One subject that I have always been interested in is the cultural impact of generations. Each generation brings different changes to the cultural landscape and leaves a lasting impact. Well… except for generation Y or “generation whine” as some cynical experts call it.
First let me define what generation Y is. Gen Y is basically includes anyone that was born after 1981. The previous generation, Gen X, is anyone that graduated high school in the 1980s. (Which puts me in this odd category because I don’t fall into either group. This allows me to criticize both without having to take sides, which is a nice bonus.)
Most of the criticisms of Gen Y are that they are distracted (always multitasking but never doing a good job), feel a sense of entitlement, they are the most marketed to generation ever (not only do they accept it, they relish in it), have chosen to date or have sex with me (which says something about their taste), and there is a gaping void when it comes to cultural contributions. I feel the first couple of points can be debated because they always seem like a typical swipe at younger generation that happens every few years. The one I want to look at is the cultural contributions because you can see some real issues there.
Generation X: Grunge, Hip-hop, and Indie Rock
There really is no debate about the lasting contributions of the music of this era. Although everyone want to distance themselves from Vanilla Ice, which everyone in generation x agrees about.
Generation Y: Pop punk?
(Fall Out Boy doesn’t make me want to beat it… )
Gen Y’s music can be defined as wholly unoriginal and the band Fall Out Boy personifies it. They aren’t original enough to come up with their own video concepts; they have to adapt stuff that was created by the generation before them. Their pop music is prepackaged Disney stars that are created by a massive marketing machine. There is no real movement here, mostly co-opting the culture of the previous two generations.
Generation X: Kevin Smith, Reality Bites, Singles
Gen X had movies and filmmakers that helped define a generation. We are all lazy, mistrusting, weed smoking, coffee swilling, cynical smart asses… I have come to accept that personification. Oh and we all want to bang a young Wynonna Rider.
Generation Y: All those crappy comedy parody films
The comedies that are created for teens aren’t even original to come up with their own ideas. It is all prepackaged pop culture references jammed into 90 minutes. I’ll even give you Juno and you still just have a shit load of pop culture references and nothing that defines that generation.
Generation X: The Original Real World
We gave you a show that talked about race. That had Kevin Powell who is going on and running for Congress. Musicians who actually put out music and got signed by labels like Becky, Heather B, and Andre. Plus a founder of Gay Entertainment television. And who can forget Eric Neiss who brought us… um… uh… excellent aerobics shows?
Generation Y: The Hills and the Real World Hollywood
It isn’t a good sign that even Gen Y’s reality television turned out to be scripted and fake. Plus when you look at the shift generationally from the first few Real World seasons to the last few where the shows just include attention whores and people that want to be famous for being famous… Well it isn’t a good sign.
Although it did bring us the greatest episode of the Real World ever that included court, strip clubs, a guy going to rehab, threats to roommates, some of the most pointless conversation ever, and possibly cemented this cast as the one I have the most disdain for ever. So I guess I need to give them points for that.
Where does this place Gen Y? Are they just going to be known for the mash-up? Combining the cultural production of others into their own products?
Has Gen Y produced anything of value?
This is going up at humor-blogs.com