Tag Archives: Gen X

All The Truth (n’at)

I’ve mentioned on this blog previously that one of the many perks of working in a library is stumbling on books and movies and music that you might otherwise have been totally oblivious to. Such was the case with me and All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid by Matt Bai. I stumbled across the book one day at work, got it out from the library, and I was very into it from the beginning.

allthetruthisout

This is one of the best book covers I’ve seen in ages.

At the risk of betraying my age, I remember the Gary Hart scandal pretty well. At my house, when I was a kid, it was standard dinner time fare to discuss politics. From about the age of 10 or so, I was listening in on, and chiming in on, whatever the topics of the day were. I already had a few years of this under my belt when the Gary Hart scandal hit. Reading Bai’s book brought many of the details back to me.

Whereas political scandal is nothing new, this event had a different element to it. Bai posits that the real reason to look at the Hart affair, especially now, almost 30 years on, is that this event was a very specific moment in terms of how the media worked before this event and after. Indeed, he believes that this was the moment that changed the tone of reporting in the US. The sub title of the book is “The Week Politics Went Tabloid,” and that goes a long way to grasping the author’s take on these events and their ramifications.

It might be worth noting that after, at that point, 7 years of Ronald Reagan, the political landscape in the US had a very particular look. Hart was poised to be the opposing candidate early on in that election, and the events outlined in this book changed all of that.

Another possible aspect of the fallout from this event might be described in the cultural attitudes that people politically coming of age around this time had, and how these events helped shape their view of politics in a larger sense. Many of the folks who would have been looking at these events while formulating a political identity would be considered, by generational standards, Gen X. There is perhaps no real way of quantifying how these events shaped the political consciousness of a generation, but one might speculate.

At any rate (and generationally-charged-political-identity-naval-gazing aside) Bai writes a very well-crafted book that gives a good sense of the time, both before, and after, this watershed moment of the confluence of media and politics. Check it out, if you are so inclined.

Eric

-who is half seriously looking for a “monkey business crew” t-shirt for the summer

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Talkin Bout My Generation

First a little bombast.  I’m a boomer.  I was born when Dwight Eisenhower was president.  As a matter of record we had the best TV, the best Broadway, certainly the best music, better sports teams, and better literature.  I am willing to concede though, Cold War Kids can’t and don’t do everything.

Sometime this past December we (the family) found ourselves in a weekend with nothing planned.  No reservations, no obligations to be anywhere.  Without ever uttering it (teenage daughter would scowl with the laser eyes of death if we did,) we settled in for a family movie night.  Somehow we agreed on Field of Dreams.  Now my wife and I, we sit back and watch a movie – no books, no phones, no telegraph or backgammon boards.  If we don’t like the movie that’s another story.  On the other hand, my 14 year old sat there with a laptop so she could use Facebook AND an I-phone so she could text.  I was parentally miffed that she could be so aloof to the cultural rewards she was going to miss. Except I was wrong.  Along with being able to manage the different screen-centric social interactions,  she was also able to follow the movie.  She laughed when you’re supposed to, recognized voices (the obvious James Earl Jones as Darth Vader association) and asked us to explain the cultural references and the movie’s historical context (Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 White Sox.)

She and her peers seem to be able to maintain a social multi-tasking level that is impossible for me.  At best I’ve juggled 2-3 telephone receivers, but I don’t pretend to be able to chat, text, Skype, Skype-party, walk and chew gum at the same time.  Her determination to stay in-touch is pretty laudable.  This kind of behavior and ability should make for both interesting family lives and workforce adjustments over the next 10 years.  I have to concede that they may be on to something.

If you’re interested, we do have some titles that talk about the very real generational differences at play today.  They have real bearing on both the home and the salt mine.

Boomers.

Gen Y.

Gen X.

– Richard

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