I am a Generation X’er… in my opinion, we are the current Lost Generation.
In literature; This term originated with Gertrude Stein who, after being unimpressed by the skills of a young car mechanic, asked the garage owner where the young man had been trained. The garage owner told her that while young men were easy to train, it was those in their mid-twenties to thirties, the men who had been through World War I, whom he considered a “lost generation”—une génération perdue.
The 1926 publication of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises popularized the term, as Hemingway used it as an epigraph. The novel serves to epitomize the post-war expatriate generation. However, Hemingway himself later wrote to his editor Max Perkins that the “point of the book” was not so much about a generation being lost, but that “the earth abideth forever”; he believed the characters in The Sun Also Rises may have been “battered” but were not lost.
And that is how I see myself, a generation not lost but ‘battered’ – although I still hope that if you act virtuously, good things will happen, I have lost some faith in the moral guideposts that had earlier given me hope.
My Gen X generation are described as the over-educated and underpaid. We didn’t buy houses because there weren’t loans for people who were ‘entrepreneurs’… ‘Intellectual property’ what is that? We didn’t have credit cards when we were young or cell phones, we didn’t jump on the computer band wagon until too late or get to be microserfs (because I live in Canada)… we were not apathetic or lethargic, we did have punk and grunge and MTV but when the good times came to a screeching halt (our 30’s) those of us who survived with our free spirits and creativity intact were left to ponder our choices, regret the waste and mourn the passing of our youth. Our lives had a “sense” of doom and tragedy while also appearing blissfully romantic.
Somehow my generation either had ‘made it’ by that time or like many of my peers… were left to be considered ‘mid-career artist’ ( I have a career as an artist? ) or teach the next generation of artists. Filmmakers are considered over the hill and not hip enough if you aren’t just out of film school and making your first feature film. What if you didn’t have the resources when you were first out of university… hell, there wasn’t even film school when I went to university in Canada, well not in my part of the country. Why am I not ‘hip’ enough for the funding agencies or producers in my community because I am over 20? I have skills, passion, something still to say.
The subjectivity of art is both freeing and enslaving at the same time. All one can do is find ways to use your voice, create because you need to create and do it because of the love of the process. I indeed have lost hope that me, my lost and battered soul will ever really get a ‘break’.
I have managed to take on a certain quietness and ‘indieness’ that comes from being off the beaten track.
I do believe the internet can offer itself to those ‘battered’ souls. It offers a place to express yourself, encourages originality, creativity, individuality, be seen, be heard, not feel invisible or lost.
Hemingway once said, “Every generation has had any cause to feel lost past, and future. ” Each generation must then use their cultural resistance to the dominant culture, values and then destroy the existing framework.