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The Baby Boomers were real because there were so many of them, and because they grew up in a flourishing economy. Commerce and pop culture (which was commerce) didn’t particularly track and target them, because they weren’t a particular target, except inasmuch as at one time they were passing through the marketing band known as “youth.” But the Baby Boom was loath to exit that marketing band itself, and—but here come the abstractions and generalities again. Alex Williams wrote an essay for the package about the misdefined or undefined experience of this generation, the reading of which generated some sort of infinite stack of contradictions for a reader in the right age bracket, because reading unpersuasive attempts to define the experience of this generation, while being acutely aware of the fictiveness and inaccuracy of those attempts, was perhaps the only real defining cultural experience of the era.
And so Williams wrote: We don’t even have exclusive rights to our own name.
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).
One reason Xers have trouble defining their own generational persona could be that they’ve rarely been doted on by the media.
By contrast, Baby Boomers have been a source of media fascination from the get-go (witness their name).
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.
(1991), describes the lives of three affluent, disaffected Californians in their 20s by way of a series of stories supplemented with cartoons and dictionary-style definitions of cultural buzzwords.
The novel became widely popular, and its title was soon applied to the generation of Americans born during the 1960s and 1970s.