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What’s the Frequency, Generation X?

Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials, Matthew Hennessey, Encounter Books, 184 pages [1]

The most accurate historical reference point for our chaotic cultural moment is also the most unlikely: the autumn of 1991. That day’s leading lights, most of them Baby Boomers, have suddenly resurfaced as objects of animus, scorn, pity, or admiration. Unforeseen developments—from criminality to public disgrace—have hastened the demise of many household names, while other careers have proven more resilient. The nation’s cultural canvas isn’t aging well.

Just look at the leading TV stars of that long-ago season. “America’s Dad,” Bill Cosby, sits in a state prison cell. Candice Bergen, returning as Murphy Brown, joins a tired cast indulging their post-2016 grievances. Roseanne Barr’s namesake show, rechristened The Conners, reaches for its ’90s-era ratings despite its star’s Twitter implosion. Tim Allen, whose hit Home Improvement made its debut in September 1991, has been given a second life on Fox’s most-watched comedy in almost a decade.

Nightly cable news viewers are also in a rendezvous with 1991. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, like Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas 27 years before, will forever be associated with this period. Joe Biden, who controversially presided over the Senate Judiciary Committee then, is weighing yet another presidential run—this time to challenge Donald Trump in 2020. In 1991, Trump was a struggling mogul whose Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City had filed for bankruptcy protection. Now in the White House, he captivates every waking moment of Americans’ media consumption.

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The recurrent nature of our culture has induced a generational hangover—one that is not going away. Since the 1960s, Baby Boomers have presided over decades of social dysfunction and economic flux, yet they continue to enjoy recurring roles. Members of Generation X—those born between 1965 and 1980—cannot escape the cultural and political shadow of the Boomers. And as Matthew Hennessey shows in his new book, Zero Hour for Gen X [1], this middle-aged cohort—precariously positioned between the older Boomers and younger Millennials—is eager for its turn.

Hennessey, deputy op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal, argues that Generation X is the country’s greatest check on a dystopian technological future. It is Gen Xers who can recall life before Big Tech’s omniscience, restore values extinguished by modern norms, and bridge the gap between Boomers’ lingering hubris and Millennials’ infectious callowness. Theirs is a generation victimized by timing—too young for the halcyon ’90s, profoundly traumatized by 9/11 and the Great Recession, and immobilized by the present turbulent age.

Hennessey has written an engaging and page-turning book. His thesis is that Gen X can restore hope even as Silicon Valley erases what we once cherished. Zero Hour for Gen X should be issued in the ubiquitous First-Year Experience programs [2] embraced by colleges to remind students that there once existed a far calmer and more rational world than the one they are entering. “Nothing seems like what it was anymore. Nothing seems like it will be what we thought it would be,” writes Hennessey. “Everything feels like it’s on the verge of radical change, or complete collapse.”

The book offers a sweeping excursion through 35 years, reminding readers of the botched opportunities, discouraging trends, and polarizing flash points that led to this broken moment. Gen Xers were born into an America in or hung over from Vietnam, a stagnant economy, collapsing cities, and a cultural milieu that reflected its downcast mood. The ’80s proved an optimistic recalibration, and Gen Xers grew up in a society that was prosperous, content, and enjoying just the right dose of technology. As Hennessey writes:

It was a time when childhood was still a little bit risky. No one dreamed of wearing a helmet while riding a bike. Seat belts were optional. Pizza parlors had cigarette machines in the corner, and no adult would ever take time out of the day to wag a finger at a bunch of high school kids as they puffed away, cursing loudly, drinking soda and carrying on. Parenting then was a hands-off job. So was being a neighbor. Kids as young as I was left the house on summer mornings, only coming back to be fed at midday and dinnertime. We all were gullible enough to believe that mixing Pop Rocks and soda could kill you.

