- The Calvin and Hobbes Resignation Letter is the Best I’ve Ever Seen, and It’s Suddenly Very Relevant by Bill Murphy, Jr. (inc.com)
- Gen Xers are explaining that weird moment in the late ’90s when everyone got into swing music by Tod Perry (upworthy.com)
- LeVar Burton to Host ‘Trivial Pursuit’ Game Show by Lesley Goldberg (hollywoodreporter.com)
- Why was Dave Grohl surprised by hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Kiona Jones (filmdaily.co)
- How the Themes of Identity in “The Matrix” Influenced an Entire Generation by Yolanda Machado (observer.com)
- An Anthology of Essays on AIDS’ Gen X “In Between” Generation: An Interview with Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore by Tim Murphy (thebody.com)
- Coterie Couture: Grunge aesthetic continues its rebellious legacy with younger generations by Natalie Brown (dailybruin.com)
- Jamie Kennedy Says Scream Is the Perfect Gen-X Film by Tai Gooden (nerdist.com)
Check out our first genXreactions mixtape playlist!
This week’s greatest hits on the Gen X side of the Internets…
- Don Cheadle Is Every Gen Xer – by Maiysha Kai (theroot.com)
- 40 Years of MTV: the channel that shaped popular culture as we know it – by Adam Behr (salon.com)
- What the Cast of Pump Up The Volume is Doing Today – by Michileen Martin (looper.com)
- Hold Me Back podcast – Son and Father Bridge the Generational Divide (holdmeback.com)
- When Gen X Ruled the Multiplex – Morgan Richter (youtube.com)
Links for the weekend. Happy reading!
- TikTok Smells Like Gen X Spirit by Virginia Heffernan (wired.com)
- The Malevolent Madness of ‘The Ren & Stimpy Show,’ 30 Years Later by Rob Harvilla (theringer.com)
- As Gen Xers encounter ageism in job hunt, skills training could be crucial by Caitlin Mullen (bizjournals.com)
- Woodstock 94 Revisited by Danielle Modica (nysmusic.com)
- We’re Still Getting Woodstock ’99 Wrong by Craig Jenkins (vulture.com)
TikTokers we dig
Links of the week…
- The Rise and Reimagining of MTV by Kovie Biakolo (zora.medium.com)
- Slackers and Smartphones: A Generation X Rant by Rena Willis (medium.com)
- ‘What Made That Decade Special?’: The Root Presents: It’s Lit! Revisits the Enigmatic ’80s with Adrian Loving by Maiysha Kai (theroot.com)
- HBO’s Woodstock ’99 Documentary is a Harrowing Look at the Anger and Entitlement of Young White Men by Vivian Kane (themarysue.com)
Links of the week:
- Sheryl Crow: ‘Surviving breast cancer redefined who and how I am’ by Michael Segalov (theguardian.com)
- Sleater-Kinney tiny desk (home) concert (npr.org)
- Questlove Supreme podcast episode with Sleater-Kinney (iheart.com)
- How the Pacific Northwest became a coffee paradise by Jordan Michelman (pdx.eater.com)
- 11 singers who helped define the vocal style of punk rock in the 90s by Tim Stegall (altpress.com)
- Vaccination Stats – let’s all get those shots!!! (nytimes.com)
Remember back in the early days of the internet, when we had angel fire sites and the page that nearly every hand coded html site listed was a link page? On hippiegrrl.com we called that page ‘linkland’ and it was where good links went to live and languish. The linkland page required a lot of upkeep as websites came and went in a flash, but it was a great repository for curating content of the time. Ah – the 90s. In honour of the webs beginning – I am going to post a weekly list of links that you might enjoy. I won’t have to go back and do maintenance to the ‘linkland’ page anymore, since we can consider them stale once the week is over. Such are the present days of the internet – here today, gone tomorrow. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
This week in gen x related content:
- Whatever Happened to Generation X? by Ashley Primis (phillymag.com) – from 2018, but still VERY relevant
- Douglas Coupland on Generation X at 30: “Generational trashing is eternal” (The Guardian)
- Dark Side of the 90s Trailer Teases Vice TV’s Newest Docuseries (comingsoon.net)
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Celebrates 35 Years by Danielle Solzman (solzyatthemovies.com)
- Growing Old in New York City by Tracy Kaler (tracysnewyorklife.com)
- When Ferris Bueller goes shopping: The return of the Trapper Keeper by Michael Hallisey (spotlightnews.com)
First – I am one of you. It took me 2 other candidates to get here, but I am now on board with Senator Sanders and sincerely hope he gets the nomination. Having said that, I wish that getting to this point would have been a little less contentious and I still feel that Senator Warren had the best coalition building power in the race, but it is a new day. A day for revolution.
