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Generation X

Generation X consists of persons born from 1965 until 1981. As a phrase, without the current meaning, the term was coined as the title of a 1964 pulp novel[?], and was picked up as the name of a punk rock band featuring the young Billy Idol. It was later popularised by Douglas Coupland in his book Generation X: Tales From An Accelerated Culture, who took it from a sociological text by Paul Fussell[?]. William Strauss[?] and Neil Howe[?] in their book Generations called this generation the 13th Generation because the tag, like this generation, is a little Halloweenish, and it is the thirteenth to know the flag of the United States (counting back to the peers of Benjamin Franklin) and set its birth years at 1961 to 1981.

This generation's parents are the baby boomers and the Silent Generation. Generation X's typical grandparents are the G.I. Generation. Generation X's children include Generation Y or the Millenial Generation and the following generation that will be born approximately 2004-2025. Its typical grandchildren will be born in 2026-2047.

Generation X consists of far fewer people than the baby boom generation and has had correspondingly less impact on popular culture, but it came into its own during the late 1980s and early 1990s. A fashion for grunge music exempified by the band Nirvana expressed the frustrations of a generation forever doomed to live in the shadow of its elders. As is common in generational shifts, Gen-X thinking has significant overtones of cynicism against things held dear to the previous generation.

Gen-X celebrities (born 1961 to 1981) include:

Foreign-born peers of Generation X include Canadian chanteuses Shania Twain, Céline Dion Angélil, and Alanis Morissette; the late Diana, Princess of Wales; German tennis players Boris Becker and Steffi Graf; British son-of-a-Beatle Julian Lennon; Puerto Rican boxer Felix Trinidad and Chinese politician Wuer Kaixi.

Generation X's cultural endowments have included the following:

Some have suggested that Generation Xers are proud to not be from the baby boom generation and actively rebel against the idealism the baby boomers advocated in the 1960s. Some would also argue that it is not merely the idealism of the 1960s which Generation Xers are rejecting, but a deeper cynicism of the fact that such 'idealism', inevitably doomed in its gratuitous naïveté, so quickly gave way to an era unequivocally focused on commercial and industrial progress; a period which incubated many of the problems facing theirs, and coming, generations. They fantasize about how the 1960s and 1970s supposedly offered Boomers easy sex without consequence while resenting the lasting damage done by an era in which they now realize they were the babies adults were trying so much not to have.

Other people born in the described time period reject the labels as not particularly useful, as they see few unifying events and attitudes connecting them together, and point to social class, geography, and other factors having far more influence than chronology. The fuzzy boundaries of Generations X and Y and the lack of defining events give some credence to this argument; though perhaps, more obviously, such facts underwrite the very problem central to the definition of Generation X, and alluded to in the title itself - namely a crisis of identity.

The problem may be that this generation lacks a core. While Boomers couldn't escape their generational center, Xers struggle to find one. Generation X is the most immigrant generation born in the twentieth century.

Generation X survived a hurried childhood of divorce, latchkeys, open classrooms, devil-child movies, and a shift from G to R ratings. They came of age curtailing the earlier rise in youth crime and fall in SAT test scores -- yet heard themselves denounced as so wild and stupid as to put The Nation At Risk. As young adults, maneuvering through a sexual barricade of AIDS and blighted courtship rituals, they date and marry cautiously. In jobs, they embrace risk and prefer free agency to loyal corporatism. Politically, they lean toward pragmatism and nonaffiliation and would rather volunteer than vote. Widely criticized, they inhabit a Reality Bites[?] economy of declining young-adult living standards.

See also

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