The Lost Generation

OK. I’ve been wanting to rant about this for a while but wanted to do some research first. I still haven’t done the research so I’m going to wing it.

First, before you read much further think about the time span of a generation. Then think about which timespan you thing comprises Generation X.

Most people I have talked to say they consider geration X to be people born in the 70’s, maybe including the late 60’s or maybe including the early 80’s. So, I guess since this is something that gets defined by popular opinion, that’s what it is now. However, there was a book called generation X published in 1991 I think (Donald Hofsteader? or something like that). This book describes the generation born in the late 50’s through 60’s. There was a band called Generation X – the lead singer of which was Billy Idol who is now, I think, 40ish.

The phrase Generation X was used in the book and during the late 80’s/early 90’s because these people, also known as “The Lost Generation”, had no cohesive identity and seemed to be forgotten by advertisers and the media in general. The phrase as it is used today seems to me to mean Generation eXtreme, the Mountain Dew generation. I asked someone what she thought it meant and she said she thought it was like in algebra, generation X and the next would be Y and then Z. My mom (age 63) tells me that she remembers her uncle calling her Generation Why? in the 40’s because she asked so many questions. I suspect this has been a bit of a joke for sometime but has gained additional popularity because of how “Why?” follows “X” so nicely. The person I asked didn’t realize that Generation Why? would be spelled that way, so the joke was lost.

So, what I’m saying is that the generation born in the late 50’s through 60’s is now even more lost and forgotten. Our claim to fame as the lost and the forgotten has been so mangled as to not even refer to us any more. Some people think we’re part of the Baby Boomers for Fuck’s Sake. As if my Father was old enough to fight in WWII. He was 8 years old when it was over!

Does anyone even give a shit?! Mostly when I talk about this to my younger friends they tune me out. It’s so easy to be invisible. Doesn’t this bother anyone else?! I mean, I have made my own identity, I don’t need a media approved one. I’ve been a part of this lost generation my whole life and I’ve learned to deal with it. Sometimes, though, I just want an advertisement directed at ME just an acknowledgement that people like me exist. Until I get very wealthy or join one of the media approved stereotypes, it’ll never happen. I’m lost. I’m forgotten. I can’t think of any advantages to that.

I remember you buying that book about this at Myopic, Vile.
I also remember being one of those Evil Youngins who tuned you out. :smiley:

Now, that I’ve ranted I’m thinking about this in a more sane manner. I’m thinking that this is the best thing that could happen, and it’s a result of good things. We’re too young for Vietnam, too old for Desert Storm. We worried about Herpes and AIDS, and now terrorism, but didn’t really get killed off in anything like significant numbers. We didn’t do anything so radical as to draw attention. So, screw yall. Anonymity rules!

I was born in 1961 and am definitely a Genration Xer, if that has any menaing beyond a marketing demographic. Folks my age were too young for Vietnam and too old for raves.

Er . . . not to be too nitpicky, since this seems to be a sore subject with you, but I hope by “some people” you meant “most people.” The Baby Boom is generally accepted to have comprised the period 1946-1964. By the measures by which the popular culture usually views these things, the generation born in the late 50’s through the 60’s is part of the Baby Boomer generation.

Again, I can’t say as I’ve seen Xers extensively referred to as the “Lost Generation,” although maybe the “Forgotten Generation.” The Lost Generation, popularly speaking, is generally used to refer to disaffected, anti-materialist Americans in the 20’s and early 30’s, many of whom became expats and moved to Paris.

Yeah but we had the music…night fe-ver, night fev-eeeeer

Admit it.

You just want to fight with me again.

jarbabyj — proud Gen Xer born in '72

No, hon, we only tune you out when you start talking about Baltimore. :smiley:

Isn’t there some formula you can use for whether you are part of Generation X?

Take the number of black shoes you own currently, divide by the number of Converse All Stars you have owned in your lifetime, mulitplied by the number of times you copied “Dark Side of the Moon” onto a tape for your friends. Add ten points if you owned a U2 album prior to “The Joshua Tree.” Add ten more points if you recall seeing Star Wars on the big screen, but were too old to really collect action figures. Add 10 points if all of the above is true AND you were out of diapers during the Watergate hearings. Subtract 100 points if you identify strongly with any characters in a John Hughes film.

Oh, and isn’t the book by Douglas Copeland? That name sticks in my mind for some reason.

The book “Generation X” was written by Douglas Coupland. The people in it were in their early 20s and therefor born in the early 70s or late 60s.

Another (less popular) phrase to descibe this group is “Busters” After the baby Boom, there was a period of time in which very few babies were born – the Baby Bust. When I was born in 1975 (the end of the bust) hospitals were competing to get pregnant women to give birth at their facilities. IMHO you can be a Buster without being an Xer, since the whole idea of Generation X had a lot of imagery wrapped up in “Slackers,” aimlessness, and the recession of the early 90s.

Because a new Boom (sometimes called the Boomlet or the Echo Boom) began in the early 80s, no people born post 1980 (IMHO) can be considered Busters or X-ers. The parents of these kids were Boomers who waited longer than previously typical to reproduce. These kids are sometimes called “Generation Y” right now, although Douglas Coupland called them something like “Millenium kids” in his book “Shampoo Planet” on account of the fact they would come of age around the turn of the millenium.