The fall of the Berlin Wall deceptively promised even happier times. Economic statistics supported the country’s cheerful disposition. Hennessey reminds us that the gross domestic product of the United States increased 81 percent in inflation-adjusted terms between 1983 and 2001. This booming economy, however, failed to suppress signs of disorder, whether it was the L.A. riots in 1992, O.J. Simpson’s gripping trial in 1995, or the Monica Lewinsky scandal in the late 1990s. Gen Xers digested this brewing pandemonium and in the interim attempted to create their own cultural reference points. But grunge music, flannel shirts, and MTV remained overshadowed by Baby Boomers. The preceding generation enjoyed an unrelenting monopoly, from classic rock on FM radio to films that revisited their idyllic youth and unruly college years. Was their lock on culture symptomatic of self-absorption? Try watching The Big Chill in 2018.

Hennessey compellingly makes the case for Gen X, calling them “the last adult generation.” They can recall a simpler, analog life—unpolluted by technology, understanding of the present, and uninterrupted by privacy intrusions. They are the last generation to remember solitude as an inalienable right rather than a scheduled perk or dreaded outcome. From a demographic perspective, they are America’s best hope to challenge our present surveillance economy and its platforms, which incentivize outrage, instigate the masses, and provoke constant agitation. Baby Boomers, now seniors, seem unconcerned with Big Tech’s grip on society. After all, passively scrolling on an iPad is a leisure, not a burden. Millennials, meanwhile, have surrendered themselves to a pixelated existence. Life has become digital, told in short stories and filtered photos for hidden, dopamine-feeding advertisers.

The technology responsible for the world’s communications disruption remains just over a decade old. In response to this rapid change, Hennessey believes Generation X must remind society of forgotten behaviors, products, and standards. “Given the eager technological acquiescence of the digital natives,” he writes, “the members of Generation X have an awesome responsibility to keep faith with reality.” They must challenge the Internet of Things, the revolutionary tools that incorporate voice or facial recognition, create an imagined dependence, and transform how we live. Hennessey argues that Gen Xers can turn from our disturbing path by demonstrating how to reacquaint ourselves with the physical world. We can put down the smartphones, pay for the entertainment that we consume, support brick-and-mortar stores, and subscribe to newspapers or magazines.

Physical shops and print publications now represent another time, one that prompts a sense of yearning. There is a reason for television’s successful streaming of shows set in the 1980s. It is the same reason that networks are resurrecting sitcoms from that period. Netflix captivates viewers with Stranger Things, ABC pays homage with The Goldbergs, and Amazon features Red Oaks, a charming coming-of-age series that ran for three seasons. The shows hearken back to an era when mix tapes created musical moods, TV entertainment followed a set schedule, photos marked occasions, communication was less urgent, and romance happened without algorithms. Sears, now bankrupt, remained a suburban shopping destination.

While Hennessey notes Baby Boomers’ apathy, even they undoubtedly, and even fondly, remember their non-digital existences in the ’80s. Millennials, meanwhile, absorb the decade’s atmospherics—tablet screens, cordless phones, and stainless steel appliances. Older Millennials were born into this physical existence, one that gradually disappeared with the internet’s ascendance in the 1990s. Now digital platforms are lucratively feeding our nostalgia and amusement. We binge watch a happier, more tranquil past.

Hennessey warns us to reevaluate our Huxleyan reality. Writing in a lively, conversational style, he conveys why Big Tech’s dominance will not deliver a favorable outcome. For now, we remain perpetually distracted at our own peril. We cannot help ourselves. And so we return our gazes to glass screens, streaming music at a frantic pace, swiping romantic prospects and scrolling through friends’ emotional posts, pressing pause on a new favorite show and compulsively opening Twitter or Facebook, forgetting how wonderful life was when privacy was a virtue, not a vice. Zero Hour for Gen X shows us a better way forward.

Charles F. McElwee III is a writer based in northeastern Pennsylvania. He’s written for The American Conservative, City Journal, The Atlantic, National Review, and The Weekly Standard, among others.

33 Comments (Open | Close)

33 Comments To "What’s the Frequency, Generation X?"

#1 Comment By EngineerScotty On October 25, 2018 @ 11:49 pm

As a Gen-Xer (one who is nowhere near as down on Millenials as the author is), I should point out one limiting factor on the political power of my age cohort. We’re a smaller generation (peaking at about 68 million), and that peak is still smaller than the current population of both the Millenials and the Boomers. None of our generation has served as POTUS (Barack Obama, born in 1961, comes closest).

