Generation X and the Rise of the Entertainment Subject defines Gen X as the first generation
to be dominated by entertainment subjectivity. A social and psychological feedback loop is created as entertainment caters to adolescent consumers while the consumer, in turn, is shaped by the entertainment they internalize. While the paradigmatic latchkey young adults are immersed in media consumption, they see the world through the lens of popular culture products that seek to capitalize on the free time and disposable income of the unoccupied viewer. This book argues that Gen X entertainment subjectivity lays the foundations for contemporary society where handheld devices and other technologies detach their users from the world around them.
Robert Samuels is lecturer of writing at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Gen X Goes to College
Chapter 3: The Nirvana Principle
Chapter 4: Reality Bites
Chapter 5: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Gen X Cynical Opportunism
Chapter 6: Pulp Fiction and Gen X Romanticism
Chapter 7: Do the Right Thing and the Politics of Representation
Chapter 8: Amusing Gen X to Death
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Robert Samuels has meticulously, deftly, coherently and precisely written a deeply informative of various narratives of Generation X that have been examined, marketed and commodified by the media, corporations, Hollywood and the larger population. It is a riveting, effervescent work that seamlessly integrates Generation X with popular culture.
Samuels trenchantly identifies one of the roots of our current media obsessions in Generation X’s early position as what he calls an “entertainment subject,” a subject shaped by the popular culture it was internalizing, while at the same time shaping that culture. Samuels examines how college reveals the cultural shift in authority from traditional figures to authority dominated by entertainment and consumerism. Unpacking such Generation X cultural touchstones as Nirvana, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Do the Right Thing, among other texts, this book is a piercing interrogation of pop culture’s role in how society’s understanding of authority has shifted.