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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

2. Remember “Slackers”? Yeah, Me Neither.

Like the Y2K “experts” who came after them, all those demographic gurus and futurists who got rich theorizing about Generation X ended up looking pretty foolish. (But never had to give their money back.)

When we Gen-Xers were trying to get our first jobs out of college or high school, we did indeed contend with an economy burdened by a triple-feature of double digit horrors: inflation, unemployment, and interest rates were all way over 10%.

We blamed those damn yuppie Baby Boomers. They’d beaten us to all the good jobs and were never gonna give them up.

(In the same way hippies had used up all the safe-ish drugs and free sex, and left us with crack and AIDS.)

I used to wear a button — we were always wearing buttons — that said: “I’m 30. I thought I’d have money by now.”

So yes, lots of Gen-Xers were “slackers,” to use the phrase popularized by Richard Linklater’s 1991 movie.

(God, I hate that movie. That, and Clerks. Frankly, I think of them as the same movie: glorifications of loser potheads with stupid obsessions.)

(And by the way, Kevin Smith is THE most embarrassing Gen-Xer. Jon Lovitz is being praised for his viral smackdown of Obama’s class warfare rhetoric, but that rant was actually prompted by guest Kevin Smith’s irritating poseur populism.)

Anyway, those alleged “futurists” somehow didn’t foresee the dot-com boom that finally gave most of us Gen-Xers jobs — and didn’t require the overnight deaths of 40 million boomers. (Unfortunately.)

Yes, the bubble burst. But even then, the internet remained the infrastructure of our lives. (For one thing, we turned from buttons to blogs to express ourselves.)

We used what was left of the web to build the lives we’ve got now.

Having come of age during one brutal recession, the non-slackers among us knew we’d survive the dot-com bust, too.

This time around, we’d do so more productively, instead of just drinking pitchers of draft beer and singing the unofficial Gen-X national anthem “Add It Up” over and over again.

The lesson for everyone, Gen-X or not?

As Mark Twain said long before any of us were born:

“An expert is just some guy from out of town.”

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