Generation X Saves the World

Monday, March 31, 2008

Join us for a nostalgic trip back to the mid-1990s. Jeff Gordinier says that Generation Xers are better than baby boomers or the current crop of young celebrity worshippers. Gordinier is the author of X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking.

Weigh in: What do you think is good, or bad, about Generation X? Is it even fair to generalize about Gen-Xers?

Event: Jeff Gordinier will be speaking and signing books
Monday, March 31 at 7 pm
Tribeca Barnes & Noble
97 Warren Street (at Greenwich Street)


Jeff Gordinier

Comments [36]

Tommy from BK

My mother-in-law was born in 59. I was born in 76. We're both Gen X?... Weird.

May. 05 2008 12:02 PM
John from NYC

When Mr Gordinier starts using the word great when talking about drek like Linlater's "School of Rock", its time for Leonard to do his job and call BS. Its should be a critical give and take not an unfettered rant. Whats next, a guest singing the praises of that great prose stylist Jonathan Franzen.

Apr. 02 2008 09:22 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

I will - as much as my aching joints will allow me :-)

Mar. 31 2008 02:31 PM
James from New York

By all means...sit away!

Mar. 31 2008 02:19 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

I don't sit in awe of babes or anyone else for that matter. I think that you can learn from people who have less life experience simply because growing up in the 80's is different from growing up in the 60's and that we can benefit from hearing that difference. Maybe it will make us all wiser.

Mar. 31 2008 02:05 PM
al from brooklyn

hey, ab, you don't have to be rude, i didn't understand his point.

still, the baby boom ended in the early 60's, which means some x'ers were 10 when it ended. that is old enough to have an understanding of war and feel it's effects without fully understanding.

now that i'm looking at wikipedia, it looks like as many people were born in 1990 as 1960, with the general births staying pretty close to that since then. there's a lot of kids up in this joint.

Mar. 31 2008 01:53 PM
James from New York

Well, I agree about learning from older people - I often do, but only if they are intelligent & well informed. Getting older doesn't necessaryily mean getting wiser. If someone 20 years my senior has spent the last 50 years watching sit coms & soap operas, chances are I'm not learning much there. And younger people usually haven't had time yet nor the inclination to reflect seriously on much of their own experiences let alone be interested the experience of others, so I'm not one of the sit-in-awe-at-the-feet-of-babes crowd. When we're young, we tend to be stupid. As we grow older, some of us get less so. Alas, not ALL!!!

Mar. 31 2008 01:45 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

Hi James:

That is my point exactly. Many people of every generation would rather rattle on and on repeating the same stuff. But if you are lucky enough to get into a substantive conversation with someone either much older or much younger you can find that there is really a different perspective because of the era that helped mold that person.

Mar. 31 2008 01:26 PM
James from New York

As an 'older person' now, I don't think I have much to learn from 'younger persons' generally, except for those who might be well read & knowledgeable about some particular subject matter about which I am uninformed. I think it's always smart to pay attention to people who know more thn I do about something in particular. Very few younger people do. And when they rattle on about stuff it's almost embarrasingly obvious. Luckily, Nature makes most of us unable to recall our youthful stupidities - else we'd all walk around forever mortified & embarressed.

Mar. 31 2008 01:14 PM
chestinee from Midtown

there were so-called slacker boomers too - we had a recessed economy and it was normal to go do something differet, like working in canneries in Prince Rupert or other unstructured things - I think that kind of alternative experience or break from the expected is really good for the problem solvers of teh future and so I say bravo to all so-called slackers. I think what boomers want honored is risk-taking for something greater then themselves - all the friends I had who got beat up bloody protesting the war and the other issues of the day - or forcing their colleges to divest of donors with interests in apartheid South Africa - the next generation can't see how uptight, repressed, etc. the world was before we made noise. I also wonder where all the righteous indignation has gone.

Mar. 31 2008 01:12 PM
Osiel from NJ

Gen Xers don't do nostalgia. You guys are like Al Bundy looking at his old high school football trophies. What's the word for it?....Yeah exactly.

