From looking up to hooking up


Reading such an extensive diatribe against the Baby Boomers, and daily hearing and seeing the battle lines drawn between entrenched Boomers and Millennials trying to gain a foothold, I have wondered where the comparatively ‘diminutive’ middle child, Generation X, fits into this fraught landscape. A negotiator? Invisible as always? Luckily I am not the only one asking the question.

Apart from asking the questions about intergenerational politics and warfare, it’s interesting to consider that Gen X is the last generation with active memory of a pre-digital world, when the “looking up” mentioned below, as the writer meant, looking at the world and people around you, face to face and eye to eye. Or meant “looking up” in the phone book or library card catalog. And hooking up? Well, there were no apps for that. (And oddly now that we have apps to make ‘hooking up’ easier, there seem to be fewer real connections than ever.)

“We all need to remember what was important in the pre-digital world, and before the toxic smartphone culture. I’m as guilty as anyone of that, it’s alluring and addictive, but it’s important to look up.”

Douglas Coupland, who coined the term “Generation X”, discussed this point in the article cited above:

“Though the fact that Gen X straddles the analogue and digital eras is, he says: ‘A sacred trust. Once we go, there’ll be no living memory of the analogue era.’

So does he think that algorithmic culture has surpassed or will surpass human intuition? ‘Actually, yes. I know you’re supposed to say ‘no’ and cheer, ‘Yay humanity!’ But intuition is doomed.'”

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