Shopping Is Not Creating (Generation X terminology Part II)

This is the second part of a triptych (oooo, fancy!) about one of my favourite books, Generation X: Tales For An Accelerated Culture.

Following on from part I, this is a list of all of the slogans and buzzwords featured throughout the novel, some of which have permeated through into everyday speech and common understanding. Funny how that works.

If you want the rest (which would be sensible), they’re here:

Part I: here.

Part III: there.


Earth Tones:  A youthful subgroup interested in vegetarianism, tie-dyed outfits, mild recreational drugs, and good stereo equipment. Earnest, frequently lacking in humor.
Emallgration: Migration toward lower-tech, lower-information environments containing a lessened emphasis on consumerism.
Emotional Ketchup Burst: The bottling up of opinions and emotions inside oneself so that they explosively burst forth all at once, shocking and confusing employers and friends- most of whom thought things were fine.
Ethonomagnetism:  The tendency of young people to live in emotionally demonstrative, more unrestrained ethnic neighborhoods: “You wouldn’t understand it there, mother- they hug where I live now.”
Expatriate Solipsism: When arriving in a foreign travel destination one had hoped was undiscovered, only to find many people just like oneself; the peeved refusal to talk to said people because they have ruined one’s elitist travel fantasy.
Fame-Induced Apathy: The attitude that no activity is worth pursuing unless one can become very famous pursuing it. Fame-Induced Apathy mimics laziness, but its roots are much deeper.
Green Division: To know the difference between envy and jealousy.
Historical Overdosing:  To live in a period of time when too much seems to happen. Major symptoms include addiction to newspapers, magazines, and TV news broadcasts.
Historical Slumming: The act of visiting locations such as diners, smokestack industrial sites, rural villages- locations where time appears to have been frozen many years back-so as to experience relief when one returns back to “the present.”
Historical Underdosing:  To live in a period of time when nothing seems to happen. Major symptoms include addiction to newspapers, magazines, and TV news broadcasts.
Homeowner Envy: Feelings of jealousy generated in the young and the disenfranchised when facing gruesome housing statistics.
Jack-And-Jill Party: A Squire tradition; baby showers to which both men and women friends are invited as opposed to only women. Doubled purchasing power of bisexual attendance brings gift values up to Eisenhower-era standards.
Japanese Minimalism: The most frequently offered interior design aesthetic used by rootless career-hopping young people.
Knee-Jerk Irony: The tendency to make flippant ironic comments as a reflexive matter of course in everyday conversation.
Legislated Nostalgia: To force a body of people to have memories they do not actually possess: “How can I be a part of the 1960s generation when I don’t even remember any of it?”
Lessness: A philosophy whereby one reconciles oneself with diminishing expectations of material wealth: “I’ve given up wanting to make a killing or be a bigshot. I just want to find happiness and maybe open up a little roadside cafe in Idaho.”
McJob: A low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low-benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one.
Me-ism: A search by an individual, in the absence of training in traditional religious tenets, to formulate a personally tailored religion by himself. Most frequently a mishmash of reincarnation, personal dialogue with a nebulously defined god figure, naturalism, and karmic eye-for-eye attitudes.
Mental Ground Zero: The location where on visualised oneself during the dropping of the atomic bomb; frequently, a shopping mall.
Metaphasia: An inability to perceive metaphor.
Mid-Twenties Breakdown:  A period of mental collapse occurring in one’s twenties, often caused by an inability to function outside of school or structured environments coupled with a realization of one’s essential aloneness in the world. Often marks induction into the ritual of pharmaceutical usage.
Musical Hairsplitting: The act of classifying music and musicians into pathologically picayune catergories: “The Vienna Franks are a good example of urban white acid folk revivalism crossed with ska.”
Native Aping: Pretending to be a native when visiting a foreign destination.
Now Denial:  To tell oneself that the only time worth living in is the past and that the only time that may ever be interesting again is the future.
Nutritional Slumming: Food whose enjoyment stems not from flavor but from a complex mixture of class connotations, nostalgia signals, and packaging semiotics: Katie and I bought this tub of Multi-Whip instead of real whip cream because we thought petroleum distillate whip topping seemed like that sort of food that air force wives stationed in Pensacola back in the early sixties would feed their husbands to celebrate a career promotion.
Obscurism: The practice of peppering daily life with obscure references [forgotten films, dead TV stars, unpopular books, defunct countries, etc.] as a subliminal means of showcasing both one’s education and one’s wish to disassociate from the world of mass culture.
Occupational Slumming: Taking a job well beneath one’s skill or education level as a means of retreat from adult responsibilities and/or avoiding possible failure in one’s true occupation.
O’Propriation: The inclusion of advertising, packaging, and entertainment jargon from earlier eras in everyday speech for ironic and/ or comic effect: “Kathleen’s Favorite Dead Celebrity party was tons o’ fun” or “Dave really thinks of himself as a zany, nutty, wacky, and madcap guy, doesn’t he?”
Option Paralysis: The tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none.
Overboarding: Overcompensating for fears about the future by plunging headlong into a job or lifestyle seemingly unrelated to one’s previous life interests; i.e., Amway sales, aerobics, the Republican party, a career in law, cults, McJobs
Ozmosis:  The inability of one’s job to live up to one’s self-image.

I do wish I could have put these on one single page, but that would have been far too long- it’s probably boring enough looking at it like this. I promise that the last page with have some sort of doodle. Promise.

(Dial Tone)


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