Now that I am certain I have turned off a majority of the moderate Dems that will be voting “blue no matter who”, we can talk more candidly about what I came here to say.
I do not believe it is a surprise that I support Senator Sanders, considering my far left viewpoints on nearly everything, and at this point, my support is moot since I already voted in a primary (for Senator Warren – although I was still tempted to tick that box for Senator Harris) but I would still like to talk about what is to come. I am hopeful that you, as a Sanders supporter, would see that no matter what happens in this primary season, we will eventually need to unite as one to make change happen.
All this back and forth in the primary season is just a build-up for the real fight. November. The general election. The country is in dire need of a change to both the office of the Presidency and down-ballot races in key States where we either need to pick up or retain Democratic seats. Without a majority in the Executive and Legislative branches of government, we will have a stalemate throughout the next 4 years. This could be good if we flip the Senate and retain the House and still have Trump as POTUS*, but it would be VERY VERY bad if it goes the other way and the Republicans gain control of the House, retaining their hold on the Senate and Presidency.
That outcome would spell the end to every progressive policy that we want to put in place. It would set our country back hundreds of years since they could institute even more conservative (religious right based) policies that would restrict the rights of nearly everyone except the extremely wealthy, white, cis, straight, dudes.
As a Sanders supporter, I am pretty certain that you already know all of the above and that is why you are so adamant to elect Bernie in November. And again, I am with you, but here is the caveat. I have voted in every general election since 1992 and what I can say with certainty is, when you don’t unite behind the candidate that is put up for the nomination and come out in BIG numbers to vote, you lose.
And that is why I want to BEG you to please – if the candidate isn’t Bernie – still go vote. You may not want to pull that lever or tick that box for Biden, but the alternative will keep Trump in the oval office for 4 more years and inflict permanent and lasting damage to our country and the life that we all want to be living. The lives we all deserve. The freedom and rights that we should be able to take for granted and not have to continue fighting our whole lives to obtain.
The progressive (and even radical) ideas that we want to move forward will NEVER get legs if we don’t get rid of the current administration. 4 more years will give them more power than any administration should have and I don’t think our democracy can survive that. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that – I am being real.
And I know, from experience, that voting for a third party or write-in candidate causes the same thing to happen. I voted for Perot. I voted for Nader. I am not ashamed to say that I cast ballots for the third party, but I am disappointed in my former self that I didn’t see the writing on the wall. I told myself that I lived in a State (New York) where it didn’t really matter because the Democrat was going to sweep no matter what. I at least went to the voting booth and cast a ballot, but I still wish I would have united behind the party pick during those elections. In voting for the third party candidates I was setting a bad example for future generations. I was showing future voters that it would be just fine to vote for whomever you wish without any consequences.
Don’t get me wrong – when I voted for Nader it was because he was my parties pick, as I was registered Green for many years, but I still regret making those decisions because of the stir that they caused in future elections. The decision to vote for Nader, when he wasn’t the Democratic nominee set a standard for Clinton to lose in 2016. I can see a direct line from the 2000 to the 2016 election and I feel complicit in that decision.
So, having said that, I implore you, please, if Senator Sanders does not win the nomination, vote blue anyway. Don’t stay home and sulk (as I would have if I didn’t have Perot or Nader to fill that void) and don’t write in Sanders. Please, go vote for Biden and then vote in the down-ballot races as well, because they are SUPER important. I don’t think we are really stressing that fact enough in the media. The Senate needs to be flipped and we need to retain the House to continue this Sanders revolution. It might not be led by the person that we want to lead it, but it will happen if we get our country back from the clutches of the far right. Voting blue, down the whole ticket, is the only way to make this happen.
Thank you for listening to my ramble. I just really don’t want to see my fellow Sanders supporters do what I did back in the day and vote from a space of disillusionment. This race is TOO important to do that. No matter how sad, mad, frustrated, or angry we feel that our candidate isn’t the nominee, we have to set those feelings aside to do what is best for everyone in this country. We can grieve the loss of that particular form of radical action, but then we must get up and do what we need to do to continue fighting another day. This election could seriously determine whether we have the capacity and the ability to continue fighting in the next 4 years and beyond. Don’t make the same mistakes I made back in the day – vote Blue no matter who and move our country forward together.
PS – After all is said and done, we need to have a SERIOUS talk about sexism and racism and homophobia in the electoral process and American politics in general. Starting with the most diverse field of nominees and landing with the two White, Cishet, dudes in the final primaries (I know that Gabbard is still in it, but I just cannot with her) is abominable. Dems can certainly do better, but we need to discuss how and make it real for the next cycle in 2022. A great start would be to LISTEN to people from marginalized communities and have constructive conversations led by those who are directly affected by bias in politics. Just a thought for the future.
