Slackers: In Cinema & Real Life

Jeffrey Wells observes a cinematic trend that I remarked upon in contemporary literature a few months ago: movies that, in Wells’ words, involve “GenX guys in their early to mid 30s who’re having trouble growing up.” (Wells doesn’t cite Adam Sternbergh’s “grups” article from earlier in the year, but it does tie into the nagging question.) Personally, I think that any films or literature dealing with the subject might offer a few valuable reasons why. But to expand Wells’ question, speaking as a man in his early thirties happily immature in a lot of ways, has he not observed the dark underbelly of the American dream (i.e., rising real estate prices, the disparity between the rich and the poor)? Has he not observed the troubling sense of self-entitlement that many twentysomethings (and even thirtysomethings) seem to possess? Has he not observed that couples are getting married and having children later? Or the bedlam of luxuries (cell phones, DVDs, SUVs, the Internet, Scandanivan furniture) that have sent a cultural shock wave through the Western world and beyond during the past fifteen years?

While there is certainly something to be said for growing old gracefully, one might also argue that prudence in choosing one’s calling is sometimes a virtue. Even so, it saddens me to see friends with remarkable potential remaining quite blissfully inert after living lives devoid of chance-taking. Then again, if they’re happy, who am I to pass judgment?

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