Generation X, It's Your Turn to Live in the Past

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In about a week, Comcast's Universal unit will release the 3-D version of 1993's Jurassic Park and drive home a truth that should have been fairly evident to members of Generation X by now: You are the new baby boomers.

Marketers haven't exactly been shy about letting Gen X know this, either. Within the last year, Hollywood has released 3-D versions of Disney's 1991 hit Beauty and The Beast and James Cameron's 1997 Kate and Leo cheesefest Titanic, continuing a trend so noteworthy that BoxOfficeMojo has dedicated an entire page to 3-D rehashes.

That's just when it isn't tearing into other totems of Gen X youth. Did you play with Hasbro's Transformers? Yep, that movie series gets its fourth installment next year. Were you a G.I. Joe kid instead? The second installment of that series nobody asked for tore up the box office on Easter weekend. Smurfs? That sequel comes in July.

Yes, they're just movies, but that's how this kind of thing always starts. If you were to look back and try to pinpoint the exact moment the business world knew it had baby boomers eating out of the palm of their hand, you'd have to go back to Aug. 11, 1973. With the war in Vietnam still more than a year away from ending and the entire country just weary and ragged after the 1960s, in came Mr. George Lucas with a candy-wrapped bit of nostalgia about prewar cruising, rock and roll and drive-ins.


The movie American Graffiti tapped into a vein baby boomers didn't even know they still had. It was a longing for the simpler times that AMC and Lions Gate Entertainment's Mad Men wouldn't paint as far more complicated until decades later. It was Wolfman Jack on the radio, Suzanne Somers in a Ford T-Bird and an entire generation wrapped in a security blanket and tucked safely away from the draft, napalm, Agent Orange, race riots, hippies, the Black Panthers, the Weathermen, Charles Manson, grass, LSD, Woodstock, Altamont and all the rest of it. It was Hollywood and corporate America's way of saying "There, there, it's over now. We'll take it from here."