Thursday, September 25, 2008


There’s been a fair amount of talk about the historical nature of the nominations this election year, and with good reason. Barring the unexpected, it looks like an African American or a woman will occupy the executive branch for the next four years. We’ve recognized and celebrated this, and it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do so.

However, we haven’t said much about another fact represented by both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

They’re young!

Depending on where we set the mark, both Obama and Palin can be categorized as GENERATION X. (AKA the 13th Generation)

Remember us?

“Slackers,” the “unsung generation,” a bunch of self-centered and fickle kids with “a hazy sense of [our] own identity.”

Douglas Coupland, the novelist who popularized the term, was born in 1961. Palin was born in ’64, the same year as Rob Lowe and Obama. Demi Moore was born in ’62, the same year as David Foster Wallace, whom we lost recently.

We’re getting old guys, and I personally lament that fact on an almost-daily basis. But the other side is that we’re stepping forward—albeit hesitantly—onto the social, literary, and political stage. People are starting to listen to us.

Holy crap! Is it our turn already? Are we real, full-fledged grown-ups?

What will we do with our brief blip in history?

Stay tuned.

2 comments:

ElectionObserver said...

Actually, Obama and Palin are members of Generation Jones (born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Xers), as many major media venues have noted. Click here to see a 5 minute video featuring around 20 top political journalist (from Time Mag, NYTimes, etc.) talking about Obama and Palin as GenJonesers, and why GenJones is key to the '08 election:
http://www.generationjones.com/2008election.html

Ric said...

Fair enough, although people from this new catagory have been and still are identified on the fringes of the Boomer and X genrations. But your point is well taken. Thanks for the link. Here's Coupland on the subject.

"Jonathan has it right. My book 'Generation X' was about the fringe of Generation Jones which became the mainstream of Generation X. There is a generation between the Boomers and Xers, and 'Generation Jones' - what a great name for it!"