Talking ’bout my Generation: Generation X

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Generation X Traits. Image Source: Karen McCullough (https://www.karenmccullough.com/generation-x-time-pass-torch/)

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • 1st Draft – “Project Dog” (Exposition)
    Okay, so I’m revising the way that I work. I rough drafted a new short story project called “Project Captain” (I have a title for it, but I’ll wait to unveil it). I’m now working on the first draft of “Project Dog,” a sci-fi story (I seem to be on a sci-fi kick these days). I finished the exposition last night and will move on next to the part of the story.
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, think that I have the two characters–a brother and a sister who are on the opposite sides of the issue.  Still, no Writing so far). Need to find a place to work in revisions–I can draft new material just fine, but I don’t seem to have any time to work on “drafting” revisions.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    The Belgariad David Eddings
    Last week was NOT a good week, so I needed some “comfort food” for reading and my go to book for “comfort food” is the Belgariad (followed closely by Diane Duane’s So You Want To Be a Wizard.)
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 5 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 6 (this book has 10 chapters).
    Wrote out a fairly extensive list of possible research topics to explore from chapter 5. Really intriguing book.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Generation X

There are very few images of me online (mostly because I don’t really put the images that I take online), but if you looked at me, chances are good that you wouldn’t think that I’m as old as I am. While I look like a Millennial (or so I’m told), I’m actually part of Generation X, a generation that, I feel, has been largely forgotten in the midst of the two mega-generations: Baby Boomers and the Millennial. I wanted to take a moment to talk about my generation for a moment.

The Melting Pot

One of the problems that I see (particularly in today’s society and culture, especially in America) is the loss of the idea of the “Melting Pot.”  In fact, this was a central tenant of the new burgeoning race relations in this country after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ending of the segregation laws. There was this idea that America was a bright and shining land in which all races could (and should) blend together in a “Melting Pot” in which we each shared in each other’s cultures, values, and traditions in order to make us a strong, unified nation, instead of the divisive, back-biting nation that we had become under the racist ideologies of segregationists. I watched in wonder growing up as this (unforced) diversity played itself out, watching the various cultures of Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, Alice, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, American Bandstand, and Mork & Mindy to name a few. Now, let me be clear, these were not a part of my particular culture, but it was fun to look in on them to see how they lived, worked, and played. My own culture, in fact, consisted of shows like Good Times, Sandford & Sons, Different Strokes, The Jeffersons, What’s Happening!!, Soul Train, 3-2-1 Contact, and The Electric Show. While featuring a predominately African American cast or a cast of diverse races, they still brought in guest stars from other races which helped to promote this idea of the seeing the “Melting Pot” in action. This, sadly, went out of vogue toward the end of the 1980s and early 1990s and it seems this idea isn’t as prevalent or ingrained in the succeeding generations.

Technology

One of the things that stands out about my generation is the fact that we got to see many of the technologies that are now ensconced in culture, develop and mature (and in some cases die). We are very much “children of technology.”  Most of us can remember the time before there was MTV (and music videos), remote controls for TVs (you actually had to get up and go to the set to change channels, the rise (and fall) of CDs, DVDs, and (unless something changes in the near future) Blu-Rays. We’ve seen the rise of video games and seen them crash into a heap, buried in landfills, only to rise again, like a phoenix and become the titans of the entertainment industry. We’ve seen the computer morph and merge from the introduction of the original Apple computers when they were the “new kid on the block” and now (as of a few days ago), Apple is the first trillion (with a “t”) dollar company. We can remember when computers only had 64K of memory (Commodore 64) or when video game controllers only had one button. I could go on and on, but in most cases, Generation X have seen the rise of many of the technologies that we use on a daily basis.

Sure, every generation sees new technologies and progress during their lifetime, but I feel this is where Generation X is unique. Having had a period in our lives without excessive levels of technology, but gaining it early in our lives, we are comfortable with technology or without it. We don’t need it to stave off boredom, but use it to enrich our lives. We aren’t afraid of technological change, or the pace at which technology changes, but we don’t require technology. It isn’t a necessity for us, rather a tool that enriches our lives. I find, that as a Generation X’er, I am as comfortable with a book as I am with a Kindle as I am with the Kindle app on my phone. Any of the three would useful to me depending on the situation and circumstances in which I wanted to read.

Bourne to Win

Jason Bourne.  I love the character, I love the inventiveness of his characterization, and I love the pathos that Matt Damon portrays when playing the role of Bourne. However, I do have an issue with Bourne. He’s perfect–and he did nothing to earn his perfection. One thing that I feel that Generation X has learned is that life is hard. If you want something, you have to work for it until you get it. You have train and work and sweat and sacrifice, but if you do so, more often than not, you’ll find the rewards are well worth the effort.

The problem with Bourne is that we never really see him train. Sure, he’s this ultra-cool, ultra-competent fighter agent, but he “discovers” his fighting ability in the first movie, The Bourne Identity. Yes, later movies flesh this out and show more of his history, but what it took to get him to have his almost preternatural fighting ability is hidden from the audience.

In many ways, Generation X is the last major generation that got to see that hard work yields results. I can remember the training montages in the Rocky movies in particular and remember equating hard work with success. Now, with the Bourne movies, those qualities of hard work, discipline, and training are hidden away from view, making it seem that one can be (and should be) freakishly good at something without having to put the hard work to become good at it.

In closing, every generation pushes against the one before it and the ones after it. It is, perhaps, the natural order of things–the old must eventually make way for the new and this cycle continues. However, even in this cycle, I think we can take a moment to both reflect on this cycle and ways that we can temper its effects. While my generation is caught in-between Baby Boomers and Millennials, there’s no reason why we can’t all find away to learn from (and respect) each other’s ways of seeing the world.

Instead of looking back at the past and the divisions that defined us, why not look forward instead at the ways our commonalities unite us?

Sidney




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