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Subject: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 09/08/14 at 5:15 pm

Every since Google obtained the entire archive of the BBS Usenet over a decade ago, Google Groups has become perhaps the greatest hidden treasure that the web has to offer. As someone that's probably overly obsessed with the past, I spend more than my fair share of time sifting through the Usenet archives, exploring the early days of this wonderful thing we call the internet. On one such expedition this past weekend, I made a discovery which, to some, might be quite shocking.

People argued about "generations" 20 years ago too!

In fact, as of the early '90s, there was an entire group on Usenet dedicated to Generation X. On said group, arguments about exactly how to define "Generation X" popped up frequently, and they could sometimes get just as heated as they do on the web today. Let's take a look back at one of these debates, shall we?

It all began innocently enough when, on September 21, 1993, a person under the username "ROGER DENDY" posted this hot take:


Tuesday, September 21, 1993, 10:36:09 AM

I'm sick and tired of college kids claiming to be generation X, when they
have no understanding of what it means.  My wife and I have developed a
simple two-part test to determine whether you are generation X or not:
1. If you can remember John F. Kennedy's assassination, you are too old.
  (Alternatively, if you had genuine fears about being drafted and sent to
Vietnam (or having classmates and friends sent), you are too old.)

2. If you don't remember Watergate, you are too young.
  (Alternatively, if you don't remember the end of the Vietnam war, you
are too young.)


This translates, roughly, to:  Generation X means the year of your birth
begins with 196_.


"Robert Trent" posts to agree with this sentiment, and even throws in a little of today's patented birth-year based fogeyism to boot:


Tuesday, September 21, 1993, 11:59:41 AM

An excellent test!  I passed!  In the book, 13th Gen, they attempt to
group everyone born between 1961 and 1981 into a single generation.
But "Generation X" implies a lot more than just demographics, it describes
individuals who face a common set of problems.  It seems that most people
born in 196x have had a lot of trouble buying a house and finding a
well-paying secure job, for example.

I see the kids born after 1970, in general, as possessing a completely
different set of problems.  From what I've seen, they are often the children
of wealthier baby boomers and have the curse of always depending on mom
and dad to pay their way.


But, 1970-born "Thomas Boutell" has a very different take on the subject:


Tuesday, September 21, 1993, 1:24:38 PM

Oh get out. Taking our definitions straight from the oracle (er, Mr. Coupland)
are we? I'm no more able to expect social security, a house or an intact
environment than you are- less, actually. Do we need ANOTHER newsgroup?
Do I have to call myself a "Global Teen" because (the wonderful,
but not divine) Mr. Coupland says so? Sigh. (Of course, he'd hardly
say so. His comment on the whole business is "I'm over 30, leave
me out of it.") I was born in 1970. My first first-hand political
memory is the Carter inauguration. I'm unusually employable and solvent
as compared to my peers, yet I can only laugh at the suggestion that
I'll ever be a homeowner. Most of my same-age friends are temping for a
living, otherwise working in low- paying jobs or staying in school- classic
X demographics.

There may well be another generational line worth drawing, but I think
it should be drawn considerably later, if at all. It's just too
soon to call it on what the late 70's - early 80's kids are going
to be like as a group. I would tend to think that if a cultural
line can be drawn, it's probably going to be right about where
MTV took over the popular music world completely.

Even better- "if you've never owned a record player, you're too young!" (:


Not to be outdone, "Robert Cooperman" just simply comes up with own, new generation, and even get's in a shot at those of us born later in the '80s in the process:


Tuesday, September 21, 1993, 5:31:36 PM

This could be called the Atari wave of Generation X, which translates
to:
3. Were Atari video games popular when you were growing up?

Those born from 1970 or so to 1980 or so would be Nintendo's, since
Nintendo games were popular when they were growing up.

Those born in the mid 80's on would be Barney Babies.


Even if Nintendos have not yet faced some of the life stages
that Ataris have, there is no reason to assume that they are
not on a similar track, and will have similar experiences
when they are older. What can be oberved now, in 1993, is
how similar our (Atari's) childhood and college age experiences
were to Nintendo's.


Meanwhile, "...And so it rained" is feeling old because the Class of '97 has arrived on his campus. Gee, I wonder how he feels now:


Tuesday, September 21, 1993, 6:29:44 PM

Yes...vague, uncaring recollections of my mother telling me that this
was indeed important.  I was about 4 (born at that 1970 split - sorry
for making some of you feel old)

I guess that puts me right on the cutoff line, eh?  What's scary is
that I'm finally almost about ready to head of to grad school
(hey...stay in school.  no jobs out there anyway) and the class of
1997 has officially arrived here at college.  And I got here in '89.
Hell, I'm beginning to feel old.

What really scares me is when I realize that those years I remember
best were the years that Reagan were in office - the '80's.  The
thought of that just seems to keep me up at night.


Lastly, our old buddy "Robert Cooperman" chimed in with his predictions for how us Millennials would turn out:


Wednesday, September 22, 1993, 12:09:35 PM

In the book Generations (author?), Generation X, what they call the
13th generation, are people born from 1961 to 1981. Boomers were
people born from 1943 to 1960.
Demographically the baby boom extended to 1964, but the 1961 cutoff
was supposed to represent a change in attitude and circumstances.

Many people born in the late 1950's seem to feel that they are different
from the earlier boomers. They were not hippies, and did not face the
prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam. The generations theory
would say, that they were at least hippy-like in college, and had a more
philosophical and idealist attitude toward life, while X'ers were
shaped by a more difficuly economy and have more pragmatic values.

