Vanity Fair: Opinion- Rich Cohen: ‘Why Generation X Might Be Our Last, Best Hope’

Attachment-1-959
Source:Vanity Fair– A look at some Gen-Xers

Source:The Daily Review

“Demographics are destiny. We grew up in the world and mind of the baby-boomers simply because there were so many of them. They were the biggest, easiest, most free-spending market the planet had ever known. What they wanted filled the shelves and what fills the shelves is our history. They wanted to dance so we had rock ‘n’ roll. They wanted to open their minds so we had LSD. They did not want to go to war so that was it for the draft. We will grow old in the world and mind of the millennials because there are even more of them. Because they don’t know what they want, the culture will be scrambled and the screens a never-ending scroll. They are not literally the children of the baby-boomers but might as well be—because here you have two vast generations, linking arms over our heads, akin in the certainty that what they want they will have, and that what they have is right and good.”

From Vanity Fair 

“In 1987, as the stock market crashes, the slacker stereotype is born.”

From National Geographic

Attachment-1-960
Source:National Geographic– Jane Pauly, for NBC Nightly News.

To talk about Generation X (my generation born in 1975) it depends on how you define it. To put it simply we’re the generation that is now in our forties and fifties. The middle adult generation between the Boomers and the Millennial’s. Officially Baby Boomers are Americans born between 1946-64. So after World War II and during the civi rights movement of the mid 1960s. And I’m sure the U.S. Census Bureau does a lot of things very well, but defining generations is not really one of them. And as most Americans (who aren’t a Socialist) know government can get things wrong in this country.

Another way to look at Generation X are the people who went to school and grew up in post-segregated America. If you want to know why so many Americans are both color and race blind is because so many of us (Gen-Xers) went to public schools that were racially and ethnically diverse. So we went to school before we knew what race and ethnicity was. And got to see people as they were as people and not just how they looked. Why they had a certain complexion, why there hair looked a certain way, why they had certain names. Things that come with one’s ethnicity and race.

Which is why affirmative action has been losing support with my generation and in America broadly, because a lot of us now simply don’t judge Americans by their race or ethnicity and therefor don’t believe people should be rewarded or punished simply because of their race or ethnicity. I believe the more accurate way to define Generation X is Americans born between 1960 or 61 and 1979. And I believe a lot of Americans born in the early 1960s would agree with this since they have plenty in common as far as their own personal experiences with Americans born in the mid and late 1960s and even early 1970s, is Americans born between 1960 or 61, and 1979. Than they do with Boomer Americans born in the 1940s and 1950s and even in some cases late 1950s.

So everyone born in 1979 would be the last of the Gen-Xers. Which is what I’ll be talking about in this piece is Americans born in the 1960s and 1970s that are right between the two largest generations in at least modern American history. The Baby Boomers born in the 1940s and 1950s that are the parents of most Gen-Xers. And the Millennial’s born in the 1980s and 1990s who are the children of some Gen-Xers and a lot of Boomers. Even if you stretch out Generation X to let’s say 1961 or even 1960 to 1979, we’re still a small generation. Like North Korea surrounded by China and Russia.

Because a lot of Boomers especially men were vacationing in Vietnam in the 1960s (ha, ha) and the the economy was so depressing in the 1970s that a lot of Boomers weren’t having kids. They were too busy crying about the Vietnam War and the fact they couldn’t find a job, or at least a good job. But that is really for a different topic as far as why my generation is so damn small and we have to look up to the Boomers and Millennial’s as far as numbers.

The main reason why I still have some hope for America even with the oversensitive Millennial’s who can’t take a joke and want to outlaw everything they disagree with and view celebrity culture and new technology as need to know information and current affairs and public policy back page and unimportant, because it requires thinking and intelligence to understand, and history as so old school and yesterday and therefor not worth learning about and being interested in, is because what I laid out early in this article. Gen-Xers are the first post-segregation generation.

If you’re a Boomer or older chances are you went to a segregated school, especially if you grew up in the South or even rural small towns in the North. And therefor didn’t get to or have to socialize and learn with kids of different racial or ethnic backgrounds as yourself, until you probably graduated high school. And then maybe even in college you didn’t go to school with people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Unless you were an African-American who is in college on let’s say a scholarship. That is not a problem that most Gen-Xers had and the same thing for the Millennial’s.

