '75 and I made my first "Kids these days" speech in '94, when they wouldn't shut up about that Kobain guy.
posted by darksasami at 4:52 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pulp said it best. As they are wont to do.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 4:52 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think many people are assuming that any more.

You know what? There is a serious overreaction. Yes its terrible. But we're not gonna have 500 years of this. Eventually, the economy will come back to a much better level of employment.

That's not to say that we don't have a lot of things to do, but everyone said this crap in 1991-1993 and we got out of it by raising taxes and increased govt spending.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:52 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


generation x is jealous of the baby boomers because they got more stuff and jealous of generation y because they're going to raise more hell
posted by pyramid termite at 4:53 PM on October 18, 2011


You know you're getting old when you start resenting Jeapordy! contestants for missing certain questions.

"No, it wasn't Debbie Gibson, moron. It was Tiffany."

As if any responsibly prepared contestant could be expected to be aware of the clear differences between them.
posted by Trurl at 4:53 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Er, Cobain. Smushed his name up a bit there.
posted by darksasami at 4:53 PM on October 18, 2011


Pff, I was born in '75 and I made my first "Kids these days" speech in '94, when they wouldn't shut up about that Kobain guy.

I was born in '84 and started yelling at kids to get off my lawn when the Power Rangers came out. Kids just didn't seem to care about quality anymore.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


> I do remember partying with dot con millionaires, and telling someone on New Years Eve 1999 that we were all going to be rich, be happy and live forever.

Damn, I didn't think anyone was higher than I was on New Years Eve 1999, but here we are.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2011 [28 favorites]


"Yes its terrible. But we're not gonna have 500 years of this."

--- st augustine

sorry
posted by pyramid termite at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


Billy Joel, "Allentown" (1982):

Every child had a pretty good shot
To get at least as far as their old man got.
But something happened on the way to that place
They threw an American flag in our face.

So "gen X" (by which it seems like we mean people who graduated college in the 1990s?) were not the first to go through this.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Our version of My Little Pony is better than yours.

NOTHING CAN STOP THE SMOOZE
posted by DaDaDaDave at 4:55 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um. Dude, So, you know that Generation X is widely accepted to be people born from 1965 - to somewhere between 1980 and 1982, right? — Author of the OP
Actually, I declare 1965 to be a lawn all its own. I'm a child of a boomer, and I find most X'ers annoying but shaggable.

So stay off unless you want to get off, poozers. Sorry you had to read that mom.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:56 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whelk - Great, now I have to hang out with Scots so my jokes seem fresh and exciting.

On the plus side, Simpsons jokes do sound great coming from surly accents. On the downside my brain seems to have purged its cache of 11 seasons of hardwon Simpsons jokes.
posted by stratastar at 4:56 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Generation X would like to be thanks for introducing to you to Ecstasy and high-quality marijuana strains.

Generation X is going to be re-capping Star Trek: TNG episodes for the next few months

Generation X found out Chuck Palahniuk is 50. 50!

Generation X thinks Quentin Tarantino did pretty good for himself.

Generation X would like to formally apologize for what it did to San Fransisco.
posted by The Whelk at 4:56 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Generation X still feels that "David Foster Wallace hung himself" is grammatically incorrect.
posted by queensissy at 4:56 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Generation X dances with itself.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like reading old books about generational differences, because they're all surprisingly prescient and surprisingly anachronistic and unintentionally hilarious.
posted by box at 4:58 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


A fairly simple metric might be whether people refer to Star Wars as episode 4. The cut off for that seems to be about 86-88.
posted by pmcp at 4:59 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Gen X is ambivalent as hell, and it's going to continue taking it anymore!
posted by ShutterBun at 5:02 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


A fairly simple metric might be whether people refer to Star Wars as episode 4. The cut off for that seems to be about 86-88.

So... George Lucas is Generation (for God's sake) Y?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your Millennial score is 86!

The Millennials are just going to sit here and play through Earthbound again.
posted by The Whelk at 5:03 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


And Chrono-Trigger.
posted by stratastar at 5:04 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Millennials are finally realizing Achewood is never going to be updated again so quit checking.
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on October 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


That's a filthy lie!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:05 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It just hit The Millennials that no one they know, like has a job.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


The real grief at the heart of Generation X is that it has to rent a lawn from Boomers before it can tell Generation Y to get off of it. Which is really cold.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [80 favorites]


My Millennial score is 85!

You have to remember that part of our "millenials-ness" comes as a counter reaction to all the Gen-X bitching and whining we endured growing up.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:08 PM on October 18, 2011


Today I learned that I am part of Generation X. I always thought it sounded way too modern for me to be part of it. Turns out my lawn needs some gettin' off of too.
posted by theredpen at 5:09 PM on October 18, 2011


This Millennial has noticed a tiny nubbin of aesthetic nostalgia of the early 90s alt-aesthetic and realizes that has to be killed RIGHT NOW.

The Millennial have unconsciously modeled their ideal future on too many re-runs of Hackers.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Generation X don't care. Generation X don't give a shit.

I am a believer in generational theory, but I don't think you get very far using it to get angry at other people. The whole point is that historical forces are part of what shapes you. Consequences are interesting, but blame isn't terribly productive.
posted by Miko at 5:10 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


That wasn't bitching and whining. We were warning you, you suckers.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:11 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can I just say, lawns suck and require a lot of upkeep and are really just vestigial pretensions to the swards of the landed gentry?

All you lawns get off my...my dirt.

I will xerescape.

At some point.
posted by everichon at 5:12 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm kind of tired of people trying to give voice to 50+ million individual people who have no other connection except being born within a decade of each other.

You can't. Stop.
posted by Avenger at 5:12 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


> Generation X don't care. Generation X don't give a shit.

I for one still slack every chance I get.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:13 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


(if one person puts on one denim jumper in a major urban area I swear to god I will burn said city to the ground)

*hides Chicago from you*
posted by Windigo at 5:15 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


1981 is right on the fence between Millennial/Gen X - which puts me in a place where I don't really identify with either stupidly named generation. Though if I had to pick one, I'd have to say that wore plaid flannel shirts and listened to Nirvana like it was my job - even if I was only eleven at the time. I was, perhaps, far more serious at eleven than I am now. Oh, and the Millennials is a seriously dumber name.
posted by sonika at 5:16 PM on October 18, 2011


Generation X still listens to Slayer

You're goddamn right we do.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


Wait. Born in '67, I always thought I was too old for Gen X. So I've been a member all this time? Did someone get my fruit cup while I was clueless?
posted by maxwelton at 5:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My master music playlist is 80s heavy. So it frequently provides me with the occasion to pretend that I'm today's Billy Idol, hosting a VH1 special on the decade; I pump my fist and growl "80s Forever!" as unironically as can be managed.

This is the worst thing I have to confess. You know how long it took me to get there? A long time.
posted by Trurl at 5:21 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Generation X had to walk uphill to work both ways, in four-foot deep snow, with only newspaper wrapped around their feet. And they liked it.
posted by litnerd at 5:21 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I dug up my lawn and put in a nice little brick patio with a herringbone pattern and a curved white gravel path along a small country garden with an old urn fountain. I dug the lawn up and trenched for the power lines by hand, and then added 8 inches of gravel and sand base for the bricks. I cut the bricks and laid them myself. Point is, I no longer have a lawn, and if I catch any of you kids on my patio, I'll bury you under the fountain.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:22 PM on October 18, 2011 [39 favorites]


Um. Dude, So, you know that Generation X is widely accepted to be people born from 1965 - to somewhere between 1980 and 1982, right? — Author of the OP

Last year of the baby boomers here. So you're all pretty much on my lawn here.
posted by octothorpe at 5:24 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey, that's my blog. Thanks for reading, and linking. I love writing things that are open to interpretation, but I do want to point out that this is very much a reaction post to the New York Magazine story linked at the top of the post.

We're all in this together. Nobody's special. Etc., etc.
posted by emptyage at 5:26 PM on October 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


I think metafilter needs to go offline and turn into a neverending garden party at IRFH's. He can't bury us all under the fountain.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:26 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really miss Usenet (pre-Eternal September). alt.society.generation-x was the first online community I was a part of, and I miss the heck out of it.
posted by Daily Alice at 5:27 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


this is probably stupid but very few of the people i know who are older than 28 aren't assholes
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Generation X Doesn't Want to Hear It
posted by spacewaitress

I think the author has Generation X confused with Minor Threat.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:29 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gen X doesn't itself know if it's being sarcastic anymore.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:30 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


this is probably stupid but very few of the people i know who are older than 28 aren't assholes
posted by This, of course, alludes to you


Works every goddamn time. And I'm not even 28.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:31 PM on October 18, 2011


I think metafilter needs to go offline and turn into a neverending garden party at IRFH's. He can't bury us all under the fountain.

That's what I thought. The fountain is on top of a hill now.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's like the end of From Dusk Til Dawn.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:32 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Last year of the baby boomers here. So you're all pretty much on my lawn here.

Probably own that lawn outright, don't you? Probably pay someone to mind it for you while you jet off to your timeshare in fucking Sonoma or Aspen or check off some other item on your "bucket list" or whatever, never mind.

Boomers: born on third base, still bragging about that awesome triple they hit back in the day.
posted by gompa at 5:33 PM on October 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


I think metafilter needs to go offline and turn into a neverending garden party at IRFH's. He can't bury us all under the fountain.

I would not like to bet anything serious on what IRFH can and cannot do. That user scares me to my marrow!

Probably own that lawn outright, don't you? Probably pay someone to mind it for you while you jet off to your timeshare in fucking Sonoma or Aspen or check off some other item on your "bucket list" or whatever, never mind.

Worse yet, they hire someone to tell you to get off their lawn for them. They cannot even grouch on their own. They have to hire generational traitors to scab for them. That is how bad the Boomer are.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:38 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Generation X is high as fuck, watching a woman dressed up like an undead sailor yell Obamacare.
posted by notion at 5:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


This Millennial has noticed a tiny nubbin of aesthetic nostalgia of the early 90s alt-aesthetic and realizes that has to be killed RIGHT NOW.

Does that include Archer naming his pirate lacrosse team "The Archers of Loaf-crosse" because that was pretty good.
posted by stratastar at 5:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's like the end of From Dusk Til Dawn.

Can't we all just go back to watching Selma Hayek dance?
posted by ShutterBun at 5:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


What if you're too old to be a boomer and too young to be Gen X?
posted by unSane at 5:41 PM on October 18, 2011


On it.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:42 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by V4V at 5:42 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hope the generations will find a way to put the painful history of the Lawn Wars behind them so that they can join forces against their common enemy.

Given the size of their adversary, they can probably use all the uniting of forces they can get.
posted by Trurl at 5:43 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jeff Buckley?! Lol.
posted by dobbs at 5:43 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Born in '86 here, though still rampant there is far less self-loathing among my cohorts than I've seen with those both older and younger. We seem to be a bit more violent, less idealistic, and honestly less concerned about anyone else. I'm think this asshole pragmatist attitude could pay off.
posted by karmiolz at 5:45 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Generation X seems to have still not figured out that the boomers that they still manage to despise pretty much invented their generation for marketing purposes, based on a book written by Douglas Coupland, although Coupland himself denies that there's any such thing as Generation X. Shhh... don't tell them, they're still fun to watch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:50 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Millennial have unconsciously modeled their ideal future on too many re-runs of Hackers.

On this subject, I and a bunch of my (tail-end-Millenial) friends just watched Hackers for the first* time and thought it was excellent. I have a yen for rollerblading, just like when I was a kid.

Is it really true that people on the Internet seriously hated this movie when it came out?

