In popular culture, everything old suddenly becoming new again is a common occurrence. But never before has it been as relevant a concept to the group commonly referred to as Generation X. But while many of the cultural artifacts remembered by the members of this generation are suddenly coming out of the woodwork, it could say plenty about the ultimate mark they make on the world.
The sudden appreciation for Gen X (generally considered to be those born between the beginning of the 1960s and start of the 1980s) culture began around 2004 when the Pixies (pictured), one of that generation’s most-influential bands, got back together after a long breakup. In the ensuing years, the band previously considered an independent indulgence with little commercial potential was suddenly one of the world’s more innovative and successful touring acts. Since then, additional independent acts made famous for expressing Generation X’s angst have made subsequent comebacks, including Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbox, and Pavement. And now that Generation X finally has the money and influence to make these artists profitable, what else do they have?
According to census information, they have a wealth of academic experience, boasting more education than any preceding generation. But their men also apparently made less than their fathers did at the same age. Generation X also appears to have trouble with saving money, as the finer details of the current economic situation might dictate. Having experienced few prolonged period of economic hardship and now thinking about retirement in the foreseeable future, Generation X could run the risk of becoming a forgotten generation.
But not everyone has given up on Generation X just yet. In fact, in a summertime post on the Harvard Business Review’s web site, noted author Tamara J. Erickson pointed out how Generation X could revive its legacy while simultaneously fixing the planet. By reaching back to its signature malaise, characterized by an overall global awareness, sense of alienation, and distrust of institutions, Erickson says that Generation X has some vital resources that are currently in short supply.
With a Gen Xer now occupying the White House, it does appear to be up to this group to get us all back on track. And with all their favorite bands suddenly back out on the road, there may have never been a better time.