Are the late boomers (1955 - 1960) more similar to the early boomers
(1943 - 1954) or to the Atari wave of Generation X (1961 - 1970).
As a member of the Atari wave, I notice similarities both to
the Nintendo wave (those born 1971 - 198?) and to the late boomers,
but maybe more similarities to the Nintendo's.

I expect that the Barney's (those who were of the right age to
watch Barney when it was on) will be quite different from the
Nintendo's. The Generations book predicts that this group, which they
call the millenials (1982 - 2001) will be similar to the GI generation
(1901 - 1924), those that fought World War 2. It says that this
group will be conformist, will work together, will strive for
group advancement more than individual advancement, and will
be in uniform a lot, being inducted into national service programs
and maybe the army. Also, crime rates will go down as they become
teenagers.


These arguments sound a bit familiar, don't they? Apparently, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: MarkMc1990 on 09/08/14 at 7:06 pm

That was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

Meanwhile, "...And so it rained" is feeling old because the Class of '97 has arrived on his campus. Gee, I wonder how he feels now

;D

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mxcrashxm on 09/08/14 at 9:57 pm

This is actually interesting. I can't believe they spoke about generations especially during that time as the internet was not even popular for another 4/5 years. The college kids the OP was talking about in that 1993 post were traditionally between the ages of 18 and 22 meaning they were born from 1971 to 1975, but how were they not X at the time when they were all in high school in the 80s? They should definitely be Xers. As for the Atari and Nintendo waves, Nintendo didn't exist in America until 1985 and Atari was making consoles until about 1995, so all Xers could have been playing both of them as the game consoles were still popular.  The post about  millennials from the generations book, how they did know that our generation would be called the millennials and how the years would range? First of all, when we were introduced as a generation in 1993, that term was called gen Y,  and second of all, the last of the millennials was either not born, just being born or being conceived when the Xers were talking about us. Third, the 1982 babies were 10/11 at the earliest and in middle school when this discussion came up.  It would have been too early to talk about the generation after X as it was not finished developing yet. We were mostly in elementary school, babies/toddlers and not born yet. Not only that, the earliest millennial members were not even teenagers or in high school at that time nor were they the age to vote in elections, join the military or even smoke/drink. They couldn't even drive nor go for their driver licenses as they were too young.  They should have waited until at least 2000 to talk about us. By then, the earliest members were 18 or in high school and they were able to give their opinions about how would us be as a generation.  They did get some of their predictions correct, as the crime rate did decrease overtime as we were growing up and we do work together and have each other backs. We also do both individual and group advancements too.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 09/08/14 at 11:42 pm


That was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!


No problem. I'm still looking through the group's archives currently, and will post any other interesting messages I come across.


This is actually interesting. I can't believe they spoke about generations especially during that time as the internet was not even popular for another 4/5 years. The college kids the OP was talking about in that 1993 post were traditionally between the ages of 18 and 22 meaning they were born from 1971 to 1975, but how were they not X at the time when they were all in high school in the 80s? They should definitely be Xers. As for the Atari and Nintendo waves, Nintendo didn't exist in America until 1985 and Atari was making consoles until about 1995, so all Xers could have been playing both of them as the game consoles were still popular.  The post about  millennials from the generations book, how they did know that our generation would be called the millennials and how the years would range? First of all, when we were introduced as a generation in 1993, that term was called gen Y,  and second of all, the last of the millennials was either not born, just being born or being conceived when the Xers were talking about us. Third, the 1982 babies were 10/11 at the earliest and in middle school when this discussion came up.  It would have been too early to talk about the generation after X as it was not finished developing yet. We were mostly in elementary school, babies/toddlers and not born yet. Not only that, the earliest millennial members were not even teenagers or in high school at that time nor were they the age to vote in elections, join the military or even smoke/drink. They couldn't even drive nor go for their driver licenses as they were too young.  They should have waited until at least 2000 to talk about us. By then, the earliest members were 18 or in high school and they were able to give their opinions about how would us be as a generation.  They did get some of their predictions correct, as the crime rate did decrease overtime as we were growing up and we do work together and have each other backs. We also do both individual and group advancements too.


Yeah, one thing I've noticed looking at the posts on that group is that, even back then, some people born in the '60s seemed to want to lump kids very near their age born in the early '70s in with those born in the late '70s, or even early '80s, in much the same way that some '80s born people lump kids born in the early '90s with those born later in the decade. I used to think this was something new, but these posts prove otherwise.

I also agree that the one guy was way too hung up on the whole Atari/Nintendo divide within Gen X. He claimed that those born between 1970 and 1980 should be a different subset of the generation because they grew up with Nintendo as opposed to Atari, as if that really matters that much. Also, as you point out, the NES didn't even come out in the U.S. until 1985, by which point those born in the early '70s were already in high school. Atari games were also very popular up through the '83 video game crash, so most kids born up until the mid '70s probably had a 2600 growing up anyway.

I was also surprised by the posting about "Millennials", as I too thought that was a newer term. It's kind of funny really because, at that time, us Millennials were about the same age as most "Gen Zers" are right now. I guess it just goes to show how little we really know about how those people will turn out as they get older.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mxcrashxm on 09/09/14 at 1:26 am


Yeah, one thing I've noticed looking at the posts on that group is that, even back then, some people born in the '60s seemed to want to lump kids very near their age born in the early '70s in with those born in the late '70s, or even early '80s, in much the same way that some '80s born people lump kids born in the early '90s with those born later in the decade. I used to think this was something new, but these posts prove otherwise.

I also agree that the one guy was way too hung up on the whole Atari/Nintendo divide within Gen X. He claimed that those born between 1970 and 1980 should be a different subset of the generation because they grew up with Nintendo as opposed to Atari, as if that really matters that much. Also, as you point out, the NES didn't even come out in the U.S. until 1985, by which point those born in the early '70s were already in high school. Atari games were also very popular up through the '83 video game crash, so most kids born up until the mid '70s probably had a 2600 growing up anyway.

