Matthew Hennessey joins City Journal managing editor Paul Beston to discuss Matthew’s new book, Zero Hour for Gen X: How the Last Adult Generation Can Save America from Millennials.
More than a decade after the introduction of social media, it’s evident that Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture has more drawbacks—from violations of privacy to deteriorating attention spans—than many of us first realized. For many millennials, though, who grew up with the Internet, there’s nothing to worry about. And to hear the media tell it, this tech-savvy generation, the largest in American history, is poised to take leadership from the retiring baby boomers.
But a smaller generational cohort is overlooked in the equation: Generation X, those born, roughly, between 1965 and 1980, and destined to play the middle child between the headline-grabbing boomers and the hotshot millennials. Smaller demographically, they are reaching the age of traditional leadership, and they grew up in a less tech-dominated time. Matthew calls on America’s “last adult generation” to assert itselfbefore losing its chance to influence the direction of the country.
“America stands anxiously on the cusp of an unknown future,” Matthew writes. “Unlike the baby boomers, Generation X’s race is not yet run. Unlike the millennials, we remember what life was like before the Internet invaded and conquered nearly everything. In that memory resides the hope of our collective redemption, the seed of a renewal that could stem the rot, decay, erosion, and collapse all around us.”
Matthew Hennessey is an associate editorial page editor at The Wall Street Journal and former associate editor of City Journal.