Gen X has been forgotten once again — this time by a former presidential adviser-turned-CNN commentator.
In a tweet that has gone viral, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen noted how younger generations are poised to pick up the baton from the baby boomers, and he specifically pointed to younger millennials and Gen Zers. But he made no mention of Gen X, the group that directly follows boomers.
Gen-X Twitter noticed. The online conversation that followed led “Gen X” to trend on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Which is how it often goes for the oft-ignored Generation X, a cohort of roughly 65 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980. A 2019 CBS report that listed “generation guidelines” by birth year included the Silent Generation, boomers, millennials and Gen Z, but also omitted Gen X. It didn’t list any cohort for the years between 1965 and 1980, in fact.
Never mind that this is the generation that’s associated with everything from the birth of MTV and cable news to the emergence of such pioneering rock groups as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. It’s also a generation with significant assets — indeed, by one estimate it has 28.6% of the country’s wealth.
Still, Gen X is known for its quiet, disinterested and don’t-call-attention-to-itself nature — or, to quote the title of Nirvana’s breakthrough 1991 album, “Nevermind.” And hence, it often doesn’t get that attention.
Needless to say, plenty of folks have had a field day responding to Gergen’s tweet.
Penn Holderness, a Gen Xer who has become a popular figure on YouTube and social media via the videos he creates with his wife Kim Holderness, is a fierce defender of his generation. Naturally, he made a video, “We are Gen X,” to tout his group’s accomplishments and savviness when it comes to certain life skills (like, say, reading a physical map).
So, what’s his response on the Gergen tweet? “I feel like we need a rebrand,” he says, speaking to the idea that Generation X shouldn’t be left out of the mix as much as it is.
But Gen Xers can take heart in one thing: They’re about to get their own museum — or, at least, their own museum exhibit.
The Illinois State Museum is planning a “Growing Up X” exhibit that will open in October. The idea, according to a statement museum curator Erika Holst, “ is to “dig into the experience of being a child in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s” — an era that she notes saw everything from the AIDS crisis to the end of the Cold War.
And ultimately, the exhibit will show that no generation should be forgotten. “We think it’s time Gen X got some love,” Holst said.