One thing that I find interesting is the nostalgia for 80s cultural artifacts. Whether it’s Guardians of the Galaxy rocking the Walkman, the various retro gaming shops hawking 8-bit titles, or the presence of the soundtrack of my youth on the airwaves (and Internet equivalent–1984 was the best year for pop music ever, sorry, Boomers), there seems to be lots of fascination over that time.

#2 Comment By Jen On October 25, 2018 @ 11:54 pm

You forgot to mention that Millennials and GenZ are obsessed with the show Friends, now that it’s on Netflix. A time when people hung out at a coffee shop and talked to each other — what nostalgia!

#3 Comment By ron collins On October 26, 2018 @ 1:09 am

Not a good sign, when the historic compass is so skewed that a compliant pack of thoroughly conformist functionaries I always just called Those Eighties People is suddenly re-invented in such a desperately romanticized way into some “last chance” at something.

I mean, come on, these are people who thought Journey and Foreigner and The Cars were actually rock and roll…

It was Those Eighties People who had just come of age right when the previous two decades’ hybridizing of fake revolutionism with pure shopping-mall consumerism had finally been perfected, and they were more than willing to fall in line as its unquestioning first assault wave.

It was Those Eighties People who confirmed once and for all that there would thereafter be no fad too stupid and no mass hoax (Y2K, anyone?) too transparent for them and their descendants to fall for enthusiastically.

It was they who normalized helicopter parenting and transformed the impulsive feminism of former times into the stifling absolute matriarchalist prison for manhood that marriage and family life remain to this day.

It was they who lapped up every new generation of technology no matter how absurd or invasive, and it was they who made paying for a life way beyond their means with too-easy credit into a minimum standard one is now suspected for not keeping up with.

It was they who, rather than continue to question the suspect and unsustainable norms of suburban single-household theory as their elders from way before the baby boom had urged them to, instead bought into it with everything they had and borrowed enough to make up for what they didn’t have and never really would.

I have spent a lifetime, born in 1960 and thus never really belonging either to the baby boom or to this “generation x”, seeing the fatal flaws in each one’s ways and means, being ordered around well into adulthood as if I could never possibly grow up by the former, while being appalled at the grasping and impossible standards of living demanded by the latter which only could and eventually did lead to the disasters of 2008.

I hold neither in any special place of reverence, and expect nothing of either in the future than more of the same fake values and very real narcissism either one has ever managed to show for themselves.

#4 Comment By Jeremy Buchanon On October 26, 2018 @ 2:44 am

Unfortunately, our generation suffers the “Prince Charles” syndrome. The never ending wait for our turn on the throne. We have been held back long enough to qualify for AARP membership. Boomers are working on second retirements, while holding the upper level jobs we need to advance, let alone actually run things. And it’s time for Gen x leadership in this country. There was once an opinion in America that over 70 was too old to be president. Again, Gen x, held back.

#5 Comment By Ben On October 26, 2018 @ 6:50 am

As member of Gen X, I’m not so much “eager for (my) turn,” as I am “immobilized by the present turbulent age.” Our culture is racked with cancer, terminal stage. Everything is broken. Nothing is salvageable. No art, no poetry, no politics can save us. We’re sliding into oblivion. Going to he’ll in a bucket. And its not an enjoyable ride.

#6 Comment By Mac On October 26, 2018 @ 9:12 am

Excellent! Right before I read this I was listening to Document and Monster (from where you get your article title), two albums on either side of the 1991 line. It was the last year the grownups were in charge, the last year America was itself it seems like. Coincidentally, it was the last pre-Clinton year for most Americans, when the remoteness of Washington was matched by its aloofness from ordinary life.

Will my generation save America? Probably not. We can be the last to remember its old stories, its folkways and mores. Like the last Sioux who remembered riding the range, or the last administrators of the Raj, we possess a vision of what was once so real it was like water to a fish, yet as lost as air on the moon.

