Generation to generation

What's up with the kids?

Since Ernest Hemingway famously quoted Gertrude Stein in the 1920s, “You are a lost generation,” Americans have been fascinated by the idea of generational difference. Characterizing an entire generation involves a mammoth generalization, of course, and the generalizations are as likely to be resented as embraced by members of the cohort in question. “Generation X was created by some over-40 writer,” grumbles Bryant Adkins, expressing a frequent complaint of Gen Xers. Actually, the term Generation X was created by an under-30 writer named Douglas Coupland, though he was himself suspicious of such labels. With an acute awareness of his elders’ commercial designs (a characteristic of his generation?), he headed one chapter of his book Generation X with the words “I am not a target market.”


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