I was also surprised by the posting about "Millennials", as I too thought that was a newer term. It's kind of funny really because, at that time, us Millennials were about the same age as most "Gen Zers" are right now. I guess it just goes to show how little we really know about how those people will turn out as they get older.
i thought that was new too as one day i asked someone who was born in 1981 was he ever lumped with people born in the late 80s and he said no. I don't know why those who were born in the late 60s thought the early 70s babies were that different. they all went to high school together for at least one or 2 years. Even that, they were all in college together (not everyone graduates college at the usual 21/22). Even today i don't think late 80s babies are that different from me (i used to think this, but not anymore) as i have been in class with more of them now.

I agree with you, i had a counselor who was born in 1976 and she remembers the Atari and i bet she even played it before the video game crash. Like I said, Xers played both, but first it was Atari, then Nintendo. Also, you mentioned that early 70s babies were in high school when the NES was released and they sure were, so they definitely had time to play an Atari. I bet even late 70s babies played the Atari considering the fact that they were 6 to 8 when the NES came out in 1985, so they had time as well. Yeah, that guy went too much with the Atari and Nintendo waves especially how all Xers played both of them. 

You're correct, we all were. In 1993, we were either in elementary school, babies/toddlers or currently being born, being conceived or not born yet. I also thought millennials was new as i didn't hear the term until 2 years ago.  Another surprise was that one of the guys placed the millennial birth span from 1982 to 2001 and in 1993, people born from late 1994 to 2001 didn't exist yet and the ones born in late 1993 and most of 1994, their moms were still pregnant with them, so i thought that was odd when he said that considering the last of millennials weren't there yet.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: Inlandsvägen1986 on 09/09/14 at 2:08 am

Another surprise was that one of the guys placed the millennial birth span from 1982 to 2001 and in 1993, people born from late 1994 to 2001 didn't exist yet and the ones born in late 1993 and most of 1994, their moms were still pregnant with them, so i thought that was odd when he said that considering the last of millennials weren't there yet.


I think this is due to the fact that the Millennials have already been clearly defined in 1993. I don't know if this is popular now with future generations, however we also tend do similar things. I have seen some of us writing about generation Alpha on this forum, even though they are not born yet.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mxcrashxm on 09/09/14 at 2:14 am


I think this is due to the fact that the Millennials have already been clearly defined in 1993. I don't know if this is popular now with future generations, however we also tend do similar things. I have seen some of us writing about generation Alpha on this forum, even though they are not born yet.
but the oldest ones at the time were 10//11 and barely began middle school, so i think that was too early to define millennials as it was still forming and  i have seen a few generation alpha posts, but isn't generation z still currently being developed?

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: BayAreaNostalgist1981 on 09/09/14 at 2:33 am

Great find, interesting stuff...in a way people have always been kinda the same, so it doesn't surprise me, but it's amazing how similar it is to the way we all talk about this stuff now.

I think a common theme in both ways regardless of time. is that anyone currently under 25 resents being lumped in with the tweens or younger "teenage punk kids" of the time, and wants to push them out of their generation so as not to be put down by people in the same fashion; while anyone over 25/certainly over 30 resents being lumped in with anyone over 35 or 40 and feeling middle aged/older/less cool/less relevant.

It is kinda weird how that one guy thought Atari vs Nintendo kids made such a huge difference. ;D

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: Inlandsvägen1986 on 09/09/14 at 2:34 am


but the oldest ones at the time were 10//11 and barely began middle school, so i think that was too early to define millennials as it was still forming and  i have seen a few generation alpha posts, but isn't generation z still currently being developed?
The term Millennials includes the Millennium, so more or less the time around 2000. This is a fix time frame. I have read somewhere else that they have chosen 1982 and younger due to the fact that they belong to the group who turned 18 in 2000 or later. I don't know why they came up with 2001 as the youngest of the Millennials
.. probably because generations last generally 20 years.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: BayAreaNostalgist1981 on 09/09/14 at 2:40 am


The term Millennials includes the Millennium, so more or less the time around 2000. This is a fix time frame. I have read somewhere else that they have chosen 1982 and younger due to the fact that they belong to the group who turned 18 in 2000 or later. I don't know why they came up with 2001 as the youngest of the Millennials
.. probably because generations last generally 20 years.


I was thinking, being in high school on 9/11 or seems like it'd be a huge difference, doesn't it? Technically, the Class of 2001 seem like the last truly "old school teenagers". Which would tend to mean born in the first half of 1983 versus late 1983/84ers are the division (assuming you weren't skipped ahead or held back, of course).

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: nintieskid999 on 09/09/14 at 5:11 pm


No problem. I'm still looking through the group's archives currently, and will post any other interesting messages I come across.

Yeah, one thing I've noticed looking at the posts on that group is that, even back then, some people born in the '60s seemed to want to lump kids very near their age born in the early '70s in with those born in the late '70s, or even early '80s, in much the same way that some '80s born people lump kids born in the early '90s with those born later in the decade. I used to think this was something new, but these posts prove otherwise.

I also agree that the one guy was way too hung up on the whole Atari/Nintendo divide within Gen X. He claimed that those born between 1970 and 1980 should be a different subset of the generation because they grew up with Nintendo as opposed to Atari, as if that really matters that much. Also, as you point out, the NES didn't even come out in the U.S. until 1985, by which point those born in the early '70s were already in high school. Atari games were also very popular up through the '83 video game crash, so most kids born up until the mid '70s probably had a 2600 growing up anyway.