*There probably will be another time.
posted by vogon_poet at 5:53 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coupland himself denies that there's any such thing as Generation X

Tyler told us you'd say that.
posted by Trurl at 5:53 PM on October 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


Generation X still feels that "David Foster Wallace hung himself" is grammatically incorrect.
posted by queensissy


It happened just the other day, Infinite Jest sitting on the shelf.
posted by George Clooney at 5:54 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Generation X still has hypercolor Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts in the closet.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:55 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Generation X could probably get a gig writing for McSweeney's.
posted by blue t-shirt at 5:57 PM on October 18, 2011


Generation X needs to fucking figure out how to see scams. Dot com scams. Housing bubble scams. Electoral scams. Scammy pyramid scams.

Generation Xtreme Ignorance.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:58 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hackers is the best movie of all time. OF ALL TIME.
posted by Artw at 5:58 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know you're Generation X if you lost respect for the Del Fuegos after they shilled for Miller Beer.
posted by Trurl at 5:59 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


So your mom bought you a 'puter for Christmas and you think you can watch Hackers?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:00 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


You wanted to know who I am, villanelles at dawn? Well, let me explain the New World Order. Governments and corporations need people like you and me. We are Samurai... the Keyboard Cowboys... and all those other people who have no idea what's going on are the cattle...
posted by Artw at 6:02 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know what I hate? All of the fuel rationing these days. Odd and even license plates my ass!
posted by Splunge at 6:03 PM on October 18, 2011


Rollerblades, man. Why aren't we all on them?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:06 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


ALL THE TIME
posted by The Whelk at 6:06 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also raise your hand if you thought college would be Go all the time.
posted by The Whelk at 6:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


It would have been awesome to have been part of Generation X for all the good stuff and then died before 2001.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Gravest Generation
posted by Flashman at 6:08 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hands up if you're me and this thread has you thinking about Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and nothing else. Maybe pogs.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:09 PM on October 18, 2011


Generation X is a little embarrassed to admit it sort of likes that Keystone Light dude, and also those, like, qualifiers and stuff.
posted by notion at 6:13 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ha! So I just went back and watched the Hackers trailer and the bad guy who releases the horrible economy-dooming virus asks for five millions dollars like he's Doctor Evil just woken up from the sixties or something. Now I feel old.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:14 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I grew up before generations got such restrictive nicknames. There was a brief try to name us "Silent", but it didn't stick for long. I once, briefly, rented a lawn because it came with the house, so I feel I can ask "why do you find it important to characterize yourselves according to birth date?"
posted by path at 6:19 PM on October 18, 2011


I certainly thought the future would involve me saying "Hey! Hey everybody shut the fuck up!" a lot less than it currently does.
posted by penduluum at 6:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Generation X also didn't have helicopter parents. They were latchkey kids who got home, let themselves in the house, then did whatever until their parents came home from their jobs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


I grew up before generations got such restrictive nicknames. There was a brief try to name us "Silent", but it didn't stick for long. I once, briefly, rented a lawn because it came with the house, so I feel I can ask "why do you find it important to characterize yourselves according to birth date?"

Some Boomer wrote a book and it stuck.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:20 PM on October 18, 2011


I belong to the blank generation and
I can take it or leave it each time
I belong to the ______ generation but
I can take it or leave it each time
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:21 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


A good chunk of the body and parts of the Gen X brain have been kicked damned hard by this economy, harder than anything they've ever experienced, but the majority of the brain and body are working. So Gen X, as a larger being, is in denial and/or on good enough psychotropics to deal with it--can't feel the pain, fails to spot the bleeding.
posted by raysmj at 6:24 PM on October 18, 2011


This particular chunk of Generation X is still wearing flannel non-ironically. I just use it to mow my own lawn these days... which you're welcome to come over and play hacky-sack on, if you want to bring some smoke.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we all agree on "fuck the Boomers"? I'm all for inter-generational bickering, but let's keep focused, people.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


lets just all agree to throw a dart at a timeline and hate everyone born within a ten year peroid.

*twack*

DAMN YOU CHILDREN OF 1813!
posted by The Whelk at 6:29 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm with you ghostride. Seriously those guys suck.
posted by karmiolz at 6:30 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think what generation you belong to has more to do with which generation your parents were in. I was born in 1964, and my parents were definitely of the war generation. My parents grew (in their teens) up in the occupied Netherlands during World War II, and they lived their lives afterwards based on those experiences. They transferred that experience to myself and my brothers, and we experienced them somewhat vicariously. The teen to 20 something kids of my brothers thought war was pretty cool, and it was great that we were projecting our might and kicking ass on the world, though of course none of them volunteered for military duty.

So, back to the generational thing, I don't really feel like I belong to the boomer generation since I was too late to miss all the fun of the hippie generation, and I don't feel like I belong to generation X since I really don't understand the angst. When times seem like they're getting pretty down, like now, all I do is think about how horrible my parents had it during the war, and really, nothing in my life even comes close to being a shadow of what they endured. I've led a pretty darn privileged life compared to that. I think the X generation misses that, and the boomers take it for granted. I'm in a lost generation that never really amounted to much.
posted by Eekacat at 6:32 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I believe it was the great Nova Scotian philospher Sloan who said "I hate my generation"
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:34 PM on October 18


Oh hell yeah.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:32 PM on October 18, 2011


Me: Born 1971. I think that probably qualifies me as "Generation X"? If it does...

Generation X remembers growing up in a middle-class household.

Generation X remembers parents who had enough money to buy neat stuff without both of them working. Generation X was raised by her stay-at-home mother and knew her father as a person too. Generation X doesn't have kids but Generation X knows how many people her age are running as fast as they can and still falling behind. Generation X is quite frankly lucky that her grandmother left her enough to not have to worry about basic survival; Generation X feels like she's spoilt compared to Generation Y.

Generation X totally agrees with the #ows people and frankly Generation X is kind of embarassed that Generation X sat there and took this shit for as long as they did. Thanks for having a spine, Generation Y.

Generation X does not think this cranky motherfucker speaks for Generation X. This fucker is welcome to lower his expectations. Generation X grew up on Star Wars - Generation X was promised the fucking stars and all we got was the pissant Space Shuttle. Generation X got sick of waiting and is starting to try to make their own damn spaceships. (So are the Boomers - you go, Rich Branson!)

Generation X gave the world the first goddamn Internet bubble. Generation X gave you fucking Google. So Matt Honan can stop whining about Generation X not changing the world because Generation X fucking did it.

Generation X is sick of Matt Honan's bullshit.
posted by egypturnash at 6:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


whatever
posted by Bonzai at 6:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I very much agree with Alison. (although I disavow any sort of generational theory) As an overly degree'd and now fully tenured public employee, I feel like I personally lucked into about the best possible roll of the dice in a lot of ways. All of the stuff about (to paraphrase) being into computers at the right time really resonates with me as well. It's like I got the last batch of tickets out of town before things fully melted down, or the economic charts went hockey-sick in the wrong direction or whatever.

I remember everyone talking about how "double digit educational inflation" and "double digit medical costs" were not sustainable during the 90s (when gas was $.89, ahem) and just sort of ignoring it, assuming as I foolishly did that thing would sort themselves out and the free market would all take care of it. I'm not even kidding about that. Sure, I went to college (and grad school... and again) on loan money, and with the understanding that I'd be paying for it mortgage-length periods of time, but I feel lucky coming away only paying about $280 a month in loan payments. (Oh, yeah, plus like $7k of federal forgiveness.) I'm especially sensitive to this as a high school teacher, since I'm throwing kids out into a system where they're going to get two to three times that amount of debt for maybe half the number of jobs. I mean, of course I'm underwater on my loan by a pretty frightening degree, but I walk to work and have no intention of leaving my job, so fuck it, that 4% rate I got refinancing after the bubble imploded means I'm still better off than a lot of smarter, younger people I know still trapped in their parents house. Hell, I was even lucky to get my job when I did - a couple of people only four years junior to me got the axe from my school (and a few dozen district wide) just last Thursday. Shit, I even managed to slide into tenure before they bumped the wait period from 3 to 5 years.

I feel like at every stage of life, I turn around and see the bouncer draw down the velvet rope just as I make it into the venue.

I mean, sure, the - er - Greatest Generation could got to go to whatever school they wanted on the government dime (uh, I mean, unless they were not white males), but they basically had to crawl through hell to earn that, so I'm fine with a little bit of debt. I'm less fine with the fact that current day soldiers, fighting in an engagement twice the length of WWII, have to slog through just as much shit AND take out loans just to get less valuable degrees, on top of all of the above.

So, yeah, lucky. In a desperate, one step ahead of a bad roll sort of way.
posted by absalom at 6:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now I feel old.

In my 40s, I have experienced one particular shock of aging that I never anticipated when I was in my 20s. If there are any 20-somethings among you who are like I was, you may be similarly shocked one day...

One day you will be watching television. And a television actress you remember as an attractive young woman will appear, filmed through cosmetic lens smear, to advertise a product that only old people will be interested in. [You don't need to suffer with bladder anxiety...]
posted by Trurl at 6:34 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


On the plus side, Simpsons jokes do sound great coming from surly accents. On the downside my brain seems to have purged its cache of 11 seasons of hardwon Simpsons jokes.

I know! wtf! I started watching less reruns as the post-s12(ish) episodes took over and now it's ALL GONE.
posted by ninjew at 6:36 PM on October 18, 2011


I'm glad to hear I'm not the only on-the-cusp Millennial (born in 1983) who feels more kinship with Generation X. I would like to propose that anybody who spent a serious amount of time on a BBS and/or reading Church of the Subgenius tracts gets grandfathered in. The Slack compels you!

Fighting the sudden urge to conclude this message with my geek code block
posted by dialetheia at 6:36 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fighting the sudden urge to conclude this message with my geek code block

oh man just reading that and BAM you're back figuring out all the answers to the Leisure Suit Larry age-quiz before it let you play.
posted by The Whelk at 6:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fat Axl Meme Generator

I'll say this: When we wanted to tell a Fat Elvis joke, we had to write our own damned material.
posted by Trurl at 6:39 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


villanelles at dawn: "Rollerblades, man. Why aren't we all on them?"

In my opinion, that was the worst part of Hackers - not the horribly-fake "hacking" sequences, not the ripped-from-superman-3 plot hinge, not even the fact that there's like 2 seconds of real, valid tech in the whole movie - it's the fact that the good guys are on rollerblades, and the bad guy rides a skateboard.

That shit's completely backwards.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


Tyler told us you'd say that.

No, no! That was Shampoo Planet!
posted by entropicamericana at 6:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, you Americans.
posted by blargerz at 6:41 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just sort of skimmed this thread, but being a member of Generation X - what it signifies to me is that we're the first generation to be part of the Great American Contraction™ - that is, we bore witness to the end of the American Century. Of course it's worse now than when I was in my early 20's; we were merely the first in a long line of declining generations. Before us? The Greatest Generation and the Boomers. After us? Generation Y(?) and the Millennials. We're literally the X that marks the spot where the inflection point was realized. And that's it. We just got to witness it first.
posted by jivadravya at 6:43 PM on October 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Our version of My Little Pony is better than yours.
posted by hellojed at 7:39 PM on October 18 [6 favorites +] [!]


Oh, god, yes. Ours was terrible. I thought of it as one of my favorite shows, but that's probably because it was on the fuzzy American channel and I never actually watched it.

Muppet Babies, however, was a weird, twisted and brilliant thing disguised as a cute kids show.
posted by jb at 6:50 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Jesus that's bullshit.
posted by newdaddy at 6:51 PM on October 18, 2011


Hey now, we gave you Wes Anderson and Radiohead so don't be bringing up Fat Axl, okay?
posted by cazoo at 6:52 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok I agree the definition of millenials is over-extended. There's a HUGE difference between being born in 1981 and 2000.
posted by stratastar at 7:48 PM on October 18 [+] [!]


