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Birth of the Slacker

This video published on National Geographic’s YouTube page in 2016 discusses the emergence of the “slacker” stereotype associated with Generation X in an economic context. Through interviews with three creative Gen-Xers, writer and director Kevin Smith, author of X Saves the World Jeff Gordiner, and senior staff writer for Wired Matt Honan, as well as clips from contemporary news and film, we learn that the stock market crash of 1987 caused an increase in unemployment and the emergence of the slacker stereotype. This, in turn, led to the rise of indie film, music, and alternative ways of working.

discussion

Which stereotype about Generation X is this video about?

Why did this stereotype about Gen Xers emerge? Specifically, what were the economic conditions that led to its emergence? How did Generation X respond to these conditions?

What media clips are used in this video? How do these media examples help to tell the story of the “Birth of the Slacker?”

What are some of the stereotypes about your generation? Where do they come from? Do you think they are accurate?

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