So Gen-Xers have got to experience America at it’s best and what we’re supposed to be as this great vast liberal democracy where everyone can succeed if they’re simply just given the opportunity to and then take advantage of those opportunities. Regardless of their ethnicity, race, or gender. And we’ve gotten to learn about America at it’s worst and to some extent experience racial and ethnic bigotry ourselves, especially racial and ethnic minorities, but in most cases not to the same extent as our parents and grandparents.

We know what works about America which is our ability to be individuals and at the same time celebrate what we all share and love about America. Which is the ability for us to be ourselves and not have to fall in line and be some big collection of Americans that all think, talk and act alike. And we know what doesn’t which is denying Americans opportunity and access simply because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, or their gender. And trying to lump groups of Americans into one group and think they must all think, talk, and act a certain way, because of the group that they’re a member of.

Another reason why I have hope for America is Generation X in most cases are the sons and daughters of the Baby Boomers. We’ve learned from them about individuality and learned from the so-called Me Generation and that Americans are better off being themselves and taking care of themselves. That we’re only as useful and can help others when we’re doing well ourselves. Which is why I believe Gen-X is an educated generation and successful generation.

We’ve gotten ourselves the tools to do well in America and then have passed our wealth and knowledge down to others and have become a large volunteering generation. And enjoy volunteering for others and helping people out, because we’ve made it in America in most cases. And aren’t drowning in student debt (unlike another generation) and are able to take care of ourselves for the most part. (Unlike another generation)

The last reason why I believe America still has hope and will still be a great country 20 years from now when I’m in my early 60s (knock on wood) is because Generation X is the middle generation. We’re in our 40s and 50s and just had our first President in Barack Obama. (Born in 1961) We’re going to be around and in charge for a long time. And because of that will have the ability to lead and teach others what we’ve know and have experienced.

And hopefully the Millennial’s will grow up and learn that just because they don’t like a joke or criticism, doesn’t necessarily make that joke and criticism bigoted.

Hopefully Millennial’s will learn that just because they don’t approve of this activity or another like what people eat and drink like soft drinks and junk food, or meat because they view eating meat as animal cruelty, doesn’t mean those things are so bad that government should prohibit them.

Hopefully Millennial’s will learn that just because celebrity culture and new technology or are so like totally awesome or whatever, that maybe those things really aren’t as important as how government is spending our tax dollars, or are we going to be at war, or are our civil rights, civil liberties, and constitutional rights, are now in jeopardy, because of some big government action or actions.

These are the reasons why I still have hope for America and my Generation X is a big part of that.

 

Lifetime: Jessica Savitch- Intimate Portrait: The Queen of Nightly News

The Queen of Nightly News
Source:The Daily Review– The Queen of Nightly News

Source:The Daily Press

Jessica Savitch before she tragically died in 1983, was the weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News. Only behind Tom Brokaw at NBC News as far as their anchors and when she died was considered the most trusted news anchor in America. Essentially replacing Walter Cronkite with that title. She was both gorgeous and adorable, but very intelligent and worked very hard at her craft. A true news junky, which is what you almost have to be to be a successful news anchor, as well as a political junky. All traits I love as someone who shares these same traits and she picked up these traits very early on in life, as being the daughter of a news and political junky her father, who she was very close with.

I wasn’t born until 1975 so almost everything I’ve seen from her have been old news footage of her, actually a lot of it on YouTube. And she became a star in network news by the late 1970s, a very turbulent time in America. With an energy shortage, a weak economy, with high interest, inflation and unemployment rates, the Jonestown tragedy in 1978, the Iran Hostage Crisis. America seeming to be in decline by the summer of 1979 and Jessica Savitch was covering all of these stories.

Jessica Savitch was ahead of her time, because she made it to the top, or very close to it by the late 1970s. When network news was still dominated by men and when women were still coming up in this business and had she not died in 1983 tragically, maybe she’s the lead anchor of one of the network newscasts for 15-20 years. Like Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, or Dan Rather. She was too big and too good to the weekend anchor indefinitely and could’ve gone a lot further, if she just had the time to do it.