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10 of Kathy Shaidle's Greatest Hits

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...

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When my (millennial) editor suggested I write about my favorite (fellow) Generation X-ers, it took me four days to think of one name.

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.

In my review of Ann Coulter’s most recent book, Mugged, I noted that, in her opinion, the trial’s outcome did have one positive (albeit shortlived) aspect:

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.

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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.

So moving: