Friday, January 21, 2005

Piss Me Off

Time magazine has a cover story this week on twentysomethings who "won't grow up," and how the current generation is taking much longer to get around to all the traditional markers of maturity, like marriage, home ownership, children, a steady career, even moving out of the parents' house, than ever before. No big deal, they're fair about this phenomenon, even though it's not news to anyone who's living it.

Time goes on to dub these development-arrested individuals "Twixters." Because you really can't discuss a generational phenomenon seriously until the media slaps a dumb-assed name on it. No, we can't wait for society, or the language, to create a name that develops gradually and organically. Media people and sociologists claw over each other trying to be the next clever bastard to coin a phrase like "Generation X," "Generation Y," "Tweens," or "Y2K." Please, never stop coming up with names for things we don't need names for.

"Twixter" means we're "betwixt" childhood and adulthood. We can't use "between" because they already used that up on "tweens" who should really just be called children, or the perfectly adequate pre-existing word, "preteen." Meanwhile, "Twixter" is a word that should only be used to describe somebody who eats a lot of candy bars.

As if that weren't bad enough, the article reveals that Time is just making a power play to squash the other would-be namers of directionless twentysomethings. Says Lev Grossman's piece:

Ten years ago, we might have called them Generation X, or slackers, but those labels don't quite fit anymore.

Yes, and heaven forbid we pass up a chance to slap a new label on it. We MUST LABEL AT ALL COSTS. And the dumber and more unnatural the label, the better! Grossman casually makes his move:

They're betwixt and between. You could call them twixters.

Gosh, both betwixt and between? Maybe we should be "twixters and tweeners." Only afterwards does he reveal that others beat him to naming this:

The sociologists, psychologists, economists and others who study this age group have many names for this new phase of life—"youthhood," "adultescence"—and they call people in their 20s "kidults" and "boomerang kids," none of which have quite stuck. Terri Apter, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge in England and the author of The Myth of Maturity, calls them "thresholders."

"Kidults" and "adultescence" are so bad, they're genius. But fuck all those shitheads and their clever names, this is Time fucking magazine. They'll call the shots and coin the phrases around here. Don't you like the subtle dig, how he says of the other names that "none of them quite stuck"? Nothing sticks until Lev Grossman and Time magazine say so. And they pulled "twixter" out of their shiny diamond ass, so they'll continue using "twixter" for the rest of the feature, thank you very much.

Then there's a whole sidebar about the dumb names people are coming up with in other countries.

As if all this nonsense weren't enough, USC's worthless Daily Trojan, a paper so shoddy and banal it makes the Daily Cal look brilliant and consistently fascinating, happens to run an op-ed column this week about the exact same thing. Coincidence? Or an attempt by the writer to throw his own label into the ring, after reading the Time piece and hoping we haven't?

I'm part of a generation of Peter Pans, people who will not grow up. I like to call us pseudo-adults.

Ooh, "pseudo-adults." Will USC's junior idiot give "Twixter" a run for its money? Will a lawsuit from M&M/Mars take down Time's entry and give him the edge he needs?

Or will dark horse Herbie the Love Blog steal the crown with one of the following:



Sarah said...

Ugh. Stuff like this is why my brother subscribes to The Economist. Time and Newsweek are utter shit. Plus, shut up, Time. Yes, I'm lazy and don't wanna grow up. However, I don't want to be slapped with a frikkin' dumb-ass label. Get back to talking about whether angels exist or whatever dumb crap you're into this week that is completely removed from actual news.

C said...

oh dear, that is the worst fake word i've heard in a while. but what do i know? i live with my parents and have so far used my netflix subscription for only cartoons and movies aimed at children. but not to worry, i'll soon be out of the limbo category and officially an old maid, although i may prefer the term spinster, i'll let you know (especially if i come up with a new word).

and to defend Douglas Coupland, the only reason i survived my rhetoric class, Generation X was the legitimate creation of an author of fiction, too bad he was Canadian.

lyan! said...

So, The only stipulation I see is the need for a vague connection to some description of the lifestyle of this generation. So, I want to be called a "poopy-sleeper." Since instead of growing up, I'm still living(sleeping) at the parents' house, and instead of getting married/good-jobbed (assuming the national situation was there to 'give' me a job) I sit at home, taking a crap.
But while i see the tangent possible, why don't we talk about old people's unwillingness to die. I hope the babyboomers start to realize this, but the best way to ensure the future of their children/grandchildren, at least fiscally, is to die so that a younger family wo/man can have a job to support her/his spawn, assuming s/he can afford to do so. Of course, it's also true that poorer families tend to have more children, so I don't know how that affects things.
Oh, and while In Japan, the American dollar dropped 23 cents in tradeable worth. Whoo!

Anonymous said...

More discussion on the Newsweek article: