Where is Generation X - Are They Forgotten?
Generation in the Middle
Rather than being bored within Generation X nostalgia, some pundits report that Generation X is actually The Forgotten Generation.
Sandwiched between the Baby Boomers [1945 - 1964] and the Millennials [circa 1980 - 2000], Generation X (roughly 1965 - 1979) is more like the now-mythical forgotten middle child. Birth order theory was invalidated long ago, but the middle child syndrome advocates have not relaxed their grip on it.
America has 80 million Boomers and 78+ million Millennials, but only 46 million Gen X-ers.
A Generation X-er's Salute to 1990s Nostalgia
Boomers may see X people as "kids", while Millennials might view them as "past it." Thus, both of the larger groups may indeed be tired of Generation X nostalgia, while Gen X is still fighting for a place and recognition in American Society.
Overall, more individuals in America are likely to be tired of the Baby Boomers than of Generation X. Generation X has been plagued by economic recessions at least twice and by other events that have been detrimental to them as as generation.
While this has been occurring, other generations have not focused highly on them because of this and because of the smaller size of Gen X as a group -- Other generations may not pay enough attention to X-ers in order to tire of them and Generation X may largely be tired of everything, in light of the profuse writing extant that points to a pervasive cynicism among X-ers.
At the same time, Generation X has been drawn to nostalgia-themed TV shows (That 70's Show) and VH1 and later MTV for music of the past. Other generations may be, in fact, tired of this nostalgia enjoyed by Generation X (and other individuals), but they can choose not to view it. In many of the X-er's opinions, Boomers, and to a greater extent, the Millennials, are largely hogging the rest of the media with their shows.
The Boomers seem to feel that the Millennials are hogging the market so they (Boomers) have "nothing to watch", except Boston Legal (it was stated on that show, in fact), which has concluded production.
Perhaps the Boomers and X-er's together are more tired of the Millennials than the Millennials are of anybody else.
Tired of Boomer & Generation Y Nostalgia
Many people of Generation X seem to be tired of the Boomers hogging society. They are really tired of hearing about Haight-Ashbury, the Summer of Love, the Beatles, and all the rest of it. I can understand this sentiment, because I am tired of some parts of it myself.
Author Jeff Gordinier declares that he is tired of having these things, as well as Facebook, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and other modern contrivances shoved down his throat.
His latest book is called X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking. Though written tongue-in-cheek, it is provocative.
After the birth of his first child, Gordinier wrote the essay (included in his book) titled Has Generation X Already Peaked? In it, he described how the Boomers and the Millennials were hogging all of society's attention. He was tired of hearing about how the first Boomers were turning 60, then about how they were collecting Social Security but still vibrant and active. At the same time, he felt tortured by daily doses of media coverage for Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and other young celebrities. He felt that Gen-X-ers were receiving no recognition.
A second author, Douglas Rushkoff, wrote the book GenX Reader,describing how Generation X inherited a recession post-1988, the dot-com collapse, and AIDS, had difficulties in obtaining jobs, and rejected adult Boomer/Yuppie philosophies about accumulating wealth.
Generation Y (the Millennials), he and Gordinier both feel, then became completely "stuff" happy - materialistic and greedy celebrity chasers. He would rather hear something about The Greatest Generation, the Boomers' parents -- And this makes sense, since children and their grandparents sometimes have better rapport than children and their parents. Gen X may wish to interact more in-depth with The Greatest Generation before the last of that group expires.
Other writers feel, however, that Generation X was trained in school to analyze Madison Avenue and commercial advertising and not be taken in by it. Some submit that X-ers are rather left out of the limelight because they won't play the game that the Y folks enjoy - stuff and money. At the same time, they hold up what they see as Gen X high-level accomplishments: Google, MySpace, YouTube, and Amazon.com, and the innovative films of Quentin Tarantino.
Barack Obama was born near the end of the Baby Boom Generation and is seen perhaps as more related to Generation X. Journalist Thomas L. Friedman has written that Generation X will inherit the results of the Obama Presidency with its focus on nationalized healthcare and building a green infrastructure to support sustainability industries and thereby spur new economic growth to replace that developed by Big Oil and related entities. He writes about the Bailout of American banks and other industries in the column The Real Generation X at the New York Times.
Other writers feel that Obama is part of what is known as Generation Jones, born between - or overlapping a section of - the Boomers and X-ers, from roughly 1954 - 1965. In fact, many media analysts have referred to the President Elect as a member of Generation Jones. No matter the reason they do so, using this designation shows that Obama is different from the Boomers as a whole and from the Baby Boom Presidents that came before him. The designation provides hope for positive changes in America.
All this aside, Generation X may be more tired of the Boomer and Millennial cultures and histories than anyone is of the X-er culture.
Down the Generations
Whose nostalgia bores you to distraction?
Karen McCullough Humor -- Gen X in the Workplace
Generation X, by Douglas Coupland
Author Douglas Coupland used the term "Generation X" when he wrote a book called Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, published by New York: St Martin's Griffin; 1991.
Some of the author's definitions encapsulate beliefs prevalent among a segment of America's Generation X and are provided below.
If you're an X-er and disagree or have other terms to add, please add them to the comments at the end of the document.
- Historical Overdosing: Addiction to the media, while living in an era when nothing seems to happen. (I think many generations suffer form this one!)
- 101-ism: Picking apart in minute detail, all aspects of life using half-understood pop psychology. This refers to looking at everything as a pseudo college course, for example: Dating 101, George W. Bush 101, or Rascism 101. (I hate all this.)
- Air Family: A pretense of a family-type community among office coworkers. (I've experienced this one firsthand -- coworkers who called themselves a "family" were usually abusive to one another!)
- Celebrity Schadenfreude: Thrills received from talking about celebrity deaths.
- Legislated Nostalgia: Forcing a group of people to have memories they did not live. Example: Boomers forcing their history on Generation X, who are tired of hearing about it. The Boomers complained about their own parents every time they heard the words, "When I was your age..."
- McJob: A survival job with low pay, no status, no future, and very often, insulting superiors and customers. (Sounds like Hell, does it not?)
- Cult of Aloneness: Those that feel a need for autonomy and self reliance, sometimes to the point of exclusion of long-term relationships.
© 2008 Patty Inglish MS