Generation-X, Baby Boomer, who makes this crap up?

Is there a “calendar”?

Who makes up this lingo? Who coined these terms?

What is the next “generation” called?

i think some dude wrote a book about ‘generation x’ - about how nothing really defines our generation and the name just stuck.

The news idiots make this stuff up. They’re always looking for buzz words to use. I think they have people on staff who sit around all day, picking at mundane articles and dreaming up ways to hype them into something catchy, whether or not the truth is stretched in the process.

Sometime after the 60s, or during them, news reporting went from expressing the facts to sensationalism and by the late 70s, it was buzz word city! (Remember when the news could not get along in the 80s without ‘interfacing’, ‘uploading’, ‘downloading’, or ‘networking’?)

Canadian author Douglas Coupland wrote a book called Generation X back in 1991. It was pretty popular and the label stuck through repetition use in the popular media. I have a book from the same period called “13th Gen”. As in the 13th generation since the American Revolution. “Thirteeners” didn’t create the same buzz and now its forgotten.

The generation after X (basically people born after 1980…I tend to use the question “Do you have any real conscious memory of Ronald Reagan as president?”) is most commonly refered to as Generation Y. The Gen13 guys offered up “Millenial” or “Babies-on-Board” based on the iffy hypothesis that somehow kids born in the '80s were somehow more cherished by their parents than the poor '70s kids.

My very first thread on the SDMB was about this. I’m still annoyed.

“Baby Boomer” is supposed to refer to people born between about 1946 and 1964, when there was an anomalously high birth rate (postwar prosperity, one assumes), peaking in 1955 (the year I was born).
But the media always treats it as if the Baby Boomers were all born in 1946.
Boomers were all raised watching Mickey Mouse Club and Daniel Boone on the TV, then became hippies and protested the war and went to Woodstock, but then they settled down in the 70s, wore ridiculous fashions and went to discos, then became yuppies. Now they’re all retiring.
Except it ain’t that way. MOST of us were way too young for that. Daniel Boone and Howdy Doody was before our time. We were WAY too young to go to Woodstock or experience “the summer of love” in 1967. (Boomers born in 1964 were only 3!)We’re still a long way from retirement.

All my life I’ve felt “behind the times”, but it’s only because the media only recognizes the start of the Boomers, and has ignored the rest of us. The same pattern, I think holds for the “Gen X’ers”.

Yes, the same does hold for GenX. I’m on the tail end of GenX (1977), and I sometimes get lumped with the new generation…well, I guess GenY (the dumbest coining of a generation to date!) is pretty much over now…what are the people being born now?


Man, you were FOURTEEN and you didn’t go to Woodstock?!?

I have no complaints about being born in 1960. As many social historians have pointed out, most of the “Sixties” actually happened in the 1970s. By the time I was sexually active, the Sexual Revolution was old news and everyone just ASSUMED you would go ahead and screw like minks in heat about fifteen minutes after the formal introductions. And good drugs were inexpensive and easily available.

And I was able to avoid the ridiculous '70s fashions by pretending it was still the '60s. I got through wearing Levi’s and all-cotton workshirts…the “Working Class Hero” look.

Hey, Cal—I’m two years younger than you, and I was at the big Be-In in Central Park in spring '67, the lead-in to the Summer of Love! Bought a real set of love beads from a real hippie, too. I was the grooviest ten-year-old in school.

Sadly, though, I was the right age for the agonizingly hilarious Nehru jacket minidress, Vidal Sassoon haircut “mod” look of the late '60s. All photos have since been burned.

Eve said:

All photos have since been burned.

Too bad. I’ll bet you were a cute 10-year-old hippie chick. Probably even looked good in a Nehru jacket with a mod haircut.

But you still make my point. You really can’t be a 10 year old hippie. (And unless you have accommodating friends who drive, you can’t get to Woodstock, N.Y. as a 12 year old from central Jersey. It’s a hell of a walk.) We couldn’t have been involved in what the media myth seems to hold as major occurrences in our lives.