Mar. 31 2008 01:12 PM


I remember as a kid hearing that the baby boomers were accused of being "self-indulgent". I hear a lot of Gen X'ers saying that about Gen Y (you can include me as one of those who say that,lol)

Perhaps every generation sees the next ones that way?

Mar. 31 2008 01:06 PM
MG from Park Slope

I agree w/ #20 re: self-centeredness found in recent generations. I blame the parents of the previous generation for spoiling their children....

Mar. 31 2008 01:05 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

I don't think it is ever fair to paint group of people with a broad brush. At the same time, we are all products of the time we grew up in and lived in. I think the generations can all learn from one another if they listen to each other and don't diminish each other's accomplishments. I think older people can have harder time listening to younger people because they think they have already been through it all, but as you can see from some of the previous comments it goes both ways. Enjoy the unique perspective of someone who grew up playing with computers, or is old enough to remember the JFK assassination or was a small child at the time of the Watergate scandal. We all have a lot to offer each other.

Mar. 31 2008 01:04 PM
Anne from Midtown Manhattan

@ al Fair

I also am the oldest... My little sister is 18 years old. So, I think that's another thing that makes me relate to her generation.

Mar. 31 2008 01:02 PM

Al Fair...look it up YOU are wrong. I was born in `72...Vietnam ended fully in `75. I was 3 when that occured

Uh...he means post-vietnam as in we were not old enough to experience the way it tore apart the country culturally in any significant way except through movies and documentaries after the fact

and #13, I agree. That's probably generally a better definition...children of baby boomers. Generally speaking...

Mar. 31 2008 01:01 PM
anonymous from Brooklyn, NY

It is interesting that many in my age group (seniors) and those in the psychoanalytic profession are very concerned about the self-centeredness of the Gen generation.
Example: walking down the street and trying to pass a gen xer pushing a $1000 stroller or those walking three abreast and not "giving way."
The unremitting materialism of earlier generations has been surpassed by the genexers who feel that the world (and their parents) owes them everything. They are still graduating from B-school and heading to Wall Street for the big bucks.
Those in the arts, however, are turning out some great films so perhaps all is not lost.

Mar. 31 2008 01:00 PM
Anne from Midtown Manhattan

@ Sara

You make a good point. Maybe I don't related to Gen. X because my parents aren't quite boomers. My mom was 12 years old for the Summer of Love. She was more in to Rod Stewart than the Beatles. So, I feel like I'm somewhat in the gap between Generations.

Mar. 31 2008 12:59 PM
Jeremy leichman from brookly

Are all gen xers liberals?

Mar. 31 2008 12:59 PM
James from New York

Yet another brainless uninformed writer babbling about a non-phenomenon. Brokaw's book was NOT about the boomers - it was about the generation that fought WW II (i.e. the parents of the boomers). Of course, it is OBVIOUS that everyone (hence every 'generation') is to some degree shaped by their time which is an aspect of their environment. But it also seems that most "young people" across generations have more in common with each other than they know or care to admit. I'm a boomer & just about everything that the current 'youth cohort' seems to babble about itself is all too familiar. Every generation of 'youth' seems doomed to repeat the same immature innanities. To this author, let me just say: come back when u'r 50-something & let's hear what u'll have to say about the ravings of the folks who will be 20-something then. Having been through 2 or 3 of these post-boomer youth waves, and recalling what we said about our generation, I've heard it all before - ad nauseum. And I guess I'm doomed to hear it at least 2 or 3 more times :(.

Mar. 31 2008 12:59 PM
courtney from lower manhatten

I'm not sure how healthy fostering competition among generations is for anyone.

Mar. 31 2008 12:58 PM
MG from Park Slope

I think I'm a pretty good example of Gen X. Born in 1971, never had much direction, loved Nirvana and indulged in good things in the early '90s, graduated from undergrad, with a BS in biology, worked in dead-end meaningless jobs for five years before figuring out what I was going to do. Now I have my PhD and am working as a professor. I know my parents never thought THAT would happen!

Mar. 31 2008 12:57 PM

Half the "Boomers" were _not_ protesting Vietnam, fighting for civil rights, etc. They were following Phyllis Schafly, YAF, Rush Limbaugh and other far-right mavens, and resulted in the triumph of the neocons today.

