Friday, October 20, 2006

A Pithy Observation

This comes from a buddy from college, the always entertaining Frisco Dave.....

The Nissan X-terra has a new ad campaign that says “show us your X”. This is of course a reference to the X-games-ness of all those “cool” things that people do and call sports. People who go to the X-treme for X-tra N-joyment of their L-ives.

So I thought I just take a moment to realize how we got here.

In 1983 I took algebra. I was told if X=Y and Y=Z then X=Z. X took a powder for a few years.

In 1991 when I was 21 years old, Doug Coupland (B. 1961) published a book about his generation, who were about 10 years older than me. Calling it “Generation X”. The people of this generation in his book were already in their early-thirties and living out happily go-nowhere lives. They were the predecessor of the modern day Slacker. It was Mr. Coupland’s best book.* I read his book and looked in wonder at what I thought might be my future.

At the time I was working a series of go-nowhere jobs in Bakersfield, California while managing a couple of rock bands and putting together shows. I had a ‘Zine**. I read RayGun. But we were not Mr. Coupland’s Gen X.

It did not, however, take long after Nevermind or 10 for us to be conferred the title by Mtv or Rolling Stone or someone else equally stupid.

We reigned as the center of the Cool-i-verse until we left our early 20’s. Pearl Jam became a classic rock band, it became stupid to wear hiking boots with shorts and a flannel unless you were actually hiking and then the marketers conferred the title of “Generation Y” on those people just younger than us and therefore “cool”. Gen X was promptly forgotten about until 20 years from now when Time wants to do a cover story on the first Gen Xer turning 60. As sure as Al Gore invented the internet, Gen Y invented the X-games***.

By the time the marketing folks caught up, Generation Z, which was still called Generation Y, was doing “X” things and they needed the equipment to do it.

Thus, The Nissan X-terra, X-box, X-files, superbowl XL and of course X-mas****

I just dug out my copy of Generation X and I think I might re-read it with the knowledge that I’m now just a little older than the people it was aimed at.

Over and out.


*Seriously, don’t read anything else.

** It was required. If you were to be a hipster you had to have a ‘Zine. My partner in this ‘Zine was a guy named Eric who changed his name to Eirick. The ‘Zine was called “Fencepost” and all known copies are in my garage.

*** As near as I can tell the main goal of the X-games is to do the stupidest thing you can and not die. As in “Dude, that was sick when you reverse bungee luged off a 270 degree negative 2000 foot drop! Whoa.”

****Dude, that was sick when you gathered the family together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ! Whoa.


Post a Comment

<< Home