I was also surprised by the posting about "Millennials", as I too thought that was a newer term. It's kind of funny really because, at that time, us Millennials were about the same age as most "Gen Zers" are right now. I guess it just goes to show how little we really know about how those people will turn out as they get older.


Some people do the same to later 80s births. People tend to lump everyone born later than 1985 into the same category and see us the same as 2000s births. It really annoys me, especially since they are trying to take away my memories of the 20th century, even the pre digital era.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: BayAreaNostalgist1981 on 09/09/14 at 7:25 pm


Some people do the same to later 80s births. People tend to lump everyone born later than 1985 into the same category and see us the same as 2000s births. It really annoys me, especially since they are trying to take away my memories of the 20th century, even the pre digital era.


I wonder if some older generations (i.e. Boomers, even sometimes Xers) perhaps do this because they perpetually see anyone who wasn't around for the time of their youth, as "punk kids" (even if they're 27 or 30, lol) and lump all future generations together.

Sure I'll admit I used to get annoyed if someone merely didn't like the 80s...but when I look back I realize they were still pretty darn old school.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mxcrashxm on 09/09/14 at 8:43 pm


The term Millennials includes the Millennium, so more or less the time around 2000. This is a fix time frame. I have read somewhere else that they have chosen 1982 and younger due to the fact that they belong to the group who turned 18 in 2000 or later. I don't know why they came up with 2001 as the youngest of the Millennials
.. probably because generations last generally 20 years.
Yes, thats true because the 1982 babies were the first ones to graduate high school in 2000 along with late 1981 babies and they were also the first to turn 18 during that same year without a 19XX in the year. I think the reason why the Millennials ends at 2001 is because most of them will graduate high school at the end of this decade in 2019 and they will be the last to turn 18 before the 2020s begin.


I was thinking, being in high school on 9/11 or seems like it'd be a huge difference, doesn't it? Technically, the Class of 2001 seem like the last truly "old school teenagers". Which would tend to mean born in the first half of 1983 versus late 1983/84ers are the division (assuming you weren't skipped ahead or held back, of course).
This is very true because every class year after 2001 was in high school during 9/11 or after it. It also gave the classes of 2005 and after a whole new experience of high school while the classes of 2004 and before still had the old experience of high school.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: BayAreaNostalgist1981 on 09/09/14 at 9:22 pm


This is very true because every class year after 2001 was in high school during 9/11 or after it. It also gave the classes of 2005 and after a whole new experience of high school while the classes of 2004 and before still had the old experience of high school.


Yeah, that's true too..the Classes of 2002-05 (born 1984-87) were transitional more than ever, since they would've already began when or before the 9/11 attacks, but still had some experience after it happened. For example, my old HS installed metal detectors and elevators just 2 years after I graduated, probably because of that.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mxcrashxm on 09/09/14 at 9:44 pm


Yeah, that's true too..the Classes of 2002-05 (born 1984-87) were transitional more than ever, since they would've already began when or before the 9/11 attacks, but still had some experience after it happened. For example, my old HS installed metal detectors and elevators just 2 years after I graduated, probably because of that.
Yep, they were. 9/11 impacted them so much especially how college was going to be much different to them after they graduated high school and that their safety was now more important than before. It even caused them to be more aware of the world around them as it wasnt much of a safe place anymore after the attacks happened. 9/11 was the most changing event ever especially in America. It changed everything about us. I was even told that schools don't allow much visitors anymore because anyone can be carrying a dangerous weapon that can either injure someone or kill them.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 09/09/14 at 9:59 pm


Yeah, that's true too..the Classes of 2002-05 (born 1984-87) were transitional more than ever, since they would've already began when or before the 9/11 attacks, but still had some experience after it happened. For example, my old HS installed metal detectors and elevators just 2 years after I graduated, probably because of that.


I think you could likely add Columbine to that also, as that was essentially the "9/11" of school shootings. That happened in the spring of 1999, and by the time I started 7th grade that fall, our middle school had already added an armed security guard, and mandated clear, see-through bookbags for safety reasons, and this was in a very small town. My high school added metal detectors in time for the 2002-03 school year, which I'd guess is connected to 9/11. The DC Sniper shootings in the summer of '02 only seemed to further heighten the fear of terrorism that 9/11 inflamed.

Really, that whole 1999 through, say 2003, era was extremely transformative, with the nation becoming much more security conscious due to terrorism and school violence. By the time we invaded Iraq in early '03, 1998 had only been five years, but it already seemed like a much more "innocent" time.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: BayAreaNostalgist1981 on 09/09/14 at 10:04 pm


I think you could likely add Columbine to that also, as that was essentially the "9/11" of school shootings. That happened in the spring of 1999, and by the time I started 7th grade that fall, our middle school had already added an armed security guard, and mandated clear, see-through bookbags for safety reasons, and this was in a very small town. My high school added metal detectors in time for the 2002-03 school year, which I'd guess is connected to 9/11. The DC Sniper shootings in the summer of '02 only seemed to further heighten the fear of terrorism that 9/11 inflamed.

Really, that whole 1999 through, say 2003, era was extremely transformative, with the nation becoming much more security conscious due to terrorism and school violence. By the time we invaded Iraq in early '03, 1998 had only been five years, but it already seemed like a much more "innocent" time.


Yeah, there was that huge wave of teen school shootings in 1998 and 1999, though Columbine was the most brutal and definitely the most remembered of all of them. Interestingly, I don't recall anything changing at my high school for the following year and a half I was there...except for more security doing patrols maybe. But I agree the very late 90s and early 00s are one of the edgiest, probably most violent and changeful times in our history, partially because of that.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: nintieskid999 on 09/09/14 at 11:44 pm


I think you could likely add Columbine to that also, as that was essentially the "9/11" of school shootings. That happened in the spring of 1999, and by the time I started 7th grade that fall, our middle school had already added an armed security guard, and mandated clear, see-through bookbags for safety reasons, and this was in a very small town. My high school added metal detectors in time for the 2002-03 school year, which I'd guess is connected to 9/11. The DC Sniper shootings in the summer of '02 only seemed to further heighten the fear of terrorism that 9/11 inflamed.