#7 Comment By Rick Steven D. On October 26, 2018 @ 9:46 am

“parenting then was a handsoff job”

Born in ’64. Remember those days well.

Joseph Epstein wrote a great piece about this in the Weekly Standard years ago. He dubbed the whole helicopter parenting phenomenon ‘The Kindergarchy’:

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#8 Comment By CLW On October 26, 2018 @ 10:26 am

Full disclaimer, I am a Gen X-er: straddling the pre and post-Internet divide brings with it a deep appreciation for the wealth of information the Internet has given us access to, along with a deep skepticism about the encroachment of web-based technology into every aspect of our society and lives.

#9 Comment By Alf On October 26, 2018 @ 11:45 am

whereas, my memories of same times showed the ones coming of age in that time period were the ones with the 2nd most and even more permissive upbringing behind many boomers (not me, lemme tell yah, where smoking, cursing as a kid was a hands-on counciling session and grounding by parents), and the wheels already being loosened to fall off, as they are now, with obvious zero controls and parenting skills, leading to ever building senses of entitlement.

It was plain to many of us, the population had forgotten anything but fad following, and was growing ever more ignorant, thanks to the wonderful schools systems further collapse into mediocrity or worse…

I can think of many markers which showed this next generation was just weak…obsessed over video games, living in them, addicted to EVERY new media from TV to phone to social media, as if “likes” matter? (media beieves it does and now do politicians) going off the deep end at college in a new and unparalleled ways morally, when kids started worshipping inner city hoodlums and their music, where alcohol and drugs were not a lost experimentation looking for a better way, but just to get ****faced…

And I find the Gen labels totally misleading and false, as I went through everything listed in the unique experience of “X-ers”, and was born in late 1950s…

who invents and follows these stupid labels, anyhow, like I look at some lady at a store and think “aha, a “boomer”?…well, kids likely do today, being raised nowadays to label and hate everybody but themselves and those who agree…a nation which has lived ever more in its head for decades…labeling a generation based on TV stars?….non-stop prepping for class and race war is what I see.

#10 Comment By Phillip On October 26, 2018 @ 12:04 pm

I was born in ’67, and while I relate to the author’s identification with items and things from my childhood, I reject everything he claims we need to do. A) The baby boomers refuse to cede power. Look at the White House. Trump is 70 and so are a vast majority of our leadership. My boss is in his mid-70’s and instead of retiring he’s doubling down on hanging around, and keeping power from my generation.
B) We’re stuck taking care of the elderly and our children. I’ve got a 90 year old MIL, and a 26 yr old daughter that are both dependent on us for different reasons. We’re sandwiched between these two polars. When will it be our time to do what we want to do?
C) The millennials are already in control of a vast majority of things that matter. Gen X was skipped as far as technological innovation goes, so now we’re answering to the 20 and 30-somethings who innovated with the latest iPhone and app and lord it over us.

Most people from my generation struggle with technology. I spend my entire day dealing with 40 and 50-something’s that don’t know how to use a computer, or use it in any meaningful way. The baby boomers get a pass on this because they own the company, or run the show. But us Gen-Xers are supposed to just figure it out. The Millenials created it, so they just ignore us as they wait for us to be old enough to kick us to the curb.

Gen Xers – the wasted (literally and figuratively) generation of “Kavanaughs” that have the naive sexual conquests of the 80’s used against them. Things we did in the 90’s that were supposed to be long forgotten, are brought out of the closet, should we apply for some public job that involves a great deal of scrutiny. I’ve talked to a bunch of friends who admit they could never even consider taking a job like the one Kavanaugh was barely confirmed for. We were raised by a bunch of hands-off boomers that didn’t care what we did, and never were guilted in to attending every event we ever participated in. Just ask my parents what they were doing during my high school swim meets, or golf tournaments, or drama productions, or choral concerts. LOL, they were doing whatever the heck they wanted to do on their own time. Now? Heaven forbid we don’t attend every rehearsal, practice, performance of whatever our 1.2 kids are doing. We’ll be publicly shamed as a horrible parent and ostracized from society.

