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The 3 Biggest Myths About Generation X

Not the mutants some were imagining.

by
Kathy Shaidle

Bio

June 7, 2012 - 7:00 am
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Warren Kinsella is the Canadian James Carville: that is, an extremely well-compensated, high-profile Liberal Party consultant and insider.

(It’s surely just an unlucky coincidence that since he started working for them, the Liberals went from “Canada’s Natural Governing Party” to placing an impotent third in the last federal election.)

Some of us had another great laugh at Kinsella’s expense recently, after he praised a rival party’s “innovative” campaign commercial because it starred, and would presumably appeal to, members of “Generation X.”

Except the young people in the ad were just that: young — all in their twenties.

And Generation X hasn’t been in its twenties for twenty years.

I know, because I’m a member of that cohort. As is, hilariously enough, highly paid, powerful and influential Liberal Party consultant Warren Kinsella. (See: “third place,” above.)

See, being a Gen-Xer means my irony detection meter is always switched to “ultra sensitive.” And Kinsella’s gormless mistake almost broke the damn thing.

You’d think that being Canadians of a certain age, he and I would be on the same page on this matter, if nothing else.

After all, the term “Generation X” was popularized by our contemporary Douglas Coupland’s titular 1991 novel. (And Coupland swiped his title from the name of Billy Idol’s old pop-punk band; my fellow ex-punk Kinsella should know that, too.)

There are lots of things “great minds” got wrong about Generation X since they started writing and worrying about them. (I mean, us.)

After Coupland’s novel — about over-educated, underemployed pop culture addicts who’ve formed an ad hoc “family” of friends – swept the planet, countless “consultants” (including, briefly, Coupland himself) started marketing themselves as experts on my demographic.

These consultants made a whole lot of money, keynote-speaking to job-for-life CEOs about why we Gen-Xer’s were all so broke and unemployed.

And the most irritating (and yeah, ironic) thing is, none of these “experts” (“X-perts”?) even agree on when we were born.

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