Really, that whole 1999 through, say 2003, era was extremely transformative, with the nation becoming much more security conscious due to terrorism and school violence. By the time we invaded Iraq in early '03, 1998 had only been five years, but it already seemed like a much more "innocent" time.



Interestingly enough, my school never had metal detectors and there wasn't anything mandated like see-through bookbags. Armed security guards weren't there either. I also remember back in the early 2000s, people would go smoke outside the school and nothing would really happen to them. Was my school experience atypical?

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: SiderealDreams on 09/10/14 at 3:15 pm

I find the obsession with Atari vs. Nintendo as the distinguishing factor between core Gen X and late Gen X rather funny, considering that my two twin cousins, who were born in 1980, both played Atari and I think they even considered Nintendo a little after their time. So I don't think that January 1, 1970 is quite the cut-off date they are looking for.

I remember that in 2001, at the beginning of my last year of middle school, I was told by the high school police and vice principal that I could not go the high school campus anymore to visit my older friends since I wasn't a student there. That made me very sad, as I drifted away from them as a result, since I couldn't see them and this was before social networks would have made that kind of physical barrier irrelevant. I only now am thinking that it probably had something to do with Columbine. I'm pretty sure that this was in fact a few days before 9/11. In fact, it seems to me that it was a Thursday or Friday, which would have made it either 5 or 6 days before.

Thank you Machine Head for this great post. I have found other newsgroups that have been incredibly revealing for all kinds of questions about decades and mentalities of each.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: Inlandsvägen1986 on 09/10/14 at 3:59 pm


Interestingly enough, my school never had metal detectors


We also had a tragical school shooting in Germany in early 2002 with 17 deaths. I don't think they have changed a lot after that incident at my school. Teachers were just more aware  and they slowly began to think about Disaster Preparedness Plans. Later, they have introduced special emergency cell phones for each classroom/teacher - especially after some other shootings which occured in our country.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 09/12/14 at 12:55 am



Interestingly enough, my school never had metal detectors and there wasn't anything mandated like see-through bookbags. Armed security guards weren't there either. I also remember back in the early 2000s, people would go smoke outside the school and nothing would really happen to them. Was my school experience atypical?


Hard to say for sure, but from my experience it does seem somewhat rare for a school to have not beefed up security during that Post-Columbine era. As I alluded to in my other post, I grew up in a very small town (population of about 4,000), so for a school in such a rural area to suddenly add such draconian security measures, it really shows you the far reaching impact that Columbine had.

Just to illustrate how lax school security was around here before Columbine, I remember a few occasions of kids getting caught bringing pocket knives to school back in the day where, not only did they not get written up, but the teacher actually gave them the knife back at the end of the school day to take back home.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: nintieskid999 on 09/12/14 at 2:18 am


Hard to say for sure, but from my experience it does seem somewhat rare for a school to have not beefed up security during that Post-Columbine era. As I alluded to in my other post, I grew up in a very small town (population of about 4,000), so for a school in such a rural area to suddenly add such draconian security measures, it really shows you the far reaching impact that Columbine had.

Just to illustrate how lax school security was around here before Columbine, I remember a few occasions of kids getting caught bringing pocket knives to school back in the day where, not only did they not get written up, but the teacher actually gave them the knife back at the end of the school day to take back home.


One thing that did change is schools became way more paranoid and way more happy to take everything seriously to the point of taking it too far. They were willing to ruin lives over small incidents.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 09/12/14 at 3:56 am

A few more interesting posts I came across...

"Jim choate" wants to know if he qualifies as an Xer:


Sunday, January 9, 1994, 12:58:09 PM

I remember a helicopter landing in our backyard when in about 1963. I remember
watching tv when the news about Kennedy came on. I remember Vietnam and LOTS
of bodies on TV and wondering why these people were killing each other. I
remember my first dog 'Pickles' who died from some disease just months after
me getting her. I remember learning how to fish in Louisiana. I remember
Barbie, GI Joe, and Sizzler race cars. I remember Major Mat Mason. I remember
us landing on the moon. I remember Tang, the drink of the Astronauts. I
remember buying 45's at the record store (my favorite was Blue Cheer's
'Out of Focus', still have the majorly scratched record) and playing them on
my little plastic record player. I remember the sonic booms over Houston
from the air base there. I remember going Christmas shopping one year and
hearing 'Downtown' on the radio. I remember my first McDonalds burger. I
remember hearing Jimi Hendrix on KILT and KLOL in Houston and being totaly
awed at his music. I remember the first time I ever watched somebody smoke
a joint (I was way too young to participate) and seeing the fun they were
having.
I was born in July, 1959......does that make me a gen-x?


But "Daniel B Case" thinks he's too old:


Monday, January 10, 1994, 7:26:21 PM

You remember hearing about the Kennedy assassination-that makes you too old.
You can still post here, though.

Another thing-can you sing along to Schoolhouse Rock, i.e., "Conjunction
Junction/what's your function?..." through having seen it on Saturday morning
TV? (and not when you may have babysat)? If you can, that might qualify you.
We tend to take 1961 or so as the cutoff date-anyone born earlier is a boomer,
though possibly a nice boomer.