So in short, the parents got whatever they wanted, including all those divorces, just because. And our kids are getting whatever they wanted, because if we don’t give them everything they want, we are publicly shamed as a horrible parent. We’re somewhere in the middle where we were taught traditional Christian values where we are just supposed to give and give and give, until there is nothing left for us. We won’t even be offered the crumbs by a spoiled generation of millenials who can’t be bothered to even check to see if we are still breathing. God help me when I am need of a nursing home. The millenials will probably invent an app for that, so they won’t have to deal with us anymore. Just farm us out to pasture and forget about us.

#11 Comment By Michael Farley On October 26, 2018 @ 12:50 pm

I understand this, I really do. But consider that Solomon, 3000 years ago, said, “Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” People always looks fondly on the past. In the 70’s, people longed for the 50’s (Happy Days). In the 90’s, people longed for the 70’s (That 70’s Show). Now we want the 80’s back. In 50 years, we’ll want the 10’s back. We always want something we can’t have.

#12 Comment By connecticut farmer On October 26, 2018 @ 12:53 pm

“And so we return our gazes to glass screens, streaming music…”.

Am romping in irony here as I–an early Boomer, born during the Truman Administration when there were only newspapers and magazines and we got our music either from the radio or phonograph records–am reading this piece thanks to the Internet by means of a computer screen whilst listening to von Karajan’s version of Beethoven’s Eighth via YouTube. No paper magazine needed. No CD or vinyl LP needed.

I don’t worship technology as some others do but, hey, it sure is convenient, n’est-ce pas?

#13 Comment By Jim Crabbe On October 26, 2018 @ 2:20 pm

When you said

GenX’ers are precariously positioned between the older Boomers and younger Millennials—is eager for its turn, didn’t you mean younger Baby Boomers and Older Millennials?

#14 Comment By Anthony On October 26, 2018 @ 3:31 pm

While I do think my generation (born in 1979) has some merits over millennials, it can’t be denied that Gen X did much to bring about the current culture. Simply pointing out that we remember a pre-social media way of living isn’t exactly a virtue worth betting Western Culture’s hopes.

Let’s go down a few facts about GenX, all very clear in my memory:

– we continued the sexual revolution: the mainstreaming of pornography, the indifference to marriage, and the popularizing of gay rights are all on generation X (remember in the late 90s when two girls kissing was the hottest thing in the world?) I’m pretty sure the taboo of oral sex was also fully broken and put into the mainstream in the 90s.

– we’re the first to retreat into the digital space, beginning with video games. we’re the ones that remember playing outside, and also remember the choice to stay inside around middle school and high school. (Nintendo and Playstation quickly begat AOL, Friendster, and MySpace)

– we’re the ones who made school shootings a thing

– we’re the ones who took nostalgia to a whole new, disturbing place.

– Generation X rejected traditional religion and replaced it with a popularized spirituality from movies and tv— whether Star Wars or Star Trek, or the latest angsty grunge artist. The same goes for where we get our basic ideas about history, love and relationships, and morality.

– Generation X continued the Boomer attitude of being a complete smart ass in the history classroom, planting the seeds for identity politics totally overwhelming any other interpretation of history, society, philosophy and theology. The current generation is just taking that and running with it to it’s logical conclusion.

– We did nothing to halt the growing debts, whether in the form of student loans, maxed out credit cards, or unpayable morgages. To this day we are still attempting to live a life that expands on the luxuries afforded us by our parents — vacations, excess shopping, etc.

I’ll grant that my generation has more “adult,” “responsible” qualities over millennials and even boomers. But that could easily be explained away by the simple onset of age, experience and a slightly larger bank account.

#15 Comment By ked_x On October 26, 2018 @ 3:45 pm

As a GenX’er, I would rather cast my lot with the future and the Millennials rather than back the dying, toxic nostalgia of the Baby Boomers.

#16 Comment By VikingLS On October 26, 2018 @ 3:46 pm

As a GenXer myself I really would like our generation to have a signature trait other than grumbling.

#17 Comment By Jason Segedy On October 26, 2018 @ 4:05 pm

Generation-X is a larger generation than people think. I reject 1965 as the cut-off. Matthew Broderick, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, and Douglas Coupland are not Baby Boomers. Neil Howe puts the cut-off at 1961, and I think that makes a lot more sense.

