Well-written. I remember that photo too. And as for “what we do next” being what counts — well, yeah. And Amen. However, I’m scratching my head over a couple of points that seem non-crucial but not exactly trivial either.
Gen X really prided itself — and still prides itself — on authenticity; but it’s only in the Trumpian age that we’ve really learned through bitter experience the price of authenticity.
Um… Maybe we just went to different parties back in the day, but the Gen X I knew prided itself on having seen through all ostensible authenticity. It was this conceit — and it was a conceit — that was (supposedly) destroyed by planes flying into buildings in D.C. and New York. It is in today’s “emergent ‘identity politics’” that Autheticity has re-arisen to bite back; and we have yet to see how deep that bite will go and whose blood it will draw.
Our collections of paperback Penguin Classics, including the work of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte and William Shakespeare now look less like a recipe for edification and more like a jukebox playing only White People’s Greatest Hits.
Again, Huh? It was Gen X that colluded in the tossing-over of “the Western Canon”, that fossilized deposit of colonialism, sexism, and half a dozen other badisms in order to invent political correctness, which it could only wash down with a significant chaser of (faux) ironism — hence, the “conservative punch lines” to all those progressive jokes. To be sure, this was a sign of real incoherence, and yes, there was a strong dash of retrogressive prejudices in it. But to suggest we’re finally now seeing this in light of D.T., and that this catastrophe may finally be the moment whereby “our disillusionment will be…the wellspring of our enlightenment,” sounds like wishful thinking to me. Gen X was disillusioned from the get-go. That was the whole point. If enlightenment can arise out of this — and of course it can — it’s not because there’s something extra-awful about the last election. It’s because enlightenment is always there, waiting.
This, however, sounds about right:
We may be the most nostalgic generation of all, precisely because we are the last of the analogues.
The characterization is probably at least half true; the rationale is at least seven-eighths plausible; and the formulation as a whole is beautifully put. Enough to warrant giving the other weird remarks a pass — or better, to assume we must just be talking about different sectors of the Gen.