Meanwhile, that very same "Daniel B Case" is feeling all nostalgic over the '70s after watching "Dazed and Confused":


Sunday, December 12, 1993, 10:23:47 PM

I just returned from seeing "Dazed and Confused" for the second
time, and for those of you who asked about it, wondering if it exists, the
answer is that yes indeed it does.
        This is Richard Linklater's second film-after "Slacker" which I haven't
been able to see as of yet. I can tell you a lot about "Dazed and Confused",
though.

        Yes, as you may have heard, there's a lot of pot smoking in the movie.
The eponymous Led Zeppelin song is not, though, because Robert Plant wouldn't
clear it.

        This is the first honest-to-goodness '70s nostalgia movie-doing for
that time period what "American Graffitti" did for the fifties (I hope it
doesn't spawn a craze that big, though). It is also the first time I have seen
a movie that nostalgizes a time period I've actually lived through, so I feel
more qualified to comment on it.

        How good is it? Very good-from practically the first frame, it's hard
to believe that Linklater didn't actually go back to Austin on May 28, 1976
and just follow people around the last day of school. The acting is similarly
good enough that you forget that most of the people playing the main roles are
actually my own age. In fact, it's almost too effective-"nostalgia", we must
remember, means "the pain of return", and returning indeed conjures up a lot
of pain in this movie for those who were there. Most of the pain comes from
a depiction of adolescent awkwardness that could occur in any period, but for
me sometimes it gets personal because I remember having difficult experiences
with some of the people like the ones in the film, who also looked the same way.
Some scenes actually make me twitch watching them-Mitch trying to act cool
around the girls outside the arboretum. Some of the pain is just from
remembering looking and dressing that way-there are some people who just
shouldn't let their hair grow out.

        It's also because this movie adequately captures the mood of America
in the bicentennial year (although I'm surprised Linklater didn't show that
groovy-looking star logo at least once). I was only in third grade at the time,
but I remember that same mood of general social laxness and casual hedonism
which the movie captures so well. The dominant colors in the movie are sky
blue and grass green-perfect for the 1970s.

        Linklater directs well, resisting the temptation to derive most of his
humor from nostalgia; and capturing the little details (people pumping up a keg,
flipping bottlecaps) quite well. A woman in one of my classes old enough to have
been that age says there are some minor details she could quibble with (happy
faces were gone by then, she says, but I differ) but on the whole she agrees
with me about the general mood of the movie-"If you ever hear me saying that
these were the best days of my life, remind me to kill myself" says one of
the main characters. It doesn't glorify the seventies more than it inevitably
would-you can't get around a decade in which marijuana was not something people
other than football coaches had sheesh fits about, and you did not have to worry
about AIDS when you chose to go have sex in the bushes-and is fair enough to
show a bit of the darker side (It has a mailbox-vandalizing scene far better
than the one in "Stand by Me" which ends with one of the aggrieved property
owners shooting at the occupants of the guilty vehicle). Even the classic-rock
soundtrack sounds much better restored to its social context (I'm getting the
CD for Christmas, I've decided).

        So what's the Xer interest? Most of the older characters qualify as
later boomers, but the younger ones are people in the early waves of our
generation. And I can't help but notice that the least likable character in
the whole movie, the repeat senior O'Banion, has "boomer" on the paddle he
uses to haze incoming freshmen.

        Yes, I liked it and I recommend it as a good attempt to get a handle
on the 1970s-that decade which was the earliest to shape us.


"Ian Williams" agrees, and also thinks (for some reason) that growing up in the early '80s was alot different than growing up in the '70s:


Tuesday, December 14, 1993, 12:08:01 PM

Good review, Daniel, I agree completely. The movie definitely threw me
back into that time with abandon. I was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa right then
(and the movie was set on my ninth birthday) so that suburban green and
hot-skied blues of the movie were right on. The people graduating from
high school that year were born in 1957-58, the same years as my two
older brothers, and it completely reminded me of their hazy, bored,
free-spirited and druggy adolescence. It was nothing like mine, the
turbo-charged and hyperkinetic early '80s, but I credit those few short
years in the late '70s for giving me the peace of mind to tackle the
impending millenium.

Linklater has a gift for anecdotal observation; yelping "shotgun!" springs
to mind. I wish he'd stop lying about his age, though- apparently he made
himself 29 for the '91 release of Slacker. Friends say he's 33 now, but he
hedges the issue. I've been pushed into similar corners myself, as if
being 23 would make a book sell better! I *like* being 26! We should all
be PROUD to make it through our twenties! This tenacious grasp on our
youth - I think we all know from whom we got *those* bad habits...

-Ian


Here's "Daniel B Case" again, this time wearing a huge pair of rose colored glasses:


Tuesday, December 14, 1993, 4:05:58 PM

The seventies strike me, in hindsight, as being very loose in all aspects-
clothing, hairstyles, morals. Of course, we all know that now, but there
wasn't quite yet the dark edge to it there is now. I remember open doors
and neighborhoods where you could still leave them open and walk around for a
long time. I remember the sun on the grass on a spring weekend in Memorial Field
I remember me and my best friend spending Saturday afternoons in that time of
year exploring the Watchung reservation near where we lived-alone (Can you
imagine that now?) Not that these didn't have their dangers-mostly slightly
older kids. But I seem to remember feeling that the sun shone bright-perhaps
too brightly-in the 1970s, and many breezes blew softly through open windows.
I guess that fits in with the Fourth Great Awakening.