There's also a huge difference between being born in 1945 and being born in 1960. My aunt was born at the peak of the baby boom (1960 in Canada - most babies born), and she certainly did not attend Woodstock or the summer of Love or protest against Vietnam or any of the "boomer" things, but she did benefit from cheap university and the good economy of the mid-1980s.
posted by jb at 6:54 PM on October 18, 2011


Hands up if you're me and this thread has you thinking about Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and nothing else.

Liv Tyler in Empire Records?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:55 PM on October 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone. It just wants to sit here quietly and think for a minute.

Seriously. I was born in '68 and feel like I've been taxed pretty heavily if only because my boomer mentors were all like, "I worked for mine, fend for yourself." I'm sure it has everything to do with Vietnam and the '70s which was totally fucking ME time. I did feel a little left out in the cold.

It was no easy feat trying to follow up behind the boomers. Jobs were scarce and I was in So Cal competing for shitty jobs with lots of immigrants. (Not complaining about immigrants.) Times were just kind of tough and my boomer parents and other "adults" were waving carrots around regarding college and whatever stuff THEY did to succeed. I was a punk and a thinker and I did my own thing and had I listened to them I wouldn't be the successful guy and parent that I am now. (Or totally strapped with debt, which I am not.)

I think Xers are very much a "FUCK YOU" generation, I was very much a "fuck you" punker, but FWIW, I'm very thankful that I had the opportunities to move ahead with my life.

As scarce as those opportunities were then, they are MUCH more scarce now. So YOU FUCKING KIDS WHO NEED TO GET THE FUCK OFF OF MY LAWN, I'm cheering for you! I'm only finding my stride now that I'm in my 40's, but dammit I'm pissed and I'm a punker and I'm going to do whatever it takes so that you an MY kids get a piece of this big-ass pie that is the American Dream!
posted by snsranch at 7:00 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


But we're not gonna have 500 years of this.

Really? Because I would estimate that the good living standards for the English lower classes in c1500 didn't really return again until after c1850, or maybe later.

And nutrition-wise, things went downhill after 1000ad and didn't recover until the 20th century. (Based on heights).
posted by jb at 7:01 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


jb, in regards to heights and nutrition, I understand that things went downhill after the Neolithic Revolution. You talk about a generational divide. "Damn kids with your tame onagers, and your einkorn wheat, why, I oughtta . . ."
posted by Countess Elena at 7:05 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is not written by a Generation Xer with kids, cuz anyone with kids right now is shitting bricks imagining how things will be when they reach college age.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:08 PM on October 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: "Generation Y is going to have to learn how to tune us out, like we do with the boomers." (Ahhh, now I get it.)
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 7:11 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


There is this little demographic notch between the Boomers and GenerationX. We call ourselves the Mary Tyler Moore generation. You probably haven't noticed us, as there are very few of us. That's all right.

I once saw a bumper sticker: Viele sehen gut aus und spielen mit. Wir sind aber klein, und gehen unseren eigenen Weg.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:16 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait. Born in '67, I always thought I was too old for Gen X.

I was born in 67 and was married for a while to a man who was born in 62. He was a late Boomer and I am an early Xer. I was surprised that five years marked that generational difference so strongly, but for the two of us, at least, it did.

This piece really resonated with me because I do remember thinking when I was in my 20s that I was in the first generation that wasn't going to do better than my parents, and that there would be no Social Security for me. (The Boomers are still working on pulling the remains of that ladder up after them.) At not-quite-44, though, the thing that I really notice now is that I was right, that in my upper-middle-class cohort of wealthy private school and good regional university kids, we really aren't doing better than our parents, not collectively. My husband and I actually discussed this at dinner tonight after reading this post today. Many of us are doing as well, maybe slightly better, but we were of a generation and SES cohort where a lot of the moms didn't work, and the way we keep up is by throwing that second income at keeping up. Those who are doing better are generally either kids who came out of poorer homes, frequently headed by a single mom (widows or divorcees) or a few lucky souls who cashed out at the right moment of the tech boom.

Where I think today's college-aged kids and 20somethings are screwed, and absolutely should be complaining about the particular unfairness of their reaming, is the increasing price of (higher) education compared to its decreasing value, even when it's required to get in the door a lot of places for a job. And, crucially, the inability of broke students to discharge that debt in bankruptcy. As a Gen Xer, I got off lightly by going to a great school with low tuition and managed to get out with an MA and no student debt; that freed me up to make a lot of choices in life that aren't open to today's college/post-college crowd. Y'all didn't even get kissed before they screwed you.

jivadravya nailed it. Gen X is the generation who lived through the inflection point of the decline, at least in the upper middle class. And the opportunities that people had in our generation for mobility and improvement have been and are being taken away. That New York Magazine article made me want to throw Gen Y off my lawn, but even when I'm annoyed I understand that our being screwed doesn't mean you aren't getting screwed too.
posted by immlass at 7:19 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't believe in genx homogeneity at all, anything after childhood probably wasn't shared.

I recall from the early 90's a tic toc of overly relentless negativity from my elders followed by a wash of unrealistic optimism from my peers, minute to minute, hour to hour, week to week, month to month. When things were bad in the real world they were at least brilliant and full of potential when hanging out. I think that could be a typical gen anything.

The relief I felt when the stock market crashed in 2007 because I thought it was the end of irrationality and madness, I don't think that is typical. Now that it looks like getting tough, I feel a familiarity and comfort, I don't know if that is typical either.

I think these times are going to sort out the young people. This is their education but it is also their life so I hope they won't just accept what is offered to them. If they aren't careful they will get drafted to fight as minimum wage grunts in WW3 tradewars they won't even realize it's happening; it doesn't have to go down like that. My parents said knuckle down and everything will be fine, I took that to heart. I say to you the next generation 'fight for your right to party' - I think you know what to do with that.
posted by vicx at 7:21 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I bought the book when it came out in 1991. Coupland defined Gen X as the cohort born between 1959-1964 (the silent generation between the end of the Baby Boom and the beginning of the Vietnam War) - he was defining himself as part of that generation (he was born in 1961); the three main characters in the book were in their late twenties/early thirties.

I was irritated when the media ran with it as "twentysomethings"; even more irritated as the meaning eventually crept down a decade; but I had no idea I'd still be irritated twenty years later that people younger than me were calling themselves "Generation X" when originally Gen X meant my mother.

It's clearly been completely drained of its original meaning by now.
posted by flex at 7:23 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Generation IX is not impressed.
posted by zippy at 7:32 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, that was the worst part of Hackers - not the horribly-fake "hacking" sequences, not the ripped-from-superman-3 plot hinge, not even the fact that there's like 2 seconds of real, valid tech in the whole movie - it's the fact that the good guys are on rollerblades, and the bad guy rides a skateboard.

That shit's completely backwards.


This drives me nuts about the world though. Skateboards are stupid! Rollerblades are great! And yet I and every other kid with a modicum of coolness or sense set aside the rollerblades after sixth grade because they were uncool and nothing can be done about that. It's harder to look cool on rollerblades than on a segway, and yet they should really be the dominant people moving technology of today.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:33 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: Er, it skips a generation.
posted by pmcp at 7:34 PM on October 18, 2011


The point about skateboards is that you can jump off them. Rollerblades are stuck on the ends of your legs. That's the essential difference between cool and uncool.
posted by unSane at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rollerblades also seem much more interested in wrist and elbow bone protection that skaters.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:38 PM on October 18, 2011


Gen X is the generation who lived through the inflection point of the decline, at least in the upper middle class. And the opportunities that people had in our generation for mobility and improvement have been and are being taken away. That New York Magazine article made me want to throw Gen Y off my lawn, but even when I'm annoyed I understand that our being screwed doesn't mean you aren't getting screwed too.

The place where I was raised grew from a "large town" to a big city very quickly. Being the capital city of a resource rich state, the GFC was just a blip on the radar. There are so many Boomer bogans who are set for life. Large cheap properties 5 miles from the city were the norm. Large cheap BEACH properties 10 miles from the city were the norm. Everyone is demolishing and putting up 3 units [ie. condos]. *POOF* $700,000 appears out of thin air.

Gen Xers here just missed the boat. Sure, a lot of those bogans worked hard and deserved it, but there is such a large subset of, like, hairdressers, government Johnnies, bus drivers, wharf workers etc who pretty much just mindlessly punched the clock... and are now cashed up to the eyeballs thanks to being born at the right time and buying a cheap property in 1983.

Frustrating to watch it happen and have the rug torn out from under you 15 years later!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:42 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gen Xers here just missed the boat. Sure, a lot of those bogans worked hard and deserved it, but there is such a large subset of, like, hairdressers, government Johnnies, bus drivers, wharf workers etc who pretty much just mindlessly punched the clock... and are now cashed up to the eyeballs thanks to being born at the right time and buying a cheap property in 1983.


And then...the dingos came.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:44 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


BTW, I don't know what's sooo good about that rant in the FPP. Give me one day of research on Metafilter, Fark, and some of the more colourful business forums, and I could give you a half-dozen comments like that.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:46 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Born in '67, I always thought I was too old for Gen X.

Born in '71, I always thought I was too young for Gen X; probably 10 years younger than Douglas Coupland, who coined the term for - I assume - his own generation.
But I guess I'm not.
posted by Flashman at 7:49 PM on October 18, 2011


Just so it's clear, Reality Bites was not representative of anything, except maybe bad movies of the time.

Thank you for pointing that out, That movie was pure Hollywood schlock. And 1989, 90, 91, was a hard hard time to find work for just recent college grads. It was really the pits and kinda scary as to what in the fuck any of us was going to end up doing outside becoming lawyers or Doctors, and lots of my friends eventually did take that route, but the economy finally did rebound, and as the internet began to catch on, for a while there '95 to '00 it seemed like the future had arrived with a vengeance.

This does feel more cyclically scary though.

Anyhow, Generation X is getting too many fucking gray hairs. Dammit.
posted by Skygazer at 7:49 PM on October 18, 2011


Generation X is reading this thread on an iPad covered with toddler fingerprints and has just spilled beer on the bed.
posted by Kabanos at 7:51 PM on October 18, 2011 [14 favorites]


I thought the article was mildly amusing and somewhat on target. It was fairly bleak when I got out of college in 86 but it's bleaker now. At least then college was cheap and cities were all decaying and pleasantly crime infested and noir, unlike the plastic upscale expensive shiny iworld of today. It seems worse in a way for everything to be crashing down around you when there's a Starbucks and a Whole Foods on every corner. At least in the 80s I could stomp around Baltimore in my combat boots and be tough. Tough is harder to do now, even though this particular recession has been quite bleak for me personally, worse than the 80s, since I've been one of the apparently few (on Metafilter, at least) Gen X casualties and in the 80s I didn't really care that much. Also, then I had parents. Still, as far as I can figure out things have just been steadily getting worse since I was born and since my parents never failed to make this analogy (they were heavily invested in Kennedy and his death hit them hard) I suppose I feel that disaster and entropy are my birthright. Hooray.

