Fear Us Not
Has there been a generation more misunderstood and maligned than Generation X? For Pete’s sake, we never even got a name. We’re just “these kids today, with their Internet and their Pop-Up Videos and their David Duchovny…”
And we were slackers, too, back in the 80s. No motivation. Good for nothing, that’s what we were. Well, sure we were. We got stuck with AIDS and the stock market crash and — gods help us — Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. We were told we’d reached the end of history and the end of science. You’d slack off too if your elders — who should have known better — had eliminated any possibility of a future.
Back then, we had Ferris Bueller. Who didn’t want to be Ferris? (Unfortunately, we were all mostly his sister or Cameron.) Sure, we skipped school — but we went to an art museum and a really nice restaurant instead. Learned about the real world. And like Ferris, we all got computers.
And then The Kids knocked down the Berlin Wall and kicked Saddam’s butt in the Gulf (and you better believe it was the twentysomething grunts with their GPSes and their smart bombs and their Nintendo thumbs who won that one). Maybe there was no future left for us in the old world, so we made a new one.
Now we’re despised because we’re not slackers — we are realistic, the buck-stops-here, laptop-toting entrepreneurs who are getting rich doing things our own way. And now we have Martin Blank and Grosse Pointe Blank (starring John Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, and Minnie Driver).
Martin is a successful businessman who goes back to Michigan for his 10-year high-school reunion. Okay, so he’s a professional killer, but he’s making a good living and he kills only bad people — really. He’s got a nice office and a cool wardrobe and he works for himself. (A rival hitman — played by Aykroyd, who hasn’t been this on since Ghostbusters — has the temerity to suggest to Martin that they and their fellow hitpeople unionize. Only a Boomer would propose such a thing.) In other words, Martin is Ferris — the prototypical Xer — ten years later.
What Grosse Pointe Blank boils down to is this: the scene with the baby. You know the one I mean, where Martin is mesmerized by delight with the infant of a former classmate at his reunion.
The message here is this: Sure, we’re greedy, soulless, entrepreneurial slackers, but we’ve got heart.