I called them the igeneration
Ok Dr. Jean was the first — but I swear I didn’t know
What was I doing in 2007? Well for the one thing I was about to make the most severe change of my entire life — second only to dropping out of college to start a BMX bike company at 19 (as told in my latest film 30 Bikes btw), Trailer here.
So maybe because I’d left my suit-and-tie advertising job for a completely unknown future, I sensed the content-creation world I was entering would require content (shocking), and therefore started a blog.
The word alone still turns many limp.
Ok, a journal. That better?
And for some reason generations and generational differences were on my mind. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe because I’d just made my first film, Dill, California employing a *mostly* free cast and crew — ie. college kids, who were a full generation younger than me.
Maybe that got me thinking.
The post I’m sharing today was on blogger, which I think I still have a few straggling posts up on, but I swear to you, in September of 2007 I had never heard the term igen, and I’d never heard of Dr. Jean Twenge.
Who is Dr. Jean? A pretty famous sociologist who coined the term igen in her first book Generation Me, April of 2006.
Ahh timing.. always my nemesis.
Original post September 1st, 2007 via wordpress (updated Sept. 1, 2012 on blogger)
When I was growing up, somewhere along the line, someone came up with “Generation X,” or “Slackers.” The latter was partly due to the Richard Linklater movie of the same name (he also did “Dazed and Confused,” “Suburbia,” and “Before Sunrise,” all movies about.. you guessed it -Slackers). I rejected the label at the time, but maybe I should thank whoever gave it to my generation, because it made me want to be anything but.. even though, yes, I happen to be more of a driven, ‘type-whatever’ personality regardless but… whatever. Hey — that could be a generation too! The whatever generation!
Ok, ok, enough blabbering… without further ado:
Alden’s theory of generations:
The Feather Generation
You missed Vietnam: Congratulations! Though some of you seem bitter even at having been so close to it — or maybe, you’re bitter that you’ve got no one to blame for the things in your life that haven’t gone right. Either way, you didn’t go to San Francisco with flowers in your hair, instead you ‘feathered’ your hair as soon as you were old enough to disco. Guys, girls, doesn’t matter, I’ve seen the yearbook pictures. You parted it in the middle, feathered it on the sides, and to this day you’ve got an argumentative streak for those that didn’t understand. But mainly, this generation usually liked Styx. I didn’t miss anything.
The Star Wars Generation
If you were old enough to remember seeing ANY of the original three Star Wars movies in a theatre, this is you. You grew up on School House Rock, (and actually you learned more from that than you ever did in school), Pop Rocks, and Michael Jackson. Actually this could also be the Pepsi Generation, but I’d rather name it after a movie than a soft drink. You might remember Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, or Primus, and you definitely knew about the Red Hot Chili Peppers before anyone else did. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Sixteen Candles, Caddy Shack, The Breakfast Club, Say Anything — man we had it good! Billy Idol, Billy Joel, Billy Ocean and Billy Dee Williams. You may have played Dungeons and Dragons (although I didn’t), bought 501 Jeans, tried to shrink them-to-fit, and/ or remember when U2 were NOT a household name and when Oakley made bike parts but not sunglasses. You played on your Commodore 64 or Atari, or even the original Nintendo. You possibly read The Lord of the Rings way before the movies, and read Catcher in the Rye but didn’t kill anyone over it. While maybe not full-on Slackers, some of you did take a little longer figuring this life thing out, either that, or it’s just that being a teenager was that much more fun. Rock on.
The MTV Generation
Ok, surely these years overlap quite a bit, so don’t get in a big tizzy. But if you were born in the late seventies and early eighties, the significance is, that you don’t EVER remember when MTV WASN’T around. Thus we begin the ‘have-it-whenever-I-want-it’ mentality which, with the iphone just released, is reaching it’s zenith. The funny thing about ‘some’ members of this generation, is that, much like the earlier generation that had bitter feelings about Vietnam, even though they should have been thankful they didn’t go through it, this generation doesn’t really understand the eighties. Oh, sure, some still appreciate a good Bon Jovi Arena-Rock anthem, and you might have played Pitfall on your older brothers’ Atari, but most don’t really get the fake-ness of it all, the hair bands, the over-the-top fashions, the Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, even Steven Tyler rags and trashy look thing, just doesn’t make sense. Wall Street? Gordon Gecko? They seem to ask “why,” when they should be asking “who cares, just go for it.” In reality they could also be called the Nirvana Generation for the significance of the musical change that took place in the early 90’s. Now I don’t want to neglect the other parts of culture completely, and this generation came of age with the Berlin wall coming down, grunge music taking over, and Republicans running the White House for a long -long time. Saturday Night Live had a second wind with the emergence of Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, and others, though some of this generation still didn’t seem to appreciate ‘Wayne’s World.’ Basically this generation is caught a little in the middle, not really eighties, not really nineties, maybe that’s why Weezer’s Buddy Holly song was so popular, looking back was just starting to take off. Wee-Ooo
The Britney Spears Generation
