Read Jeff Gordinier's posts on the Penguin Blog
In this simultaneously hilarious and incisive "manifesto for a generation that's never had much use for manifestos," Gordinier suggests that for the first time since the "Smells Like Teen Spirit"breakthrough of the early 1990s, Gen X has what it takes to rescue American culture from a state of collapse. Over the past twenty years, the so-called "slackers"have irrevocably changed countless elements of our culture-from the way we watch movies to the way we make sense of a cracked political process to the way the whole world does business.
Nostalgia for the attitudes and culture of the early to mid-'90s looms large in Gordinier's entertaining book-length argument for the greatness of Generation X. Gordinier does not have warm sentiments toward the baby boomers or the current "wanna-wanna generation" of celebrity worshippers, preferring instead the self-effacing, conflictedly ambitious heroes of the '90s, like Kurt Cobain and Richard Linklater, who were not enthralled by the concept of "changing the world." Gordinier has an easygoing style and a comprehensive knowledge of pop culture gleaned from a career writing for Entertainment Weekly and editing Details magazine, and this might be the reason the book sometimes feels like a collection of essays. Sequences on the rise of Nirvana and the burst of the dot-com bubble are ably narrated. And Gordinier does find a fresh perspective in discussions of recent phenomena such as YouTube and American Idol and their relationship to Generation X.