And yes, I know that by some reckonings I'm a Boomer and then by others I'm an Xer. I claim X if I have to claim something because I like the music better and honestly, I was too young to be a hippy and missed out on love.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:52 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Its ironic, don't you think?
posted by Kabanos at 7:53 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like rain on your wedding day.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:01 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


generation x is jealous of...generation y because they're going to raise more hell

Right now in Vancouver Generation Y is doing a me-too-OWS protest by camping out on the grounds of the art gallery (where Gen Y kids usually hang out and smoke pot anyway) with 9/11 truthers. That is not raising hell. Gen Y in Vancouver raises hell when our hockey team loses and then posts it on Facebook like "OMG who want some Louis Vuitton LOL." Gen X raised plenty of hell with protests, it just didn't accomplish anything.
posted by Hoopo at 8:02 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


pmcp: Yeah, I was just taking your comment and running wIth it. Saying for God's sake wh(Y) did George have to piss on my generation's Star Wars?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:05 PM on October 18, 2011


bolt.com was da bomb
posted by moorooka at 8:16 PM on October 18, 2011


Gen X raised plenty of hell with protests, it just didn't accomplish anything.

Counter-argument whith which I am personally familiar: Carmanah Walbran Park. A direct result of protests in the late 80's/early 90's. Logging practices in BC have changed quite a bit because of public pressure.
posted by bonehead at 8:16 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm from Gen X and the piece resonated with me pretty strongly.

Good job, EmptyAge.

Looks like lots of people don't seem to get it, and I don't expect them too. Growing up between the upheaval of the 60s and early 70s, coming of age in the Cold War with the threat of nuclear destruction with Reagan as President, and dating in the shadow of AIDS as a death sentence, DID have an impact on the generation.

Younger generations aren't going to understand the Gen X view, anymore than I understand the Boomer's love of nostalgia.

Again, good job, EmptyAge.
posted by Argyle at 8:20 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Younger generations aren't going to understand the Gen X view, anymore than I understand the Boomer's love of nostalgia.

Boomers are nostalgic because they made all the best music.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:22 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]



In my opinion, that was the worst part of Hackers - not the horribly-fake "hacking" sequences, not the ripped-from-superman-3 plot hinge, not even the fact that there's like 2 seconds of real, valid tech in the whole movie - it's the fact that the good guys are on rollerblades, and the bad guy rides a skateboard.


'Post-apocalyptic rollarblading sci-fi' is actually a small subgenre. Check out Solarbabbies and Roller Blade
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:23 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


the stretching effects in Generation X scared me as a kid
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:24 PM on October 18, 2011


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "Younger generations aren't going to understand the Gen X view, anymore than I understand the Boomer's love of nostalgia.

Boomers are nostalgic because they made all the best music.
"

And all I got was this lousy economy.
posted by symbioid at 8:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Check out Solarbabbies

How is...?
posted by adamdschneider at 8:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think what generation you belong to has more to do with which generation your parents were in. I was born in 1964, and my parents were definitely of the war generation.

I strongly agree. 1968 reporting in, but my parents were young so I grew up in a post-war hippie revolution house, with the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, a default questioning of all things coming from the Man, and the occasional whiff of something funky.

I wanted to check up on the famous HST "high water mark" quote because it really resonates with me in terms of a wistful looking back on all the possibility that was dashed on the rocks just as I was growing up in the 70s. Yeah, published in 1971, so when I was learning to walk and talk this is what Hunter had to say:

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave ....

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark —that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.


And damn it all, when I was a little boy I was able to just get a glimpse of it, see all that hope and optimism getting sucked back out to sea. My generation grew up with cynicism and watched grimly as the hippies sold out and greedily emptied the table. Party over.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:44 PM on October 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


Isn't it weird that ice skates are totally socially acceptable but these things that are essentially the same are somehow unbelievably dorky? It seems like it's either from the connection with (square) rollerskates, or maybe just that surfers and potheads picked up skateboards and made them cool, so other wheeled transportation had to be dumb by default.

I miss rollerblading. It was fun.
posted by vogon_poet at 8:47 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anything that involves public spandex is dorky beyond conception.
posted by The Whelk at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gen X here. I see no sense having a pity duel with the young folk looking for first jobs in the recession. Looking back in MANY ways we had it better than the kids now. Not to pile on generational war either, but the boomers had a lot of advantages and squandered them. They do seem the common contrast with our forlorn fates.

But it's not all been entirely about the economy or our slacker heroes killing themselves without being glorified by a Ginsbergian "Howl". The defining history of our generation was that we grew up thinking there could be a nuclear war any minute (endless TV specials about "The Day After", etc.). And we grew up expecting adulthood would be this blast of total promiscuity. We had our "Dynamite" magazine and saw the boomers partying in the discos in Saturday Night Fever, etc. We were raised to think we'd have to live for the moment because we'd have no future.

Everything reversed itself in the late '80s. The Cold War ended, and AIDS (which was deadlier then, less contained, and psychologically weightier because it was more unknown) ended the Sexual Revolution.

So instead of being merry because tomorrow we could die, our generation seems (or maybe it's just me) to be postponing its life.
posted by Schmucko at 8:57 PM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Both this rant and this thread are far more entertaining if you imagine them being narrated by Randall of Honey Badger (and other YouTube narration) fame.
posted by togdon at 8:58 PM on October 18, 2011


Boomers are nostalgic because they made all the best music

Sarcasm right?

Seriously, fuck the boomers. They presided over this shit and really, what the fuck did they give the world besides self-absorption? Oh yeah, they ended Vietnam...14 years after it started. They put a man on the moon...well, actually their parents mostly did and a fat lot of good that did for me. They took all kinds of drugs and invented the sexual revolution then gave us "Just Say No" and the drug war. Seriously, they were on the receiving end of affordable housing, good public schools, unimaginable advances in technology and health, and retired young with pensions and healthy stock portfolios, and just for good measure, government guaranteed health care that we'll never see. And they paid none of it forward.

The defining characteristic of the Gen Xer? Realizing we are going to have work way, way harder to provide a more worthwhile future for our children than our parents ever had to, because they just assumed that opportunity would present itself to us the same way it did to them.

I have nothing but sympathy for the generations behind me, really, and fully accept that they have more stacked against them, thanks to the legacy of those currently in power, most of whom are still baby boomers. Sorry guys, I'm really trying hard to do what's right for the future, but you'll see it's really hard when you've been handed nothing but shit to work with.

And the thing that chafes my hide the most, is that most of them will already be gone when Medicare and Social Security finally collapse, the final insult of a generation that failed to think of anything but themselves.

/cleaning toddler prints off the iPad and mopping up spilled beer from the bed
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:05 PM on October 18, 2011 [31 favorites]


I guess [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss-Howe_generational_theory]Strauss & Howe generational theory[/url] is out of favor now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:06 PM on October 18, 2011


yes, bbcode is always out of favor here.
posted by birdherder at 9:07 PM on October 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Gen X" should just commit hari kari to relieve us who were born from '75-'80 of competition. We can hold off those slacker incompetent '80's-'90's kids, but you '70's guys? Fuck, you'all got a couple of years on us 'tweeners. Different story during the '90's dot-com days where younger-was-better like the porn industry, but jobs are starting to go to older folks, albeit, I sympathize, at lower wages.
posted by porpoise at 9:16 PM on October 18, 2011


"So instead of being merry because tomorrow we could die, our generation seems (or maybe it's just me) to be postponing its life."

Honestly, I think we're all starting to blend together in significant ways. For instance, here we are from two or three generations communicating on the Internet, sharing our lives in ways that the WWII generation and the boomers never did. The real divide is between the generations that use computers and those who will never feel totally comfortable online.

And Generation X isn't postponing its life. We're just living longer, and getting more out of every stage of life than our predecessors did.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:23 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am slightly on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y (either one of the youngest Gen X'ers or oldest Gen Y'ers) - really the Gen X'ers that are about 8-10 years old than me, were screwed over quite a bit worse than the Gen Y'ers - the old industrial economy was dying by the the time Gen X grew up, and I don't think too many Gen X'ers earned much of a living that way.

My particular Gen-X subgroup was pretty much okay, the unemployment spikes mostly hit at times when we were still school or university aged and managed to eventually get some opportunity and decent housing even though we saw some turbulence. A lot of the people I know who are about 10 years older really never landed on their feet, a lot of them stayed underemployed after being career students - some of them took pretty dark turns. Every time the economy takes a downturn it seems to destroy some people and industries.

Gen Y has it bad, but if things turn around (and I think this a more questionable premise than it was in my time), they could wind up in a situation similar to mine - I started my career and family a bit later than I would have liked, but I'm not too bad - I won't see prosperity at the level my parents did, but I'm not really agonizing over it. Luckily I didn't wind up with health problems, unexpected children etc.. Tuition is more expensive, and most social support programs are harder to get. Gen Y faces some big challenges but has some upside.

We'll probably all have to turn to community, intellectual and spiritual development, as material gains may be harder to come across. I see a real possibility that an economic tsunami will wipe away our old lives, and if my recent pension statements are any indicator in a few years I will owe *them* money.
posted by Intrepid at 9:27 PM on October 18, 2011


BTW, I don't know what's sooo good about that rant in the FPP. Give me one day of research on Metafilter, Fark, and some of the more colourful business forums, and I could give you a half-dozen comments like that.


Hmm your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by stratastar at 9:28 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Discussing this with a friend, he noted:

"it misses the bit where generation X didn't get any during it's teens because the fucking AIDS epidemic came along just at the wrong time, and it's really really sick of hearing about how much the generations just each side enjoyed"
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:36 PM on October 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


i_am_joe's_spleen, that's the best excuse for not getting any during my teens I've ever heard. It's way better than the tr--uh, I mean, gah, I know, right? Stupid AIDS epidemic.
posted by darksasami at 9:40 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


i_am_joe's_spleen, my god, that's exactly right. Everything about college now seems to be hooking up, no real relationships, fun, fun. Fun.

Monogamy. Long term monogamy, in a relationship that ended after graduation. Generation goddamnit, why me.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:41 PM on October 18, 2011


Yeah, the generational theory almost linked by ZeusHumms seems more useful to me. Nomad sounds more like my life and that of most people about my age, and yet we're the group who (according to the theory) show the least amount of cohesiveness compared to the Boomers/Prophets and Millenials/Heroes.
posted by harriet vane at 9:55 PM on October 18, 2011


i_am_joe's_spleen - The forgotten victim of the AIDS epidemic.


That's not to say that we don't have a lot of things to do, but everyone said this crap in 1991-1993 and we got out of it by raising taxes and increased govt spending.

That doesn't even seem feasible right now. There is such huge position to both of those that I can't see ending until 2016 at least. A bit of a lag. People will start to start fixing the problem (maybe) when Y is early-30's. Won't be fun, but maybe we can have something for Gen Z.
posted by Garm at 10:08 PM on October 18, 2011


but if your struggle was anything like Reality Bites then I'm going to continue to ignore it...

You realize Reality Bites is a movie, correct? A work of fiction.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:13 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah I mentioned some of that generational theory in the last thread, isn't the Class of 2000 supposed to be big hope? So organized and peaceful and civi minded and big joiners! Idelalisrically into broad social goods!

So we've got an entire generation that's into social justice and comfortable with solidarity , let's not fuck that up.
posted by The Whelk at 10:14 PM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


"No, it wasn't Debbie Gibson, moron. It was Tiffany."

You think that's bad? We asked my mom to buy Captain Crunch with Crunchberries, and she bought Booberry Crunch!! How could a theoretically smart lawyer be so stupid?!?!?
posted by msalt at 10:32 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your mom bought you Boobery Crunch? Seriously, you should stop and realize how lucky you are. No matter what cereal I might request, I'm pretty sure I'm only getting Cheerios, and certainly not Honey Nut.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:36 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I liked being a teenager in the early 1980s, anyway. And I feel fortunate to have been into computers at the right time, though not as into it as I should have been, or I'd be retired now instead of savings-less. Ah, well.
posted by maxwelton at 10:38 PM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know those cereals that didn't have a box but just came in like five pound plastic sacks at the bottom of the shelf under all the colorful breakfast foods with toys and prizes in them? That's what I had.
posted by The Whelk at 10:38 PM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Frankly, for each generation, it's SNAFU.
posted by arcticseal at 10:50 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being in Generation X feels like you're the primary inheritor of some twisted Ponzi scheme the Boomers cooked up just fuck over all of posterity.
posted by quadog at 11:02 PM on October 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, as someone born in 1988, am I an ignored asshole or a pampered asshole.

