Pop Culture Across the Generational Divide

In a mandatory certification class, I was assigned to explore one of the generations other than my own, and then discuss how what I learned will impact my teaching. The assignment is well designed and I intend to steal it, but given my  immersion in pop culture studies and interest in the generational divide, I didn’t learn much new about generational differences. Since the topic is relevant to the blog, I’m reposting what I wrote:

 

Talkin’ bout my generation, sorta (sorry, not sorry)

 

I am answering the assignment differently. Because Gen-X special snowflake syndrome.

I’m quite familiar with generational differences, so I didn’t know how to approach the homework. Generation X is a bust population between two boom demographics. We are pitiful creatures with minimal sway in the marketplace, they say, so we are ignored. I have whined about this often. Some examples: The television show 30-Something went off the air when we hit our 30-Somethings. Grunge music had a brief radio presence before the Disney stable of singers took over like kudzu. The women’s movement grew preoccupied with menopause just when Gen-X women got mature enough to develop interest in feminism.

 


obo
Our Bodies, Ourselves, 2nd ed, published 1977
Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause, published 2011

 

Two books described this experience for my group of friends: (1) Generation X, by Douglas Coupland, and (2) To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, edited by Rebecca Walker (Alice Walker’s daughter).  These books spoke to my pathetic life. (See Douglas Coupland’s reference to black hole thinking among Gen-Xers).

 

genxRequired Selfie: Generation X by Douglas Coupland;
To Be Real, by Rebecca Walker.

 

Consequently, I didn’t want to do the homework. What could be gained? Been there, done that. I grabbed a bunch of artifacts to begin. I didn’t intend to revisit my media, only to procrastinate on some work for a bit. So, here are my selfies and what I learned, even though I didn’t follow the directions exactly.

 

A listicle response to the homework. With pictures.
(And links.)

 

1. I’m blessed with a bounty of cultural influences from the two different generations, and the cultural knowledge to interact comfortably with people from both younger and older age groups.

2. I enjoyed the nostalgia of looking at the pile of movies, books, and CDs.

3. I feel lucky that most of my adult life was spent in higher education, which is more comfortably intergenerational than other settings.

4. I have less artifacts to represent Millennials because the Millennial era is digital.

5. Tab sucked. It was weird seeing Bill Cosby’s Jello Pudding Pop face. Today’s TV dinners are curated artisanal subscription boxes. I recently tried to make my grandmother’s chiffon cake and failed, but my friend recreated the recipe with vegan everything, WTF. (F stands for fudge, there…)

6. The younger end of the Millennial cohort confounds me, which means I’m old AF. (F stands for fudge, there…) I appreciate the humor of Emo Kylo Ren, but I have no interest in listening to dubstep, using Snapchat, or learning the names of yet another round of bad movie stars. I need to start earnest retirement planning. I have that in common with Boomers.

7. I’ve actually had a sporadic blog about Generation X and Generation Y (Millennials) for about 20 years. I’m putting this on my blog as well as turning it in. Unfortunately, blogging is not a thing anymore. Blogging is dying. Because words. TL;DR.

 

The Media
(Random, and in random order)

 

BOOKS

booksBoomer: Tom Wolfe, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; Christopher Lasch, Culture of Narcissism;
Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; JD Salinger, Franny and Zooey
Millennial: Stephenie Meyer, Twilight; JK Rowling, Harry Potter; Victor Gischler, Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse

 

MUSIC

MusicBoomer: Bob Marley, Uprising; Carol King, Tapestry; Janis Joplin, Essential Songs; Steely Dan, Aja
Millennial: Animatrix movie soundtrack; Macy Gray, The Sellout; Justin Timberlake, Justified;
Matchbox 20, Yourself or Someone Like You

 

MOVIES
moviesBoomer: The Conversation; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf;
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Chinatown; Apocalypse Now
Millennial: Animatrix; Shallow Hal; The Big Lebowski; A Knight’s Tale; Bend It Like Beckham

 

THE GAME
D&DSpanning the Generations
: Dungeons and Dragons
AD&D (1977); D&D 3.5 (2003); 4th edition (2008);
Pathfinder (2009); 5th edition (2014)

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