1. This analysis was to be included in our book The Postmodern Adventure, but the study was cut from the final version because of space considerations. Examples here are drawn from our studies of youth in the United States, but in an increasingly globalized world such specificities often have more general relevance. Thanks to Richard Kahn and Andrew Thomas for extremely useful critiques of an earlier version of this text and to Henry Giroux for long-time support of our work.
On postmodern theory, see Best and Kellner 1991, 1997, and 2001).
3 Coined by Strauss and Howe (1993), the term "13th Generation" refers to the thirteenth generation of American citizens born in the 1960s. As coincidence would have it, their's is an unlucky number. "Generation X," popularized by Douglas Coupland (1991), signifies blankness and confusion, and is taken from a British boomer rock band. Mike Miles (1996) uses the term the "scapegoat generation" for those youth who are blamed for the social ills which were in large part produced by older generations. Many people, however, do not feel part of either the boomer or post-boomer generation, and are somewhere in between, hence they are baptized "tweeners" (USA Today, March 22, 1996). Technically, by their date of birth, they belong to the boomers, but in their cynical and pessimistic mindset they are much closer to the post-boomers.
4 Exceptions to the negative image of the cynical, apolitical slacker stereotype, include Nelson and Cowan (1994), which features an analysis of the debt crisis and suggestions for how youth can intervene politically to help others and shape a brighter future for themselves, moving from unplugged to plugging back in; but their "Lead or Leave" foundation has been heavily funded by conservative sources and they have stressed cutting back on the federal deficit through cutting back on social security and welfare programs -- precisely the Republican agenda (see the critique in Extra!, Vol. 7, No. 2 (March/April 1994): 6-7). See also Males (1996) who explodes the myths that contemporary youth are themselves responsible for exploding violence, crime, teen pregnancies, and social disorder and for recent studies and critiques of the escalating attacks on youth, see Giroux 2000 and 2003.
5 A Newsweek cover story on "The Myth of Generation X" already by 1994 claimed that "a recent MTV poll found that only one in 10 young people would ever let the phrase 'Generation X' cross their lips" and cited several who rejected the label (June 6, 1994: 64).
6 See Coupland (1991: 181-183) who cites statistics indicating the growing amount of federal wealth and programs directed toward the elderly and increased tax burdens for younger generations. Third Millennium founder Jonathan Karl noted that in 1995, the federal government