The decision to break a curfew, skip a class, defy a rule. The decision to be yourself, even if that means facing rejection, punishment or “failure”. The decision to grow up.
Look it up, if you don’t believe me. Or watch Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street”, that explains it pretty well. My generation, known by the less-than-loving moniker “Generation X”, has developed something of a reputation for a particular brand of selfishness, supposedly born out of the unfortunate timing of our coming-of-age years.
I’d like to explain our refusal to conform to societal standards to music.
Like a magic trick, immersing them in the music of yesteryear makes their bodies respond as though it were yesteryear, and if that isn’t an amazing thing, I don’t know what is. So let’s talk about the music of the 80’s, and the powerful, regenerative force it holds for my generation. Actually, first let’s talk about the universal agreement we now all have that the music of the 80’s sort of sucked.
Ahhhh, it feels good to admit that, doesn’t it? At the same time, I am the very first person in the world to crank Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” when I hear it on the radio. No shame in it, either.
The thing you have to appreciate here is that teenagers are CRAZY. Right? Even the ones who seem okay, we know all about their poorly developed brains and how they respond to a zit like a five alarm fire, so let’s just accept that point.
Being crazy, not only do they attach incredible significance to things that are utterly unimportant, but they also feel a bizarre level of passion for some really lame things (shout out to Taylor Swift!!!) Take me, for example. I wore pink and green when preppy was in, wore designer jeans so everyone knew my ass had good taste and LOVED the groups A-ha and Naked Eyes.
I’m not saying any of it was right, I’m just telling you how it was. And if you think I don’t belt out “Take on Me” EVERY-SINGLE-TIME I happen upon it, you are very naïve indeed.
That song, bossy in a universal way, seems to promote stalking and controlling but not planning or even making sense. “Stop Making Sense” was a hit in the 80’s, in fact. This music, this credo, became sort of emblematic for my generation.
We desire to rule the world in a theoretical way, not in the way of planned mergers or hostile takeovers. We want to rule the world by being ourselves and not letting anything interfere with that. The 80’s, that much maligned era of “greed” and “excess”, seems to have spawned an army of people who would rather not play by the rules.
Who would rather not conform to the standard. Who would rather not “play nicely with others”, if the others feel there is a “right” way to do things. We want to rule our world, and we don’t really care if anyone else plays along.
If only I had been a teenager in the 60’s, THEN I could accept that you can’t always get what you want! Or in the 70’s—I’m easy, I love the one I’m with, we’re all be free to be you and me! 80’s, you screwed me!!!
And now I am going to hunt you down and force you to be the way I want you to be, just like you taught me to do. B-wah-hahahahaha-Ha!!!!
But then again…my fellow Gen-X-ers, my peers, are the most unique, interesting group of people I have ever encountered. There is no “greed” in the traditional sense, only a driving desire to be authentic and whole. And yes, we seek out like minded souls and attempt to create together by thinking outside the box and understanding that our authority is the ONLY authority as far as we are concerned.
Is that wrong? If you think it is, then you don’t understand that everybody does actually WANT to rule the world. But only a few of us have the guts to try.