Last week J sent me an article he found on Slate called “Generation Catalano,” an article on the lost generation between Generation X and the Millennials (formerly known as Generation Y). Oh how I identified because I am part of that lost generation. According to Wikipedia, that bastion of all that is true and accurate, Gen X starts in the late 60s and could end as early as the mid-70s or as late as around 1982. Even though the latter date would technically make me a member of Gen X, most of the formative events associated with that generation happened when I was a small child. I was born in 1977. Iconic movies like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, not to mention Reality Bites and Slackers were targeted for a demographic almost a decade older than I was. Apparently Millennials are beginning to demonstrate the effects of years of warm fuzzies and given prizes for merely showing up, which is also something with which I don’t identify.
It’s a weird feeling (possibly) not being part of a named demographic. Marketers target demographics. Catering to Baby Boomer preferences has been prevalent for a long time and more and more, you see articles about Millennials and their work habits, social consciousness and increasingly, confusion over not being the CEO or simply having a job despite the “specialness” that has been drilled into them. Not being part of a targeted demographic can feel like you don’t exist or matter. And sometimes it can be freeing. Instead of being labelled as a cynical, slacker Gen Xer or a social, trusting Millennial, I’m free to be me. Sometimes cynical. Addicted to social media. A believer in governmental institutions, yet frustrated with Congress. I’ve never been laid off (knock on wood), yet I don’t believe I’m entitled to anything that hard work and dues paying won’t get me.
Does Jordan Catalano represent me? According to the Slate article, my generation should be named after him. I’d prefer Generation Chase after Claire Danes’ Angela Chase, but I understand that Jordan Catalano is likely much more memorable. I adored My So-Called Life because like the author of the article, I was in high school when it was on and it was my life and was crushed that it only lasted one season, but perhaps that was appropriate. Perfection is ephemeral. Angela as a junior or senior might have been insufferable. I freely admit that Jordan Catalano was good looking, but he never did it for me. He was…not very bright…and I couldn’t see being with him no matter how cute he was. I’m ok with my generation being called Generation Catalano. That show represented my early high school experience perfectly. It was ugly and beautiful, complicated and simple. We could have a worse mascot.
Do you feel like you fit in with your generation?