Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things that annoy me #32

It annoys me- these “generational designations”. Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Whatever. Depending on whom you read, Gen X’ers are defined as being born between 1977-1981 (though most seem to end at 1980), most often to Baby Boomer parents (though that seems to be often left out).

By most standards, I am considered Gen Y (whatever), but I don’t feel Gen Y- privileged, capitalistic, competitive. My pop cultural references are not those of Gen Y. I admired John Hughes and was (neigh AM) in love with John Cusack. I remember watching MTV at 4 years of age and singing ‘Love is an Elevator” at the top of my lungs. Remember when MTV played music? We joke, but I do- vividly. What ever happened to Matt Pinfield anyhow? Needless to say, my parents were thrilled. I watched “Save By the Bell” followed by “Black Adder” or “Red Dwarf”. I know where I was when Kurt Cobain died. My favorite bands were (sometimes still are) Duran Duran (for reals! Seen them twice in concert), The Cure, Belly, Soundgarden. My parents were baby Boomers and I their lazy offspring.

This difference could not be better illustrated than in the differences between my sister and myself. Born just 15 months apart (Irish twins!!), we couldn’t be more different. While many of her references are mine as well, they were most certainly learned from me. Sure, she liked Alice in Chains, but she’s really a Pedro the Lion kinda gal. Yes, “Reality Bites” is one of our favorite movies (or at least mine), but I was Vickie character (Janeane Garofalo), she only played at her during summers home from college. Hell! She went to college. I went to work. She is striving towards a career. I merely hold a job. She has never known depression (not in the clinical sense at least).

[side note: I don’t know why I identify that as not being a Gen Y problem but I do. I’m sure there are plenty of 20-year olds bummed about something, but I’m old and I don’t care]

She sees the world as half full. She’s vegetarian for christsake! She embodies everything I think about the Gen Y generation with less of the Mommy/Daddy complex- thank god.
The worst insult anyone has ever given me is accusing me of not knowing what I’m talking about (see rant above).
“You can’t possibly remember that!”
“You’re just a baby!”

This got under my skin again recently while I was reading Chuck Klosterman. How dare you imply that “Saved by the Bell” was a Gen X only show. Uh… I watched it too. And what’s more, I wasn’t a grown man doing it; I was a teen (for whom the show was designed!). What kind of 20 something sits around watching Saturday morning programming in anything other than an ironic fashion?

I will say this now and I suggest you and all your neigh saying buddies take heed:
I’m sure it makes you feel better, perhaps it helps you feel younger; to belittle or disbelieve my memories, my feelings, and my life; but you’re making a fool of yourself. Quit it! I saw “Rocky Horror” when I was 5. Caligula and Glory when I was 8. My father bought me “Appetite for Distriction” when it came out. (PS- my Dad is probably cooler than your Dad. Perhaps that’s why you act this way). My favorite song when I was little was “Karma Chameleon” and I knew all the words. I heart “Labyrinth”, and “The Neverending Story”, and “The Boy Who Could Fly”. Try me. Test me. I dare you. I’m 37 in a 27-year-old body. What’s worse, I always felt mature but now I just feel prematurely old. I blame you.


  1. ha! that's funny. I always think of you as being my age (Gen X'er). and yet- I've never fit into my Gen X status for the same reasons you list, but a decade earlier. and not that Bee Gees 70s, I mean the Sex Pistols 70s. seems like the other day someone was surprised I had seen MASH before... something like that, and I said "uh, yeah! I watched it all the time growing up!" hon, I think you and I are just multi-decadal (that's my new word!).

  2. I feel like a lot of these murky distinctions come from the variations in lifestyle that are considered acceptable. My parents are Boomers but they had children late. That doesn't mean they didn't raise me with the smae ideas and cultural references as they would have if i had been born 10 years earlier (I still would have been rocking out to Tull with my Dad at age 5).

  3. Plus, um. Saved by the Bell is still on five times a day. Right now.

    But as I was born in 1979, I suppose I watched it at the proper time. However, I wasn't allowed to watch much television until I was at least in high school, so I missed out on much pop culture of my "generation."

  4. I was born in late '79 -- same as Shine -- so I don't know where I'd fit in either. Going forward I'm just telling everyone I belong to Generation "Bitch Please."

  5. Nena- "multi-decadal"- yep, that one's getting written down.

    Dani- I agree, it is definitely a state of mind

    Shine- I'm so sorry to hear about your childhood. How did you ever survive without tv? I'm pretty sure it mothered me (no offense to my Mom who's rockin)

    Jay- please tell me you're holding a Starbucks iced latte when you say that

  6. I think it's also that all of my friends are 27 and have been for at least the last 10 years. I don't know what to think now that I am 27. Nena- I guess this means you've been upgraded to 28. You're welcome!

  7. Glad good ol' Chuck instigated an awesome post! We really do have such similiar taste in stuff. I love it.

    I think a lot of people are just so used to having a strong identification with one's generation (and subsequent lack of any cross-generational interests, i.e. well-roundedness is the new plague), that they judge and chide you for not fitting nicely where you belong. But especially when it comes to books, movies, music, I will quote (the incomperable) John Cusak's character in High Fidelity: "...these things matter. Call me shallow. It's the f**king truth." Like what you like, and everyone else can suck it. When you're cuddled up next to some amazing guy who owns all The Smiths albums and knows every line to Brazil, you'll be thankful that you're wonderful and unique enough to have found this paradise.

    ...Or maybe that's just me.

  8. I dunno. I like being over 30. Though I'm starting to fear getting older (for the first time in my life)- but that has to do with guys not wanting older women, not fear of wrinkles or anything.
    I'll be 33 this year! :)