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Posts Tagged ‘generation x

Christine O’Donnell: Don’t Hide From Your Witchy Generation X Past

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Christine O’Donnell is the Forrest Gump of politics.

In 1996, she popped up on MTV in a special talking about the sin of masturbation. In the late 1990s, she appeared on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect 22 times, according to Maher, and once even cracked sex jokes with Ben Affleck.

O’Donnell, 41, is the new Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Delaware. She is also a Generation X candidate, leaving a cyber trail like many in the Rock the Vote generation. They supported a host of causes – anti-apartheid, AIDS treatment, sexual abstinence and, in O’Donnell’s case, anti-masturbation.

Christine O'Donnell, Republican candidate for Senate in DelawareHer appearances on Maher’s shows in the heyday of the Monica Lewinsky scandal are now being scrutinized. Maher says he will release an episode a week until O’Donnell agrees to come on his HBO show “Real Time.” As Politics Daily’s Matt Lewis reported Maher put out a clip Friday that had not previously aired showing O’Donnell discussing — gasp! — witchcraft.

“I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do,” she said.

She continued: “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”

Oh, Christine. Don’t feel bad. I have a pack of tarot cards hiding in a drawer somewhere. Friends of mine congregated in cemeteries in high school and held séances while listening to The Smiths. (So far, none of them has decided to run for public office, however.)

As many Generation X’ers have discovered, comments and actions made at 20-something, sound crazy when you’re 40-something and in politics. In the age of mass media, it’s as hard to undo youthful Goth and Satan indiscretions as later reconsidered love for Amy Grant or Stryper. (For whatever comfort it’s worth, it’ll be even harder for the Facebook app-happy generation Y when they decide to run for office. Stay tuned for status updates about anarchy, the high school principal and sex will return to haunt them in an opponent’s campaign ad.)

Regardless of her prior position on masturbation or witchcraft, O’Donnell is to be admired and feared by Democrats. She’s quickly become a household name in the vein of Sarah Palin, and she’s raised more than $1 million dollars in a few days. Compared to the fem phenom, who even knows her opponent’s name? (It’s Chris Coons.)

O’Donnell seized her Christian causes and ran straight to national TV with them. The often acerbic Maher has said she could go further than Palin because she’s not as mean. IShe landed on Maher’s shows numerous times to debate some of the biggest stars of the 1990s. In one segment, she appeared with Rev. Jerry Falwell discussing Christian fundamentalism and the Bible.

In 1999, on Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” she ordered Ben Affleck around like he was her houseboy while discussing Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.

According to a transcript (so far a video has not surfaced), Affleck said, “I just want to ask you one question.”

O’Donnell responded, “Yeah, get on your knees.”

Now that’s a bold woman. Affleck was then one of the biggest stars in America, having just won an Academy Award a few years earlier for “Good Will Hunting.”

Of Clinton’s questionable ways, O’Donnell said, “Let me tell you, that’s a sad commentary about our country, if adulterers are fighting for their rights now.”

Affleck retorted, “I got it. I know what it is. You know why it bothers you so much? ‘Cause you have a certain, like, Monica flair about you.”

Where will O’Donnell’s past turn up next? Will she embrace her earlier incarnations or flee them? On Saturday, her campaign announced she had canceled two scheduled appearances on national Sunday news shows, (CBS’s “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday”). Instead, her campaign said she would be attending church functions.

As if she could suddenly avoid TV, Christine declined the limelight.

For someone who has never been shy expressing opinions, it seems disingenuous to become demure now that she has a shot at real political power. Meantime her campaign should be a lesson for future Generation X candidates. Watch out. Your virtual chickens — along with the big poodle hair — are coming home to roost.

Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm

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.

Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Advice to Lonely Gen X Men: Lose the ‘What ifs’ and Past Loves

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It’s an epidemic lately: the wistful what-if.

My Generation X guy pals are consumed by this ailment. “What if I had asked so-and-so to marry me 10 years ago?”
“What if I had agreed to the baby . . . would she have stayed?”
“What if I had moved to Seattle and not stayed close to family?”

Oh, the laments. They play like a Nirvana song among the never-married or divorced former slacker boys.

When I read Andrew Cohen’s Politics Daily piece about the love of his life marrying someone else, the same symptoms popped up. I immediately wanted to invite him out for a beer and listen as he talked about the girl he would one day meet, the one who wants to live on a farm with wireless connections.

Many of my friends have unwillingly assumed the eternal bachelor role. Young marriages they believed would last forever ended badly with baggage. In some instances, marriage was placed on the back burner to travel with a garage band that never hit the charts or a law career that surpassed their wildest judicial dreams. Either way, they are saddled with singleness and have no one to share coffee with on Sunday mornings.

Not that it’s a picnic for women, but aging is rough on men. Men tend to lose their hair quicker and more frequently than women – a constant reminder every time they look in the mirror. Unlike women, most men are too vain to lather their face in wrinkle-reducing moisturizer. Women are lucky. We can hide our imperfections with makeup. Men, well, not so much. With cougars looking ten years younger and seeking younger men, 40-something men are left with only 20-something dreams to keep them warm.

One oft-pursued solution: Seek out the young things, like their female cougar counterparts do. I have two single male friends – a never-married and a divorced – who vie continuously for the attentions of an artsy 20-something woman around town. When I told one of them that he was old enough to be her father, he looked at me as if I’d uttered a dead language. I could see him calculating the math in his head. The result, while accurate, was a mood killer.