Generation X – the perpetual middle child. We are often left out of conversations about generational contributions and that is most likely because of how we were treated from day one.
Growing up with the original “me” generation (boomers) as parents really took a toll on us as a group. We were seen as lazy in relation to their generation, but that was mainly because in the 80s/90s we were in our teens and twenties. What kids AREN’T lazy in their teens? Laziness is a defining factor of the teenage years. Sure there are those who have a drive from the day they are born, but those people are outliers. Most teenagers (and yes I am making a generalization here) are lazy.
Teenagers also need more sleep than children and adults do (read about that here) and so it can seem like they are lazy when their bodies are just craving more sleep. Due to their schedules, they usually don’t get the right amount of sleep (9 hours per night is what a teen actually needs) and so they may appear groggy during the day. Although these sleep patterns are seen in teenagers from all generations, somehow Generation X was tagged with the laziness and slacker labels. Due to these labels, we have been ignored or inched out of many conversations over the years and now, because we are a slightly smaller generation sandwiched between two larger generations (the ‘me’ generation boomers and the ‘me me me’ generation Millennials) things like this happen.
Being ignored has it’s upside too, though. It means that we were not marketed to heavily until we reached our 40s and 50s. Either advertisers didn’t believe we had disposable income (which could be the case since we lived through a pretty bad down turn in the markets in both 2001 and 2008) or they simply couldn’t figure out how to use our grunge music to sell us products. Our musicians didn’t sell out in their 20s like some of the current day musicians have. And hey – no judgement on the sell out thing – Millennials need to sell out in order to acquire all the things that will make them feel safe and happy. Gen Xers were just better at making due.
Now, we can thank our former latch key status for supposedly teaching us to be better with our finances, so it isn’t all bad, but it can be disconcerting to see our generation completely ignored. Especially when it comes to popular media. Specifically, a show that a lot of us adored when it first came out in the 90s, that has now decided to completely erase us from the timeline of, well, time!
That show is Tales of the City, which has been rebooted on Netflix for another go at it. Armisted Maupin has been brought on as a consultant and the new series revolves around the old characters, Anna Madrigal who is now 90 and the gang from Barbary Lane, who are now supposedly in their late 40s. They have also added new characters – Shawna, the daughter of Connie Bradshaw, who is 25 years old and a slew of other Millennials that are the new tenants and ‘Barbarians’.
I would normally suspend my disbelief to be okay with the fact that some of the ages of characters are not exactly correct, but when it results in everyone my age being written out of the story it makes me a little mad. I mean – Shawna should be in her 40s. She should be a Gen Xer. But that wouldn’t make for great television since they wouldn’t be able to have the boomers make fun of her as a Millennial (which they do several times throughout the new series). The main characters from the original series (Mary Ann, Brian, Mouse, DeDee, etc.), in this timeline, are actually Gen X, but because they should be in their 50s/60s, they act more like boomers. And they refer to them as old folks, even though the actors are clearly in their late 40s and early 50s. So although there are characters that are the age range of Gen X, they are not perceived as such. These people were in their 20s in the original show (filmed in the 90s, set in the 70s), which means that with the normal passing of time they would actually be in their 60s/70s now. All this to erase a generation that nobody wants to reference and be sure to include the 2 ME generations in the storyline.
I get that it is just a show, but think about how popular culture has treated Gen X over the years and you will see why this can be bothersome. It bleeds into other parts of our lives in a way that allows the 2 generations before and after us to not take us seriously. It allows them to dismiss us in order to serve their own needs. Even while we are generating social security to take care of the boomers and allowing the Millennials to come back home to live with us after college or their first failed attempt in the workplace. We have supported both generations emotionally for YEARS and what do we get out of it? Invisibility.
I suppose that as a generation, Xers might LIKE to be invisible as it did provide some good cover in our younger years. We had a lot more freedom than the Millennials are getting. But, in the long run, the price we paid for anonymity has caught up to us. We didn’t have to see our idols sell out for a quick buck, but we also lost a lot of our people along the way.
So – while we languish here in the next decade, trying to make our way as middle-agers, we will remain invisible. As we plow through all the stereotypical assumptions about our generation to help make the world a better place and rid our politics of boomers like our current POTUS*, we will just have to consider ourselves the new silent generation. Maybe we didn’t have a world war to unite us, but we have certainly had a lot to deal with in the last 40-55 years on earth and life will continue to be a grind. The upside is that Gen Xers know how to deal with ‘the grind’ and we will eventually prevail no matter how invisible we are. It is, after all, always the quiet ones that make the most lasting impact.