It was also only the start of a very chromed-out, slicked back wave of this kind of schlock that stretched through films like Diner, Grease, Hollywood Knights and The Wanderers and into television shows like Sha Na Na and Happy Days.
Well, Generation X, now they're playing you for the same brand of suckers, only trading in those monochrome denims for some stone wash, leather jackets for some flannel and Matchbox 20 and Chumbawamba for The Beach Boys and Del Shannon.
Don't believe me? Well remember all those doo-wop reunion shows your parents used to go to at the local outdoor shed venue during the summer or those Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills and Nash reunions with "golden circle" seating that cost as much as their first car? Well change those sheds and arenas to cruise ships, swap in 311, Sugar Ray and hair metal acts and consider yourself targeted.
Oh, and throw in acts like Weezer, The Pixies, Matthew Sweet, et al., playing concerts consisting only of albums you bought more than 20 years ago and filmmakers devoting whole retrospective documentaries to A Tribe Called Quest, The Sex Pistols and Metallica and it might be even worse.
So how did Generation X get from there to here? How did a group painted as nonchalant, smarmy slackers become so willing to take any bit of industry-made memorabilia thrown its way? We could draw some clumsy parallel between the horrors of the 1960s and the 9/11 attacks, two wars, charged political climate, Occupy Wall Street protests and other happenings of the last 15 years or so, but it's just not the truth. The fact is Gen X came into itself in a hurry and, in some cases, made itself a quick pile of expendable income faster than the boomers that came before. Granted, it came during a tech bubble and housing bubble that led to disastrous financial consequences for the rest of the country in each case, but it gave them the kind of cash that's easily spent on 20th Anniversary multidisc re-releases of old Nirvana albums, $20 180-milligram vinyl re-releases of Replacements and Wu-Tang Clan records, $1,500 Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga arcade cabinets and $18 tickets to a 3-D rendering of a foot-stomping, water rippling T-Rex scenes they've seen numerous times.
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