No really, let me know. I'm desperate for the attention, according to every op-ed piece from the past 5 years.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:08 PM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


In our thirties we assumed we wouldn't get retirement.
In our twenties we thought we wouldn't get a job.
In our teens we feared we wouldn't get an Earth.

So, chill, things will work out somehow...
posted by Skeptic at 11:30 PM on October 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Garbage Pail Kid or Transformer ... decide!
posted by Twang at 11:47 PM on October 18, 2011


/wishes people would stop complaining and blaming other people for their problems

/realizes he's doing the same thing
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:48 PM on October 18, 2011


Garbage Pail Kid or Transformer ... decide!

Do I have knowledge of the obscenities created by Bay, or is my love of Transformers still fresh from knowing that I have the touch, I have the power? If the former, Garbage Pail, please. If the latter, Transformers, anytime.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:50 PM on October 18, 2011


So, chill, things will work out somehow...

Generation X slides the Toadies cassette into the stereo, cranks up Possum Kingdom, and kicks their collective feet up on the coffee table.

Because you know, chilling, it's makes shit turn out all right.
posted by clearly at 12:14 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


http://www.thedenimjumper.com/
posted by telstar at 12:20 AM on October 19, 2011


Generalizing generations is a rich babykins' pastime.

If, given that souls fall from heaven at a constant rate and the rotation of the earth means your spark landed roughly 9 months after it fell, variations in the rotational speed of the earth means that you could have landed in, say, instead of that pale-ish well-fed Western body, in Latin America, or Lebanon, or Liberia or Leningrad or Laos (as it was known then) of the last 30-40 years and then, well, little Gen X/Gen Y/Millenial navel-gazer, you would have a vastly different perspective on what "no future" means.

So if the inanity of lumping yourself with those people is obvious, then we because we recite the same lines from the same TV shows and most of us named our kids Hannah and Tyler, does that mean we should all crowd together on the same platform waiting for the train of historical significant and harmonizing our collective whine?
posted by lon_star at 12:21 AM on October 19, 2011


I was born in 1969 and my brother was born in 1972, but even just three years made a huge difference in terms of pop culture. We figure that Generation X is split into two decades: 19Atari and 19Nintendo.
posted by tzikeh at 12:45 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


These young people need to get with the slack.
posted by zemblamatic at 1:08 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Another aspect of Generation X I haven't seen mentioned in this thread: we were the first group of young people raised on the 24-hour cable tv news cycle. I have no idea what the effects would be.

CNN launched when I was 9 or 10 and there began a steady diet of "bad stuff happening" video available no matter what the local news was on any given day. Things ok in Boston today, kid? Don't worry, cable tv will find some scary stuff happening elsewhere to show you. I wonder if this is where the helicopter parenting mentioned upthread stems from in part. (BTW, I'm a proud helicopter parent--I'm a Boeing CH-47 Chinook that can watch my kid and make sure your kid doesn't get impaled on anything while he runs around bullying the smaller kids and generally acting like they are some kind of wild child recently released from a cage in your basement and dropped onto our urban playground with a headless transformer while you drink your latte and read your Facebook stream on your phone.)


On the other hand, I know my mother was amazed with the level of knowledge and concern with the wider world my friends and I had compared to herself and her coworkers. They just never got out of the habit of getting most of their news from the local NBC affiliate 6 o'clock news.
posted by Cassford at 1:29 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Born in 1968, Star Wars kid and Cold War dread and all that, and yet:

Your Millennial score is 66!

No wonder these X-Y battles (especially the comments in the linked post) feel so exhausting.
posted by rory at 2:56 AM on October 19, 2011


Who wants honey
As long as there's some money
Who wants that honey?

Let me out
Let me out
Let me out
Let me out


It's not much of a contribution but it's the middle of the night and it's what I got.
posted by codswallop at 2:59 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


(BTW, I'm a proud helicopter parent--I'm a Boeing CH-47 Chinook that can watch my kid and make sure your kid doesn't get impaled on anything while he runs around bullying the smaller kids and generally acting like they are some kind of wild child recently released from a cage in your basement
I know you are joking, but you terrify me. I'm an X-er trying to give my kids a good upbringing (for values of good that are probably closer to 1975 than 2011, assuming liberal values) and helicopter parents constantly derail me.
My big girl is allowed to walk home from the shops alone, but her friends need their parents to accompany them, and they then follow my girl on till she can see my house. I deliberately stand back to let my kids have some freedom, and they take less than I would have at the same age, yet parents friends keep barging in to 'keep an eye out' as if that is an unequalled good. /end X rant
posted by bystander at 3:25 AM on October 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


If, given that souls fall from heaven at a constant rate and the rotation of the earth means your spark landed roughly 9 months after it fell, variations in the rotational speed of the earth means that you could have landed in, say, instead of that pale-ish well-fed Western body, in Latin America, or Lebanon, or Liberia or Leningrad or Laos (as it was known then) of the last 30-40 years and then, well, little Gen X/Gen Y/Millenial navel-gazer, you would have a vastly different perspective on what "no future" means.

You know, we really need a "Godwin's Law" name for this smug "First World Problem" response that crops up so often. Yeah, obviously, there are plenty of people who have it worse; that is obvious to anyone paying attention. That does not mean that people don't feel real and significant pain where they are. It's really important to one's mental health (and spiritual being, assuming you roll that way) to understand that you are part of a continuum and almost always luckier than someone else, but getting told that is no fucking use.

For example. I have neurological issues. Not terrible ones, but they have an impact on my life, OK? And they could get worse. Or not. Who knows? Which sucks, but, whatever, I am dealing with it. I have some friends who have MS. That is way worse than my condition. One of them, when he is feeling down, says "Oh well, at least I don't have ALS. That would really suck." And I like to imagine that there is a person out there with ALS who thinks "At least I don't have ALS while I am on fire." And so on. However, when I was getting out of the hospital after fracturing my shoulder, I was having trouble getting into my t-shirt a friend had brought not knowing about the shoulder (since the EMTs had cut my clothes off), and I was grumbling because it was painful and frustrating and I'd had a bad night, and the nurse was "You know, it could be worse." And I was "It could have been way easier on me; it could have happened to you." If he had said "You could be in rural Bangladesh and have no hospital at all," I probably would have tried to punch him and broken my shoulder. Because that was not helpful advice at that moment.

So "First World Problem" is always important to realize (because, you know, truth and perspective) and never ever useful to say to someone else. So knock it off.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:41 AM on October 19, 2011 [25 favorites]


Yeah, I was just taking your comment and running wIth it. Saying for God's sake wh(Y) did George have to piss on my generation's Star Wars?

Ah, I was still hating on the boomers.
posted by pmcp at 4:45 AM on October 19, 2011


It's really important to one's mental health (and spiritual being, assuming you roll that way) to understand that you are part of a continuum and almost always luckier than someone else, but getting told that is no fucking use.

Yeah, this very much. The kids in the LRA aren't my peer group, so it is hard for me to have that experience of joy and delight that my life doesn't suck as much as theirs.

This is a useful quotation for this situation, wish I could track down the original source and sorry for the outdated gender aspect of it:

"The happy man is the one who makes a dollar more than his wife's sister's husband."
posted by Meatbomb at 4:53 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aha , HL Mencken - and the article that I found this quote embedded in is kind of on topic here anyways.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:00 AM on October 19, 2011


GenjiandProust - I agree, and I humbly submit that such argumentation be described as Jello's law after Jello Biafra, as Biafra was generally the reason used by my father as to my I should eat my vegetables when I was kid. To be honest, at the time I wasn't really that convinced that starving kids from Biafra would have been all that keen to scoff down those boiled brussel sprouts if they'd been in my situation.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 5:05 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought that Baby boomers births spanned the end of WWII until the JFK assassination.

Gen X was all the people born between JFK's assassination and the first broadcast of MTV, an approximately 19 year span.

Gen Y is everyone born at that point until 9/11, roughly another 19 years.

The break between generations in the USA is always some cultural touchstone.
posted by Renoroc at 5:17 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's really important to one's mental health (and spiritual being, assuming you roll that way) to understand that you are part of a continuum and almost always luckier than someone else, but getting told that is no fucking use.

In other words, Generation X doesn't want to hear it. And we're done.
posted by unSane at 5:19 AM on October 19, 2011


In other words, Generation X doesn't want to hear it.

And, Generation X doesn't want to get TOLD that. Because we got told it a FUCK of a lot.

And I'm sick of it too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:29 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Boomers are nostalgic because they made all the best music.

This is factually incorrect.
posted by empath at 5:51 AM on October 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm GenX. We should be at our local Occupy mentoring our younger brothers and sisters and fighting alongside of them, not treating them the same shitty way the Boomers treated us by calling us all a bunch of apathetic slackers. Which we were, to some degree. I'm damn proud of the Occupy kids.
posted by xenophile at 6:16 AM on October 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


I'm GenX. We should be at our local Occupy mentoring our younger brothers and sisters and fighting alongside of them, not treating them the same shitty way the Boomers treated us by calling us all a bunch of apathetic slackers. Which we were, to some degree. I'm damn proud of the Occupy kid

Represent!

I mean, all this "generation" crap is nonsense anyway, an artifact of capitalist modernity designed to break us into ever-more-fussy marketing/education/employment segments, but it's important to make the effort to make friends and connections across the generations. The biggest post-McCarthy problem among activists (other than white racism) is the fact that we're so segregated by age.
posted by Frowner at 6:27 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Generation X would totally wear burgundy lipstick again, if given the chance.
posted by Windigo at 6:33 AM on October 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Its ironic, don't you think?

No it's not! IT'S SAD AND TRAGIC!
posted by Theta States at 6:59 AM on October 19, 2011


who really gives a fuck about gen x?
posted by msconduct at 7:01 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


While I am actually excited that the biggest, most inclusive, tribal identifiers that have been banished from conversation are back - Class and Generation - this guys tone may have struck a chord, but is playing the same song that earlier generations pulled on us, "Life is unfair. Get a job. Quit you're complaining. When you've done what we've done THEN we can talk."

You say either fuck GenX, GenY needs to DO something, or that generational deffinitions are meaningless? I say fuck him, fuck that, and yes fuck that too.

xenophile above gets it right. We're in all this together.
posted by kmartino at 7:11 AM on October 19, 2011


That was a little over the top, apologies in advance.

I think there is a rare opportunity happening right now that brings together people from different political, work, and regional divides, and helps them realize they have more in common than we realize.

I find that inspirational and heartening.
posted by kmartino at 7:15 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for GenX movies:

"Heathers", "The Legend of Billie Jean", "Office Space", "Say Anything...", "War Games" all are more relevant than than the typical stuff attributed to our GenX.

And we're the ones actually *making* the movies of today. Most big directors are GenX right now.

As we move into positions of responsibility, into positions of creative influence, telling the youth to grow the eff up is ... ironic.
posted by kmartino at 7:29 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


> "The Legend of Billie Jean"

I was in this for about a half a second. Most of the extras in that flick came from my high school. Carroll High was a sea of those crappy haircuts.
posted by davelog at 7:34 AM on October 19, 2011


We should be at our local Occupy mentoring our younger brothers and sisters and fighting alongside of them, not treating them the same shitty way the Boomers treated us by calling us all a bunch of apathetic slackers. Which we were, to some degree.

