• Introducing Image Options for ResetEra 2.0! Check the left side navigation bar to show or hide images, avatars, covers, and embedded media. More details at the link.
  • Community Spotlight sign-ups are open once again for both Gaming and EtcetEra Hangout threads! If you want to shine a spotlight on your community, please register now.

New York Times Publishes Homage to The Coolest Generation

Oct 25, 2017
1,587
SoCal
#1
The NYT published a series of articles about Gen X, the Jan Brady of generations, today:

Like many things considered “cool,” Gen X is pretty exclusive. You had to be born between 1965 and 1980 to get in to this gloomy, goofy club of forgotten middle children, and only about 65 million of us were. (Both boomers, at 75 million, and millennials, at 83 million, far outnumber us.)
The first article, which I kind of feel is full of shit, but I get where it's coming from, especially this bit:

We were never slackers
There it is, the Big Bang, the Generation X cliché from which all others were born. But where did “slacker” come from? The answer, in one sense, is obvious: from the 1991 film of the same name by Richard Linklater (also a boomer).

We preferred “Dazed and Confused,” Mr. Linklater’s celluloid Slurpee from 1993, because that was about high school students in 1976 — yes, boomers! — and for years we bought the lie that older people’s culture mattered more than our own, just because there were more of them. Rootless cosmopolitans, we were told to look to the past for significance, so we did — to the Sinatra Rat Pack (“Swingers,” 1996), to Kennedy-era Madison Avenue (“Mad Men,” created by Matthew Weiner, b. 1965), to the male blow dryer era (“That ’70s Show”).
The bolded & underlined bit is one of the best observations in the article, because it's so true. We grew up in the shadow of the Boomers and their culture was basically our culture. Their music and nostalgia was so pervasive that even '80s TV shows featuring teenagers always had them dancing or having a big romantic moment set to a '60s song. The Wonder Years was Boomer nostalgia fuel. Oldies stations were prominent. Everything referenced Viet Nam, and Woodstock was apparently the most earth-shaking cultural event since the Sermon on the Mount. Boomer domination was so complete growing up that I'm nostalgic for another generation's nostalgia.

There's a great article about the recently-departed John Singleton, as well as snippets of prominent pop culture and events from back in the day:

We all remember sitting in front of a TV wheeled in by the AV department in 1986, the whole class looking on in rapt anticipation for the 73 seconds of flight before the Challenger exploded. Thanks to Ben Lerner’s novel “10:04,” we now know most of us couldn’t possibly have watched it live. The broadcast network footage was only shown after the fact. (CNN, then in comparatively few households and schools, was the sole network to carry the launch and explosion live.)
But almost any Gen X-er can still describe the shape of that cloud from memory because it was replayed so many times: the large white almost cumulonimbus center mass, with the two streamers from the solid rocket boosters flaming off into the sky, the seven passengers no more.
Millennials, who came of age with the Sept. 11 attacks and the Great Recession, are anxious, which may explain the current CBD craze. Generation X, who came of age eating microwaved burritos and watching “Gomer Pyle” reruns while Mom and Dad were at the office, were depressed.

Enter Eli Lilly’s magical green-and-white pill, which was introduced in 1986, but became almost as defining to the gloomy 1990s as that other pill — “the pill” — was to the sexually liberated 1960s. Elizabeth Wurtzel and loads of other 20-somethings became citizens of Prozac Nation.
And finally, because no one's ever written about it before, the music of the early-90s. This guy pretty much sums up why it appealed to me, especially in the wake of hair bands:

More than its fresh sound — a fusing of metal with punk — more than articulating a generation’s disillusionment with capitalist culture, the appeal of grunge, for me, was this: It reflected and ennobled the blue-collar world I knew...

The male rock stars who immediately preceded these grunge heroes were glamorous creatures in zebra-print spandex, like Bret Michaels, the Poison frontman. Mr. Michaels was actually another blue-collar boy (from central Pennsylvania, no less), but he had ditched the heartland for West Hollywood, and now he had his hair professionally peroxided.

The ugly cardigans and ratty Army jackets of grunge were a costume, too, of course, but it could be gotten cheaply at a thrift store. The dour face came even cheaper — free with adolescence.

It was strange indeed to ultimately see upper-income suburban kids and runway models dressed like lumberjacks and truckers, as seen on the latter in the Perry Ellis Spring 1993 collection and the December ’92 pages of Vogue. It was the first (and only) time my relatives and neighbors were objects of class envy.
It's an article that dials-into why that particular brand of music and the style associated with it appealed so much to people who grew up working class: everyone looked like people we knew:
As someone growing up in a community hollowed out by dying industry, I’d been in those apartments; I knew those guys. And seeing recognizable versions of them on MTV made my friends and me feel proud.

Here were people I could relate to, and I wonder if some of that same sense of your own life suddenly writ large suffused kids in south Los Angeles when, also in 1992, Dr. Dre’s album “The Chronic” gave shout-outs to South Central and the Slauson Swap Meet. Those songs also emerged from an economically depressed area and put it on the cultural map.
Oh yeah, and there's a quiz for the lamestains born after us to determine whether they're gnarly like us, or bogus Millennials. Because everyone likes an online quiz that doesn't reveal anything about yourself or the world around you, but it's fun, so whatever.
 
