Knee-Jerk Irony: The tendency to make flippant ironic comments as a reflexive matter of course in everyday conversation.
. . .
I see a farmer in Russia, and he's driving a tractor in a wheat field, but the sunlight's gone bad on him--like the fadedness of a black-and-white picture in an old Life magazine. And another strange phenomenon has happened, too: rather than sunbeams, the sun has begun to project the odor of old Life magazines instead, and the odor is killing his crops. The wheat is thinning as we speak. He's slumped over the wheel of his tractor and he's crying. His wheat is dying of history poisoning.
. . .
Either our lives become stories, or there's just no way to get through them.

--Douglas Coupland,Generation X

With the phenomenal success of Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X came the now-ubiquitous appellation for the generation born between 1965 and 1975 (roughly--the exact dates are a matter of contention). Characterized by an amorphous sense of irony and the material reality of being the first generation fiscally worse off than its predecessor, "Generation X" has produced a substantial number of tragically hip chroniclers who tell stories of life lived amidst hyperspecialized commodity culture and post Reagan-era downsizing. Gen-X narratives are preoccupied with the legacy left to the present by "history," and frequently render the hysteria experienced by the generation at "the end of history" in the paradoxically deadpan, affectless style associated with so-called "blank generation" fiction. In addition to Douglas Coupland, key Gen-X authors include Bret Easton Ellis, Jay McInerny, Tama Janowitz and Kathryn Harrison as well as numerous cultural critics such as Pagan Kennedy and Clint Burnham.




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