Is it just us, or does it sometimes feels like the Internet is one giant argument between Gen Yers and Gen Xers? How all this Millennial finger wagging happened is beyond us (thanks, Kevin Bacon), but it would be great if for once, we could all just agree on some stuff, be nice, and share. To settle the score, we have Eve and Leonora Epstein, sisters born 14 years apart, who have written a book about all this pop culture confusion. It’s called X vs. Y: A Culture War, a Love Story, and it comes out next week. After the jump, Leo (Gen Y, and a former Frisky columnist!) and Eve (Gen X) share seven pop culture obsessions the two generations can agree on.
Gen Y says: We were coming of age when “Clueless” became a thing, and to us, it wasn’t parody. It told us that somewhere, Cher Horowitz did exist, which made us want cell phones, knee-highs, and white Jeeps so very badly. We may not have understood all the witty references, but the beauty of “Clueless” is how we slowly came to understand the humor as we grew up.
Gen X says: We saw “Clueless” more as part of a larger thing happening in entertainment media, this very self-aware form of comedy that featured a kind of exuberant pop-culture hyperliteracy, with references to everything from Jane Austen to Dionne Warwick to Radiohead. But I don’t think we would’ve loved it if had been only about those things. It’s just a super satisfying story about great character.
Gen Y says: TRL was a fact of life. You came home from school and spent the afternoon watching the top music videos. For Gen Y, MTV also gave us a cast of reality characters from the weird (but weirdly lovable) Jesse Camp to the entitled kids of Rich Girls to the cuss-happy Osbournes.
Gen X says: MTV just was the TV of my adolescence. It was so weird and different—a TV network that didn’t have TV shows. And the premieres became, like, huge events. Now the idea of appointment viewing for music videos seems crazy.
Gen Y says: Everything we needed to know about old school Madonna we learned through the Immaculate Collection and ’80s-themed parties. As for the Madonna that was closest to us, she transformed all the time, but we were right there along with her through her various phases: kabbalah crazy lady/Ray of Light, cowgirl/Music, army woman/American Life, disco leotard queen/”Hung Up.”
Gen X says: While I liked her early hits, my fascination really ramped up when she transformed from a basic dance-music standby to the shape-shifting cultural icon. She had this incredibly savvy marketing instinct that allowed her to play recklessly with the elements of her own identity. Her image was transgressive, even if her music usually wasn’t. Which is really, I guess, like a lot of pop stars these days.
Gen Y says: We’re aware that the wonderful world of John Hughes largely belongs to Gen X. But I think that’s part of the appeal. That and Jake Ryan.
Gen X says: Yeah, we pretty much claim John Hughes as our exclusive property. His movies were everything. He felt like the first filmmaker to take teenagers seriously. He wasn’t, of course, but he was the first one we saw do it, and the characters in his stories were so recognizable to us, mostly because of all the ‘80s fashions and New Wave music.
Gen Y says: Another gift from Gen X, Kim Gordon’s short-lived clothing line represented the epitome of ’90s dressing, even if we were a bit too young to really be active fans of the line.
Gen X says: X-Girl was sort of this perfect hipster storm. It brought together all these cool-kid players, from Chloe Sevigny to the ladies of Sassy to the Beastie Boys to Sonic Youth. But we also loved the actual clothes, which were an expression of all that stuff too: a little street, a little sporty, a little preppy, a little tomboy-ish.
Gen Y says: Sassy might just be the glue that binds our two generations. (Well, for girls, at least.) We miss it … even though we may never have had a subscription. We can at least feel like we were a part of the Sassy movement now, preserving the mag’s memory by devoting Tumblrs to it and buying old issues on eBay.
Gen X says: Sassy was the reason I wanted to work in women’s media, and it had a huge impact on my writing, career path, and even my management philosophy. It was so different from anything that had come before, and really provided the prototype for the confessional, personality-driven voice that’s now the norm online. The editors were really cool, but also really honest about what it was like to be a girl.
OKCupid is the Worst
Gen Y says: Where hope goes to die. But also one of the only viable online dating options.
Gen X says: As bad as it is for Gen Yers, I think it’s about a thousand times worse for older people. But I guess that’s true about a lot of things.