Talking About My Generation

If you were born between 1961 and 1975 you are a member of “Generation X”. ”. The term comes from a book called “Class” by American sociologist Paul Fussell. Generation X people are not interested in money, status or social climbing.

Some of the cultural achievements of Generation X include Hip-Hop music, “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman, Grunge music and “Matrix”. Generation X-ers were born during the ‘sex without consequences’ period: we are the babies everyone was trying so hard not to have.

We were born before ‘psychobabble’ – that vacuous nonsense of Generation Y where people talk about ‘emotional intelligence’ and ‘closure’ instead of ‘maturity’ and ‘getting over it’.

We just made it into the Space Age with Yuri Gagarin’s mission in 1961. Our chips were potato not silicone and crimes were committed by criminals not deprived childhoods.

We did not have PlayStations or X – Boxes, no video games at all. No 99 channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet chat rooms.

We had friends – we went outside and found them.

Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. We learnt not to do the same thing again. We had fights, punched each other hard and got black and blue – we learned to get over it.

For Generation X a ‘reality show’ was football or a documentary. For Generation Y a ‘reality show’ is sitting in the living-room watching other people sitting in a living room. For our parents it was World War II.

I’m not sure how well these definitions Generation X and Y work in regard to Spain. This country has had a very distinct post-war experience to the rest of Europe.

When I came here 16 years ago I taught children. I found them to be rude and unruly. It seemed to me that after so much repression from a dictatorial system, the parents had decided to let their children enjoy freedom.

Too much.

To say that children should express themselves is a dereliction of duty. They should only express the best of themselves. Anything less is bad education. We Generation Xers were lucky in that respect. Our parents saw what happens when you don’t say “no”. Our parents lived under Winston Churchill, our kids see George W Bush. That’s how big the gap is!

When my mother (Generation W?) was born, the Bolsheviks were struggling to gain power in Russia, alcohol had just been prohibited in the USA and the Ottoman Empire was only two years dead.

When I was born the Berlin Wall was still up, J. F. Kennedy was alive and the felt-tip pen was one year old. The Beatles had yet to have a number one hit!!

Generation Y (or “Why?”) will have to contend with the neo-Crusades of West versus Middle East, technological advances outstripping ethical debate and the ‘dumbing down’ of the news media.

Maybe future historians will see Generation X as the lucky ones: the ones who lived through a golden age.

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