#18 Comment By BobS On October 26, 2018 @ 9:51 pm

“these are people who thought Journey and Foreigner and The Cars were actually rock and roll…”
Don’t blame those bands on Generation X- they’re boomers, all.

Generation X is The Pixies, Nirvana, Pavement, Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and a ton of other good bands you seem to have missed out on (if you equate the bands you mentioned with Generation X).

#19 Comment By Mr. J On October 26, 2018 @ 9:54 pm

So Gen X can save the Millennials or at least Gen Z and America?

By royal decree?

The nostalgia is all fine and dandy. Moreover, we, human beings, almost always “can do it” but why?

I mean, what’s going to snap in their heads or change in their hearts so it’s more beneficial for them to look up from their screens? It’s painful to do that. The only incentive will be when it’s too painful not to.

You doubt me? Look around, for instance. How many blobs do you see everywhere with no physical limitations on what they can or cannot eat, yet, they are always in that perpetual state of “going on a diet…tomorrow”?

Yet, masses of 60 to 40 year olds are going to convince masses of 39 to 25 year olds to change their ways and enjoy reality in all its inevitable unfairness? When has a 25 year old listened to a 60 year old? By now, don’t you think it’s baked into the Gen Z?

Honestly, Mr. Mcelwee, this author, Hennessey, puts too much faith in the magic of a frontal cortex.

#20 Comment By Alf On October 26, 2018 @ 10:32 pm

To prove my above point and the hatred of “not one of us”, and fixated on externally applied labels which match only artificial media persona,…

rather than your average person on the street,…

and applying scathing, insulting, resentful commentary to total strangers who simply were/are living their lives,..

as if one group of people 5yrs older were plotting to subjugate the younger, when all the older are worried about at the moment is paying debt and wondering if retirement will ever come…

using artificial media driven egghead labels, accepted unthinkingly, without hesitation or independent thought and quoted labels and statistics to show how learned…

just look at the posts between hither and yon…the marker, folk, is TV…

As folk have become ever more programmed by electronic media, ignoring the real world in the back yard, so have the wheels come off…

Most commenters here spend how much total time per day staring at a glowing screen? Phone, TV, computer? Would any of the article have any meaning at all, without everyone swallowing the electronic world as real? Living it…thinking it…breathing it?…

#21 Comment By RR On October 27, 2018 @ 10:27 am

I’m a GenXer as well. I agree with Anthony that GenX certainly has its faults that should be acknowledged. Still, overall the thesis of Hennessey’s book has some merit. Whatever its flaws, GenX lacks the narcissistic egoism that characterizes much of the Boomer and Millennial generations. I’m not sure, however, that GenX can do much to help the country. We’re too small of a generation, even if we supposedly have the traits to do so. By the time the Boomers pass from the scene, we’ll have the Millennials breathing down our necks to take over.

My fear is that GenXers will be perpetually caught between the Boomers and Millennials. For instance, as they continue to age, the Boomers will drive up spending on Social Security and Medicare such that when Millennials take political power they may cut it back. Of course, that would be just when GenXers such as myself begin to approach retirement age.

#22 Comment By Rick On October 27, 2018 @ 11:05 am

As an Xer — 1967 — why should we fix this?

As a cohort haven’t we been through enough comparatively?

For all the reasons listed — mostly due to Boomer narcissism.

It’s now our problem this?

We’re tired man. And we’re going to work until we’re 80.

40 years of this sociocultural/economic lunacy has made us want to sleep.

We look around and ask how in the $&#% did we get here?

So with respect there’s no saving anything.

That ship sailed a long time ago.

