I was born in 1969 and I have feelings about generations. They include: “What motivates millions of people to watch ‘The Notebook’ so many times and then complain about doing so?” (Punching Young); “Why are we having a conversation about whether it’s okay to take out your phone during a movie in the theater, because there’s only one answer to that question, and it’s no way?” (Punching the still young). and, poking older, “Why is Eric Clapton on tour and Sinead O’Connor and Kurt Cobain dead?” As film critic AS Hamrah told me.
These are just sentiments and serve nothing more than personal entertainment. But my general assessment of generational discourse as a way of interpreting the world is as useful as astrology (I think) has recently come under a huge crisis – perhaps the biggest in the history of generational discourse. , The most important problem – which is that people are treating me badly.
Check out these recent tweets – I mean “Post on X”, formerly known as Twitter, run by a Gen X-er with whom I have no desire to associate myself, generationally. or otherwise:
,Gen X did very well in their high-income jobs with Excel skills and 30-year fixed-interest mortgages. That is why they become the worst leaders, with zero sympathy for the people who come after them.
I texted my millennial friend Sarah Hagi and asked her what she thought about Baby Boomers and Gen X.
Sarah, who is 32, wrote in response, “Boomers know they’re lame but Gen X are lame and think they’re cool.”
It wasn’t the most encouraging text message I’ve ever received, and I knew enough to file it as a negative response. Besides, my precedent for this was angry boomers, like Bill Maher roasting the so-called Pieces of iceOr Newsweek column on how boomers are really amazing. But I had absolutely no desire to make fun of younger people or defend older people, even though I knew I had thin skin, and I was surprised rather than upset.
I was framed, but I “didn’t feel framed”, in the same way that David Lee Roth – a boomer, but also a Gen X icon – “didn’t feel slow” in the Van Halen hit “Hot for Teacher”.
I said, “Well, people think I’m cool and I’m not cool. Oh well.”
I called up some friends who are in their 50s and asked them if they knew people hate Gen X now and how they felt about it.
My friend John Gilman said, “No one hates me more than I hate myself.” He had a specific response. “Good luck making me feel bad about something I’m addicted to.”
I too had a good practice of insulting myself. That’s why these people hated me. They could fall in line, but I was going to be number 1 in that line forever.
Mr. Hamrah (who admitted he was born shortly before me), who wrote a book complaining that streaming ruined film, would also be a good person to talk about.
But just before I was going to call her, she texted me and told me that Sinead O’Connor had died.
The news seemed impossible to digest. I shouted loudly and called him a few minutes late, explaining the reason. We both expressed our feeling that while his death was deeply hurtful in itself, it was also a terrifying sign of the increasingly cruel times in which we live.
We laughed hard at the tweets about Gen X and their high-paying jobs. I told them that I had been a freelance writer most of my working life and now make less than half of what I used to make when I was 30. He cited similarly shocking statistics regarding his income as a freelance writer.
I asked him if he noticed that Gen X (defined by Pew Research As people born between 1965 and 1980) on Twitter (I mean X) were starting to replace Boomers (1946 to 1964) as the punching bags of Millennials (1981 to 1996) and Gen Z (1997 to 2012) (I mean X), and in articles like 15 Toxic Gen X Trends That Should Have Ended, Like, Tomorrow and reddit threadgen x is the worst generation, I theorized that it would be hard for these younger generations to insult Gen X, because Gen X already hates us.
Like any good critic, Mr. Hamrah wasted no time in debunking my theories and replacing them with his own.
One, he didn’t think self-loathing was the best way for Gen X to describe his experience. “It’s like self-deprecation or low self-esteem,” he said.
But the more important fact: “People are mixing up Gen X and Boomers. It is absolutely sad for us to associate with them. These people don’t even know what they are talking about. I mean, I saw someone the other day calling Marilyn Manson and Kurt Cobain boomers.”
We laughed a lot about this. (Mr. Hamrah wasn’t really crying, but I hope he doesn’t mind me saying it.)
I went back to my friend John and told him that a very good film critic has said that he doesn’t think Gen X really hates herself. John said, “Tell that man I’m happy for him, but I really hate myself.”
Then I called Dezeray Baglayos, 45, who works in rural community development and water advocacy in California’s Central Valley. I wanted to explain to her how this growing Gen X hatred was making its way into her world.
“I see young people saying, ‘Gen X didn’t do anything,'” she said, “but I think our educational system, politics, and most of the media work hard to keep young people ignorant of this reality. Pretend we were on the streets.” Pushing for Food Sovereignty, Against Neoliberal Privatization, For WTO Riots, After the Second Iraq War.”
I said that one of the criticisms I saw about Gen X was about us being apathetic, or cynical, and that brought it up a bit. “I think a lot of millennials believed the Obama years’ talk of hope and change. But I think Gen X — not all of them, but a lot of them — we could see where all this stuff was going fast.” Was going
To lighten the mood, I told her about the people online who called Marilyn Manson a boomer. “It’s really ridiculous,” he said.
This was all a big misunderstanding. No wonder I didn’t feel overly angry or defensive.
I told Aaron Thorpe, 32, host of the leftist podcast “The Trillbillies,” what my friend Sarah told me about Gen X and Boomers being the same, except that Gen X actually thought they were cool. Were. He laughed.
“That’s a very nice way of saying it,” he said. “Young millennials and Gen Z saw that social programs and the ability to retire with any security and affordability of housing had basically evaporated for people like them, and became very interested in the differences between different groups of older people. Wasn’t.” He added: “Rightly or wrongly, they have a grudge against anybody who is big.”
He said that when he fell into depressing thoughts about generational differences, he tried to remind himself that this probably isn’t the most useful way to explain how the world works. We agreed that it’s tempting to believe that older people ruined things and that younger people would miraculously fix them.
“But it obscures the fact that capitalism puts money and power in the hands of a small number of people,” he said, “and how, over time, this group of people becomes smaller and more powerful.”
Another perspective I sought was why being called a Gen X loser didn’t sting as much as it seemed to. I wanted to understand the psychoanalytic side of things, so I contacted instructor Patrick Blanchfield of the Brooklyn Institute and his wife, Abby Kluchin. They are both in their 40s and host “Ordinary Unhappiness,” a podcast about psychoanalysis.
Ms. Kluchin, who teaches at Ursinus College, presented the idea that generations (or at least our somewhat accurate, sometimes accurate stereotypes about them) have superegos. You may have heard this term before, but everyone, including me, could use a refresher.
“The superego is the message a person receives from authority figures, which they believe to be coming from inside their own mind,” the hosts explained, starting one thought, another finishing it, because psychoanalysis And couples investing in podcasting aren’t used to it. to do. “You could say the boomer generation’s superego is ‘I can do no wrong,’ and Gen X’s superego is ‘I can do nothing right.'”
It seemed true. I thought my work is done here, and now it is time to read the horoscope of my rising sun sign along with my sun sign.