"Ian Williams" really thinks growing up in the '70s was awesome:


Saturday, December 18, 1993, 2:13:54 PM

Well, I agree with the prinicple - one does not need to have remembered
the '70s to be a card-carrying Xer (one of my least favorite phrases!) -
but I would argue that remembering the '70s is a good thing. I think
whatever idealism and ability to relax I have - I owe it to the '70s and
those hazy summer days around the bicentennial. I hate to make another
HUGE generalization, but I find the people who are about nine years
younger than me (say, the folks in tenth grade right now, up to the
sophomores in college) are a *lot* more cynical than I am, and a teensy
bit more self-destructive. I see a nihilism in them that is,
coincidentally enough, the same as those people born in 1961-64. Both of
these two groups were denied their formative childhood wonder years in the
'70s, and they, to me, are different for it.
Boy, *that's* a tenuous theory. Respond at will.


And, believe it or not, there was already nostalgia for the early '80s in the early '90s! Get a load of this post from the previous poster "Ian Williams":


Monday, November 22, 1993, 4:57:51 PM

Color me clueless, but my affection for the early '80s is probably
something over which I might want to seek therapy.
I'm not one for relentless nostalgia, but here are a few things we
could see more of here in the "Snoring '90s":
-"Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo
- Rubik's snakes (I could do the cube behind my back in 1 min 25 secs, which
      is probably why the gals dug me so)
-the video for "Centerfold" by J. Geils Band
-Capri Sun (orange flavor)
-Member's Only jackets, in olive drab
-Defender, Deluxe Space Invaders, Q-bert and Phoenix
-the old Atari Indiana Jones video game (and perhaps even Activision's
                                        "Pitfall")
-the last season of Dukes of Hazzard when Coy and Vance Duke replaced
        Bo and Luke
-checkered Vans and paisley Gotcha surfer shorts
-Nick Rhodes' hair
-"I'm Turning Japanese" by the Vapors and "Major Tom (Coming Home)" by
        Peter Schilling
-the cinematic experiences of "E.T.," "Return of the Jedi"and "Poltergeist"...
-and of course, Like Cola.

How I long for those simpler days... flame me if you will....

-Ian


"Wendi Dunlap" is also missing the early '80s:


Monday, November 22, 1993, 10:25:42 PM

The scary thing is that I own all of those records.

Look in your local thrift store for a K-Tel album called "The Beat" -- it
has "Girls on Film" (Duran Duran), "I Got You" (Split Enz), "You Hit The
Spot" (Graham Parker), "We Got The Beat" (Go Gos) and more stuff for
anyone who's feeling nostalgic for the bright days of 1982.

(I graduated from high school in 1983 -- can you tell?)


But, just like a few years ago when it was fashionable to like the early '90s, but not the late '90s, this nostlagia didn't extend to the later parts of the '80s. "Erich Schwarz" wrote this:


Thursday, December 2, 1993, 3:57:23 AM

Time for Mr. Galactic Empire to weigh in here...  ;-)
  I agree completely with Ian that the early 1980s had something musically
that seemed to completely be gone by, say, 1988.
  But *what*?  Why did 1983-1984 have such electricity, with albums like
_Synchronicity_ and _Stop Making Sense_?  How in 5 years could we wind up
with the (*absolutely forgettable*) Top 40 mush of 1988?
  Anybody have any explanation?

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: KatanaChick on 09/12/14 at 8:20 am


I think you could likely add Columbine to that also, as that was essentially the "9/11" of school shootings. That happened in the spring of 1999, and by the time I started 7th grade that fall, our middle school had already added an armed security guard, and mandated clear, see-through bookbags for safety reasons, and this was in a very small town. My high school added metal detectors in time for the 2002-03 school year, which I'd guess is connected to 9/11. The DC Sniper shootings in the summer of '02 only seemed to further heighten the fear of terrorism that 9/11 inflamed.

Really, that whole 1999 through, say 2003, era was extremely transformative, with the nation becoming much more security conscious due to terrorism and school violence. By the time we invaded Iraq in early '03, 1998 had only been five years, but it already seemed like a much more "innocent" time.

You may be right about 1998 being the last of the "innocent" years. I was in 7th grade when that happened and it was all over the news. That's the one that started it all, and the incidents have gotten worse. Some schools didn't allow backpacks, ours still did. The high school had a cop working there and there was always a security guard by the student parking lot.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: sonikuu on 09/14/14 at 3:20 am


I think you could likely add Columbine to that also, as that was essentially the "9/11" of school shootings. That happened in the spring of 1999, and by the time I started 7th grade that fall, our middle school had already added an armed security guard, and mandated clear, see-through bookbags for safety reasons, and this was in a very small town. My high school added metal detectors in time for the 2002-03 school year, which I'd guess is connected to 9/11. The DC Sniper shootings in the summer of '02 only seemed to further heighten the fear of terrorism that 9/11 inflamed.

Really, that whole 1999 through, say 2003, era was extremely transformative, with the nation becoming much more security conscious due to terrorism and school violence. By the time we invaded Iraq in early '03, 1998 had only been five years, but it already seemed like a much more "innocent" time.


It's something that is sometimes forgotten now, as the early 00s grow further away (and thus more nostalgic), but the period from late 2001 to early 2003 was honestly a pretty scary time, particularly for a junior high kid like myself.  Over the course of roughly a year and a half from 9/11 to early 2003, we had:

- 9/11 and the Afghanistan War
- The anthrax scare almost immediately afterward
- DC Sniper
- The much-hyped, but thankfully not-so-big in the end, SARS epidemic
- Space Shuttle Columbia explodes in the air
- The whole terrorism scare in general
- The buildup to the Iraq War, scare campaign about WMDs, etc. all leading up to the kickoff to the war in spring 2003.
- The economy wasn't in good shape in 2001 and 2002, though that predates 9/11.  It looks great compared to today though.

