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Joshua Glenn's generational periodization scheme
May 27, 2010 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Joshua Glenn and anti-middlebrow blog Hilobrow present their generational periodization scheme: from the Prometheans born in 1844-53 and the technologically transformative Plutonians born in 1854-63, to the hiply earnest Revivalists (those who were teenagers in the 90s) and the Throwbacks (my generation, and an article that horrifyingly includes pictures of tweens and the Mickey Mouse Club).

Here is the complete list! Birth years on the left, followed by the name given to the generation by middlebrow sources (like the frequently discussed Strauss and Howe) in brackets.

1844-53: [Progressive Generation] Prometheans
1854-63: [Progressive, Missionary Generations] Plutonians
1864-73: [Missionary Generation] Anarcho-Symbolists
1874-83: [Missionary Generation] Psychonauts
1884-93: [Lost Generation] Modernists
1894-1903: [Lost, Greatest/GI Generations] Hardboileds
1904-13: [Greatest/GI Generation] Partisans
1914-23: [Greatest/GI Generation] New Gods
1924-33: [Silent Generation] Postmodernists
1934-43: [Silent Generation] Anti-Anti-Utopians
1944-53: Boomers (boooo! hiss!)
1954-63: [Boomers, Late Boomers, Post-Boomers, Generation Jones] OGXers
1964-73: [Generation X, Thirteenth Generation] Reconstructionists
1974-83: [Generations X, Y] Revivalists
1984-93: [Millennial Generation] Throwbacks
1994-2003: [Millennial Generation] TBA
posted by The Devil Tesla (67 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why am I always a cusper? CATEGORIZE AND DEFINE ME, WORLD
posted by shakespeherian at 6:32 AM on May 27, 2010


Throwbacks vs Keepers?
posted by pracowity at 6:33 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


How can a blog that claims to be anti-middlebrow define generations based almost exclusively on pop culture, which, like all mass media, is by definition middlebrow?

And what the hell is this:
If you were born between 1984 and 1993, you’re a Throwback. By most accounts, you’re trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. In other words, you’re Wally Cleaver. As a Reconstructionist, I’m hardwired to be both awe-stricken by and scornful of what they tell me is your edgeless perfection — in fact, isn’t that the premise of entertainments like School of Rock and Arrested Development?
Wow, someone born during that time frame is "friendly" and "courteous"? What else does my horoscope say?

And let me guess, in ten years the way they describe any given cohort will be exactly the same as the way they now describe the cohort ten years old. In other words, people change as they get older, and most people change in similar ways.

And John Barth and Notorious B.I.G are "Hi-Lo heros"? Wait, let me guess, Biggie is the "Lo" hero, right? Yeah, equating this author with that rapper isn't middlebrow at all...
posted by Pastabagel at 6:35 AM on May 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh thank goodness. I was tired of being told I was Gen-X because I was born in 1979. Time to make some Nintendo-based art, now.
posted by Theta States at 6:35 AM on May 27, 2010


"cohort ten years older" Grrr.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:36 AM on May 27, 2010


Welp, there goes my plan to base a system of history on artifacts found in poor analog-to-digital conversion.
posted by DU at 6:37 AM on May 27, 2010


I was going to get all grumpy about the categorisation but, well, whatever.

Have you guessed my birthday yet?
posted by pompomtom at 6:38 AM on May 27, 2010


Wow. I clicked on my cohort ("revivalists", which makes me think of tents and preachers), and whomever put that together did a shit-load of typing. The funny part was that they couldn't be bothered to caption the photos, despite typing hundreds of names in all of the paragraphs.
posted by Forktine at 6:40 AM on May 27, 2010


Funny how he calls us Throwbacks a bunch of world-changers but is only able to identify pop stars and a couple web entrepreneurs within our ranks. I guess the real world-changers are still writing their dissertations.
posted by The White Hat at 6:40 AM on May 27, 2010


Oops, reading fail on my part. Evidently I'm a "reconstructionist" instead, whatever that means.

And the photos? The first entry in the following paragraph seems to most often be the photo caption.
posted by Forktine at 6:42 AM on May 27, 2010


Wow, someone born during that time frame is "friendly" and "courteous"? What else does my horoscope say?

