We Were The Chosen Ones

After writing my previous post, the more I think about it, the angrier I get at myself, at my generation. Gen X, what happened to us? How did we fail ourselves, the nation, the world? We were the Chosen Ones!

We grew up with stories and legends of heroes against all odds. We were Goonies who’d never say die; we were Young Guns fighting the good fight; we were Wolverines pushing back the red dawn; we were clever Sarah outsmarting the Goblin King; we were Atreyu off to save the princess; we were Luke Skywalker fighting the Empire; we were Daniel Larusso kicking Cobra Kai’s ass; we were the Breakfast Club kids, raising our fist in defiance; we had the touch, we had the power. What happened to us?

Maybe I’m being unfair. I know I’m not as well-read on this subject as I should be, and I’m sure there are Gen Xers who went on to do good things for us, the nation, and the world, but as a generation, I can’t shake the feeling that we blew it. We were the chosen ones, we were indoctrinated to be the heroes, but we blew it. The Empire won, and here we are now dealing with the repercussions. We picked up the legends of those that came after us and saw a glimmer of who we were to be there, we fancied ourselves as those heroes like in our golden days, but it was a lie. As Emily Asher-Perrin writes in an article at Tor.com,

“I am not a member of Dumbledore’s Army. My generation, we’re the Order of the Phoenix, at best. Faces on a picture waving up at them. Some of us are gone and some of us remain. The most I can hope for is Remus Lupin status: Here are a few spells to combat evil. Here are the fights we tried and failed to win. Here is my unflagging support. Here is some chocolate; eat it, it helps, it really helps. Forgive me for not doing more, for not ending this before you had to lose your friends and hide in a dark room and listen to adults tell you how to feel instead of telling you how they will stop this from ever happening again.”

We were the chosen ones, and our time passed.

But we now have a new opportunity, to be the grown-ups who support the new chosen ones. Where we were once young Luke Skywalker, we are now old Luke in The Last Jedi, jaded and tired and angry at himself for what he failed to do, yet still training Rey, the new generation, the true new hope, setting her free of the forced-upon restrictions of generations past.

Maybe our time has passed, maybe we did indeed blow it, but we’re still around and we can still rise up to help those now raising their fists in defiance. After all, Goonies never say die.

 

 

2 comments

  1. We are the generation raised on the mythology of the previous generations. Their stories ere told in oral tradition, in carefully constructed propaganda films, and through fiction in a wide variety of media. The revisionist history of those generations continues to be told in novels, television shows, movies, comic books, and video games.

    We are the generation that was raised watching the reality of our own generation. Our stories appeared on the TV news, on reality shows, and over the internet. The immediacy of the feedback we received never gave us the chance to mythologize, to wax nostalgic, to misremember the good times as exceptionally good and conveniently forget the bad. Because it’s all there, digitized and available for playback.

    But that also means that we are the generation that was lulled into a false sense that everything is okay. There was hundreds of channels on the television to entertain us, and an infinite amount of web content. We have an abundance of food, and the free time to argue about trivial. Surely, if all of these things exist, then life must be pretty good. We got complacent.

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    • I read somewhere (and I’m trying to find the source again) that the “problem” with Gen-X is what you mention at the end: we had the time to basically navel-gaze because we thought everything was okay, and the adults did their darndest to support that fantasy. We were fed the hero stories, but the dragon was hidden from us. By the time the bubble burst, it was too late, we were past our prime, jaded, hiding in suburbia.

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