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X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything from Suckingby Jeff Gordinier
I was very skeptical about this book when I first picked it up — and became even more so when Gordinier predicted my exact reaction. But X Saves the World is impossible to resist: a well-written, extremely funny, and, I have to say, unnervingly accurate portrait of Generation X and its effect, however overlooked, on our larger American culture.
Synopses & Reviews
A shrewd and hilarious call to arms for the generation that fell between the cracks.
Jammed in between the garish showboating of the baby boomers and the tabloid-trash stunts of the millennials, the discerning generation that gave us Yahoo and Nirvana has been quietly and inexorably changing the face of American culture. The men and women who came of age in the era of Lollapalooza have been underrepresented for too long in pop sociology, but reporter and essayist Jeff Gordinier argues that it's time for the slackers to rise up and take charge.
Taking off from his controversial Details essay "Has Generation X Already Peaked?" Gordinier takes the reader along on an enthralling, eye-opening journey — from the expatriate garrets of Prague to the amped-up offices of dot-com San Francisco, from the muddy fields of Woodstock '94 to the celebrity-obsessed media machine of Us Weekly — in his quest to find the essence of X. Along the way he shows how Gen X innovations in art, comedy, technology, activism, and (gasp ) business have come to define the way we live now.
A proud, accomplished, and unrepentant X-er, Jeff Gordinier writes with insight and biting wit about the generation that time forgot-and makes a convincing case for Gen X as maybe, secretly, the greatest generation of all. Like Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and The Tipping Point, X Saves the World flips conventional wisdom on its head and expertly captures the spirit of a strange and crucial era in American society.
"I loved this book...it's impassioned, very quick on its feet, dense with all the right allusions, funny, and in the end, actually very moving." Nick Hornby, The Believer
"I think Jeff Gordinier might be the secret love child of Tom Wolfe and Douglas Coupland. This book is a fascinating, thought-provoking and funny look at America today. It's about more than Gen X, it's about everyone." A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
"This is the passionate defense that our much-maligned generation deserves." Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad
"X Saves the World is a great read — fast, funny and incisive. It's a thrill watching Jeff Gordinier spin his extensive cultural Rolodex and if I weren't so ironic and detached myself, I'd suggest anointing him the new voice of our generation-in-exile." Jess Walter, author of The Zero
"When future archeologists recover the artifacts from our failed civilization, may they at least find some reference to the forgotten sliver of a generation chronicled here, who dared to consider — even just consider — whether doing something other than selling out was a viable option." Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion
"As a boomer through and through, I was skeptical: a bunch of 35-to 45-year olds formally famous for their most excellent slacking could now save art, music, and activism from the corporate monoculture? But in this passionate, beautifully written ode to the generation that even stereotypes forgot, Jeff Gordinier has made me believe." Leslie Savan, author of Slam Dunks and No-Brainers
"As a Marine, I hate slackers. As an X-er, I hate manifestos. As an MBA, I hate jokes. This is a slacker manifesto filled with jokes. But it doesn't suck. In fact, it's pretty great." Nathaniel Fick, author of One Bullet Away
"Unfortunately, [Gordinier's] disproportionate attention to his own memories skews his project. A fit of nostalgia and self-aggrandizement disguised as a generational call to arms." Kirkus Reviews
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.
About the Author
Jeff Gordinier is the editor at large of Details magazine. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as in the Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.
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