That was a joke, those are the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law. I was a scout so I got it right away, but yea, that was a little esoteric.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:48 AM on May 27, 2010


Can I disown my generation? Or at least ask for a recount?
posted by strixus at 6:50 AM on May 27, 2010


The funny part was that they couldn't be bothered to caption the photos, despite typing hundreds of names in all of the paragraphs.

I kind of like it when sites do that. I can usually tell what a picture is from the words around it, and these pictures were chosen with something resembling care which is far more important.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 6:50 AM on May 27, 2010


The bent towards earnestness that the author ascribes to people born around 1979 certainly fits more with how I see myself and my peers than either the stereotypical images of Generations X or Y so I'm happy to finally have a label for myself.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:52 AM on May 27, 2010


Thirteenth generation here. Spooky!

To be a Gen Xer, then, is to be a resentful younger sibling of the Boomer Generation. Those of us born from 1964-73 don’t fit the bill.

Can I still be resentful? Please?
posted by JoanArkham at 6:53 AM on May 27, 2010


Normally, I sneer at these. But as someone who tires of being called a 'boomer', I enjoy seeing him correct the definitions here.

Also, anyone who illustrates my generation with a photo of The Selecter is immediately going to win me over.
posted by gimonca at 6:56 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blank Generation represent!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:00 AM on May 27, 2010


The coolest American and English rock acts of the 1974-83 cohort are, respectively, garage-rock revivalists (The Strokes, The White Stripes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys) and post-punk revivalists (Bloc Party, The Libertines, Editors, Interpol, Kaiser Chiefs, Babyshambles, Franz Ferdinand).

Man, you've been missing so much. Stop reading NME!
posted by elmono at 7:22 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Revivalists are precocious and earnest, entrepreneurial, and dedicated to renewing bygone cultural forms and franchises.

Apologies if I'm missing something here, but is there any particular rationale that separates these generational definitions from, say, an arbitrary sequence of words arranged into a sentence?
posted by bicyclefish at 7:26 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ah, long lists of celebrities born in my supposed demographic cohort! What joy!
posted by grobstein at 7:29 AM on May 27, 2010


How come the 19th and Pre-Boomers get much cooler names? Fuck Revivalist, I want to be a Promethean.
posted by khaibit at 7:34 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


This list of celebrities reads like the kind of guy that only ever listened to 2 college-station radio shows while growing up.
posted by Theta States at 7:34 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find i extremely depressing to see a list of over- and underachievers who are my age. For all its attempts to be hip, this comes off like a naggy mother trying to get you off the couch.

Also, rhetorical question: if you're a producer and critic of culture, and you find yourself split between aspirations toward the highbrow and aspirations toward the lowbrow, what will you end up producing?
posted by condour75 at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


you’re trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent

Way to rip off the Boy Scouts.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:48 AM on May 27, 2010


This is as accurate as a horoscope but twice as fun. People define themselves however they see fit but sometimes it's helpful to have help. Great post!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:48 AM on May 27, 2010


I'm part of a generation whose "predilection for brooding over fragments" can be discovered "in the middlebrow paranoid style of J.J. Abrams and Dan Brown"?

And people wonder why I hate everybody.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:50 AM on May 27, 2010


Huh - you know I was saying that the current -ugh I hate this word-"millennial" would be a punch of wash-behind-your-ears do gooders years ago.

Generation Boy Scout. Big joiners.
posted by The Whelk at 8:01 AM on May 27, 2010


That's such a Reconstructionist thing to say.
posted by minifigs at 8:02 AM on May 27, 2010


Middlebrow is the new lowbrow. It's easy to love PBR; much more discernment required for Oprah.
posted by yarly at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


You pretentious low-brow-lovers disgust me. I appreciate things that are even more crappy, a level I call "unibrow".
posted by DU at 8:10 AM on May 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


Generational theory based on personality traits is mostly hucksterism with a kernel of truth.

One can make objective and meaningful observations about generations based on Demography statistics, namely, live birth rates. Birth rates fluctuate over time, which creates waves and troughs of people within certain age groups. Thus for example during the 1980's, the number of young people in America began to decline compared to the 1970s and 60s. This caused changes in marketplaces. Motorcycle sales dropped and dealerships went out of business. Pop-culture changed as the demographics of demand changed.

