A Shrewd And Hilarious Call To Arms For The Generation That Fell Between The Cracks Jammed In Between The Garish Showboating Of The Baby Boomers And The Tabloid Trash Stunts Of The Millennials, The Discerning Generation That Gave Us Yahoo And Nirvana Has Been Quietly And Inexorably Changing The Face Of American Culture The Men And Women Who Came Of Age In The Era Of Lollapalooza Have Been Underrepresented For Too Long In Pop Sociology, But Reporter And Essayist Jeff Gordinier Argues That It S Time For The Slackers To Rise Up And Take Charge Taking Off From His Controversial Details Essay Has Generation X Already Peaked Gordinier Takes The Reader Along On An Enthralling, Eye Opening Journey From The Expatriate Garrets Of Prague To The Amped Up Offices Of Dot Com San Francisco, From The Muddy Fields Of WoodstockTo The Celebrity Obsessed Media Machine Of Us Weekly In His Quest To Find The Essence Of X Along The Way He Shows How Gen X Innovations In Art, Comedy, Technology, Activism, And Gasp Business Have Come To Define The Way We Live Now A Proud, Accomplished, And Unrepentant X Er, Jeff Gordinier Writes With Insight And Biting Wit About The Generation That Time Forgot And Makes A Convincing Case For Gen X As Maybe, Secretly, The Greatest Generation Of All Like Sex, Drugs, And Cocoa Puffs And The Tipping Point, X Saves The World Flips Conventional Wisdom On Its Head And Expertly Captures The Spirit Of A Strange And Crucial Era In American Society Quick read that really explains what happened to Gen X The strange thing was, I woke up one day and no longer was my generation THE generation The author explains that we re smaller in number and therefore, have less purchasing power Also, we re such cynics, how fun is it to market to a bunch of smart ass cynics A good discussion point would be what our kids will grow up to be like Will they be cheerier than the bubble gum pop Millenials or will they be just as cynical as us GenXers One could only hope I agree with many of the points Jeff makes, and share his outlook on issues surrounding contemporary pop culture I find myself quoting from the book a lot observations like these are so quotable If Gen X music tended to sound as though it came from a specific place Seattle or Manchester, Compton or Minneapolis or the South Bronx the new millennial soundtrack came across as geographically blank It didn t merely sound like something you would buy at Wal Mart, it sounded like Wal Mart itself cheap, clean, massive, censored, and generic T hose who don t fit in have given us some of the greatest music in the national songbook off the top of my head I m thinking of Johnny Cash,Billie Holiday,Bob Dylan,Phil Spector,the Ramones,John Doe and Exene Cervenka,Nile Rodgers,Patti Smith,Lauryn Hill,Elliott Smith,Kurt Cobain,Alejandro Escovedo,Marvin Gaye,Lucinda Williams,Jimi Hendrix,Steely Dan,Guided by Voices,the White Stripes but on American Idol any one of these visionary malcontents with their wobbly vocal cords and their moody dispositions would have been trotted out to the firing squad Or this observation on visiting Woodstock 94 I saw how an entire language of liberation and resistance had been watered down into meaningless commercial goop As Thomas Frank put it, the commodification of dissent And a few words of my own There are still those of us who look beyond the soulless product churned out by conglomerate hit makers, who don t dance goose step to the choreography of interchangeably plastic lip synchers, who are not mesmerized by the latest celebrity gossip news about people who are famous simply for being famous As Gordinier notes, love and heartache and rage and despair are worthy subtexts for the art of song In our art, we still look for soul.Pop culture is not all that this book is about it closes with several examples of Gen Xers who are changing the world not with huge, idealistic change the world programs, but in small grassroots ways Organic gardening, aesthetically pleasing architecture for poor communities, that sort of thing He also makes the salient argument that Gen X has used irony as a wonderful weapon against commodification and the status quo Not with love ins and picket signs, not explicitly striving for the boomer utopia, but by deflating political and corporate absurdity with rapier wit for examples, see John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and The Onion It was Gen Xers who created file sharing programs and sites like Youtube, giving the rest of us ways to do an end run around the corporate stranglehold on traditional media and the arts.How long, I wonder, will we be able to get away with it Ohmygod If, after reading this book, you did not feel affirmed in all the choices you have made in your life and rededicated to never doing something that sucked again, then you really aren t a member of that generation Like Gordinier stated in his book, it s not as much a matter of age but your relationship to the world My wife and I founded and run a professional, not for profit, theatre company Our first board of directors was made up of a majority of baby boomers who could not understand why we made the choices we made, in terms of choosing plays This book helps me understand where my distrust of mainstream popular culture comes from and I have recommended that all of our board of director members read this book to understand it themselves Either get on