You keep forgetting, there were no successful political protests during the 80s (all of them were had during the 60s) so we have nothing to offer there either other than our warm bodies and financial/logistical support. All the people who lived through those successful 60s protests should be out there teaching the kids--but most of them are the ones pulling up the ladder after themselves now. Bastards.

/hhos

"First World Problem" response

I've come to the conclusion that people who give this sort of response in discussing how grateful we should all be for being able to hang on to any semblance (upper/middle/lower) of "middle class existence" in the US are those in favor of the status quo where the 1% get and the 99% get screwed. It enables me to give it the moment's thought it's worth--because it is true, things could be a lot worse--but then get back to whatever I'm doing.

(And as a person who's also been told "it could be worse" wrt her health problems, yeah, it's good for me when I do it, but when some patronizing jackass does it to me, I wish they'd fuck off too.)
posted by immlass at 7:51 AM on October 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Most big directors are GenX right now.

Exhibit A: "Super 8" (a Gen X movie if there ever was one).
posted by Skeptic at 7:57 AM on October 19, 2011


Generation X says there's really not much to this FPP. Generation X wonders how someone's random and pointless blog musing that puts all kinds of words in his mouth got an FPP with 297 comments.

Seriously, though--what the hell is this even?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wha? Spielberg is the freakin' platonic ideal of a boomer.
posted by unSane at 7:59 AM on October 19, 2011


I'm still just astounded that Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Billy Idol were once in a band together.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:04 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman - what this is is that people want to connect with their tribe.

We divide ourselves, and get divided by ever smaller demographic characteristics.

In the early 80s there was Metal. By the end of the 80s there was a million different Metal genres.

Politics is like that, work is like that, and meeting across your Generation or you class puts you into an awesomely huge cohort.

Marketers don't appreciate that of course. And these days neither do politicians who message to ever smaller, more specific groups.

immlass - Occupy is learning as it goes. And Gen X can be there to learn with it. Damn inspirational.
posted by kmartino at 8:09 AM on October 19, 2011


GenjiandProust and immlass I believe that recognizing 'life isn't fair' doesn't excuse avoiding work to make it more just, more fair, and our responsibility to one another in the here and now.
posted by kmartino at 8:21 AM on October 19, 2011


GENERATION X CANNOT BE STOPPED
posted by Flunkie at 8:24 AM on October 19, 2011


And we're the ones actually *making* the movies of today. Most big directors are GenX right now.

This frightens me more than it should. Still, for every gem, there's many movies made just to make money. Or lose money, as the case may be.

On a different thought, Generation X is a very American term, isn't it? The stereotype doesn't really apply as much to other parts of the world, right?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:31 AM on October 19, 2011


Um, the current economy affects EVERYONE, no matter what age. All this slicing up into generations is just a way to distract us from our unified interests by making us fight amongst ourselves on the basis of age and what we watched on TV as kids.
posted by yarly at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm at the very end of the Baby Boom (1962), my husband and sister are at the beginning of Gen X (1965). Either way, I think we're all part of a mini generation, call it Generation Q.

Gen Q didn't get all the benefits that Boomers got, no Sputnick school loans, but we could manage to pay our in-state tuition of $330 per semester in cash so we graduated without student loans.

Gen Q lived with our folks well into our twenties because San Francisco was expensive and honestly, between the job and the after-work socializing, did we really care where our bed was?

Gen Q lived with the horror of AIDS, our friends sickened and died. But we also saw AIDS become a managable, chronic disease, and so we have hope.

Gen Q worked for MCI and had our entire net worth wiped out by a hillbilly on a tear, and yet we kept going.

We have lived through so many recessions and double dip recessions and depressions and dot com booms and housing bubbles that we now know that money is white, pink, yellow and blue and has a picture of Mr. Moneybags on it. We're numb to monitary fears at this point because we've been up and we've been down, ultimately we still get what we need.

Generation Q has always been an afterthought. While real boomers are enjoying a retirement, we know that we won't have that luxury. Gens X and Y had the benefit of the Roth IRA and if they played their cards right, will be able to have a nice nest egg in their golden ages. Gen Q will have to start liking the taste of cat food.

Gen Q bought into the whole Greed is Good thing, after all, the peace and love route that pervaded our childhood was silly and Gen Q doesn't thing a macrame owl is a proper wall decoration. Greed didn't really do much for Gen Q, but it made us spendthrifts and social climbers.

Gen Q is stuck in its house. Used to buying and selling real estate at the drop of a hat, usually for a profit, Gen Q continued to invest in housing and now owes 25% more on the house than it's worth. Gen Q is too concientous to actually mail the keys back to the bank, besides, moving is expensive and a hassle and Gen Q has to live somewhere, so we hope and pray that at some point we might be able to move again, but it looks like we're stuck in Atlanta for now.

Gen Q, like Gen X is tired. Unlike Gen X, Gen Q can't call in sick and stay home to play video games. Gen Q has a work ethic, so we'll just go to work and troll Metafilter for awhile.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:46 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Trurl: I regret that I had only one pair of ears to sacrifice for Hüsker Dü. [And, to a lesser extent, Slayer.]

This auto-tune shit the kids are into now, I won't miss being able to hear it.


I regret that I had only one pair of ears to sacrifice for Beethoven. [And, to a lesser extent, Haydn.]

This Mozart shit the kids are into now, I won't miss being able to hear it.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:54 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


GenjiandProust and immlass I believe that recognizing 'life isn't fair' doesn't excuse avoiding work to make it more just, more fair, and our responsibility to one another in the here and now.

No, no it does not. But responding to someone's problem by pointing out that other people have greater problems is a) not helpful and b) a dick move.

Another funny story about my shoulder. A decade ago, my dad fell and broke his hip. When I fractured my shoulder, he called to check up on (which was nice). After a bit of a conversation, he announced to me that breaking your hip was way worse and more painful than fracturing your shoulder. After a bit of an exasperated pause, I had to remind him that his breaking his hip was actually much less personally painful to me than my fracturing my shoulder.

See? He was, within his lights, trying to be helpful (well, at least sort of; I think he was also trying to put me in my place -- he grew up in an unheated farmhouse during the Depression, you know*, so he's always had it worse). But telling me it could be worse just made it worse for me, adding to my condition of a) in pain and b) disabled the pleasure of c) unnecessarily pissed at my dad.

So, the same deal -- people have their own pains and problems. Everyone has their sorrows. Telling someone who is struggling to get by on $20K/year in the US that people in [country of your choice] would love to make $20K/year is generally ignoring that there's a different situation in the country, the person to whom you are talking wouldn't be making $20K/year if they were magically moved to their same place in the social ladder in that country, and that all you have done is piss on another person for expressing their own sense of helplessness and misery. Which, you know, is surely going to make them say "How right you are! I will now go and work for global economic justice!" You could say "Hey, that sucks; let's work together to make things better for you and others" instead, right?

*Weak attempt to make this relevant to the thread. My dad was Greatest Generation or at least cusp thereof. Repeat: They always had it worse.** Keep that in mind, kids!

** Note: This is often literally true, but the worst way to make that point is to keep telling people (who have their own legitimate problems) that fact over and over, 'k?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:56 AM on October 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


yarly - ultimately you're right. The interesting thing about Generational definitions is that they cut across political, geographical, educational, media, and entertainment boundaries while defining a far bigger bucket. Class is another bucket, and even bigger. Having both become part of the discourse, and properly beating the hell up /liberal/libertarian/conservative/democratic/annrandfan/malcolmxfan/ etc, etc, divisions is a good thing.
posted by kmartino at 8:57 AM on October 19, 2011


I was born in 1969 and my brother was born in 1972, but even just three years made a huge difference in terms of pop culture. We figure that Generation X is split into two decades: 19Atari and 19Nintendo.

my brothers and I had, and were summarily addicted to, both systems. and the first one of us was born in '77.
posted by ninjew at 8:59 AM on October 19, 2011


GenjiandProust - yes, what you said there, I'm with you. When I said 'here and now' I meant that quite literally.

If someone drops their groceries in front of me, they are getting help from me. Not a speech, "you should be thankful that YOU have groceries" :)
posted by kmartino at 9:00 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Occupy Wall Street's Age Divide: The reason baby boomers don't understand the protesters is because we grew up with all advantages now being denied the younger generation—and it's left us totally clueless.
posted by homunculus at 9:02 AM on October 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


GenjiandProust - to put it another way, how we conduct ourselves with others immediately around us, and how we are responsible to one another, and fight for justice for one another locally, is just as important as going global. I maybe even more important.

I've been called a sap and a hippie though :)
posted by kmartino at 9:10 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wha? Spielberg is the freakin' platonic ideal of a boomer.
posted by unSane at 7:59 AM on October 19 [+] [!]


I presume this is addressed to my mention of "Super 8" as a Generation X movie. Although Spielberg pretty much hogged the limelight as the producer (typical boomer behaviour), this particular film was actually directed by JJ Abrams, born 1966. Of course, Abrams, like most Gen Xers, grew up watching Spielberg movies, and it shows...

The film, with its 80s nostalgia was also unashamedly marketed towards Gen Xers, hoping that they would drag their young children along (not a new trick, that, see "Back to the Future" and "Peggy Sue Got Married" exactly one generation before).
posted by Skeptic at 9:22 AM on October 19, 2011


Generation X Doesn't Want to Hear It

Instead of "Fuck you, I've got mine" it's "I'm fucked, so fuck you too!" What a great message. Encapsulates everything I don't like about the 'stereotypical' idea of Gen-X. Obviously not everyone born in that time-span shares the same outlook, just like not every millennial is a doe-eyed pampered naif or whatever the stereotype is.
posted by delmoi at 9:23 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"It maybe even more important".

I need to watch my spelling here :)
posted by kmartino at 9:23 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been doing a bit of reading around regarding generational differences in attitudes towards work, and it struck me that a lot of the research is done on professional workers only, and thus misses a huge class difference. The kind of unemployment, precarious employment, underemployment has been a part of the working poor (unskilled, female - lower in status than working class) for the last few centuries, if not longer. This is not to dismiss the trouble that other people have, but just that in our understanding of generational differences, we shouldn't dismiss class differences.

Another thing we were talking about was the increasing expectation of Gen X and Y workers to go from job to job, rather than staying with one company. One article made the point that this trend is not necessarily worker-driven, but comes because companies no longer have loyalty to their workers. But I couldn't help but think that working poor people never had loyalty from their employers, and always had to move from job to job - not because they had to, but they were forced to. (And that they would LOVE to find a job for 20+ years, and would give loyalty if they could get it).
posted by jb at 9:25 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


All this slicing up into generations is just a way to distract us from our unified interests by making us fight amongst ourselves on the basis of age and what we watched on TV as kids.

Gotta point out that the OP was written in response to that New York magazine link about what special snowflakes the current youngsters are--particularly the part of them that moved to NYC as 20somethings--and how they are so different and nobody has ever suffered like them but they are optimistic anyways! If I were going to fault emptyage for anything generational, it would be for taking a bunch of New Yorkers writing for a traditional media outlet as typical of their generation.
posted by immlass at 9:26 AM on October 19, 2011


I maybe even more important.

I dunno. "I maybe even more important," replacing the "may be" with "am" is kind of at the heart of all generational arguments, isn't it? Possibly all arguments, for that matter.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:27 AM on October 19, 2011


GenjiandProust - indeed !

jb - the working poor and poor had, for a period of time in America, a growing set of safety nets and a social contract that while didn't make things easy, did enable economic mobility and provided certain protections either under law or by union.

That story is my story.