So, Generation X is smaller than its predecessor the Boomers - they get labeled slackers because there are fewer of them - they can't produce the number of talented people to fill the shoes of its older previous generation, can't pay taxes at the same rate - because there are fewer of them. Slackers!

These fluctuations in demographic size explain a tremendous amount about modern life because capitalism is the primary force, and capitalism is made up of marketplaces, and marketplaces are driven by supply/demand, and supply/demand is driven by demography. It all comes back to demography and live birth rates. And immigration.
posted by stbalbach at 8:14 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


From OGXers ... "and in their 20s and 30s during the Eighties (1984-93; not to be confused with the ’80s)"

If you're going to redefine a decade into an eleven year swath (and I'm all in favour) get it right. The 80s started in November 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan (followed quickly by the murder of John Lennon) and didn't wind up until the dust settled in the first Gulf War (1991), a decade "signified" by its absolute lack of sunshine. It rained the whole time, or it was just night. All appearances to the contrary can be attributed to the popularity of cocaine and the weird glow off Tom Cruise's teeth.
posted by philip-random at 8:16 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


soooo what happens if you're like say me, and was too young to ride the latest bubble (INTERNET GONNA MAKE EVERYONE RICH!) but kept hearing about it over and over and all that "End Of History" crap and for whom the last recession occurred when I was a toddler and dutifully (Boy Scouts! See?) did all the right jumps and hoops - only to hit the workforce during the worst economic crisis since the 30s with the meritocracy myth exploding all over the place?


The biggest result I see is every 25 year old on AskMe is having a panic attack RIGHT NOW - and my friends are a little sick of their parents asking why they don't have all the wonderful socio-economic achievements they had at their age.
posted by The Whelk at 8:20 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 1964-73 cohort shares, that is to say, a marked tendency to brood over taken-for-granted cultural, political, social, and philosophical forms and norms, not rejecting but self-consciously remixing these fragments into innovative new patterns.

Okay, I can live with that. But I agree with khaibit: I want a cooler name than "reconstructionists". Mash-Ups, maybe?

But my oldest son is neither a Throwback or a reflection of the original Baby Boomers. Way off base there. He's edgy, insightful, awkward, an advantaged youth yet also a chronic worrier. I liked this less glib yet more insightful comment, because it better seems to capture the undercurrent of his generation:

On one level, this group seems, as Sickmon says, awkward and dweeby. But beneath that is a lurking sadness. Why? I’m not completely sure, but I think it has something to do with the fact that there is so little lag time between ideas and the publicity of ideas, made possible by the usual social/networked media apparati (Facebook, etc.). The radically speedy flux of information and identity shifting has given pause to many of them.

They search for the pause button.

posted by misha at 8:23 AM on May 27, 2010


I love how he labels Strauss and Howe's generational constructs as "fiction" and "bogus" (which they are) to separate them from his apparently non-fictional, non-bogus generational groupings based on his very scientific methodology.
posted by plastic_animals at 8:27 AM on May 27, 2010


The biggest result I see is every 25 year old on AskMe is having a panic attack RIGHT NOW - and my friends are a little sick of their parents asking why they don't have all the wonderful socio-economic achievements they had at their age.

Graduating University in the early 80s wasn't particularly easy either with a major recession just kicking into gear (the worst economic stumble since WW2), and all the early baby boomers had already filled much all available entry and low level positions in pretty much every field ... and so on. Every generation finds a way to get kicked in the teeth by its predecessors. At least mine (the Americans anyway) didn't have to worry about going to Vietnam, or Woodstock for that matter. Not that we didn't make up for it by inventing punk rock and, if we were up to it, diving into mosh pits when the LSD hit (as opposed to putting flowers in our hair).
posted by philip-random at 8:29 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just dropped in to take a huge crap on the whole incredibly stupid "anti-middlebrow" concept because:

1. "Middlebrow" was certainly my gateway leading from (using those stupid categories) "lowbrow" pop culture to more "highbrow" stuff. I doubt I'd be listening to Shostakovitch now if my parents hadn't listened to Leroy Anderson when I was growing up.

2. One man's highbrow is another man's middlebrow, all of Joshua Glenn's favorite bands and authors are sucky middlebrow crap, etc.

