August 17th, 2019

Generation X – The Most Underappreciated Generation

Review: Four Stars

By Max Abrams

Apparently it has been decided by our culture that the folks who won World War II are the Greatest Generation.

Well, at the risk of sounding presumptuous and ungrateful, I think my generation – Generation X (aged 39 to 54) – is second to none.

If this were a contest of who suffered and sacrificed more, the WWII generation wins, of course. But they also perpetuated Jim Crow, marginalized women, and dehumanized Japanese people to the point where putting them all in camps/raining fire on their cities seemed like reasonable decisions.

If believing in political causes is a virtue, then Generation X can’t compete. But I argue that it is our quiet, non-judgmental lack of belief that made America a much better place on our watch.

True racial integration doesn’t come from coercive federal laws or National Guard Troops outside of schools; it comes from a generation of people behaving decently. That was Generation X.

As kids, we were the first to embrace a non-white comedian as our official TV dad (no one told us he was a sexual predator). As young adults, we embraced hip-hop and forever blurred the color lines in American music.

While it was Baby Boomers who decriminalized inter-racial marriage and homosexual activity, it was our generation that didn’t care whether our relatives and friends married someone from a different race or came out of the closet. Sometimes not caring is the most wholesome, decent thing you can do.

In the late-60s, Baby Boomers transformed universities into hotbeds of civil unrest and Utopianism. In 1968, the Boomers pushed the US to the brink of revolution. Today, passionate Generation Z teenagers have turned America’s college campuses back into dens of discord and discontent.

As for Generation X, we quietly got an education and went to work. The Who proclaimed in 1971 that they “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Generation X never got fooled at all.

After Pearl Harbor, an entire generation mobilized to force unconditional surrender on Japan. And they decided to conquer Nazi Europe for good measure. 9/11 was our generation’s Pearl Harbor and the Baby Boomers running the country were eager for another all-out war.

Generation X wasn’t having it, though. When we were kids, Yoda told us that “wars not make one great” and that skepticism is embedded in our DNA.

Baby Boomers had to invent a whole new high-tech method of warfare because they knew that our generation was too sane to island jump or storm beaches for them.

The internet changed everything. But it feels like we are the only people who took the revolution in stride.

Some Baby Boomers are alienated by the speed of change. Others are bewildered by the technology and fall prey to scams like internet free trials and offshore charlatans offering to fix their computers in exchange for a credit card number.

Millennials and Generation Z know nothing but the internet and it rules their lives and their thoughts with an iron fist. To them, truth is found on Google. To them, the events of our world are rendered meaningless if they aren’t promptly posted on Instagram.

Generation Xers are competent with computers but remember a world where they didn’t run our lives. We use the internet as a tool to make our lives easier, but we don’t mistake the online rantings of false-messiahs as the truth.

I’d say that I am proud to be part of Generation X. But…eh…pride is too self-important for my taste.

I’d say that it would be nice if you threw us a ticker-tape parade for being so even-tempered, peaceful, reasonable, and cool. But we probably wouldn’t show up for it, anyway. We’re too busy working.

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