It was such a dramatic shift from a fairly peaceful 90s to a more chaotic new millennium.  Couple that with the always awkward junior high years and it was definitely a transitional point.  I felt that, while things weren't great by any means, things started to calm down in the second half of 2003.  Yes, you had the whole Iraq War and the controversy surrounding it, plus who could forget Katrina in 2005, but the quick pace of terrible stuff happening seemed to slow down in the mid-00s before picking up again in the late 00s and not quite looking back.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mxcrashxm on 09/14/14 at 3:51 pm


A few more interesting posts I came across...

"Jim choate" wants to know if he qualifies as an Xer:

But "Daniel B Case" thinks he's too old:

Meanwhile, that very same "Daniel B Case" is feeling all nostalgic over the '70s after watching "Dazed and Confused":

"Ian Williams" agrees, and also thinks (for some reason) that growing up in the early '80s was alot different than growing up in the '70s:

Here's "Daniel B Case" again, this time wearing a huge pair of rose colored glasses:

"Ian Williams" really thinks growing up in the '70s was awesome:

And, believe it or not, there was already nostalgia for the early '80s in the early '90s! Get a load of this post from the previous poster "Ian Williams":

"Wendi Dunlap" is also missing the early '80s:

But, just like a few years ago when it was fashionable to like the early '90s, but not the late '90s, this nostlagia didn't extend to the later parts of the '80s. "Erich Schwarz" wrote this:
I hope those people understand that the late 70s were not that different from the early 80s. and in 1993, the early 80s were only 10-13 years old, so I could see people being nostalgic for that time period. The lasy guy was right, early 80s music had an electric feel, but the late 80s music didnt.

Also, I found a topic from 1999 titled "First Year of Demographic Generation X" a few days ago.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.society.generation-x/elNk9whN-Fc

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 09/16/14 at 4:57 pm


It's something that is sometimes forgotten now, as the early 00s grow further away (and thus more nostalgic), but the period from late 2001 to early 2003 was honestly a pretty scary time, particularly for a junior high kid like myself.  Over the course of roughly a year and a half from 9/11 to early 2003, we had:

- 9/11 and the Afghanistan War
- The anthrax scare almost immediately afterward
- DC Sniper
- The much-hyped, but thankfully not-so-big in the end, SARS epidemic
- Space Shuttle Columbia explodes in the air
- The whole terrorism scare in general
- The buildup to the Iraq War, scare campaign about WMDs, etc. all leading up to the kickoff to the war in spring 2003.
- The economy wasn't in good shape in 2001 and 2002, though that predates 9/11.  It looks great compared to today though.

It was such a dramatic shift from a fairly peaceful 90s to a more chaotic new millennium.  Couple that with the always awkward junior high years and it was definitely a transitional point.  I felt that, while things weren't great by any means, things started to calm down in the second half of 2003.  Yes, you had the whole Iraq War and the controversy surrounding it, plus who could forget Katrina in 2005, but the quick pace of terrible stuff happening seemed to slow down in the mid-00s before picking up again in the late 00s and not quite looking back.


Thanks for the list, as I'd already forgotten about the whole SARS scare. It's crazy to think that the early '00s were so chaotic that a Space Shuttle explosion (which is considered by some to be the defining event of the entire '80s) is really only like the fourth or fifth biggest thing to happen between 2000 and 2003.

Another thing that is sometimes forgotten about the immediate aftermath of 9/11 are all of the rumors of further attacks that ran rampant for months. The one I remember the most was the speculation that the WTC and Pentagon attacks were just "Phase 1" of two part plan, and that a second attack on the west coast was imminent.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: Starde on 10/04/14 at 4:23 pm


Thanks for the list, as I'd already forgotten about the whole SARS scare. It's crazy to think that the early '00s were so chaotic that a Space Shuttle explosion (which is considered by some to be the defining event of the entire '80s) is really only like the fourth or fifth biggest thing to happen between 2000 and 2003.

Another thing that is sometimes forgotten about the immediate aftermath of 9/11 are all of the rumors of further attacks that ran rampant for months. The one I remember the most was the speculation that the WTC and Pentagon attacks were just "Phase 1" of two part plan, and that a second attack on the west coast was imminent.


Ah yes, I also remember all the rumors of more attacks in the months following 9/11. I was living in California at the time and I remember my school having us take a newsletter home to our parents about being cautious of landmarks in our city and state that could be targets for the next attack.

To add to that list of chaotic events of the early 00's, let's not forget the deadly plane crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in NYC, almost exactly 2 months to the day after 9/11. I remember watching this on CNN back then and everyone freaking out that this being another terrorist attack. Here's some news footage from that day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkBkhePwCwI

Also, let's not forget the 2003 Northeast Blackout: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/new-york-city-blackout-2003-photos-power-outage-10-years_n_3755067.html. I was still in California at the time, but I remember hearing initial speculations that it could be related to a terrorist attack which obviously ended up being completely untrue.

Crazy how chaotic the early 00's were now that I look back at it.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: winteriscoming on 10/06/14 at 2:48 pm

Funny, that Watergate argument about Gen X = 60s babies reminds me of some who think Millennial only includes people born in the '80s.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: aja675 on 10/08/14 at 4:19 am

The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: Foo Bar on 10/08/14 at 9:54 pm


The history book on the shelf is always repeating itself.


http://i.imgur.com/Gv7t5da.jpg

pZGC07aSIy4

(I've actually been enjoying this thread, having spent some time on USENET back in the day, but you set up that line so perfectly I had to pretend to be 20something tonight.)

Subject: Re: What Gen Xers Thought Twenty Years Ago

Written By: aja675 on 10/09/14 at 2:40 am


http://i.imgur.com/Gv7t5da.jpg

pZGC07aSIy4

(I've actually been enjoying this thread, having spent some time on USENET back in the day, but you set up that line so perfectly I had to pretend to be 20something tonight.)
That's exactly what I was referencing. The ABBA song of course.

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