No, I'm not going to bother to read the stupid pop-sociological theories (surely, if anything is middlebrow it's amateur, armchair sociology!) of some idiot who proclaims himself "anti-middlebrow."
posted by straight at 8:40 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Middlebrow is the new lowbrow. It's easy to love PBR

Mmmm... Middlebräu. The Beer of Danish Burghers. Order it on draft at the Cheesecake Factory, on your way to the new Twyla Tharp musical based on the life of Don Henley.
posted by condour75 at 8:43 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dividing people up into generations and pretending that five year fads somehow define a ten to twenty year grouping of people based on their birthdates is basically just middlebrow astrology.

OH YES I WENT THERE
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:51 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pop Guilty, you are such a 7 sometimes.
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2010


Dividing people up into generations and pretending that five year fads somehow define a ten to twenty year grouping of people based on their birthdates is basically just middlebrow astrology.

Joshua Glenn thinks the same thing.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 8:57 AM on May 27, 2010


Does the fact that I want to reimplement teco in intercal with an apl interpreter mean anything? I'm only 32.
posted by oonh at 9:03 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


My generational breakdown (post WW2 only, North America specific).

1. Everything up to November 1963 (JFK's amazing exploding head, Dylan taking names, Beatlemania on the rise)

2. THE 60s, which ground to a halt sometime in 1972 (Watergate, last US ground troops out of Vietnam, Ziggy Stardust lands in America)

3. THE 70s, from Ziggy and Watergate to Reagan's election, Lennon's murder, first suggestions of a nasty virus called AIDS, with punk rock somewhere in the middle (a fracture in the space-time-continuum in the UK, more of a rumour of war on this side of the Atlantic).

4. THE 80s, an ugly fucking era built on ugly fucking lies culminating with an ugly (yet popular) fucking war in the Persian Gulf. There is no better final image for a movie about the 80s than those burning oil wells .......

5. THE 90s. Fun and games and a future so good, shades are required - until 911.

6. Still waiting for the next turning. Maybe Korea goes nuclear next week. Maybe Lady Gaga gets outed as Jesus Christ Junior. Maybe China buys Manhattan Island for $2.4 million bucks.

I'm cool with anticipation.
posted by philip-random at 9:11 AM on May 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, seems like people my age were totally ignored, not really Gen X and definitely not a millennial. Now I get to be something. Yay me.

Also, what's with starting all his decades on the year + 4? Seems rather arbitrary. I mean, I don't think 2002 had more in common with 1997 then with 2007. The last abortion of a decade clearly started on 9/11.
posted by delmoi at 9:11 AM on May 27, 2010


A shout out to all my fellow Psychonauts!!
posted by crunchland at 9:20 AM on May 27, 2010


Demographics are fascinating. I like to think that while the rest of America looked around in October, 1970 and said "there's no way we're bringing a kid into this world" my parents looked around and said "hey, we have the house to ourselves for a few hours"...
posted by JoanArkham at 9:23 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah yeah, still a Gen-X. What-EVERR.
posted by happyroach at 9:38 AM on May 27, 2010


This list of course focuses on what people think in their late teens and early 20's as being what defines their cohort nevermind that interests change as generations age. To illustrate and emphatically agree with stbalbach above; the baby boom both as parents and children was for a long time the sole center of mass that shaped politics and culture and still is to a lesser extent. It's an oversimplification of course but the kids became hippies and marched en masse because they didn't want to go to war. You didn't see so much passion against the Gulf Wars when they were safely ensconced as Yuppies in their forties and fifties with no draft to threaten their kids. There are many other examples especially wrt wages. housing affordability and recreational drugs.
Here are the shows that debuted on the then 3 commercial channels in 1964, the year I was born.
Shindig!
Bewitched
The Addams Family
Jonny Quest
Flipper
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Daniel Boone
The Munsters
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Gilligan's Island
The Hollywood Palace
Jeopardy!
Another World
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Peyton Place
Compare the demographic (not content as times change of course) of the viewers that the above shows target with the demographic targeted by whatever has debuted on NBC ABC and CBS lately.

p.s. The baby boomers, of which I am a member (technically, not according to the linked blog), largely confuse self-interest with societal interest and should probably be beaten and sent to live in a tent down by the river. Fuckers.
posted by vapidave at 9:48 AM on May 27, 2010