The Generation X men I know instantly fall in love with the college student who smiles at them at a coffee shop or the tattooed punk rocker they watched playing her guitar in a bar. They friend them on Facebook and cyberstalk them until the wee hours of the morning. These days, middle-aged crushes come as fast as one-night stands did 20 years ago.

A mid-life crisis is nothing new. But for Generation X, it will be extremely painful. Men in their 40s didn’t know what they wanted in their 20s. Be a slacker like Ethan Hawke in “Reality Bites,” or have a beautiful house with a beautiful wife? Now, lost in their 40s, it’s the same as it ever was. And Baby Boomers’ material possessions – the Corvette and a trophy wife – won’t cure it.

Gen X men, here’s some free advice. Abandon “what if” and the past loves. “What if” is for young, lonely, tortured poets in slim jeans and ripped rock T-shirts. It looks good on them, not on you. Trust me. Write a letter or poem if you must, but put it in a box and set it afire in the bathtub. For heavens sake, don’t let anyone else see it.

Stop living in the post-college years. Abandon REM’s greatest hits — at least for a little while. Update the wardrobe. What looked cool on you 20 years ago (yes, I said 20 years ago) doesn’t have the same edge today. You may catch the eye of the young, indie chicklette, but she may not be what you really want for the long haul.

Here’s a toast to Andrew. Unlike many men, he knows what he wants. Now step away from the keyboard and go find her.

Written by suziparker1313

March 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Kickball: Where the XX Rules

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Kickball changed my life.

Yes, that playground game with the big rubber ball. As Annie Savoy opined in Bull Durham, “The only church that truly feeds the soul – day in, day out – is the Church of Baseball.”

The same could be said about kickball.

I tried for years to find fellowship at church, but for some reason, sharing coffee and talking about the Bible didn’t really fulfill me. Not that I turned my back on God. I still attend church but I don’t go to make long-lasting friendships over scripture and donuts.

Sunday afternoon kickball has taught me a lot about life.

I never played organized sports as a kid or adult. While a lot of girls got deeply into softball, gymnastics or tennis, I focused on the artsy stuff – journalism, rock stars and art. As an adult, organized sports didn’t woo me either. Who wanted to hang out with a lot of jocks when I was as far from that as a martian?

Five years ago, my partner-in-crime, Glen, and I decided to join the Little Rock Kickball Association – a league created for those who had never really played sports. The Eco-Savants were born, our team’s name because Glen loves the planet and some team members worked for local enviro groups. We joined up and entered the “competitive league.” Why not, I thought: how hard could kickball be?

Pretty damn hard, come to find out. People around here take kickball very seriously. We didn’t win a single game that first season, and jumped down to the “laid-back league” where people dressed in costumes and drank more beer. We lost a lot of players those first couple of years and our team roster was in a constant state of flux.

Then three years ago, something magical happened. We joined the newly-formed novice league, said adios to Mardi Gras-like costumes and added some new players. I began to understand the sports team mentality that athletes know well – how teams are like families and how people have each other’s back both on the field and off. Our team sticks together through win or loss, death and injury.

The most amazing thing about our team is the absence of sexism. We have fourteen players – seven boys and seven girls. The guys on our team don’t believe that simply because you’ve got the XX that you can’t play as hard or good as the guys.

That’s not true on the other teams. You’ll hear “That girl can’t catch the ball.” And oh, how that team rues it when one of our kickball goddesses does.

The Eco girls can hold their own with any guy on the team. They can match them beer for beer and catch for catch. But aside from boy versus girl, I’ve discovered the true meaning of friendship with this team.

We always watch out for Melanie, a petite pilates instructor who is a diabetic, and make sure her blood sugar stays in check. Her husband, Josh, a draftsman and musician, guards first base while holding a can of beer and cigarette and keeps the team’s emotions in check. “It’s just kickball,” he’ll say when I get riled up and my pony tails start spinning.

When the team needed new jerseys, Miranda, the team’s artist-in-residence, took the time to silk-screen each one of them. She brings her two-year-old daughter, Olivia, to the field and of course, Olivia wears her own miniature version of the Eco black jersey.

In her mid-forties and a mother of two, Melinda, a/k/a Scrappy, holds down third base and seldom allows anyone to advance home. She is tiny, strong and an ultimate Frisbee player who is faster than most women half her age.

I’m by no means a great player. I’ve improved over the years, and last year caught all three outs in one inning. I felt like an Olympian who had just captured a gold medal. For all the bylines and adventures I’ve had, that will always be a big part of my life’s mental highlight reel.

Our team, for all of its eclectic misfits – some tattooed, some not, some religious, some not, some college educated, some not – is an urban tribe whose members support each other fiercely. 

Last year when my dad died unexpectedly, the team rallied around my mom and me more than a lot of family members did. When my mom doesn’t show up for a game, everyone asks about her. They hug her relentlessly when they see her. They’ve made her a part of this motley team of misfits. For a 78-year-old widow, these new friendships have created a whole new life for her.

It’s nearly the end of the nine-game season, and only one more regular season game is left. Luckily, we’re in the playoffs – a rarity since we’re usually the Bad News Bears. That extra game buys us at least another week of on-field comradeship.

As our league leader – the Grand Poo – likes to say, it’s about “the spirit of the big red ball.” Everyone, at some level, is searching for the spirit. It’s often said that God is everywhere. I just happened to find him between the chalk lines in a dusty city park.

Written by suziparker1313

March 2, 2011 at 6:08 pm