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 somearticles 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.
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 continues to turn 50, and today I want to highlight those of us born in February 1966. Leading off February, fashion designer John Varvatos turned 50 on February 1st. Then on the 6th, singer and internet meme legend Rick Astley turned fifty. Those of us who have been on the internet forever owe him a special debt.
Actor Neal McDonough, who I keep seeing more of all the time, Turns 50 on February 13th. And then Justine Bateman on February 19th. I think Family Ties was one of the shows that captures the Generation X formative years.
On the 20th, supermodel Cindy Crawford hits the big Five – Oh. She certainly has to be among the most successful and famous members of Generation X by any measure.
February 24th brings 50th birthday wishes to Billy Zane, and the 25th to Téa Leoni. On the 27th, Donal Logue turns 50 and Ickey Woods shuffles into a second half-century on the 28th. Disappointingly, I did not find any leap-year Gen-Xers turning 50 on the 29th.
Finally, just in case you didn’t click at the top, Mr. Rick Astley:
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.
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!
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!
I found Tom Cramer’sHuff/Post50 blog reflections of a Gen Xer turning 50. Thought I would share it here. I resonate with much of it – probably because my first car (1977 Chevy Monte Carlo) had an 8-track tape player! And I still don’t wear a bike helmet.
Gen X 50th Birthday of the Day for April 16th, 2015 is Jon Cryer. Lately of the show Two and a Half Men, those of us in Generation X probably know him first and best from his role as Duckie in Pretty in Pink — one of the classic John Hughes films that came out during Gen X’s formative years.
So, the other night – and I don’t know if this was in celebration of turning 50 – Cryer recreated his dance/lip sync routine to Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness from Pretty in Pink. So that you can compare in one place, I give you the 1986 original with 21 year old Jon Cryer and the 2015 version with 50 (minus one day) year old Jon Cryer. With the wig, Cryer has appeared to have aged at all in 29 years!
April 9th, 2015, our Gen X 50th Birthday of the day belongs to model and actress Paulina Porizkova. I think I had a Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar back in the mid 1980s that she was a big part of. Maybe it included this image:
I am as astounded to find out that we are both hitting fifty this year as I was when it was announced she was marrying Ric Ocasek. But, I have to say, she’s still got it:
Mad Men has started its final season this past Sunday, and the show always struck me as speaking far more to Generation X than it did to Baby Boomers. Season one begins in 1960, and the first episode of the last season takes place in early 1970. The main characters are all members of the Silent Generation or older – Don Draper is a Korean War veteran. This makes sense, as the oldest Baby Boomers were teens or in college in the early sixties, not working in advertising.
So, the sensibility of the show is that of the Silent Generation, not the Baby Boomers who now think that they own the 1960s. This makes sense to me now that I learn that show creator Matthew Weiner is a Gen Xer, born in June 1965. I think that we Gen Xers relate much more with the Silent Generation than the Baby Boomers. And you can also see this in the return of the martini in the late 1990s and other classic cocktails in the past decade. I think these trends were largerly driven by Generation X.
Kris Maske writing on TV BUZZ/UPROXX notes that some of Weiner’s antipathy to the Baby Boomers and their view of the 1960s comes through in this interview with Stephen Colbert.
April 2, 2015 would have been the 50th birthday of Rodney King. King, was of course made famous by his beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police Department members in 1991 that was captured on tape and seen on the news nationwide. Subsequently, the acquittal of these officers on charges of using excessive force led to the LA riots of 1992, which if you are a GenXer you probably remember watching them on TV.
The King case really foreshadowed where we are now with much more widespread filming of police-citizen interactions, police car dash cams, and plans for police body cameras.
King died in June, 2012, drowning in his swimming pool. I will always remember his quote during the riots, “Can we all get along?” Hopefully we can.