Yes, but jessamyn is a Reconstructionist! She's listed in the Famous People Who Were Born When You Were section.
posted by catlet at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2010


And so is mathowie, but I didn't scroll down far enough.
posted by catlet at 9:54 AM on May 27, 2010


I was born in 1976, which means every time one of these comes out they switch me into a different generation (X? Y?). I'll be whichever one just doesn't care anymore.
posted by thivaia at 10:21 AM on May 27, 2010


Demographics are fascinating. I like to think that while the rest of America looked around in October, 1970 and said "there's no way we're bringing a kid into this world" my parents looked around and said "hey, we have the house to ourselves for a few hours"...

That's around the time my parents said, "Hey, let's try out this new contraceptive foam, honey!"
posted by emjaybee at 10:33 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whenever one of these things comes out, I'm always amazed at how much of it I apparently missed.
The bands are ones I don't know, the generational representatives people I've never heard of, and the big events of the decade things I barely registered.

But I guess that kind of thing is typical for my generation.
posted by madajb at 10:36 AM on May 27, 2010


You call it "Reconstructionist", I call it "Streetwalking Cheetah with a Heart Full of Napalm". Six of one, half-dozen of the other.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:53 AM on May 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is useful, relevant information. Now that I know my proper classification, my life can move forward. This is surely the "2. ????" to my "3. Profit!"
posted by Pants McCracky at 11:22 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe China buys Manhattan Island for $2.4 million bucks.

Don't be ridiculous. You can barely get a 2BR in Manhattan for that apparently paltry sum.
posted by elizardbits at 11:44 AM on May 27, 2010


This list of course focuses on what people think in their late teens and early 20's as being what defines their cohort nevermind that interests change as generations age.

The one thing I have noticed is that a lot of the people I've known and observed over the years who were young during the 60's, along with a lot of the nationally prominent political figures who were young during the 60's, don't seem to have noticed that the 60's ended fifty years ago. Right, left, center- there's so many people who seem to live in that Cold War frame and are unable to break free of it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:57 AM on May 27, 2010


It seems that cool females were scarce among my fellow (literally) OGX'ers. Of the 103 names listed, only 12 are women.
posted by memewit at 12:20 PM on May 27, 2010


I'm not entirely sure what meaningful conclusions can be drawn from it, but from personal experience people sort themselves into sociological groupings based on the prevailing culture amongst their peers, and especially their older siblings if any, when they reach adulthood.

My parents had their worldview defined by growing up and coming of age in a nation that offered seemingly unlimited opportunity based on her seemingly unlimited power and wealth. That myth came completely apart in the late '60s and early '70s. By the time I reached the age of reason, America wasn't what she used to be and seemed to get worse and worse every day. When I reached adulthood the abject cynicism of the entire American culture culminated in the abrupt and unforeseen end of the Cold War that had so defined everything that proceeded it in my life.

It occurs to me that many of the so-called Millennials have never heard the testing of air raid sirens. They have never witnessed the weekly ritual that sounded horns that if turned on in earnest would have indicated their probable imminent death. Give or take a few years, the people now entering their twenties never once in their lives worried about the Soviets crossing the Fulda Gap and the ensuing events unleashing a nuclear holocaust that would end civilization if not the world. Does the removal of the nuclear sword of Damocles from the minds of young children have anything to do with the attitudes and culture of those now in their early twenties? Certainly they worry about other things and with good reason. Does worry about environmental problems engender the same "Fuck it what's the point anyway" attitude that people of my age had or have the kids today handled it better than we did?
posted by ob1quixote at 12:29 PM on May 27, 2010


Does worry about environmental problems engender the same "Fuck it what's the point anyway" attitude that people of my age had

Yes, sadly, in way too many instances. Better lazy fatalism than actually rising up and doing anything. Same as it ever was, I guess.
posted by philip-random at 1:32 PM on May 27, 2010


Yes, Plutonians like Rimbaud, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, Arthur Edward Waite, Arthur Machen, Edmund Husserl, Theodor Reuss, Pierre Janet, Margaret Murray, Rudolf Steiner, Alfred North Whitehead, and Henri Bergson were fascinated with occultism, metaphysics, the systematic derangement of the senses, the élan vital, the cosmic perspective, the naked lunch at the end of the fork perceived only via the phenomenological epoché.

