The original Generation X | BBC

Updated 1 year ago

Gen X

This wasn’t the first use of the term – from Wikipedia:

The term Generation X has been used at various times to describe alienated youth. In the early 1950s, Hungarian photographer Robert Capa first used Generation X as the title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately following World War II. The term first appeared in print in a December 1952 issue of Holiday magazine announcing their upcoming publication of Capa’s photo-essay.
From 1976 to 1981, English musician Billy Idol used the moniker as the name for his punk rock band. Idol had attributed the name of his band to the book Generation X, a 1965 book on British popular youth culture written by journalists Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett — a copy of which had been owned by Idol’s mother. These uses of the term appear to have no connection to Robert Capa’s photo-essay.

The term acquired its contemporary application after the release of Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, a 1991 novel written by Canadian author Douglas Coupland. In 1987, Coupland had written a piece in Vancouver Magazine titled “Generation X” which was “the seed of what went on to become the book”. Coupland referenced Billy Idol’s band Generation X in the 1987 article and again in 1989 in Vista magazine. In the book proposal for his novel, Coupland writes that Generation X is “taken from the name of Billy Idol’s long-defunct punk band of the late 1970s”. However, in 1995 Coupland denied the term’s connection to the band, stating that:

“The book’s title came not from Billy Idol’s band, as many supposed, but from the final chapter of a funny sociological book on American class structure titled Class, by Paul Fussell. In his final chapter, Fussell named an ‘X’ category of people who wanted to hop off the merry-go-round of status, money, and social climbing that so often frames modern existence.”

Napster 2023 40x40 Indigo Ico Bigger
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x