Exemplary, is a pattern deserving of imitation or a warning

The word exemplary, mightn’t correctly define the movie or the characters or the Script. Exemplary, is a pattern deserving of imitation or a warning.  Do the characters exhibit atypical ‘Generation X’ traits, through their lives, or interactions, or future communication? No, they made a singular choice.

In the UK, the term initially applied to a 1964 study of British youth, by writer Jane Deverson.  The study revealed a generation of teenagers who have premarital sex, were atheists, and resented authority.” The results coined, an anti-establishment “thought”.  Hollywood correspondent, Charles Hamblett, co- wrote a book with Deverson.  Hamblett, named this group, Generation X. ( http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-generation-x.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X)

My response is, metaphorically yes, and to the original concept of Deverson’s Gen X. Not, to the word and term formed by the media markets in 1991.

Generation X traits were originally, for the purposes of social sciences and marketing. Colloquially though, it’s used in popular culture and media as the “baby bust” generation.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X

The recycled 1960’s philosophy, transformed a “forgotten” phenomena. What was Woodstock became lollapalooza and the Hippie movement (circa 1960- 1966) became Gen X (1991). Dan Jardine, solidifies this observation, “The contrast of the past and its constant glories with the transiencient confusion of the modern is surely not accidental. In the context of a world, where happiness is our latest acquisition.”

(Before Sunrise and Before Sunset: Laden with Happiness and Tears, by Dan Jardine)

This fragmentary, relationship to a Generation X, was used to fuel a docu-dramaesque movie by the same Director of Before Sunrise and Sunset, Richard Linklater. Slackers, was  a day in the life in Austin, Texas where its twenty-something social outcasts and misfits, didn’t fit into the establishment norms and moved seamlessly and randomly coming and going into each other’s lives. This “Cult-flick” somehow became the premise of what a Gen X’er was all about. Art is imitating Life, or vice versa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slacker_(film)

In Before Sunrise, the film starts with Jesse (Ethan Hawke) meeting Celine ( Julie Delpy)  on a train from Budapest. Jesse is enroute to Vienna, States bound, whereas Céline, is returning to Paris. In Vienna, Jesse convinces Céline to stay with him, saying that years later, she mightn’t be happy with her marriage and wonder how her life would have been, if?

As Dan Jardine, writes in his eloquent, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset: Laden with Happiness and Tears his poetic observations reflect, “these films ask us to consider the purposeful nature of our existence in a fragmentary and transient universe. Amidst, all the gorgeousness of Europe the two leads, Jesse and Celine, search for meaning and permanence in a world that emphasizes disposability.”

In this conversation, Jesse and Celine, underscore life’s transient momentary pursuit of happiness:

Jesse: I mean, everything is so finite. But don’t you think that’s what, makes our time, a specific moment, so important?
Celine: Yeah, I know.  Tonight, After tomorrow morning, we’re probably never going to see each other again, right?
Jesse: Why do you think everybody thinks relationships are supposed to last forever anyway?
Celine: Yeah, why. It’s stupid.

They both know that they are “in-transit” with each other, it’s not devoid of future meaning, but they are cognitively aware of the limited once in a lifetime moment. Consequently, both decide to not exchange contact information.

Celine: Maybe we should try something different. I mean, it’s not so bad if tonight is our only night? People always exchange phone numbers, addresses, they end up writing once, calling each other once or twice…
Jesse: Fizzles out. Yeah, I mean, I don’t want that. I hate that.
Celine: I hate that too, y’know.
Later, in Before Sunset, the need to be in touch over the years has haunted them. Celine moves to New York and Jesse thinks he sees her on his wedding day. Jesse also writes a book that returns him to Paris, to find Celine.

Gen X, as a juxtaposition makes these films loosely apply. Jesse and Celine were in their 20’s, did sleep together and Celine brings relevance to Deverson’s study, “I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, but just this little space in between the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. “

Moreover, in Linklaters’ Slacker, (1991) the characters moved seamlessly and randomly into one another’s lives. Certainly, in Before Sunrise and Sunset, Linklaters’s cinematography reflects the aimless wonderings of our lovers, only to underscore their romantic adventure but not their transient lifestyle. Before Sunrise and Sunset, are more of a day in the life, film genre, than an actual generational movement. The only link is to the Director’s extended, 15 minutes of fame. And to advertise a Movie – A GEN X “Love Affair”.

As Ethan Hawke responded:  “I love it!  A sequel, from a film that grossed the least amount of money in movie history ” Ethan Hawke on a 3rd Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset, Movie by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub, Posted:January 4th, 2010 at 11:38 am

Marketing is an awesome tool, as it somehow lead to this article, “How we fell out of love with slacking, Poor George Robitaille. Fifteen years ago, the sleepy TTC ticket-taker would have been embraced by Gen X”, http://www.thestar.com:80/news/insight/article/761407–how-we-fell-out-of-love-with-slacking)

How did this term, become a catch phrase for being useless? From a 1964, study based out of England, to a 1991 movie called Slackers, where the marginalized, are celebrated as Icons of a generation, to this “excerpt”. “Being a slacker used to be a good thing. In January 1998,Hal Niedzviecki extolled the emancipatory and creative potential of stupid jobs in THIS magazine: “Set your mind free. It isn’t necessary, and it can be an impediment. While your body runs the maze and finds the cheese, let your mind go where it will.”

In the movie Slackers, they had no jobs and here we have a quote referencing Stupid Jobs, and freedom to play at work. The TTC employee George Robitaille, was slacking of, but he wasn’t a Slacker, or from Gen X. And Jesse and Celine were on Vacation. Each, an example of a single isolated choice, not a movement for Gen X.

From whence this came I know not. Do you perhaps those that are in the pale knoweth this work from whom’s pen I cannot subscribe. But be though that it may, it did not issue forth from mine, but from the anonymous thine. But it will be posted and ascribed to this blog, in the manner that is dispensed from God. 

CDC

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