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X versus Y: The New Generation Gap

July 28, 2011

“Maybe that makes my generation unique- the one that remembers before MTV and after… and then before the Internet and after.  The generation I see solidifying itself now?  They were born connected- plopped out into the late nineties, into the land of Everything That Ever Was Is Available from Now On.  What crass acronym will we slap on the thumb-sore texting multitudes of the twenty-first century?  The Waifnos?  The Wireds?  Anything’s better than “Gen X,” which is what we got.  Thanks, Douglas Coupland.  We sound like a team of mutant vigilantes with frosted hair and chain wallets.  Actually, that’s not completely horrible.

And neither was being “Gen X.”  We’ll always cherish the stark, before-and-after culture shift of our adolescence.  We had isolation… and then access.  Drought and then deluge.  Three channels and then fifty.  CBs and then chat rooms.  And our parents didn’t have time, in the beginning, to sift through the “Where is all this new stimulus coming from?” and decide what was beyond our emotional grasp.  Thus, the mishmash.  Six-color cartoons, but with and edge of gray and maroon.  YA literature laced with sex and violence.  A generation gifted with confusion, unease, and then revelation.

Not anymore, I guess.  It seems that every TV show, movie, song, and website for the generation following me involves protagonists who’ve been fucking, killing, and cracking wise about fucking and killing since before anyone even showed up to watch them.  I’m sure that will yield some bizarre new films, books, and music- stuff I can’t even imagine…”

~from Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt

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