Generation “X”… Understandably Pissed
Was Disconnected from The Sixties
The next generation to wander into the cultural limelight has been termed Generation X. Whereas Yuppies came of age during the Eighties, Generation X came into adulthood in the Nineties. Predominantly these are not the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation as the values of the Vietnam-era Generation included marrying late and having children late so that their children are mostly younger than and not among Generation X. This value concerning marrying or having children later in life tied in with the Sixties folks’ belief in personal freedom, but is more closely related to the hypocrisy they perceived in the marriages of their parents, those of the WWII Generation. They not only perceived their parents’ marriages as being false and loveless, they perceived themselves as being the victims of poor parenting, wherein they felt they were not understood and were not accepted for who they were or supported in what they uniquely wanted to do with their lives. Furthermore, they saw the social and global context as a negative and highly dangerous one. For one thing, having been children during the “drop and roll” and bomb-shelter, nuclear-shadow era of the Fifties, and having seen the assassination of idealistic values in the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King during their teens and young adulthood, they had great doubts about the future of the world. Though of course the Sixties Generation is noted for its idealism and for its attempts to fight these perceived dangers and injustices, underneath there has always been for them an uncertainty that success is possible, so that bringing a child into this particular dangerous and unjust social context was seen as possibly not a good thing for the child.
Parented by a Fallow Generation
So it is that Generation Xers are predominantly the sons and daughters of an early segment of the Baby-Boomer Generation as well as of those less idealistic of the Vietnam-era Generation that had, more often than not, opted for the traditional route of career, home, and family and thus had started having children many years earlier than their more socially conscious counterparts. This Fallow Generation , let us call it, would conceive the children who would be called Generation X—who are noted for their apathy and lack of distinctiveness. But keep in mind that the Fallow Generation is not a true generation in the sense that it is composed of two age groups—the early Baby-Boomers and those of the Baby-Boomers who opted for a family instead of the social activism, college education, and establishing a career before raising a family decisions of their more heralded peers.
Hence Generation X’s lack of a unifying cause, value, or characteristic may have to do with their being children of parents from two different age groups and generations. If that were not confusing enough, they would technically be the offspring and influenced by three generations, because their numbers would include the youngest of Fifties Generation parents as well.
Drugs and Generations: Generation X Returned to Booze
At any rate, and understandably because they are mostly not children of the idealistic segment of Sixties youth, the drug use of Xers strayed back to the use of alcohol and cigarettes—the drugs used by their Fallow Generation parents who did not make either the cultural or drug changes of their peers. Alongside this “traditional” drug use, Generation Xers are noted for their pessimism, defeatism, and fascination with death—as, for example, in their selection of black clothes, their tendency to ripped jeans, tattoos, and the insertion of all sorts of pins and studs, as adornments, into virtually all parts of their bodies, and, in the extreme ones among them, a fascination with vampirism.
Culture War, Class War, Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds
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