Young Gen X is Generation Catalano

Cabbage Patch Kids
Rev Xanatos… via Flickr w/ CC License

I am really enjoying the ongoing Generation Catalano meme, which is about younger members of Gen X who identify more with Cabbage Patch Kids than Reality Bites; Kanye West than Kurt Cobain.

The conversation essentially began with an October 16, New Yorker article, The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright. It’s about Generation Y, the “screwed, coddled, self-absorbed, mocked, surprisingly resilient generation.”

Mat Honan of Gizmodo responded with a scathing, albeit funny, Tumblr post, Generation X is Sick of Your Bullsh*t.

Generation Catalano

Next came a series of tweets by Doree Shafrir of Slate, and then the article, Generation Catalano.

Here are a few excerpts from the ongoing and organic meme.

From Slate:

Claire Danes and My So Called Life. “But what seemed to be the best moniker for our micro-generation was a Teen Vogue editor’s suggestion: “Generation Catalano.” Jared Leto’s Jordan Catalano was a main character in the 1994-95 ABC series My So-Called Life…like a time capsule, and not just because of the Scrunchies. There’s no texting; Jordan leaves a note for Angela in her locker. There’s also no Facebook or instant-messaging or cyberbullying (just regular old bullying). It was a show that most accurately portrayed my high school experience…”

From Histories of Things to Come:

(This is such a cool blog, by the way; a niche like no other.)

“Yet at the same time, Gen Xers are haunted by completely a contrary impulse, namely, that lashing out in defensive self-righteousness is not who they really are; the labels aren’t accurate – the labels aren’t real…Xers have to tie the knots between then and now – between what came before and what has come after the Cold War, the tech revolution, the turn of the Millennium. They are the only generation that straddles past and future exactly. And so far it’s been a thankless task…”

From Eva Wiseman and The Guardian

“…Brilliantly landed on Generation Catalano…This was a teen drama that didn’t fetishise teenageness, instead illustrating it in a rainbow of bruisey greys. Our heroine…trailed her ennui and grungy lust through the school corridors, pining for the dyslexically sexy Jordan Catalano, who caused ripples so strong that even today the sight of a brown corduroy jacket makes me go nicely shivery…

“Does my generation, one quivering with identity crises, clinging on to our vintage T-shirts as if they’re rafts, believe that the longer we hold these old things tight…we, too, will survive…”

The longer I write about Generation X, the more convinced I am of the validity of sub generations like Generation Jones (1954-1965), and now, Generation Catalano (roughly 1978 to 1989).

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  1. says

    @SHAWN – Can I publish that as a post? That is a great piece of writing. This is so compelling-inspiring-breathtaking: “And I prefer this disposition in life over being from the past and moving to the future, or being from the future and wondering about the strangeness of the past. Instead I remember both by simply remembering my life as it happened.” !!

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