Collage of a shirtless performer and a cutaway image of an egg.

My Generation

Anthem for a forgotten cohort.
A meme, entitled The Many Faces of Generation X, showing stills of a girl from a movie called The Breakfast Club.

The Constructive Culture of Gen X Cynicism

Skepticism drove some of this more cynical or realistic worldview, based on their experiences growing up in the 70s and 80s.

What’s Left of Generation X

To be Gen X was to be disaffected from the consumer norms of the 1980s, but to be pessimistic about any chance for social transformation.

'Reality Bites' Captured Gen X With Perfect Irony

The 1994 studio film was written by a 20-something who mined her own life to tell the story of a generation that disdained 'selling out.'

Why Generational Thinking Isn't Bull

Reflections on Pavement, Nirvana, the very meaning of history, and the end of neoliberalism.

Just Beans

What was ethical consumption under capitalism?
Image of two people (one old and one young) playing tug of war with an elephant over an American flag.

End the Generation Wars

Lazy assumptions about young and old cloud our politics.
Middle finger that says "Millenial" and Fist that says "Gen Z"

It’s Time to Stop Talking About “Generations”

From boomers to zoomers, the concept gets social history all wrong.
Drawing of Stranger Things main characters on bikes

Historicizing Dystopia: Suburban Fantastic Media and White Millennial Childhood

On the nostalgic and technophobic motives of the recent boom in suburban fantastic media.

Come On and Zoom-Zoom

The original “Zoom” burst joyfully out of Boston in the 1970s, and is still beloved by older members of Generation X.
The original members of the hip-hop group De La Soul.

Hip-Hop at Fifty: An Elegy

A generation is still dying younger than it should—this time, of “natural causes.”
Four characters from "Dazed and Confused."

The “Dazed and Confused” Generation

People my age are described as baby boomers, but our experiences call for a different label altogether.
Rap group Public Enemy: (Clockwise from bottom left) Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Terminator X, S1W, and Chuck D

How Rap Taught (Some of) the Hip Hop Generation Black History

For members of the Hip Hop generation who came of age during the Black Power era, “reality rap” was an entry into the political power of Black history.
Illustration of fantasy elements including a maze and a crystal ball from a "choose-your-own-adventure" scene from a book.

The Enduring Allure of Choose Your Own Adventure Books

How a best-selling series gave young readers a new sense of agency.
Image of a young girl using an iPhone.

What Makes a Millennial?

The defining boundaries and problematic categorizations carried by our culture's treatment of the label "millennial."
A picture of the author as a teenager with his parents, in his bedroom decorated with rock music posters.

My Dad and Kurt Cobain

When my father moved to Taiwan, a fax machine and a shared love of music bridged an ocean.
Photograph of a dilapidated mall from the rear parking lot.


Once derided as cesspools of Reagan-era consumerist excess, the shopping mall somehow became an unlikely sort-of quasi-public space that is now disappearing.
Miss America 1992, Carolyn Sapp of Hawaii, is crowned by former Miss America Marjorie Judith Vincent on Sept. 14, 1991.

How a Domestic Violence Exposé Ushered In a New Era for the Miss America Pageant

If the press didn’t know what to make of Miss America 1992 Carolyn Sapp, they really didn’t know what to make of domestic violence.

Which Generation Controls the Senate?

A visual breakdown of the U.S. Senate by age.

The Mod Squad, Kojak, Real-Life Cops, and Me

What I relearned (about well-meaning liberalism, race, my late father, and my young gay self) rewatching the TV cop shows of my 1970s youth.