It WAS easier to have the sexual revolution fought for before we got there, as Uke points out (not that it did ME a bit of good), and I was spared the whole Draft issue (there wasn’t any possibility of my being sent to 'Nam). But that all left me feeling undefined – I didn’t seem to belong to “my” generation. The irony is that MOST of “my” generation didn’t, either.

Well, some historical perspective, since this IS GQ. I’m sure the generation-naming gag has been around forever. Look at the post-WWI “Lost Generation” (born c1880–1900). I’ll bet a lot of them didn’t feel particularly “lost,” either.

What other “Generations” have there been?

Didn’t “Lost Generation” refer to the ones who were dead, rather than the survivors? War casualties made up a shocking percentage of the male youth of Britain, France, Germany.

I don’t think there was a media-blessed name for the kids who were born 1920-1930, and grew up during the Depression, but they certainly had a common experience…“Don’t throw those breadcrusts away! There are children starving in Winnetka!”


No, F. Scott and Zelda were said to be in the “Lost Generation” – although I’ve never known why. I have a feeling that the whole “generation” thing wasn’t as big or all-inclusive as it is now, though. But I don’t know enough about that time.

The “Lost Generation” were those who lost their ideals after the holocaust of WWI.

Hey, Ike, aren’t you supposed to be on an aeroplane now? Did they leave you Home Alone or somethin’?

Does anyone (perhaps those who own the Coupland book) have hard and fast dates for Gen X membership?

Over the summer, I got into one of the dumbest arguments ever with a snotty 30-something dude who gleefully exclaimed that HE was part of Generation X but that my wife and I, born in 1974 and 1976, respectively, were NOT.

Personally, I use the following cutoff: if you were born before Star Wars (1977), you are in Gen X. My memories seem to have begun when I left the theater.

In recent months, it seems like the media is trying to apply the media-blessed moniker The Greatest Generation to these folks… at least the ones old enough to have served in WW2 (pre-1927) and Korea (pre-1935).

I suppose that to run around at 18 and call yourself a member of “the greatest generation” would be a bit presumptuous.


Hey Eve, I like mod haircuts and Nehru jackets. Of course, I’m 23, so what do I know? I’m not even sure if I’m Gen X or Gen Y (I remember Ron but was born after Star Wars).


Aha! I have the book right here. The inside jacket description says “Finally…frighteningly hilarious, voraciously readable salute to the generation born in the late 1950s and 1960s”, but those things usually suck. The characters are in their mid/late 20s, and the setting seems to be the time of publication (1991). That means the characters would’ve been born in the early/mid sixties. So, someone my age (born in '77) wouldn’t apply.

Also, the story is followed by statistics comparing economics, pubilc opinions, and lifestyle choices in the '60s and 70’s with the late 80’s. So, I guess the book is aimed at people who would’ve become recently disenfranchised in the late '80s. There are also atomic and Cold War references.

FWIW, it’s an entertaining book. I bought it used last year and related too much for comfort, but I wouldn’t have related at all when the book was published (when I was in junior high). Poor Coupland–I don’t think he meant to coin a buzzword. Maybe he should hang out with Ian MacKaye.

Even though I’m pretty late, 1978, I still consider myself Gen X. I mean, I grew up when Reagan was prez, with the Challenger explosion, My Little Ponies, Gorbachev, etc etc.
I meet all the qualifications on those “Children of the 80s” e-mails (which, I admit, I have a softspot for, since I’m like-I REMEMBER THAT!). And in the early 90s, my friends and I were into grunge and stuff like that.

It’s funny, my fiancee and I were just discussing this. I was born in '68, and she was born in '66. Does that makes us baby boomers, gen-x, or what? Is there a definitive list on the web (I couldn’t find one) showing dates.

IIRC, Coupland is none too pleased that the title of his book was lifted to describe a generation. His book never intended to name Generation X, much less deliniate who was a member of it.