This is a re-post of a piece I wrote over a week ago but instead I’m using it to start this week’s series of posts. You might say these are of a ‘political’ nature and they are, but they’re also observations of what’s going in this world and me calling bullshit on a lot of it. So read at your own risk.
The Feral Ferocity of Generation X
About a week or so back now, a New York Post column and Fox News broadcast said Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) would save this country from ‘cancel culture’ because we knew what it meant to be canceled.
As a member of Generation X, I burst out laughing at that bullshit. Then like the rest of my generation I got mad. A sleeping dragon was awakened on Twitter with over thirty-five thousand tweets on this that were gems of defiance, lists of what we had ‘canceled’ though in our day it was called ‘banning’, and stories of how we were raised ‘feral’. In plain English, you don’t fuck with a generation left home alone who only got attention when some asshole adult didn’t like what we were watching, listening to, or playing. Everything from our music, our movies, our books, and our games was the target of every conservative asshole in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
And we’re going to save conservative assholes now from being canceled for being racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, lying, conspiracy theorists and attempted coup-and-war mongers?
No. Hell fucking no.
For those of you reading this who aren’t too familiar with Generation X, here’s a primer on who we are and what we’ve been through. And for my fellow Xers, here’s a stroll down memory lane.
First, the term Generation X comes from Billy Idol’s first punk band and a really crappy book of the same title. My dad said he thought Xer was better than Boomer.
We were the first generation raised by divorced parents or where both parents worked and we came home to an empty house. We were called ‘latchkey kids’ because of it but we knew how to take care of ourselves because that’s what was expected of us. We came home, got a snack, watched some tv, then ran around doing chores and starting dinner before our parents came home. Ate dinner then watched our shows and if our shows weren’t on we went to our bedrooms and did our homework or just listened to music and read or played games.
Our culture is extremely important to us. Our music, our movies, our books, and our games are sacred. We listened to heavy metal and hard rock, punk and alternative, New Wave, and rap and hip hop. We watched a ton of MTV and cable tv and movies over and over because there weren’t a million channels available and this was long before the concept of the internet and streaming services was even a gleam in someone’s eye. We listened to the radio on boom boxes outside, rode our bikes or walked, or took buses and trains, hung out with our friends or wandered around on our own. We left the house in the morning and didn’t come back until dark.
We grew up on dystopian science-fiction and the constant threat of nuclear war. As a young kid in the 1980’s I honestly thought the bastards in the White House and The Kremlin had their damn fingers on the buttons ready to blow us all to hell. That’s why we danced and partied around the world when the Berlin Wall came down and would love to dance in Red Square when Putin and Company are finally put in a gulag.
When this damn pandemic roared to life we told y’all how it was going to play out because we’d seen the damn movie so many times. If we were lucky, we got to quarantine but most of us probably didn’t. We don’t think we’ll get to retire to some swanky swinging retirement community in Florida or Arizona. We tend to think we’ll retire to some rat-shack apartment or if we’re lucky on the road. For a lot of us, we expect to work until we can’t, or until we’re in the grave and the boss has a séance to get us to find someone to cover our shifts.
So we’ve had enough of everyone’s shit. Because while we were growing up too damn fast, we were also living through the AIDS epidemic and rampant homophobia, racism in ‘welfare queens’ and crack cocaine. We chanted ‘No Justice, No Peace’ after four white police officers were acquitted in almost beating to death a black man named Rodney King. We watched ‘Do the Right Thing’ and said ‘Fight the Power’. And we knew the real reason the heat came down on NWA was because the powers-that-be shit bricks when they found out white kids at Harvard were listening to ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and God forbid they’d want to do something about the racism, poverty, and violence plaguing our black brothers and sisters. Divide and conquer was the strategy deployed back then, but it’s not going to work now.
We’re punks and gangsters, sluts and princesses, dweebs and dorks. We’re what you want to see in us, but not how we are. And most of all, we ain’t here for anyone’s shit anymore. We may be the smallest demographic but we’ve got the best music and the longest memories, the skills to survive, and we’ll call out your bullshit and cancel conservative assholes once and for all.