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Brainiac's mailbag

Posted by Joshua Glenn  January 23, 2008 03:24 PM

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Adam H. writes:

I think that you are totally on it with regard to the PC Generation. I'm 39, turning 40 this year and I think that you have hit all of the cultural touchstones. [Also:]
* We are going to be screwed economically because we are going to be paying for the both the first half and the second half of the baby boomers [i.e., the Boomers and the Original Generation X], and we will not be earning enough money. Further, they will live longer, making lots of other things difficult.
* We are the last generation that has a memory of a pre-Reagan administration. I think this really important because we don't necessarily view making money as a be-all and end-all.
* I also think that we saw the end of actuality on our watch. We were the witness to ersatzification -- this is a big deal in New York, which used to be a distinct city, but is only a distinct city in certain areas now (sections of Queens and Brooklyn).

Thanks, Adam. I probably agree with you, on all points. -- JG


Cinetrix writes:

Just in case you missed this February 3 correction in the New York Times:
"An article last Sunday about the ways in which successive generations have mourned the deaths of young celebrities referred imprecisely to those saddened by the death of the actor James Dean in 1955. Those who mourned, in general, were young people whose generation had not been given a name; they were not baby boomers. (A generally accepted definition of the baby boom generation dates its start to 1946, meaning many baby boomers were not yet born at the time of his death or would have been too young to appreciate its significance.)"

Thanks, Cinetrix. Yes, the Times correction is helpful. James Dean (b. 1931) was a late-born member of the postmodern generation (1924-33); so I imagine that it was probably young Anti-Anti-Utopians (1934-43) who mourned his death in 1955. -- JG


Karin S. writes:

FYI -- "Ender's Game" is on the required reading list in some Middle Schools in the area. It's sad to see you call it uber-geeky drivel. But I don't suppose you have to worry. I doubt there are many middle school students who would read your column.

Thanks, Karin. I may be misreading your email, but I agree that it's sad that middle-schoolers are required to read such a lousy book, instead of my column. -- JG

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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