#23 Comment By E Kent On October 27, 2018 @ 11:34 am

TLDR

“The boomers messed up and can’t be bothered to do anything to fix things, and most importantly we shouldn’t be expected to fix things. People in their 20’s and 30’s can’t be trusted. It’s up to 40 and 50 year olds to save the world for us retirees”

#24 Comment By Liam On October 27, 2018 @ 11:59 am

Obama is a leading-edge GenXer – and it shows in his personality. Strauss & Howe (and Douglas Coupland, whose literary hint they followed) were correct to move the end of the Boomer generation to a few years earlier than had previously been assumed (cultural cohorts – to the limited extent there can be said to be such a thing – are often formed by events post-birth). Many leading edge GenXers (more likely if they had older siblings) can just remember the peak Boom before all hell broke loose, and thus began their continuous memories with a sense of unexpected decline – which helped mark the cohort (people born in 1961 were in their first year of college when the hostage crisis began and were called up for selective service registration as the Soviet menace was seen to gain a second life; the college graduating class of 1982-83 was the most unemployed college graduating class since 1940 and until 2009 – et cet.).

#25 Comment By Steve Naidamast On October 27, 2018 @ 6:23 pm

The the book promoted in this essay may be spot on, one thing is becoming increasingly, crystal clear… no one is going to save the United States as we know it.

Constitutional nullification and multiple state succession into regional alignments, much like with the provinces in Canada, while forcing the federal government into a subservient and basically powerless entity with control over certain national functions is the only peaceful way this nation is going to survive with out the necessity for an all out bloody civil trauma.

The possibility of a California succession, based on the anger of Californians being forced to accept a burgeoning immigrant population while chafing at the increased laxity of an EPA attempting to water down California’s own pollution laws is an increasing source of tension that may force that state to leave the so called “Union” on its own. And being the 7th largest economy in the world at one point is still quite capable of doing so.

Arizona is in a similar position. And though there has been little talk of succession from that state, there is growing hatred for their own immigrant population as people from the south of the border make inroads into Arizona’s benefits and services.

Attempting to correct anything in Washington at this point is a fool’s errand given the enormous amount of corruption, hypocrisy, and pure greed that seeps out of every politician’s mouth while a war-mongering, military, industry absorbs the largest percentage of US tax dollars on a yearly basis while being unable to any longer produce even quality weapon systems for our troops. It has become so bad that the military is now illegally producing modern Russian assault rifles.

The best course of action is to begin writing to your state governors and request that he or she start considering succession. What is the federal government going to do about it, invade itself???

#26 Comment By Ken T On October 27, 2018 @ 6:35 pm

I’m a first wave Boomer. I bought my first and so far only house when I was 38 years old. I put down a large enough down payment that I didn’t have to spend extra money on mortgage insurance, and took out a completely gimmick-free 30 year fixed mortgage with a monthly payment that I could afford at that time. Within 5 years or so after that I was seeing Gen X’ers 20 years younger than me moving into bigger, more expensive houses that there was no way in hell they could afford. But they were taking out no-down-payment, balloon mortgages on the assumption that they would be able to pay it off when the time came. And that is the attitude that I have seen from them ever since. They have grown up being jealous of everything that Boomers have and wanting the same things – NOW – with absolutely no recognition of the difference that being 20 years further into our careers makes.

My boss is in his mid-70’s and instead of retiring he’s doubling down on hanging around, and keeping power from my generation.
Really? And how much power did he have when he was your age? Unless he inherited his position, he has that power because he spent his lifetime working up to it. What makes you think that you should have it NOW? What makes you think that he OWES it to you to step aside for you? Again, I spent the latter part of my career seeing this same attitude from Gen X’ers griping about how they (as new entry-level employees) were making less and having less autonomy than I was with 20 years more experience.

“The last adult generation”? What a joke. I have yet to see more than a handful of Gen X’ers acting like adults. I would love to stop voting for people older than me. But this year is the first time I see ONE viable Gen X candidate on my ballot. Stop whining, and step up to the plate. No one is going to give it to you just because “it’s your turn”.

#27 Comment By creekmama On October 27, 2018 @ 7:01 pm

“We were raised by a bunch of hands-off boomers that didn’t care what we did, and never were guilted in to attending every event we ever participated in. Just ask my parents what they were doing during my high school swim meets, or golf tournaments, or drama productions, or choral concerts. LOL, they were doing whatever the heck they wanted to do on their own time.”

“So in short, the parents got whatever they want, including all those divorces, just because.”

