10 of Kathy Shaidle’s Greatest Hits
These are some of the Canadian culture critic's most memorable broadsides and inspiring provocations. Volume 1.
April 26, 2014 - 3:30 pm
8. February 8, 2014:
Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation: Six Gen-Xers I Can Actually Stand
They’re the closest thing I have to a “group identity,” but I can still only count six great Generation-X-ers…
Then the rest of the week to come up with the rest.
For someone who is as cohort-sensitive as I am, who rages constantly about “kids these days,” and who feels most comfortable socializing almost exclusively with other X-ers, I found this assignment surprisingly daunting.
I used a HighLowBrow post about Gen-Xers to try to kickstart my brain.
That site calls us “Recons” and counts those born between 1964-1973 as members of that generation.
The article features a labor-of-love list of famous Recons/X-ers that was invaluable in helping me put together this column.
Predictably, I take issue with their chosen start date, however.
It’s a weird definition of “Generation X” that excludes the guy who popularized the phrase (Douglas Coupland, 1961) or the fellow who wrote our “national anthem” (Gordon Gano, 1963):
1. Music: Courtney Love
My loathing of the O.J. Simpson jury is boundless.
Thanks to the only twelve people in America who apparently couldn’t even spell “DNA,” a wealthy celebrity got away with murder.
Coulter’s thesis is that after the ridiculous O.J. Simpson “not guilty” verdict — and particularly, the racially divided reaction to it — sane Americans finally gave themselves permission to say farewell to white guilt and all its attendant evasions, hypocrisy, awkward social etiquette, and toxic lawmaking.
Having said all that, I confess that I’m not entirely immune from the naked tribalism that fuelled that jury’s rationale.
Only a handful of individuals make my “Do No Wrong” list:
Folks like Pete Townshend, Sarah Palin, and Zombie Frank Sinatra, who could team up on a five-state ax-murdering spree and I’d be insisting that, well, they probably had a good reason.
Hole frontwoman, sometime actress, and Kurt Cobain widow Courtney Love (1964) also makes my very short list.
I wish I cared that she used drugs when she was pregnant, but her daughter seems to have turned out all right. I wish I cared about whatever flaky thing she probably tweeted while I was writing this, or what religion she’s into this week.
But surveying that HighLowBrow list for Gen-X musicians I cared about – or, frankly, I’d even heard of (hip hop and rap have bored me since Malcolm McLaren’s premature attempt to popularize those genres and cultures back in 1980; I can’t tell Kanye from Jay-Z) — I came up short.
Yes, Cobain and company’s “Unplugged” sessions are immortal.
But if you believe he “really wrote” the songs on Hole’s (also immortal) breakthrough album, you’re delusional.
Not even a man as un-masculine as Cobain could’ve written “Jennifer’s Body” or “Doll Parts.” Those are girl songs.
I still listen to Live Through This about once a week.
Recently, I gave Nobody’s Daughter another shot and now have it in regular rotation.
The album’s obvious references to stuff she and I both grew up listening to – I detect hints of America’s “Ventura Highway” and “Sister Golden Hair” — make it the perfect “meta” Gen-X record, actually.