the suzi parker files

Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Chin Up, Gen X’ers: Obama’s Right There With You

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When I offered unsolicited advice, guys, I didn’t mean to crush your Generation X dreams and hearts like a cigarette butt. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to grow up. I’m 14 years old at heart and still think I’m going to live happily ever after with Simon Le Bon. (Although I did get into a wicked argument with him circa 1998 after a Duran Duran concert, and he broke my heart into tiny pieces when he acted so rudely. But that’s another story.)

Punk Peter Pans, stay young. Keep playing video games. It’s OK to still long for Asteroids. Get giddy about the new Tron movie. Please believe me, though, when I said that some of you – and you know who you are – may not look so great in that Replacements T-shirt in 2010. Heck, most people don’t even remember that band. So trash it, keep The Clash one. Wear it with pride but only if it still fits.

You aren’t having a mid-life crisis. Repeat, you aren’t having a mid-life crisis. I retract that from my previous post. Instead, consider yourself simply afflicted with a smidgen of arrested development. You can still pretend to be a guitar hero on Saturday night. Just find a girl who appreciates this charming quality.

All I ask is that you quit the slacker whining you learned from bad 1980s and ’90s movies. Stop thinking about the old girlfriend who never loved you the way you should have been loved when you played that boom box outside her window. Stop summoning your inner John Cusack.

Focus on all the possibilities out there. In your same age range, if possible. You’ve previously starred in the 20-something soap opera. Are you sure you want to make a return guest appearance trying to play an aging version of Jake Ryan from “Sixteen Candles”? Yes, you can listen to “My Sharona” while you pursue eHarmony.com.

Gen X’ers should be ecstatic. We aren’t home alone anymore. We finally have a president in the White House who came of age wanting his MTV.

Some argue that President Barack Obama is not a Gen X’er, but rather was born on the tail end of the Baby Boomers. No way. He was born in 1961, which some scholars pinpoint as the start of this generation and the end of the Baby Boomers. Obama’s mother was a Baby Boomer, which clearly makes him a member of the next generation.

Obama aligns perfectly with us. He loves his Blackberry and iPod. He likes pop culture – after all, he appeared on “The View,” didn’t he? A few years ago, he even had his picture taken in front of the Superman statue in Metropolis, Ill. He likes casual Fridays. That’s totally awesome. No doubt, he dreams of a Ferris Bueller kind of day in Chicago.

But true to generational form, he isn’t exactly having the best of luck in his job. He’s not alone. An ailment of Generation X? Bad luck. In love. In finances. In life.

It may be this generation is fated for misfortune. We are also known as the spooky 13th Generation –the 13th generation familiar with the American flag. According to statistics, we could care less about the country’s leaders. Ironically, Generation X is the most educated of all other living generations, according to a the 2009 Census Bureau survey. The winner here? Student loan collectors. Just ask Obama. He owed on his until he landed a book deal a few years ago.

In 1990, William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote “Generations,” a book that “describes a cyclical theory of history based on repeating generational archetypes.” The book points out that Generation X is a “reactive” generation. The authors even hint that some connection exists between Generation X births and the devil-child movies of the 1960 and 1970s. Are we all “Rosemary’s Baby“?

The “reactive generation” label is not good news for Gen X until we’re too old to care. The authors wrote: “A Nomad (or Reactive) generation is born during an Awakening, spends its rising adult years during an Unraveling, spends midlife during a Crisis, and spends old age in a new High.” The crisis, according to the authors, that we’re facing: The War on Terror. Obama is dealing with that in spades. Bummer.

Gen X guys, there’s hope. We’ll have a rockin’ retirement home rendezvous. See you when REM plays the rest home tour.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

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