As generational stereotypes go, I nominate Gen X to be, without a doubt, known as "The Coolest Generation."
[Editor’s note: this piece is written by a card-carrying member of Gen X, born in 1977]
Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) started off on the right track with the hippie movement in the ‘60s, but soon became the folks that brought us the “Me Decade,” yuppies, and President Trump.
According to author Bruce Gibney, Baby Boomers are guilty of generational plunder. “The boomers inherited a rich, dynamic country and have gradually bankrupted it," he writes.
Millennials (1980 to 2000) are definitely the most socially responsible generation Americans have ever seen, but they also created vapid selfie culture and they're easily the most boring generation we’ve ever had to endure.
Why Gen X is the coolest generation.
Gen X (1965 to 1979) created a unique brand of cool based on do-it-yourself (DIY) aesthetics. We gave the middle finger to the mall and shopped at used clothing stores. Listened to stripped down indie rock, punk, and hip-hop created with two turntables and a microphone.
Detached, cynical and with a love of irony, Gen X embraced rebels, slackers and misfits.
C’mon, is there a Millennial icon that’s half as cool as Tupac Shakur, Kurt Cobain, Quentin Tarantino, Beastie Boys, or Winona Ryder in "Heathers" or "Reality Bites"?
Generation X is the last generation to bridge the divide between analog and digital worlds.
“Generation X, the last Americans schooled in the old manner, the last Americans that know how to fold a newspaper, take a joke, and listen to a dirty story without losing their minds,” Rich Cohen wrote in Vanity Fair. “We are the last Americans to have the old-time childhood. It was coherent, hands-on, dirty, and fun.”
Rex Sorgatz asked Twitter “What's the most Gen X thing you ever did?” and, if you’re not part of Gen X, the responses will help you grasp what this smaller generation was all about. And, if you’re from Gen X, you will nod your head in agreement.
Here are three from my life to get things started:
- I dyed my hair blue using a pack of Kool-Aid to go to a punk show.
- I was knocked out at Lollapalooza ‘94 after being round housed by a woman in a mosh pit during A Tribe Called Quest’s set. (People moshed to everything back then, even laid-back jazzy hip-hop.)
- A girl I went to raves with in the '90s married MTV VJ Jesse Camp.
- In middle school I bought a pair of ZCavaricci pants with wings. (This was a few years before the grunge revolution and it was still Hammertime all the time.)