Tag Archives: Generation X


I’ve been feeling a bit meh this past week because it’s annual progress report time and I’m still not done The Dissertation. On the bright side, I think one more semester should do it (in terms of finishing the draft).

Anyway, I went to campus to drop off the aforementioned report and whilst there checked my mailbox. In it were my TA evaluations from past semesters. And in amongst the inevitable “too sarcastic”* and “hard marker” (if anything, I’m too soft, so that remark always amuses me) comments were so many positive comments, the most enthusiastic comments I think I’ve ever received from students. Warm fuzzy! 🙂

*Example of “too sarcastic” thing I might actually say: “So! I’m sure everyone’s done this week’s reading!” {implied “not!” due to past experience, but with much enthusiasm and the secret hope that they might all say “Yes!” I’m an optimistic cynic.} I know! So mean, right?

I don’t think this is a me problem specifically; I think it’s a Gen-X/Gen-Y generational difference. It comes up online quite a bit. Whenever I see Gen-Ys complaining about someone being too “mean” or “sarcastic,” inevitably the person being discussed is Gen-X and just as inevitably, what a Gen-Yer interprets as “being mean” I interpret as joking/teasing. Gen-Yers just have different expectations than Gen-Xers. Gen-Xers are snarky. Gen-Yers are adorkable. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In fact, snark might be the key characteristic in defining Gen-X. Hmm. Perhaps I should code for snark. Ooh! Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could work snark into my title?! Yes. I must make that happen.

Hmm. aykb, I can relate anything to Seinfeld, but now it seems I can also relate anything to The Dissertation. Seinfeld still sneaked in there, though 😉

I’ll gladly answer to “slacker”

In truth, like many people my age, I hated high school and my 20s sucked as much as they rocked. So while we may take the baby barrettes out of our graying hair and no longer fit the description of grrrl, my generation has been pretty busy spending the last few decades living its life, starting its zines, cranking out some great music and generally not giving much of a crap about its hotness to begin with. I’ll gladly answer to “slacker,” but even if it’s with a wink and a self-deprecating laugh over pleather miniskirts gone by, don’t call me “formerly” anything. Because I’m not ready to assume my best years are behind me. And I don’t ever want to define myself by what I’ve been.

Mary Elizabeth Williams


9:30 P.M. Dread resumption of office job in the morning. Regret all choices and circumstances that have led to necessity of having a day job. Recall A.O. Scott’s hilarious (yet sympathetic) indictment of Generation X in last week’s “Week in Review” piece on Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask. Track it down and reread. Reflect on the ultimate pointlessness of trying to escape the slacker mindset.

9:40 P.M. Begin drinking (bourbon).

Maud Newton