I would not be here today if I wasn't able to climb from poor, to working class, to middle class.

I fear what enabled me to do so is no longer thought of as important by the political or economic establishment.
posted by kmartino at 9:32 AM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm a proud helicopter parent
Quick warning? There's no such thing as a helicopter parent. The closest you can get is "helicopter parent until they're out on their own and have to suddenly start making all their own choices." I had a very smart friend in college who had one of those; we lost touch after he started flunking and using and stealing.
posted by roystgnr at 9:39 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no such thing as a helicopter parent. The closest you can get is "helicopter parent until they're out on their own and have to suddenly start making all their own choices."

You obviously haven't met my parents.
posted by Skeptic at 9:42 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no such thing as a helicopter parent. The closest you can get is "helicopter parent until they're out on their own and have to suddenly start making all their own choices."

Tell that to my friend's parents, who dote on her younger sister to an extreme degree. The one with the Art History degree from the expensive liberal college. The one that lives in Manhattan and gets rent money from her parents, who claim she's "really having a difficult time." Fuckers do everything but actually go on job interviews for her, and they would do that if they could.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:24 AM on October 19, 2011


I refuse to call myself "Generation X" because I still feel it's a stupid fucking cop-out name coined by assholes who didn't bother to get to know anyone my age well enough to come up with a term to define us.

And "Gen Y" was an even lazier move.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:39 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


"really having a difficult time."

How could she not be? The outdoors feels a lot colder if you step out from a hothouse.
posted by telstar at 10:42 AM on October 19, 2011


As someone born in 1979 to (adopted) parents who were not boomers (both of my parents were born before 1945) I've never been sure were I've fit into the generation divide. As such, I'm part of Generation drezdn.

Members of Generation drezdn:
-Got a Nintendo in '87 but no computer at home until '95
-Graduated college during the post 9-11 recession. Had trouble finding a job and ended up back in retail.
-Played in a few bands.
-Didn't get an office job until they were 27 and then gave it up two years later to become a stay at home dad (and is lucky that their wife has a more useful degree than "journalism")
-Went back to work this year, as a temporary retail employee (though it was in a bookstore).
-A significant portion of friends are still working retail jobs and are probably in bands.
-Sympathizes with Occupy Wall Street, but hasn't been able to get involved because it's tough with two kids.
-Still can't beat the original Super Mario Bros.
posted by drezdn at 10:45 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I refuse to call myself "Generation X" because I still feel it's a stupid fucking cop-out name coined by assholes who didn't bother to get to know anyone my age well enough to come up with a term to define us.

I refuse to call myself "Generation X" because I don't want to be associated in any way with Billy Idol.
posted by The World Famous at 10:45 AM on October 19, 2011


I was born in 1956. I would simply like all of you kids to GET THE HECK OFF OF MY LAWN!
posted by zaelic at 10:46 AM on October 19, 2011


I do want to point out that this is very much a reaction post to the New York Magazine story linked at the top of the post.

ahem, yeah.


Gen Q has a work ethic, so we'll just go to work and troll Metafilter for awhile.

Sorry, that does not compute.

BTW, I don't know what's sooo good about that rant in the FPP. Give me one day of research on Metafilter, Fark, and some of the more colourful business forums, and I could give you a half-dozen comments like that.

Agreed. I enjoyed it, but it's a good Facebook link; not a good MetaFilter post.

I regret that I had only one pair of ears to sacrifice for Beethoven. [And, to a lesser extent, Haydn.]

This Mozart shit the kids are into now, I won't miss being able to hear it.


Heh, yeah. I always chuckle at all the "top rated" youtube comments on songs from the 1980s about "this is back when people still made great music."

LOFL.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2011


I refuse to call myself "Generation X" because I don't want to be associated in any way with Billy Idol.

Hey now, Generation X pretty much redeems everything else Billy Idol did.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:47 AM on October 19, 2011


I don't have a lawn. I have a small rectangle of concrete.

Y'all are welcome to stay on it, though.
posted by xenophile at 10:48 AM on October 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hey now, Generation X pretty much redeems everything else Billy Idol did.

Typically, redemption comes after the sin, not before. Generation X was not good enough to afford Billy Idol indulgences.
posted by The World Famous at 10:50 AM on October 19, 2011


One article made the point that this trend is not necessarily worker-driven, but comes because companies no longer have loyalty to their workers

It's an old point I'm about to make, but one that bears repeating. The departments that deal with the welfare of workers have removed any hint of the word "person" (as in "personnel") and replaced it with "human resources". "Human Resources" sounds like something the Soylent company might have come up with. No one is attached to a particular individual as a "resource" any more than a particular barrel of oil or lump of coal, because resources are interchangeable and benefit the whole so long as they continue to do their job and produce. Particularly in a large organization, human resources are something you plug into the framework to keep things moving, and it doesn't really matter who they are. I am under no illusion that going back to the word "Personnel" would change anything in this regard, just that the term itself implies a lack of loyalty.
posted by Hoopo at 10:57 AM on October 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Generation X was not good enough to afford Billy Idol indulgences.

Well, he also gave David Fincher some work (and forever etched Betsy Lynn George's legs on my sexual landscape) and gave a nice self-deprecating turn in The Wedding Singer, so I guess I forgive him for Mony Mony.

Plus, dude, Eyes Without a Face!

I guess it turns out I really like Billy Idol.

Trivia: Billy Idol was James Cameron's first choice for the T-1000 in Terminator 2. That would have been quite a difference for everyone involved.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:18 PM on October 19, 2011


Gen X: sold out for a.....white weddinnnnnnnng!
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


(if one person puts on one denim jumper in a major urban area I swear to god I will burn said city to the ground)

C'mon! That pair of overalls was so comfortable, and I was a size 6 then. If there is any motivation that will actually get me back to that size, it's that pair of overalls.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 12:22 PM on October 19, 2011


I guess it turns out I really like Billy Idol.

He had some good moments, yeah. I aspire to one day have a few songs as good as his best.
posted by The World Famous at 12:50 PM on October 19, 2011


Not to get all "We had it worse" or anything, but the recession THIS gen-Xer experienced in the early '90s -- while not as wide spread -- was as bad in my rural PA hometown as what's going on now pretty much everywhere.

Yeah, this is worse because you can't move your way out of it. But as a kid out of high school in '90, I didn't really know I could move my way out of it either. It took a few years of eating Taco Bell and living without basic utilities to understand that one.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:58 PM on October 19, 2011


I refuse to call myself "Generation X" because I still feel it's a stupid fucking cop-out name coined by assholes who didn't bother to get to know anyone my age well enough to come up with a term to define us.

There was no "us." The label defines an age group, not a set of characteristics.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:59 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The label defines nothing. Labels are lazy shorthand for people who like to label things.
posted by Splunge at 1:43 PM on October 19, 2011


Humans like to label. It's kinda ingrained.
posted by Windigo at 1:52 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I refuse to call myself "Generation X" because I still feel it's a stupid fucking cop-out name coined by assholes who didn't bother to get to know anyone my age well enough to come up with a term to define us.

Generation X was too busy watching MTV and sympathizing with the plight of John Cusack characters.

Yeah, obviously, there are plenty of people who have it worse; that is obvious to anyone paying attention. That does not mean that people don't feel real and significant pain where they are.

relevant SMBC
posted by clearly at 2:18 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


C'mon! That pair of overalls was so comfortable
posted by doyouknowwhoIam?


Your name's Eileen, isn't it?
posted by George Clooney at 2:46 PM on October 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


The label defines nothing. Labels are lazy shorthand for people who like to label things.

Ah, yes, labelers.
posted by Guy Smiley at 3:57 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, mefi... producing such an entertaining and interesting thread in response to a vapid article that is itself a response to an even more vapid article.
posted by tempythethird at 4:16 PM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


You keep forgetting, there were no successful political protests during the 80s

Apartheid is still around?
posted by toxic at 5:01 PM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apartheid is still around?

Once the choice was made unavoidable - apartheid or Little Steven concerts - they chose.
posted by Trurl at 6:16 PM on October 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


clearly: "relevant SMBC"

Woah. I swear that's Deke. We had this teacher in shop class named Dekeyser (can't remember his first name). Deke. He had a post nasal drip, and a scrappy beard. And was always cranky, and he'd tell you about the plate in his head (but don't dare call it a metal plate, "It's not metal, it's TEFLON" he'd say)... Then he would tell you that the fastest plane in the world was a Mach 6 plane which went 6 times the speed of light... And that "today we're going to draw a 6 dimensional object - a cube..."

So yes, he was a teacher, and the kids would put oil drops into his coffee, and metal filings and sawdust and whatever else they could find. My sister claims they did that to him back in the early 80s. So for a decade this poor man was consuming god knows what.

He ended up dying of some sort of condition affecting his blood. Whether it was due to all the shit those little fuckers would put in his coffee, I dunno.

But he had a beard like that, and that pipe in that guy's head - well made me think of teflon, and of course those toxins in his environs... Well shit, I bet that guy speaks with a post-nasal drip, as well.

Here's to you Deke, may you and all your faulty facts and poor logic be carried in our hearts through the ages until we, too, die of some horrible disease.
posted by symbioid at 7:44 PM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm a 1980 baby. Borderline. I was really young for an Xer, but most of these Millennials seem like kids to me.

As someone on the border I've watched both generations have get called self-centered entitled slackers by the Boomers for years (Sweet Baby Jesus, Mom and Dad, who could we possibly have learned entitlement from?). Both generations spent their teens and twenties struggling through recessions and being warned that they'd be less well off than their parents, both have been sent off to fight and expected to inherit and pay the credit card bills for stupid, illegal wars started by the same damned hypocritical generation that protested Vietnam, and, through the wonder of the internet, both generations have had more access to more information about how the world really works, and more ability to organize action from the ground up, than any generation before them.

I think Xers and Millennials have much more in common than the power establishment would prefer us to realize.

Fucking kids, you go on and get off my mortgaged lawn and out into the streets to protest. I'll get out there with you just as soon as I can square away a sitter.
posted by BlueJae at 8:38 AM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


both have been sent off to fight

I think maybe Gen X has a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be "sent off to fight." The last time a generation was sent off to fight, Gen X was in Kindergarten.
posted by The World Famous at 8:47 AM on October 20, 2011


I think maybe Gen X has a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be "sent off to fight." The last time a generation was sent off to fight, Gen X was in Kindergarten.

World War I didn't have the draft either, but England still considers the national rah-rah jingoism that encouraged its young men to volunteer for that war a sort of "sending a generation off to fight" anyway, on the part of the people sitting back and deciding to go to war in the first place

Gen X and Gen Y both have had the same kind of pressure placed upon it over both Iraq wars -- and ironically, that pressure was placed upon us BY those very Boomers who decided to get embroiled in the war for nebulous and petty reasons. You BET YOUR ASS that we consider it "sending a generation off to fight".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


DeadKennedysVEVO
posted by Anything at 8:58 AM on October 20, 2011


Um. Dude, So, you know that Generation X is widely accepted to be people born from 1965 - to somewhere between 1980 and 1982, right? — Author of the OP

Are they sure about that one? Because I was born in '82, and my sister and brother were born in the early 1970s, and there's a big difference in our childhoods, pop culture and eventual job prospects. People born after 1981 had to pay for their university education for a start. I have no idea how someone born in '65 would have a lot in common with my generation on the same points.

But, yeah, the majority of the UK didn't see The Simpsons until it was on terrestrial TV from the mid-90s. And it took us until DVD was invented to see Seinfeld properly.
posted by mippy at 9:03 AM on October 20, 2011


Your name's Eileen, isn't it?