Basically, Busters are not a large cohort of people, and they do not, as a group, like being marketed to. For these reasons, media and marketing people tend to ignore them, and focus on the much larger, much more marketing friendly, Boomers, and their children, the Echo Boomers.
-rmariamp, who grew up around sociologists and market researchers.

You might be of the Xer mentality, but physically you’re a Boomer. I was born in '68 and don’t consider myself an Xer. The late '60s marked the time when Boomers first started having children of their own. If not for my parents being in their 40s when I was born, I’d be an Echo.

The trouble with that definition is it also takes in my older brother and me, and we were born in 1956 and 1958. I guess that makes us late era boomers. While definitely not Gen Xers, as lifelong rock music fans we really identified with much of the great music that was coming out in the early '90’s, more commonly associated with Gen X.

On the other hand, there is some justification for lumping the late-stage boomers in with Gen-X. Some of us may be considered baby boomers, but we pretty much missed out on hippie culture, and the legendary bands of the 60’s are, in a way, only legends to us, as we could only listen to their records, being too young to go to concerts. And economically, we late vintage boomers faced the same obstacles as younger generations, such as not being able to afford houses in the neighborhoods where we grew up.

Born in 1959. I was always amazed how people my age avoided fame and notoriety altogether. Well, I just found out one (one!) famous person born in 1959: Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam War Memorial. I love her.

The tail end of the baby boom, we’re invisible. No one’s ever noticed us. Too young for Woodstock, too old for raves. Too young for Vietnam, too old for Desert Storm, that’s the good side of it. Came of age during the Carter administration. Anyone born starting in 1960 had to register for the draft, I just missed it! In 1969 my birthday came up #1 in the draft lottery and I just laughed because I was a young tyke. My earliest memory was President Kennedy.

The other good part of it, as I’ve said a few times already, is that the Sexual Revolution was well in place and understood to be the norm by the time we were 16-21 years old, and AIDS hadn’t started yet.

Also the drugs were inexpensive and plentiful.

SEE!!! See how screwed up everyone’s definitions are!?!? The book, yes by Douglas Coupland, specifically says late 50’s through 60’s. How can someone be a Boomer if their parent’s were too young to fight in WWII?? I was born in '66 my brother was born in '58, our parents were born in '38. I’ve seen Life Magazine and some other sources put the Boom years as 46-64, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about. and it’s exactly what Douglas Coupland was talking about. The escalation of the birth rates after WWII resulting from the return of the soldiers was over within 12 years. By 64, Boomer’s were having children. Does this mean that, early Boomer’s had children who were in the same generation as themselves?! I can’t accept that. I SAID that the media had screwed this up.

The main characters described in Coupland’s book were pushing 30 BTW. Part of what defined them as slackers was that they were that old and still hadn’t started any real career. They did consider their younger siblings (earlier 20’s) to be a part of their generation but only just barely, those younger siblings were supposed to be the transition to a non-slacker and less introspective generation.

Thanks, Magdelene, for a great post, I’ll be chuckling about that for a while.

What’s with Echo Boomers? I see two different definitions of it in this thread alone. And here my rant is justified again.

Screw what the media is calling this stuff. Screw how you guys define it even. My rant is that people like me have been largely forgotten and I believe that history books in the future will have little or nothing to say about any of us except Michael Jordon. This is partially a result of being slackers and not doing anything notable, but it is partially that the Boomers were so dominant that they saturated the media and so narcissistic that they only wanted to hear about themselves.

I am neither a Boomer nor the child of a Boomer, even if you allow the '64 date to stand. When I talk to people born in the 70’s, I am constantly reminded that I remember things like Donnie and Marie Osmond being prime time TV, and how that makes me old in comparison. I, and many people like me, are neither Boomers nor what is now called Gen X.

From editorial reviews.

I don’t know about “vast” or even “waiting in the corridor” these days. More like forgot what they were waiting for and decided that since they were never let in the door they’d just go ahead and live in the corridor.

Sorry, I though someone was dissing Fitzgerald…carry on.

Well, my Adulthood: The Middle Yearscllege textbooks all say 46-64 as the Baby Boomer generation, if that makes any difference.

My Mom and Step-Dad were born in '46 and I was born in '62. We’re all Baby Boomers.

I was born in '75, and you can have my Gen X when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

Miller, or anyone, what does the term “X” mean to you. What does it imply about the generation?

Ok, what am I?

Born in 1965. My dad fought in WWII and my parents got married in 1950. I’m the youngest of 5 and grew up listening to The Beatles, The Stones, Jimi Hendrix. I’ve always considered my self a tail-end baby boomer, definitely NOT Gen X.

gen X ? i think generation X is the end of community you see in 8000BC -> 1976 there has been a war where you have been drafted and you fight for a common cause , now kiddies these days have no common cause except to make money , we have armies that fight for us rather than we all pitching in

gee i’m getting a bit fight clubby