I know, I know, she fell so fast, but such is the mark of the future, ridin’ high on Monday, shot down in May — oh wait that’s the past — shoot! This generations’ significance is that without knowing it they were’nt reinventing, they were just re-hashing the early eighties all over again. Sure they don’t want to admit that Britney Spears was just a hotter version of Cyndi Lauper or Tiffany, but the musical simplicity that took place in the late 90’s, ie Hanson, Britney, Blink 182, Sugar Ray, etc.. was a response to Pearl Jam and Nirvana’s taking life so seriously, making walking to the coffee shop to beg for spare change and roaches akin to crossing the river styx or marching from a war torn country in 1924 with everything SO dark and depressing and serious and mournful and oh-my-gosh-my-parents-never-did-whatever-with-me-and-what-did-Jeremy-spoke-anyway and etc… This possibly could also be called the Sept. 11 Gen. but — well I’d rather not. This generation actually appreciates the eighties, the guys love Metallica, maybe Def Leppard, DEFINITELY Guns ’n’ Roses, and the girls LOVE Bon Jovi — that’s why they had a little resurgence there with “It’s My Life.” You remember Leonardo and Johnny D before they were big, and maybe even Jennifer Lopez and Jim Carrey. You barely remember that Arsenio Hall had a talk show, and even if you do, you should really try to forget it. This generation also grew up looking back, when VH1’s “Remember the…” Series became big and game shows became popular again, ie… Who wants to be a Millionaire. Could this also be called the ‘Real World’ generation? Maybe but I don’t think MTV deserves two. The Real World broke the reality TV thing, or at least started it off, maybe even a few years before its’ time. You remember that blonde cowboy from the San Diego house, and Puck from San Francisco. You grew up when things were still a little innocent, bicycle helmets weren’t quite required, you could still walk the streets at night, smoking was allowed in some restaurants, steroids were being done in sports but no one would find out for quite a while. In fact, now that I think of it, that’s a pretty apt description of the nineties and early 00’s — the wool over the eyes. Think about it — Everybody have fun tonight — everybody Wang Chung tonight.
The Reality Generation
This one is easy, everything has gone “reality” crazy. You grew up on Jackass and on any and every realty show format imaginable. You probably could also be the Harry Potter generation — if for nothing else than for the fact that reading is semi-popular again. Could you also be the igeneration? Maybe, but that’s part of the point, is that as soon as you are labeled, you’ll have already changed. You grew up with 9/11 being similar to JFK as in “do you remember where you were when….?” American Idol is a family bonding moment for you, and the Mission Impossible series was your “Die Hard.” Jim Carrey is for you, unfortunately not as funny anymore — sorry you missed it, and Freddie Prinze, I mean Zack Braff, I mean Shia LeBouf, I mean Joseph — Gordon — whoever — oh it’s changing so fast — will be your movie heroes for the next few years. To you Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, and Chevy Chase are just ‘some old dudes’ and you definitely don’t remember where THAT quote came from (although to your credit some of you are re-discovering it). You’ve pretty much written off the past, written off remembering it, and seem to be tired of hearing how your generation is so such-and-such, or changing, or has everything available to it, etc… Your motto seems to be, ‘look, this is the way it is, so deal with it.’ Don’t waste my precious time trying to convince me how cool things were when you were growing up, because now is the time, and Right Here and Right Now is all that matters.
-b2000 — present
Yes, I would have loved to have found a way to get through this without any perfectly-tuned silver worship thrown towards the “created in Cupertino” company with a fruity name, but it’s getting nearly impossible. Ten years ago you didn’t own a ipod, but you knew someone who did. Five years ago you didn’t own an iphone, but you knew someone who did. And yes, you guessed it, two years ago same thing goes for the ipad. Is that the curse of our current generation? Not that it is tethered to cool shiny over priced gadgets, but that everything begins with “I?” What was I doing that I can share on facebook? What was I thinking that I can share on twitter? What did I find that I can tag on pinterest? And so on and so on. Thanks in part to Obama (ok and Lady Gaga) you may be slightly more “engaged” in typically adult concerns, grassroots activism, global economic issues, etc.. but that could also prove to just be a huge front, ie. it’s “cool.” Do you still know how to be a kid? How to successfully rebel? Do the names Henry Rollins or Joe Strummer mean anything to you? My guess is your idea of rebelliousness is pulling of your top shirt when you win a soccer match. It used to be that the bad kids rode stolen bikes and smoked cigarettes that they stole from the corner liquor store. Now, bad kids can be spotted with large black headphones, as opposed to small, white in-ear models. To you, music isn’t stolen, it’s shared, all comedies come from Todd Philips or Judd Apatow — no one else, and if you can’t breeze through a bestselling book about hungry teenagers while at a stoplight, it’s probably not worth reading.
The good news? The entitlement vibe seems to be wearing off. The bad news? Anybody that says ANYTHING against you in an online and therefore “permanent” way might as well have told you when and how your family would be killed. From Katy to Kanye, Gaga to Solo, even the president can’t resist a childish response, however appropriate, implying that he owns his position, as opposed to the folks who elected him.
But cheer up — Katy’s a redhead, Vick is injured again, drug users though rich are still being penalized and stripped of titles, and catchy pop songs can still be simple sweet summer hits. I know we haven’t met, and I’m still without a career, but hash my tweet, and let’s just have a beer. (to the tune of Call Me Maybe.. by Carly Rae J.)
the end (for now)