I like how he references Mathers and Waite, but somehow left out Crowley. Because of the three, clearly those are the two that most people knw.
posted by khaibit at 3:16 PM on May 27, 2010


So no middlebrows were born before 1930 or after 1957? In fact the only middlebrow from that year is Katie Couric and the only other OGXers to be middlebrow are closet Boomers. This guy's cultural agenda is based on stuff created by folks born 1930-1953. Now there might be something there about culture created in the 50s through the 80s except that "middlebrow" as a term was first used in 1925. I suppose this guy is mostly referencing Dwight MacDonald though, in 1960. In other words, he's fighting a battle that's a half century past.
But, hey! I used to know smart kids who would make lists about cool or not, in or out, hip or square. Some of them grew out of this stage. Some didn't.
posted by CCBC at 4:13 PM on May 27, 2010


I find this fascinating. This kind of armchair analysis goes back to at least the 1920s when Karl Mannheim wrote The Problem of Generations. Take almost any artistic or political movement, and if you start looking at the birth years of the people involved, you get clusters of people who born in a very short frame of time. For example, the four most seminal founders of minimalist music (La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass) were all born within less than 18 months of each other.

All this has inspired me to go rooting through my own biography for cultural touchstones ("premature biographication" being a hallmark of Reconstructionists like myself). Most of the touchstones seem quite random, a mix of the pop-cultural and world-historical.

1980: I remember voting for Reagan against Jimmy Carter in my elementary school's mock election, because even as a kid, I had this feeling I couldn't articulate that Jimmy Carter had screwed up, mostly about Iran and the hostages.

1983: The Day After airs on TV. I had nightmares about this TV-movie of the week, even though I never even watched it.

1984: By then, I voted for Mondale in the school mock election, because I was still spooked by nuclear war. I remember reading antinuclear books and Hal Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth. On TV, I would watch the 700 Club and that Orson Welles "documentary" about Nostradamus, because I was so convinced the world would end.

1986: the Challenger disaster. I know this is supposed to be a generational touchstone for me, but I was in 8th grade at the time, and all I remember were all the morbid jokes we used to tell about it (Q: "What was the last thing that went through Christa McAuliffe's mind?" A: "Her foot").

1988: Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. The main thing I remember about this coming out was seeing the lyrics on the inside of the cassette ("Farrakhan's a prophet...") and hearing my friend Ken say, "Jon, this ain't no happy rap."

1989: Berlin Wall falls. To be honest, I cannot tell you where I was when the Berlin Wall fell. I think I watched it on television. My memories of Dana Carvey-as-George Bush saying "Jam on, you freedom fighters!" are more indelible somehow. I also remember it used to be big then to wear a red star on your hat ironically. Wasn't Barq's root beer also selling used communist kitsch then too?

1989: Do the Right Thing comes out. Maybe not now, but I remember how subversive it was seeing this film when you lived in white-bread suburbia. Elders would warn you that something might happen at the theater, but couldn't bring themselves to say "riot" or "black people." It was like playing a game of racial charades.

Like I said, it's very random, but I feel like I'm probably one of the last generations to come of age when the Cold War was still going on. I totally envy those millennial whosamawhatsit generation who never had the cognitive burden of thinking about nuclear annihilation or World War III.
posted by jonp72 at 6:54 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a Revivalist, I thought this was a damn impressive piece of cultural analysis.
posted by bardic at 10:52 PM on May 27, 2010


I prefer astrology - there's more maths in it and it applies to people outside the United States.
posted by Grangousier at 11:12 PM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Like shakespeherian, I still manage to be on the cusp. Born in the middle of 1963: am I OGXer? Reconstructionist? I don't know! I identify with both! Oh help, who will define me?

Still, it's nice to finally be recognized as a Not-Boomer. I always thought Soul Asylum defined it pretty well: too young to be hippies, missed out on love, turned to a teen in the late 70s in the summer of the drugs. Yeah, there you have it: Repo Man and summers of drugs. God, it's been great.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:52 AM on May 28, 2010


Yeah, there you have it: Repo Man and summers of drugs.

Let's get sushi and not pay!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:02 AM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


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