Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Killing the Cliche

More from X Saves the World by Jeff Gordinier. This time a quote from the musician Beck:

I think my whole generation's mission is to kill the cliche. I don't know whether it's conscious all the time, but I think it's one of the reasons a lot of my generation are always on the fence about things. They're afraid to commit to anything for fear of seeming like a cliche. They're afraid to commit to their lives because they see so much of the word as a cliche.

Beck said this in 1997, when Xers like him were on average 26 years old (using Strauss and Howe's dates to define the generation). Now it's 2009, and Xers are on average 38, and have had a lot more life experience and more time to decide what to commit their lives to.

But is Beck's quote any less valid today? Don't we all know Xers who are still sitting on the sidelines, maybe commenting sarcastically on what's going on all around them, but not doing anything to try and make it better? Are you maybe one of them? I know I used to be.

I've speculated a number of times on this blog about the ideals of GenX, about its philosophy, and about its leadership potential---its impact on associations and society as its members move wholesale into leadership positions. I have to admit, when I wrote those posts, I was searching for something grand, something with lasting and positive impact on the world. But at the same time, there's something about this 12-year old Beck quote that resonates with my GenX sensibilities. If we're going to rally our generation around a cause, could there be a more universally acceptable one than killing our societies' cliches?


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