Just Because I Don’t Like the Term Generation X Doesn’t Mean It Should Be Changed to Something Star Wars Related
I am a GenXer, and I hate the name. Generation X is the demographic term used to describe those born starting in 1965 and ending sometime in the early 1980’s. Why do I hate the name? For one thing, it isn’t original to our generation. The term was first used by Robert Capa in the title of a photo essay depicting people coming into adulthood immediately after the Second World War. It was used again in 1991 by Douglas Copeland in his book Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.
“So what’s the problem?” you may ask. “Hasn’t X been associated with many cool things like Malcolm X, the X-Men (not counting The Last Stand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine), the X-Files, SpaceX, the X Games, Xbox, P90X (which looks awesome on my shelf and I almost got ripped that time I did it sporadically for 30 days), Rain-X, Rid-x, Stain-X, Tilex, and universally representing treasure on all pirate maps?”
Yes, most of these things are cool, but does that make X cool? Isn’t it more likely, as some ancient astronaut theorists have speculated, that it is just lazy thinking caused by the lack of creativity from marketers? And, if these ancient astronaut theorists are correct, shouldn’t we as a generation have a cooler name?
Let’s just rank the generation names from coolest to least cool:
- The Greatest Generation – These people lived through the Great Depression, vanquished Nazism in World War II, and came home with a level of productivity unmatched, but we can’t consider any of that. This list is based on Nickname only. That being said, there can be no argument that if “Greatest” is in your name, you must be coolest.
- Millennial – They started out as Generation Y but turned into the Millennial Generation. Add to that the fact it almost sounds like the Millennium Falcon and it just adds to the cool factor. (Please don’t jump to the conclusion that I am trying to say we should follow this example and change our name to something that is Star Wars related, because I’m not.)
- The Glorious Generation – Who doesn’t want to be glorious? It also brings to mind a very cool season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- The Arthurian Generation – So royal.
- The Transcendental Generation – It just sounds so mysterious.
- The Cavalier Generation- LeBron has made it cool again to be a Cavalier.
- The Baby Boomers – The name implies an explosion, which is always cool. Why else would LucasFilm have added more effects to the Death Star explosion for the re-release of Star Wars: A New Hope? Plus, babies are sooooo cute!
- The Awakening Generation – A preferable alternative to death.
- The Liberty Generation – Yet another preferable alternative to death.
- The Enlightenment Generation – Shiny happy people laughing.
- The G. I. Generation – It has a kung-fu grip!
- The Republican Generation – Progressives hate this name.
- The Progressive Generation – Republicans hate this name.
- The Missionary Generation – Humanists hate this name.
- The Humanist Generation – Missionaries hate this name.
- The Elizabethan Generation – Too royal.
- The Reformation Generation – Nobody likes it when you reform an original. Are you listening LucasFilm?
- The Reprisal Generation – Sounds like something a Sith would do.
- The Puritan Generation – Bad fashion.
- The Parliamentary Generation – Zzzzzzzzz
- The Compromise Generation – Where has compromise ever gotten us?
- Generation X – All due respect to the aforementioned list of cool things associated with X, the bottom line is it is just a place holder representing nothing.
- The Gilded Generation – I know it has to do with gold, but it just reminds me too much of gelded. Ouch!
- The Lost Generation – It started with such great promise but had a terrible ending.
- Generation Z – This generation got the third variable, so at this point it is just redundant. Try using Z in the list of cool X things. “Z marks the spot,” just doesn’t work. It also makes less sense after Gen Y was renamed. It was cool for about 30 seconds in the early 90’s to make the plural form of a word with a Z, like Boyz or Skillz, but that became lame very quickly returning Z to just being the international symbol for being bored. Zzzzzzz.
Not only is the name Generation X not cool, we also seem to be an ignored, frustrated generation. The Pew Research Center has called us, “America’s Neglected ‘middle child.’” Time Magazine asked if we are, “The Forgotten Generation?” (FYI, I’m not suggesting this should be our new name. We should change our generation’s name, after all, in school we were always told to solve for X. Whatever X turns out to be, the heretofore unknown new name should not be Star Wars related.)
As a generation, we also seem to be pessimistic. We are stuck between two much larger generations which means we have spent less time in the media limelight. Compared to those two generations we are the least optimistic about having enough savings for retirement and have the smallest percentage of members believing our generation is unique.
But I am here to inspire a new hope in my generation. We only need to look to the heroes of Star Wars to see how to respond when things get tough.
When Luke Skywalker had a hand chopped off and (spoiler alert!) learned Darth Vader was his father, did he get so depressed that he threw himself off a tall building?
When Han Solo was captured by the Empire, turned over to Boba Fett, and found himself in transit to be delivered to Jabba the Hutt, did fear, despair, and agony paralyze him with complete inactivity?
When faced with overwhelming odds, did Obi Wan Kenobi give up the good fight?
When his second to last hope discontinued his incomplete training and flew off on a suicide mission, did Yoda just lie down and die?
When the rebellion she worked so hard to facilitate seemed to be crumbling, did Princess Leia seek to find solace in the arms of a man who was more of a scoundrel than Han Solo, even though that man actually turned Han over to the Empire? Did this union create a child which later had to be put up for adoption when Han came back into the picture? Was that child later told he was not adopted but taken from his parents and forced to serve the Empire as a stormtrooper?
So what should we do? Be ready for a reveal as shocking as, “I am your Father,” from Toy Story 2.
We should have the name of our generation changed to the Star Wars Generation.
I will give you a moment to pick up the pieces and reassemble your blown mind.
Why should we be called the Star Wars Generation? Some people would say that the cold war, which underlined the entire time of our generation, began its inevitable conclusion once the Strategic Defense Initiative started in March of 1983, marking the end of our generation. Those people would be idiots.
Our generation actually ended on May 25, 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released and ushered in a new age where all major motion pictures became franchises consisting of at least three movies. Our generation turned collecting toys from something only teachers did in classrooms to a profitable business. You’re welcome TY toys. (We’re sorry Beanie Baby collectors.) We turned consumerism into an art form making America the global economic engine of the world. You’re welcome China. (Sorry about the low wages and pollution though.) We turned being a geek into a positive and many Baby Boomers assembled vast empires by exploiting nerdiness. You’re welcome Apple. (Apologies to Microsoft.)
How do we get the name changed? My first thought was that everyone reading this should begin referrencing our generation as “the Star Wars generation, formally known as Generation X,” whenever they are writing their scholarly books and papers dealing with different generations. I then realized it would take forever and nobody that productive is visiting this website.
My second thought was to contact someone who was respected in the field, who carried enough weight to change the name in a few keystrokes. In my research I came across the names William Strauss and Neil Howe. They have written books together dealing with generations and are actually credited with getting the name Generation X to stick after Copeland’s novel. I found no contact information for Strauss, but Howe’s email address is email@example.com.
So if everyone would immediately send an email to Neil Howe that reads something like this:
Dear Mr. Howe,
Will you please change the name of Generation X to the Star Wars Generation?
A member of the Star Wars Generation, formally known as Generation X
After you’ve pressed send, tell all your friends to do the same. Resistance is futile.
(Editor’s note: Please do not hold it against the idiot author of this piece that he concluded an article for a Star Wars site with a quote from Star Trek. Please replace the last sentence with, “He will join us or die, master.”)
For anyone interested, I have started a petition to actually change GenX to the Star Wars Generation. https://www.change.org/p/neil-howe-chnage-the-term-generation-x-to-the-star-wars-generation Please help our voices be heard by adding yours to our petition.