Step into my office, baby

TIME magazine is finally giving some mainstream press to an issue that I’ve found interesting for a long time: the relative quickness with which my generation has become nostalgic for a childhood we’re not even entirely done living in the first place.

The TIME article is mostly focused on those VH1 I Love The ____ programs, but the issue extends to beyond which disposable TV shows we like to watch, it also encapsulates nearly everything we consider our culture, from the Internet sites we love to visit to our favorite t-shirts and stores at which we shop. Even our most daring young authors are pontificating about a not-so-long-lost youth. Hell, today I read that a G.I. Joe live action movie is being made‚ something that didn’t even happen when G.I. Joe was popular.

TIME pays a little face time to the phenomenon, but I think they get the diagnosis wrong. Instead of attributing the fact that X-ers are more quickly nostalgic than Boomers to some murky malarkey about having experienced “more media cycles”, I think the true answer lies in the fact that X-ers are damaged by being marketed to at a very early age. From a very early age, our generation was subjected to constant consumerism. Ours was the first generation of kids to be aggressively targeted as a consumer demographic, and, as a result, the first generation to have it hardwired into our heads that happiness is a bowl of Crunch Berries, an Optimus Prime action figure, or a New Kids on the Block poster. Is it any wonder that once we realized the world was shitty we’d want to surround ourselves with reminders of an age when what you wanted was something you could have?