And now for your final report on the on the Generation X research from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth, otherwise known as I Parse the Recent Gen X Data With Spurious, Anecdotal Bullshit. Let’s get it straight from the CNN article and see what happens, shall we?
Myth #1: Gen Xers are slackers.
LSAY says: Generation X devotes more hours to work than average and pursues continuing education, with half completing a post-secondary degree.
I say: When we were called “slackers”, there wasn’t an internet and there weren’t as many cool toys, and, oh yeah, we didn’t have kids to clothe. So I bloody well hope we’ve gotten past that. Besides, what exactly did you want us to do in 1991 – fold shirts at Benetton and pray for an early death?
Myth #2: Generation X is hopelessly single and pessimistic about marriage.
LSAY says: A higher percentage of Gen Xers stay married than Boomers, and most want to be married. Two-thirds of Generation X is married and 71% report having children in the home. Additionally, divorce has been declining since 1996.
I say: Hey, when you learn marriage from the Boomers (and worse yet, the generation before them) you get the Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does guide to lasting romance. It’s easy. In any situation while married, simply think to yourself, “what would my parents do?” and do the opposite! Problem solved!
Myth #3: Generation Xers are disengaged, existential isolationists.
LSAY says: 95% of Gen Xers report talking with friends or family on the telephone at least once a week.
I say: Geez, that’s a pretty low bar.
Myth #4: As former latch-key kids, Gen Xers are wimpy, neglectful parents.
LSAY says: About 84% of Gen X parents expect their children to earn at least a baccalaureate. 72% of parents of preschool children read to them three or more hours a week, and 83% of parents of secondary school students help with homework.
I say: It goes way beyond that. I thought our generation would rebel, at least slightly, to the precious “Baby on Board”-ification of American babymaking, but apparently we seem hellbent on purging every last demon of our own childhood by over-correcting on our brood. If you thought the Baby Boomers were bad, you haven’t seen overprotective, painfully earnest, twee, fetishized worrywarting until you’ve followed one of us around. We would have hectored Willy Wonka over corn syrup, and fired Mary Poppins for letting our precious darlings consort with Dick Van Dyke.
Myth #5: Generation X is depressed.
LSAY says: Generation X is actually pretty happy. Two-thirds of Generation X are satisfied with their job. On a scale of 1 to 10, the median happiness score was 8.
I say: In a world with iPhones, Pandora, Fruit Ninja, the Daily Show, Netflix, triple espressos and Effexor, WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE YOUR PROBLEM?