Gen Xers often embrace entertainment from the 1980s as a defining part of our generational identity. I don’t for two major reasons: Gen X didn’t make that entertainment, and the people who did often don’t like someone like me.
If you manage to get a Gen Xer to break rule number one about Gen X (don’t talk about Gen X), and you get onto the subject of favorite entertainment, you’re bound to talk about movies. And when you do, titles from the 1980s such as The Princess Bride, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, and The Breakfast Club are bound to come up. If Gen Xers want to like them, fine. Whatever. But to think of them as Gen X movies doesn’t make much sense.
“But those movies were great!” a Gen Xer might say. “Not like the garbage that’s being put out today!”
That’s actually a pretty big self-own. Who wrote, produced, and directed the movies in the 1980s? By and large, generations that came before Gen X. And who is making the movies of today? A bunch of generations, including . . . Gen X.
So movies and entertainment of the 1980s are largely the creation of other generations. True, Gen X had actors performing in the 80s, and probably had more creative output in music. But even then, other generations dominated that decade.
On top of this, the people who were creatively responsible for (or involved with) most of entertainment from the 1980s generally dislike people like me. That is to say, I am not a Democrat and thus many of them loathe people with beliefs similar to mine.
I’m fine with this. Indeed, why would I waste my time becoming angry about it? But at the same time, why would I want to make entertainment that was created by such people a core part of my identity?
Again, if other Gen Xers want to like entertainment from the 1980s, I’m not going to try to talk people out of it. But when it comes to being a Gen Xer, I don’t define myself by it. Instead, I generationally define myself through my lived experiences.
Header Image: Still from “The Princess Bride,” © 1987, MGM. Via IMDB.