Prince and Generation X

In the aftermath of Prince’s death on April 21, 2016 there has, of course, been a huge outpouring of grief and sympathy.  However, by the look of my Facebook feed, those of us from Generation X took Prince’s death the hardest.  This appears to be true in Australia, as well, according to the linked article from Neil McMahon.  If we are most touched by music from the year in which we turn 17 then the chart below from FiveThirtyEight shows how Prince was a dominant force in Generation X’s musical life.  Those of us born in 1965 turned 17 in 1982, the year Little Red Corvette and 1999 were released.  By the time the last of Generation X was getting out of high school (those born in 1980) Prince’s peak chart output was mostly complete.  But for most of Generation X’s formative musical years of the 1980s through the mid-’90s, Price was cranking out top ten hits.   So, for us Generation Xers it is good see him back on top of the charts and getting a lot of radio airplay, even though the reason for the attention sucks.

Three years ago Touré wrote a book about Prince explaining how he became the iconic figure he is.  At the time he also published some articles on the relationship between Prince and Generation X.  Worth revisiting now, especially the Salon article for its take on the relationship between late Boomers and Generation X.

I also see that the internet has decided that Price should be the new face of the $20 bill – which should be renamed the $19.99 and/or the bill formerly known as the twenty.  I think it is a much better idea from the internet than Boaty McBoatface.

Thanks, shaynasaur.
This is so money.

Generation X – National Geographic Gives Us a TV Series

Generation X promo image from
Generation X!

I am glad to see Generation X  getting some media love from the National Geographic Channel.  Last month I caught the episode “The Politics of X” on TV.  Based on that I am looking forward to seeing more of the episodes. The description from National Geographic:

Generation X

Even cynics can change the world. Narrated by Christian Slater, this six-part series re-examines the era on a quest to redefine the so-called Slacker Generation.
One of the episodes is on “The Power of Disruption“.  I am looking forward to watching that one, as I see disruption as a major theme of the 21st century (so far).

A Great Generation X Rant from Mat Honan

This gem written in 2011 by Mat Honan was re-posted by one of my grad school friends (a Gen Xer of course) today.  While Gizmodo titled it “Generation X is Sick of Your Bullshit”, I see that is was originally titled “Generation X Doesn’t want to hear it” on Honan’s tumblr.  5 years later I think it still resonates — but now we are even older and probably fatter.  And we still need to sneak a cigarette and sit down with a beer.

Draft Registration for Women

The topic of requiring draft registration for women came up in last night’s Republican Presidential debate.  The question really took me by surprise, but I guess the issue has been in the news the past few months now that all combat roles in the U.S. military have been opened to women.

I am against involuntary servitude, and this includes both the military draft and other forms of mandatory “national service“.  For men in Generation X, selective service registration has been a fact of life, having been authorized in 1980 by Proclamation of President Jimmy Carter.  Since then, upon turning 18, all men have had to register for the draft.  Beyond that, we have to keep proving that we have registered, providing our selective service number in order to get Federally backed student loans and other financial aid, get a government job, or obtain other federal benefits.  Additionally, failing to register could result in a $25000 fine and up to 5 years in jail.  Some states have their own legislation linking selective service registration for men to financial aid and even to being able to obtain a drivers license.

Of course, these penalties only apply to men.  Could this have anything to do with men falling behind in college enrollments?  Probably not.  But is it fair, especially in light of opening opportunities in the military to women?  Would it demonstrate more of a commitment to equality to require women to share in this responsibility to register for the draft and face the same potential penalties as men?  At least Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush said “yes” last night.  I would like to hear what Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders say on this issue. (If they were asked in their debate I missed it).  Of course, I would have rather heard them say that we no longer need to register anyone for the draft.

Generation X Turns 50 – Finally noticed in the media!

During the first week of January this year I was going to the Metro station in Washington DC and noticed a headline on the Epoch Times – “Gen X Turns 50“.  So I picked up a copy of the paper and read a great article by Cindy Drukier on the current state of Generation X and how we got to be the way we are.  I recommend it.

Generation X graphic from the Epoch Times article.

However, I do take issue with the first line: “The first cohort of Generation X turned 50 this year – you probably didn’t notice either.”  (The article dateline is Dec. 30 2015, so “this year” would be 1965.)

I noticed!  But overall she is certainly correct.  If, like I do, you recall the media hoopla over the Boomers turning 50 in 1996, we Gen Xers certainly have not had that kind of media recognition over our milestone birthday.   Thanks, Cindy, for getting us some front page recognition for once!

Gen X Men Love Apple TV — and Star Trek

I have had an Apple TV box for a few years now, and I am a Gen X man.  We use it on the TV we have in the master bedroom rather than the main TV.  In part this is because out main TV is a Smart TV, so we can access Netflix and Pandora through it directly.  The other issue is that we have not cut the cord on cable, so I find we still mainly watch cable as opposed to streaming content.    I like the Apple TV, even though I don’t use all of the options.  Being able to connect the phone and show its screen on the TV can be useful.

This article on CNBC says that I am not alone.  Apparently 90% of Apple TV buyers are men and most are between 35 and 44.

There was also an article on fivethirtyeight about the planned new Star Trek series on CBS.  It contains demographic information on Star Trek Fans.  Looks like between 40 and 50% of Gen Xers consider themselves Star Trek Fans.  To them I say, “Live Long and Prosper”!

The other thing of (foot) note is that according to fivethirtyeight, CBS plans to debut the new Star Trek series on TV and then move it to digital distribution.  I guess I and other Gen X fans of Star Trek will need those Apple TV units we bought!


Generation X 50th Birthday of the Day – Ted Allen

Ted Allen, host of Food Network’s Chopped turns 50 on May 20.  Ted’s big break came in 2003 when he was in the cast of Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.  In honor of Ted’s position as one of the latest Generation X celebrities to turn 50, here is an interview with him from a couple years ago.

The Fast and the Furious – $1B Worldwide in 17 Days

I have posted my contention that the Fast and the Furious franchise, a movie with a completely Generation X starring cast, is the greatest movie franchise of our generation.  More support for that comes in today’s news that this weekend Furious 7 will break the $1B Worldwide Box Office mark.  Right now it is beating all the other films that are out.

Gen X 50th Birthday of the Day – Martin Lawrence!

Turning 50 on April 16, 2015 (and sharing that honor with Jon Cryer) is Martin Lawrence.  I am tempted to call him “famous German actor Martin Lawrence”, since it was news to me to discover that he was born in Germany while is father was serving in the military.

I’m trying to figure out which Martin Lawrence film I like the best – and of course, you can’t go wrong with the Bad Boys films.  But I have a soft spot for Black Knight!  And, while I preferred the original English version, the Chris Rock/Martin Lawrence version of Death at a Funeral was pretty good!  And it has Peter Dinklage reprising his role as the late father’s lover.  What more could you ask for.