A Netter Novelist
If my generation is the 1974-1983 generation, what is the shared common experience of us all? What the hell happened?
Well — the End of Vietnam is in our parent’s minds, if not ours. The late 70s doldrums collapse into the ra-ra 80s, with Reagan and Reaganism, a Fake New Cold War, the Space Shuttle (new space), the Challenger Explosion, horizontally integrated children’s entertainment that bring the TV show into your house with fully articulable action figures (new strange superheroes, He-Man, Thundercats, and Transformers), E.T. phoning home, the Disney Channel, Care Bears movies, Halloween, beginning of Overprotection, beginning of a national freakout about our children (those mad Gen-Xers above us), we don’t know what, headed into post-post-modernism, Reagan, Bush, then Clinton, certain exhaustion of greatness (return to a lower norm after the Madness of Nixon), MTV, and Kurt Loder, and MTV news, and Kurt Cobain shakes up music, and then blows his brain out, and Bill Clinton is on Arsenio Hall, and the New Kids come on SNL, perfectly pitched to the 12-16 male demographic, and there’s money to be made, here, there, everywhere, oops, recession, oops, it’s the economy stupid, Bill Clinton, cool, did not inhale, did he protest Vietnam, are we talking about Vietnam, that’s ok, let’s elect him anyway, oh, he’ll do so much, better than the other guy, I can go to college, my mother says, oops, Republicans bounce back, feral, and angry, shoot his knees out from under him, Contract with America (which contract, sign here on the dotted line, America, don’t read the fine print, America, what’s that rotten egg smell I smell, America), high school, 30something over, My-So-Called Life captures us perfectly, Counting Crows and REM alternative rock is a softer kinder machine gun hand, we little teenagers like it fine and dandy (Nirvana and Pearl Jam are already one step back, for the older kids among us), going to first music concerts, at these great big old arenas, the singers are maybe ten years older than we are, they don’t remember Vietnam either — (maybe they do, but they’re not talking about it) — they were all in school in the silly silly 80s — oh yeah, DARE, and Project Pride, and THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS, smells like EGGS again, starting to feel the hormones coming, first come, spin the bottle in a basement, same as it ever was — I’m a Jew, so at twelve I did the Bar Mitzvah circuit and slow-danced with Alaska between me and the girl to cheesy pop songs — (oh yeah, pop songs, Michael Jackson when I was young, American Gladiators) — my sports teams sucked for most of the 90s — got through middle school and high school did a good job — the Big Bad Millennium was coming — oh, yeah, when I was in 2nd grade there was a war in Iraq, didn’t last long, the Prez who did it was out in a year anyway, didn’t hear much from that area of the world for sometime — five years maybe — Israelis and Palestinians making nice in the Middle East — until there’s this strange strange assassination — is the world worse than I thought it is — can’t be, we won the Cold War, the threat of annihilation is over — let’s party now, tear down the Berlin Wall, unification, world peace, the future, can’t really see past 2000 though, it’s this big opaque singularity — science fiction numbers over there — go to college somewhere — then what — write a book maybe — then what — get married? have a kid? maybe, can’t think about that (can’t think about that now, either, another singularity) over in Israel in 98 when we learn that a fat old (to us) intern likes to give the President hand jobs with her mouth. Hmm. Doesn’t sound too bad to me, 16 year old male. Then the Republicans go crazy one more time. Hey, I say, don’t take away my President, I didn’t vote for him, but I would have liked to.
Blah blah. Someone mentions George W. Bush as a great potential candidate for the Republican party. I’ve been waiting for Al Gore since ’92, always seemed like a real good guy.