Oct 16, 2018
309
Maine
#13
Having grown up in the hedonistic 80s and then coming of age in the emptiness of the 90s - only to see things fall to shit in the 00's - GenX might be one of the more cynical generations in history. Hopefully for more of us, it's less of the "nothing matters, who cares?" cynicism and more of the "everything we was taught to believe in was a lie" realization. What the Y's and Z's call being woke.

Religion isn't your salvation, racism isn't over, money can't buy you happiness, getting by on merit is bullshit. I hope we can continue tearing things down so millenials and post-millenials can build something better.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,714
Toronto
#14
The bolded & underlined bit is one of the best observations in the article, because it's so true. We grew up in the shadow of the Boomers and their culture was basically our culture. Their music and nostalgia was so pervasive that even '80s TV shows featuring teenagers always had them dancing or having a big romantic moment set to a '60s song. The Wonder Years was Boomer nostalgia fuel. Oldies stations were prominent. Everything referenced Viet Nam, and Woodstock was apparently the most earth-shaking cultural event since the Sermon on the Mount. Boomer domination was so complete growing up that I'm nostalgic for another generation's nostalgia.
However. Gen-X built the web, and we stamped our childhood all over it. That's why people born two decades after us obsess over '80s pop culture.
 
Oct 16, 2018
309
Maine
#16
Gen Xers failed to do anything about Boomers so now we eat ass and tidepods while we wait for global warming to kill us and the dolphins. Thanks, "cool" guys.
I can appreciate dark humor when I see it.
I will say, in all seriousness, that the boomer's creed of "60 is the new 40" was a symptom of a narcissism fed by an out of control capitalistic market (look younger, feel healthier, earn more) that ensured that their's was a generation which would never step aside quietly. Some of it is selfishness, while some of it is tragic - largely because they've corroded a system built by their parents into something where they feel they can never retire. Regardless, boomers are going to hold on to power until their cold, rictus-stiffened hands have to be cut away.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,405
#17
As an early Millennial I fuck hard with Gen X. You guys were all the older brothers and sisters I had growing up that got me into good music and movies at an early age.

My favourite generation.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,405
#21
Religion isn't your salvation, racism isn't over, money can't buy you happiness, getting by on merit is bullshit. I hope we can continue tearing things down so millenials and post-millenials can build something better.
My generation ain't doing shit, we're so so so fucked and broke and in debt and hopeless... Gen Z is the only hope.
 
Oct 30, 2017
2,566
#30
I feel very fortunate to see the evolution of video games from my first system the Coleco Vision to the current gen. It's just very cool to experience and be apart of that culture.
 
Oct 27, 2017
192
United States
#36
We grew up in the shadow of the Boomers and their culture was basically our culture. Their music and nostalgia was so pervasive that even '80s TV shows featuring teenagers always had them dancing or having a big romantic moment set to a '60s song. The Wonder Years was Boomer nostalgia fuel. Oldies stations were prominent. Everything referenced Viet Nam, and Woodstock was apparently the most earth-shaking cultural event since the Sermon on the Mount. Boomer domination was so complete growing up that I'm nostalgic for another generation's nostalgia.
I had a discussion about this with my parents not too long ago, too. A lot of the television I grew up on in the 80s was syndication from the 1950s and 60s. Batman, The Addams Family, Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, Leave it to Beaver, The Jetsons, The Flintstones. Even the main attraction of Saturday morning cartoons was Looney Tunes syndication from the 1950s and 60s. Cable television didn't really become wide-spread until the mid-80s, so we didn't have access to more than about a dozen television channels until then.
 
OP
OP
Rad Bandolar
Oct 25, 2017
1,587
SoCal
#41
I had a discussion about this with my parents not too long ago, too. A lot of the television I grew up on in the 80s was syndication from the 1950s and 60s. Batman, The Addams Family, Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, Leave it to Beaver, The Jetsons, The Flintstones. Even the main attraction of Saturday morning cartoons was Looney Tunes syndication from the 1950s and 60s. Cable television didn't really become wide-spread until the mid-80s, so we didn't have access to more than about a dozen television channels until then.
Yeah, that was pretty much my TV life as a kid (along with Lost in Space in the mornings). It's funny how nearly everything I watched in my youth (especially before the mid-'80s) were all re-runs from the '60s/early '70s. For the most part, they at least taught good values -- Mike Brady and Bill Bixby were basically my TV dads -- and Sesame Street was always big on showing empathy and acceptance. There was even a video that played on the afternoon TV block when I was a kid featuring children of all colors, shapes, and types set to "Everyday People." I've never been able to find that video, but the line "different strokes for different folks" lodged itself so deep in my head, that whenever I saw something outside my experience, it's always the first line that pops in my head. The Boomer stuff wasn't all bad.

When I was in middle school, someone passed around a petition to keep The Monkees on one of the local channels after someone heard they were dropping it. I mean, people were into it and thought it was cool, and I think that echoes what I originally quoted from the article -- we basically lived in a time where it was assumed that the Boomers had figured it all out and achieved the pinnacle of cultural excellence, so it's what we were exposed to and what everyone celebrated.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,944
California
#45
Great articles! So true too.

Late X'er here.. but I loved it. The 80s were so much fun, and being just the right age in the 90s, and then a young adult in the 00s.

Oh to be 20 at the advent of online dating! It made everything so easy! Not super weird like it is now.

Gen X people are just not getting into positions of power, so maybe we'll see some changes?