With Icons' Deaths, Gen X Grows Up

Pair of generation's icons pass in a day
Tourists take pictures at a memorial on the star of actress Farrah Fawcett Thursday, June 25, 2009, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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(Newser) – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson were icons to many, but especially to the impressionable members of Generation X. “These people were on our lunchboxes,” notes one post-boomer. “This is the moment when Generation X realizes they're grown up." “Cynical” and “disaffected,” Gen X is an “oddity,” writes Ted Anthony of the AP. Now, in a single day, it’s lost “two of its defining figures.”

Gen X’s “micro-era” saw the beginnings of today’s celebrity culture—a phenomenon symbolized by Fawcett and Jackson, who projected an aura that today’s celebs lack. "Audiences are passive no longer," Anthony argues. "We demand a part in creating our icons." We want new stars like Jon and Kate “to be us,” while Farrah and Jacko were somehow “above us, maybe, or apart from us.”