board or get out of the effin way Loved this book and will read again and again It will become bedtime reading for my kids, age 6 and 3 I will reference it in meetings My wife and I will read it loud to each other on rainy Sunday afternoons Quotes will be read at my wake This book kicks ass. Two phenomenal books in a rowall I can say is WOW After The Way of the World , it comes as a complete surprise that I would so soon read another great one Jeff Gordinier dissects the Gen X initial impact and how it lingers Thankfully a decade and a half after the release ofReality Bites, long seen as one of the few mainstream pop culture touchstones of the X movement Socialogically entertaining, funny and smart as hell, this one uses a great amount of cultural guideposts to make its point These include everything from Barack Obama and The Replacements to Henry James and James Brown X Saves made me feel alternately sad, hopeful, smart and entertained, all in nearly equal portions That s an equation a book rarely has and this one provides it in spades. On one hand, I sometimes think a lot of this generational stuff is pop culture nonsense On the other hand, I sometimes want to tell the boomers peace love the 60s and the millenials Look at me MySpace I m special to shut it Seriously SHUT IT I m tired of hearing about Woodstock, and at least I have an attention span significant enough to read an actual book.Gordinier s point is that because Gen X is a smaller generation trapped beneath the behemoth boomer and millenial generations, we got shafted in terms of attention and prominence, and in terms of the world we were left Watergate, gas crises, three recessions, two Iraq wars, and the dot com bust , but have quietly found a way to prevent the world from sucking entirely You can thank Xers for everything from Radiohead to the Daily Show, and both do keep everything from sucking Mostly opinion and little research, it was still a fun trip through some generational hallmarks Smells Like Teen Spirit, Douglas Coupland, and Slacker which I still remember vividly for best potential band name ever, Conspiracy A Go Go.And while every generation thinks the next one sucks or are degenerate morons Elvis, anyone , I do worry about a generation the millenials that seems to lack any understanding of what it means to be a sell out You ll learn, little snowflake, you ll learn. This is a great five page article spooled out into a book.The first chapter or so are hilarious, and I laughed out loud many times.Also learned that I could call myself a Gen Xer, which I didn t really know Too young to be a Baby boomer, sure, but I was sort of proud of not being part of a defined group Turns out this confirms my X credential.As the author beats his topic to death, he throws in lots of details about 90s pop culture and rock concerts I was too busy making a living, getting married and doing the family thing to pay much attention Others who werehip to that may enjoy the rest of the book .The title alone is good value. Loved it Ok, all of you born between 1964 and 1977, grab this book and read it Things are not as bad as they seem for those of us caught between aging hippie parents and Generation Jackass Yeah, we re sarcastic ironic, and dark, but we are also amazing This book made me nostalgic and fired me up I won t change the world but I can change my immediate surroundings I could completely relate to much of what the author expressed Slackers unite And grab a copy of this book and start reading. I will pretty much listen to anyone who references the Replacements or Douglas Coupland The focus of this giant essay is that X is still cool and vital Being sandwiched in between the lame, culture hogging and past their prime boomer generation, and the vapid, techno dependent, Amererican Idolizing millennials, it s hard not to agree with him One of his main points is illustrated by the notion that our generation was raised on multiple viewings of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which ingrained in our little minds the idea that selling out bad All those other shits got their comeuppance, but Charlie kept his motherfucking street cred Actually, I always hated that movie, but I like his point The book got kind of goofy in the last third, talking about some eccentric philanthropists, like some guy who is trying to teach everyone to turn their front lawns into crops The only problem is that Gordinier s definition of the generation seems to only include whites who like rock music There were a few pages devoted to Lauryn Hill, who was knocked out of popularity by the onset of the teen pop explosion of 99. Not as preachy as I expected, and yet, inspiring and reassuring for someone like me, who often feels completely out of touch with the culture around me If you were born in the late sixties or early seventies, you should check it out You ll revel in the nostalgia and take heart in your future.
Jeff Gordinier is the food and drinks editor of Esquire and a frequent contributor to the New York Times A product of Southern California and a graduate of Princeton University, he wrote 2008 s X Saves the World and co edited the 2015 essay collection Here She Comes Now He lives north of New York City with his wife, Lauren Fonda, and his four children.
- 224 pages
- X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking
- Jeff Gordinier
- 21 December 2019 Jeff Gordinier