Preach, brother.

#28 Comment By Mary On October 28, 2018 @ 2:00 am

Baby Boomers are still telling us what to do, and Millenials will not do anything we say.
By the power of Greyskull – wait – no, that doesn’t work. . .can you imagine He-Man or She-Ra constantly looking down on their cell phones?
Let’s take our lives and country back – THIS IS OUR TIME!! The rudeness and disrespect for people our age is appalling.
We’re starved for human face to face conversation like we had in high school and college, which doesn’t involved a screen (cell or computer), when people actually looked each other in the eye (gasp!) instead of at some excuse of a device.
Philip – great writing, you really told it like it is, but don’t worry, your kids (or grandkids more than likely – Gen Z seems promising) won’t put you in a nursing home. Don’t despair.
Ben, not everything is broken – we still have faith and values. We still have hope and we’re not giving up! I always found that Italian art saved me – so some art out there still gives hope, it’s not entirely hopeless. I’m looking at something beautiful, in peace, and don’t have to check the internet for the whole time I’m looking at the art. Here’s a poem that can save you: “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. . .enjoy!
Gen Xers, we played outside until Nintendo took over our lives, and then our parents thought we were going to turn out horrible for the amount of time we spent in water world or Goomba’s shoe, but we turned out just fine.
At least we can talk to the person next to us instead of ignoring them or making them feel invisible, or like they don’t even matter as a human being, and not bury our heads in a cell phone.
We didn’t have cell phones til we were older.
Jeremy, a person I wanted to vote for senator in my state is 70 years old. I really like him, but my initial reaction to hearing his age was, “He’s 70! He’s too old! Why is he not retired? Why can’t it be someone in their 40’s running for office!?” to which a Baby Boomer said “A 40 year old doesn’t have the experience” to which I thought “A 40 year old has plenty of experience, if a 70 year old will just step down, and let the 40 year old step up!”.
I like what all of you wrote, just too tired to respond to all after Game 4. We also never had to deal with people constantly asking us for our email, zip code, phone number, or poking pictures to prove we’re not a robot!

#29 Comment By bkh On October 28, 2018 @ 2:58 am

I believe each person is responsible for themselves and any ruin that is bought on that person. Gen X failed at transitioning the lessons learned from the past into the more tech savvy era. We were the last generation to really hear about and see some of the effects of the Great Depression and WW1 and 2 on people through our grandparents. The Boomers rebelled against that older generation and allowed the Gen X kids to further that rebellion. Gen X did nothing to stop the downward spiral of society. As some have mentioned, we are caught between supporting older kids and watching Boomers try to stay in power forever. During all this time we are holding on to our own fantasies of glory and honor. Many of us are also trying to make sure grandchildren are being taken care of. Yes, Millennials are a problem, but they are a result of Gen X’s failure to reign in their own arrogance and hedonism. The Boomers wont let go, Gen X is absent, and the Millennials are just Gen X on steroids minus a work ethic. I am hoping Gen Z sees the failures and reverses the trend.

#30 Comment By polistra On October 28, 2018 @ 7:57 am

I don’t see much rebellion among the young adults 20-30. They’re firmly locked inside their phones. I do see signs of hope in the folks who are still in school. More of them seem to be reading paper books and paying attention to physical reality.

#31 Comment By William Hunter Duncan On October 28, 2018 @ 6:38 pm

The boomers will yet destroy America, with Gen X poised to rebuild it….

#32 Comment By Uncle Skippy On October 29, 2018 @ 11:31 am

I’m looking forward to getting and reading this book.

As a GenX’r long fed up with BB and disappointed with Millennial+, this book seems like an overdue call to action.

GenX maybe the generation of Tron, but Tron was always just a fantasy. The subsequent generations seems more like the blue-pill-popping Matrix generation.

#33 Comment By Paul On October 29, 2018 @ 10:34 pm

I’m 45, I have two cousins aged 15 and I asked them where they hang out after school – youth club, anything? Nope, they stay in. What the hell.

As far as the internet goes, it will pass, people will get absolutely sick of staying indoors and consuming media.