Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fast Times at Ridgemont High & the FBG

If you have read any of my FBG series then you may recall that I don’t like the FBGs, those born from 1955-1965; the 45 to 55 year olds of today.  Known also as Gen-X, these people have, in my opinion, excelled at little more than becoming a generation of whiners and worse.  I’ve combined my previous posts on this subject into a single document HERE.

I’m adding Fast Times at Ridgemont High to a couple of other films, (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off & Risky Business) that I think chronicle this generation of people pretty well.  I do like this 1982 film which was released when we were about 37; then again, who couldn’t have been smitten by Phoebe Cates’ part in it; in fact, that may have diverted my realization that this film fits in with the other FBG films and may be the best descriptive example of all.

The screenwriter actually went back to high school for a year in order to better understand that particular crop of youngsters before he wrote his script.  The result was a fairly accurate snapshot of teen life circa 1982, just before they started taking their places as young adults in our society.  At that time the 17-27 age group were born from 1955-1965…they were the FBGs.

Actually, this film is even more illustrative of that generation than are the other two.  It accurately depicts their after school and weekend jobs in local malls and their peculiar tribulations.  It may be the earliest film to depict that aspect of life, since the large regional malls were only built in the early to mid-1970s.

My recollection of 1982 for us was of outrageous interest rates, a dead housing market, the mid-west rust belt, huge unemployment numbers, an abandoned Gulf coast oil patch, the exodus of American manufacturing to foreign sites, and the first personal computers.

For the FBG youngsters, there were few substantial opportunities and AIDS made its appearance about then…that effectively sounded the last gasp of our Sexual Revolution period and, their music was synthesized crap.  All things considered, it wasn’t a great time to come of age, so I can sympathize with their unfortunate situation.

It was probably during those years that these people started turning their ire on us.  From their limited point of view, we had it all—nice homes, great music, fancy cars, new families, jobs or professions.  Many of them were our younger siblings.

Of course those years were difficult for us also, but in different ways.  I recall thinking that I was glad I wasn’t one of them.  I couldn’t have gotten excited about working in a fast-food joint, or trying to get involved with their music, or facing that job market as a young adult.

On the other hand, I employed a number of youngsters at that time and a couple of my in-laws were that age and from what I observed of them, they were lacking.  I didn’t see in them the spark that we had, nor did I see any sense of willingness to pay their dues and work up to better things.  They were in a hurry to achieve what we had achieved and for reasons I never quite knew, fully expected that they could skip the hard work.

Most of our government and business leaders are now FBGs.  How are they doing and what kind of people do you see?  Here is one of them who as an employee tangled with an Arby’s meat slicer and lost. A good guy you could trust? You decide.  


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