That would be incorrect.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 9:44 AM on October 20, 2011


Gen X and Gen Y both have had the same kind of pressure placed upon it over both Iraq wars -- and ironically, that pressure was placed upon us BY those very Boomers who decided to get embroiled in the war for nebulous and petty reasons. You BET YOUR ASS that we consider it "sending a generation off to fight".

Hm. I'm squarely in the middle of Generation X, old enough to have been able to fight in the first Iraq war and young enough to have been able to fight in the second one. I have never, not once at all, in my entire life, felt any pressure at all to fight in any war of any kind. I have never heard anyone suggest that I should enlist.
posted by The World Famous at 9:56 AM on October 20, 2011


I'm squarely in the middle of Generation X, old enough to have been able to fight in the first Iraq war and young enough to have been able to fight in the second one. I have never, not once at all, in my entire life, felt any pressure at all to fight in any war of any kind. I have never heard anyone suggest that I should enlist.

And I'm sure you could find here and there a handful of individuals in the 60's, during the First and Second World Wars, and the like who could say exactly the same thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:03 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


My take on this is mainly just that The Punisher is a bit crap if you seperate him out from the Vietnam war.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on October 20, 2011


And I'm sure you could find here and there a handful of individuals in the 60's, during the First and Second World Wars, and the like who could say exactly the same thing.

Really? I'm pretty sure they had the draft from WWII through the Vietnam war.

What sort of pressure are you referring to when you say that Gen X was subjected to the same sort of pressure to fight in Iraq that young men in England had to fight in WWI? What sort of pressure, exactly?
posted by The World Famous at 10:09 AM on October 20, 2011


This whole "generation to war" isn't true - EXCEPT for those areas (and classes) of the country in which the military is one of very few career choices.

It is true that people feel pressured to join the military for a job, for health care, etc - and that unlike those who did so in 1980, they now must fight overseas. But this is about class, not generation. Our generations (X, Y) are more divorced as a whole from military service and the impact of war than any recent.

In fact, it came up in a history tutorial that I was teaching that Obama is the first president since 1945 who has not either served in the military or faced criticism for not serving. His lack of military service was a non-issue, because (unlike B. Clinton - or Kerry, who was never drafted but still served), he was not old enough to have been expected to serve.

(actually - I don't remember about Gore - was he questioned about it?)
posted by jb at 10:50 AM on October 20, 2011


(actually - I don't remember about Gore - was he questioned about it?)

Gore served in Vietnam. But I remember there being bitching about his getting a cushy position because of his father.

Otherwise I'm going to second jb, although I think there's also a regional component to military service as well. In my part of the country (Texas) I know a lot of people are still proud to do ROTC of various stripes and serve. Obviously there's more economic pressure to join the military if you can't afford college otherwise and service is your only ticket to higher education because grants and loans are significantly more difficult to get now that they were when I was in college.

What I remember from being in college in the mid- to late 80s is how the renewal of registration (which happened in 1980) led to an ongoing fear of reimplementing the draft because of all the little wars we were involved in. I kind of expected another round of this after 9/11 but because most of my age peers were out of range of being drafted, my awareness was more about friends and acquaintances who had been in the military or were in the reserves possibly being called back to active duty.
posted by immlass at 11:04 AM on October 20, 2011


What sort of pressure are you referring to when you say that Gen X was subjected to the same sort of pressure to fight in Iraq that young men in England had to fight in WWI? What sort of pressure, exactly?
posted by The World Famous


This:

This whole "generation to war" isn't true - EXCEPT for those areas (and classes) of the country in which the military is one of very few career choices.

Those areas and classes are what I"m talking about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:12 AM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that's the same sort of pressure you're saying was felt by the baby boomers?
posted by The World Famous at 11:21 AM on October 20, 2011


This whole "generation to war" isn't true - EXCEPT for those areas (and classes) of the country in which the military is one of very few career choices.

You know, this is a common trope that the poor serve disproportionately in the military, and its wrong.

"Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 percent came from the wealthiest quintile. These trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40 percent of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods-a number that has increased substantially over the past four years."

Heritage Link

DoD Report (Table with summary stats for education and urbanicity)

Huh, interesting: non-white enlisted are more educated than whites
posted by stratastar at 11:27 AM on October 20, 2011


And that's the same sort of pressure you're saying was felt by the baby boomers?

I believe if you will take a closer look at the first comment of mine which you took objection to, you'll note that I expressly said that no, it wasn't the SAME pressure. But it nevertheless was STILL pressure. Of a different sort, but still pressure.

And I am getting the impression you want to lead this argument around in a merry circle, so I shall instead say "this is where I came in" and leave you to it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:40 AM on October 20, 2011


And I am getting the impression you want to lead this argument around in a merry circle, so I shall instead say "this is where I came in" and leave you to it.

I don't want to lead it in a circle. I strongly, vehemently disagree with your assertion that generation X - as a generation - felt pressure to go to war in either of the Iraq wars. I thought I initially made that pretty clear, and offered firsthand information to back it up. But then you suggested that my own experience is part of some extremely limited exception to the rule and that I, for whatever reason, completely escaped even the remotest suggestion or awareness of the pressure that you contend was exerted over my entire generation for over twenty years. I still disagree.
posted by The World Famous at 11:52 AM on October 20, 2011


I strongly, vehemently disagree with your assertion that generation X - as a generation - felt pressure to go to war in either of the Iraq wars. I thought I initially made that pretty clear, and offered firsthand information to back it up. But then you suggested that my own experience is part of some extremely limited exception to the rule and that I, for whatever reason, completely escaped even the remotest suggestion or awareness of the pressure that you contend was exerted over my entire generation for over twenty years. I still disagree.

I was pointing out that your only evidence that "the generation didn't feel it" was the fact that YOU didn't feel it -- and you are not the sum total of "generation X".

You didn't. But that doesn't mean NO ONE did.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:58 AM on October 20, 2011


I was pointing out that your only evidence that "the generation didn't feel it" was the fact that YOU didn't feel it

Actually, it wasn't that I didn't feel it, but that I didn't even hear or notice any even minor or fleeting mention of it in any context or setting whatsoever. And since I am a fairly observant person generally and I have not been living in a bubble for the last 20 years, I consider my observations in that regard to be more than merely anecdotal or an expression of what I alone felt.
posted by The World Famous at 12:01 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agree to disagree, then.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 PM on October 20, 2011


(As in, I shall agree to disagree.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on October 20, 2011


I'm cool with that.
posted by The World Famous at 12:27 PM on October 20, 2011


Gen X here (born in 1965), with a Gen X sister (born in '67); parents are Silent Generation (Mom born in '36, Dad in '37). What we share: A sense that the Boomers had a hell of a lot more fun than we did, God damn it!

In some ways, I have had it way easier than either of my parents. Mom worked 40 hours a week to earn her bachelor of science degree in nursing and lived at home throughout college (indeed, until she got married). A Navy ROTC scholarship paid for my dad's bachelor's degree in engineering, then he owed the Navy three years of service. My work-study job in the library of the college where I earned my English degree hardly compares in terms of rigor.

Still, the world that the late journalist-feminist-activist Ellen Willis describes is one that literally seems fantastic to me. (Note: I think of her as a Baby Boomer, though she was born in 1941. She was technically part of the same generation as my parents, but embraced the mores of the Boomers/counterculture sooner and to a much greater extent than my more-cautious parents did.)

In her essay "Intellectual Work in the Culture of Austerity," Willis writes:

For many of us, the "excess" of the '60s meant the expansion of desire and fantasy, but also (and not coincidentally) of money and time. I (a child of the hard-working lower middle class) found it relatively easy to subsist as a freelance writer in New York. With a fifty-dollar-a-month rent-regulated East Village apartment, I could write one lucrative article for a mainstream magazine and support myself for weeks or even months while I did what I liked, whether that meant writing for countercultural publications that couldn't pay or going to political meetings.
posted by virago at 1:56 PM on October 20, 2011


This is entirely too late, but...
I was a nerd and started using the Tandy PC-Link at 12Countess Elena
PC-Link was part of the predecessor to AOL. It's true that in 1989, Radio Shack pushed PC-Link in their stores in a big way...that's actually how I met my ex-wife. (Her father was the IBM Canada PC product manager who made the decision about what to bundle with the PS/1 and was trying several different online services at home.) Yeah, I met my (ex) spouse online decades before the rest of you guys. Though, you know, it didn't really work out that well.

Anyway, I recall that PC-Link was half of the online company, aimed at PCs, and the other half was aimed at Macs. I had thought it was "MacIntosh America", but the Wikipedia entry on Steve Case says it was "Apple-Link". Those two were folded together and renamed "America Online".

As someone born in the early 60s, I'm stuck between generations the way that some of you are stuck between X and Y. My parents were born during the war, I was born right after the baby boom ended. The boomers were my parent's generation, even though they were slightly too young for it (they were sort of in-between, too, I guess). I never felt part of the baby boomer generation. But I've also felt too old for Gen X, too. If I had to choose, though, I'd be an X'er. Especially since the eighties were a complete write-off for me, I prefer to pretend they didn't exist at all, and the nineties were when my life really took off.

I was 18-19 during that 82-83 recession. It's funny; I moved to Dallas at the time, which was booming because while the rest of the US was in a recession, high oil prices meant boom times for Texas and especially Houston and Dallas. Even so, I was just out of high school with only a year of being a radio DJ as job experience and I had a really hard time finding work.

I never really noticed any of the recessions after that. I was a dotcom fortunate when the crash happened—even though I lost a couple hundred thousand dollars in the crash, I still had other dotcom money at the time and was somewhat insulated from it.

At any rate, while it's true that this recession is more concentrated on those without college educations and therefore is not as bad for the college educated as past recessions; it's overall badness is worse in many respects. And, I hate to tell this to anyone who doesn't already realize this, but this will continue for a long time. Don't expect the unemployment rate to fall below 5% for at least six or more years. We are absolutely in the midst of a "lost decade", like Japan's, and it may last well more than a decade, depending on whether things go really bad in Europe and we double-dip and the clock will basically restart. There are things that our policymakers could do to improve things, but they won't. If Japan didn't do what needed to be done, don't expect the US to do so. Most especially as long as the GOP has any political power.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:24 PM on October 23, 2011


I strongly, vehemently disagree with your assertion that generation X - as a generation - felt pressure to go to war in either of the Iraq wars.

I don't think anyone felt much pressure to go to Iraq either. Nobody cared about Iraq except the hawks in the government.

I think some kids definitely did feel pressure to join the army to attack Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Osama Bin Laden after 9/11. I think, however, that was mostly Generation Y (1976-1984). Generation X was already well entrenched in cubicles by then.

But aside from the military families who pressure their kids to join the military anyway, no, I didn't see a lot of pressure to join the wars on Iraq either.

What we share: A sense that the Boomers had a hell of a lot more fun than we did, God damn it!

Every other generation had more fun than ours. Tis the American way. See: your neighbor's grass.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:14 AM on October 24, 2011


Every other generation had more fun than ours.

No, I stand by my assertion that today's kids have a crappy life compared to mine.

My parents were more paranoid than many and yet I was STILL allowed (required, actually) to play outside without supervision until dark. I also was allowed (required, actually) to walk or bike to school. We also played with knives, and such dangerous items as teeter-totters and jungle gyms, and occasionally got to ride in the backs of pick up trucks, though not on the highway.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:48 AM on October 24, 2011


just cause I want to weigh in on this:
guess what, Gen X is a hell of a lot more on target than portrayed
posted by djseafood at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2011


62 percent said they have a Facebook page ... 80 percent reported buying and reading a book in the last year

wow, way higher book readership than i expected. kudos, gen x. unless we are lying, which we are so good at.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:24 PM on October 25, 2011


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