Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The ? Generation

We, the generation born roughly between 1975 and 1987, have been haled as “The Boomerang Generation,” “The MTV Generation,” “Generation Y,” and “The Internet Generation,” but these labels feel half-baked and ill fitting for a group as diverse and soon to be illustrious as we. Try desperately as they may, Ad executives and befuddled sociologists can’t pin us down into a neat and orderly category. However, this isn’t going to stop them from exhausting their lackluster creative minds and bestowing upon us some crap label.

So, if anybody is going to pin a donkey of a name onto our generation it might as well be us. Here’s some events that have occurred during our lifetimes and some influences that have shaped our generation’s consciousness (in an attempted but failed chronological order).

MTV and the rise of the music video, fall of the Berlin Wall, the Hubble Telescope, the heartbreaking gap between Bill Buckner’s legs, The Challenger Space Shuttle, NASA gets boring, a little show gets picked up and it’s called “Saved by the Bell,” 90210, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper, Clintonian dynasty, Gangster Rap, Grunge Music, the internet, Global Warming, Friends, a family named Bundy, hair bands, two wars in Iraq, two Bush administrations, the rise and falls of Chris Farley, the AIDS epidemic, the bane of Political Correctness, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Ace Ventura, The Keatons, The Seavers, a Full House, and when asked Who’s the Boss?, Charles in Charge, Pamela Anderson, Michael Jordan, OJ Simpson, 2000 Election, Queer Eyes, Reality Television, and 9/11.

Honorable Mention: SARS

Personally, I am partial to "The We Generation", based upon the sentiment that the tragedies of September 11th and the ensuing paranoia have forged us into a unified, engaged, and socially responsible generation, tempered by terror and wary of the future consequences of our society's actions and policies. Don't get me wrong, my identity and that of my friends was formed primarily in the fun-loving 90's, when government mistrust began with The X-Files and ended in our president's lap. Our inchoate selves, however, have been funneled precipitously through the rude awakening of the past six years. How we will be defined through the gaze of history has yet to be fully realized, but it will come from our attempts to find solutions.

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