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They’re smack in the middle innings of life, which tend to be short on drama and scant of theme.But there are other explanations that have nothing to do with their stage of the life cycle.It has become the essential landmark of the Internet Event Horizon, the gap between those things that were around to be incorporated in real time into the eternal present of the World Wide Web, and those pre-Web things that were old enough that the World Wide Web reached back and made note of them for their nostalgia value.
Generation X was the title of 1964 book about mod-era British teenagers, a punk band from the 1970s featuring Billy Idol and satirical novel usually mistaken as a sociological treatise by Douglas Coupland — all boomers. The English tutor who lived downstairs from me in college, a delightful man who would finish his Ph. studies on Chaucer and then go into the business world because the academic job market was already hopeless, convened a book group for people to read and discuss it.
The plot was about, I barely remember, alienated young adults dealing with their interrelationships and entry to adult life, but all the plot stuff happened in between thick outer margins packed with notes and captions and visual bits, a printed-on-paper rehearsal for the coming future when everyone’s brains and attention would be broken by feeds and tabs.
Even though the book was about being that person’s age, not my age.
And now the marketers have kicked Douglas Coupland out of his own generation, and the , besides how important it was, is how little evidence survives of how important it was.
It was revived thirty years later by Canadian author Douglas Coupland, whose coming of age novel, , was set in Southern California. From everything we know about them, they’re savvy, skeptical and self-reliant; they’re not into preening or pampering, and they just might not give much of a hoot what others think of them. Paul Taylor, executive vice president for special projects at the Pew Research Center, is the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown (Public Affairs, 2014).