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.”
(Read more Farrah Fawcett stories.)