Many of whom are GenX.

Certainly there are unique characteristics of generations. But these blanket characterizations are way off.

Mar. 31 2008 12:57 PM
Sara Robbins from Cheyenne Wyoming....

Couldn't you basically say that Gen. x. are children whose parents were of the baby boom right? I was born in 77 and absolutely consider myself of Gen. X because of the values and lifestyle my parents imparted on me due to the fact that they were children of the baby boom... Thinkin' of Ann's comments...


Mar. 31 2008 12:53 PM
John from Woodside

As a Gen Xer (born:1965), its clear that we are the late bloomers, who have bloomed on our own time, but in a unique, fantastic way. Also, I have always believed that GenXers have much more in common with the generation immediately before Boomers, and that we are in some ways a REACTION to the Boomers, who are so self-obsessed and hypercompetitive.
The Boomers badmouthed the generation that came before them and then the genration that came after (us) because they believe that no one who ever came before or after them could be of any impact (the Bill Clinton and George Bush generation).

Mar. 31 2008 12:52 PM
j from nyc

after 1987 stockmarket crash things were difficult!! you think that JUST happened?? oh wait, reagan got into office in, ummmm..1980. so the people born in 1958 and afterwards who were graduating college after reagan was 'in', the recession started then. trust me.
i have friends who were highly trained engineers who couldn't find a job because R&D was majorly starting to be cut, a we see the effects of those terrible decisions now on this country's transportation and energy infrastructure now, and oh, yeah, the healthcare [?] system while you're at it.

Mar. 31 2008 12:52 PM
al Fair from brooklyn

man, i could write more profound stuff than this guy is saying. gen x has been talking about itself for the past 20 years. what the hell is a millenial anyway?

Mar. 31 2008 12:50 PM
al Fair from brooklyn

first of all, all discussions of generations are stupid. by definition. generations are meaningless unless maybe you're talking about astrology, or in-family generations.

second of all, gen x is -not- post vietnam. it is specifically during vietnam. i mean, what the hell? this guy is an idiot.

as for relating to people in the 60's, i was born in 78 and i do, but i think that has a lot to do with being the youngest of 4, the first of which was born in 66. that makes a big difference vs. the oldest kid being born in 78, if for no other reason than their parents are -probably- not as old as mine, you know?

and richard linklater has made some great movies, and some shit.

Mar. 31 2008 12:49 PM
anthony clune from Brooklyn

Gen X is taking over.

Generation Y is on deck. They are running MoveOn and writing speeches for Obama.

Mar. 31 2008 12:48 PM
Chad from Bronx

How is the relationship between gen-x-ers and boomers any different from that of previous generations?

Mar. 31 2008 12:47 PM

the disconnect with the reality and the put-downs are really the doing of the self-aggrandizing sanctimonious baby-boom generation

great segment. I think we (yes I am a proud Gen X'er) will continue to get our due recognition as the baby-boomers continue to go into retirement and we take over

Mar. 31 2008 12:46 PM
Anne from Midtown Manhattan

Gen X ends for folks born in '77? I was born in '77 and can't say that I relate AT ALL to people born in the '60s. I relate more to the next group. (Gen Y?)

Mar. 31 2008 12:46 PM
inquisigal from Brooklyn

How can we even still be having this "slacker" conversation? I was born in 1969, and am now 1 year short of turning 40. How could we even possibly still be using the term slacker? We all have many adult responsibilities.

But, good vs. bad: I am glad I was born with knowledge of the accomplishments of the 1960's (civil rights, great music), before technology took off, but I also am young enough to have embraced technology. I feel appreciative of this balance.

Mar. 31 2008 12:45 PM
michael from manhatten

like us or not (yes i am one of them), we are designing the way everyone sees the world. How can we be stereotyped as lazy or apathetic, yet still powerful enough to change the world. their is a disconnect here.

Mar. 31 2008 12:43 PM
Maya from Brooklyn

What a great title!

Mar. 31 2008 12:42 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn

I was born in 1979, and I'm REALLY glad I didn't grow up attached to a cellphone, video games, or a computer. The TV was enough!

Mar. 31 2008 11:39 AM

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