The Best Thing About your Generation was a Coke Commercial, but all I Wanted Was a Pepsi.

When I was a child, I always wanted to be different without actually being other. If you tried to opt out of P.E. class or listened to Duran Duran, you might be called a faggot, but if you did the jock/metal culture just a little bit differently than everyone else then they might just leave you alone. When Guns N Roses became a thing I was listening to Aerosmith. In the land where Larry Bird and Bobby Knight were kings, I favored Michael Jordan and Gene Keady. When Spider Man and the Hulk were the darlings of Saturday Morning cartoons, I was reading Alpha Flight comics. And when the King of Pop was making Coca-Cola commercials, when our small town featured a Coca-Cola bottling company, I was taking the Pepsi challenge.

Pepsi became my thing in junior high school. I owned about half a dozen Pepsi T-shirts, which was probably twice the number of Michael Jordan T-shirts that I had. It wasn’t that I particularly cared for their product more than any other, just that it was the most obvious thing I could find in my cautiously curious way that was somehow different in a land of tyrannical homogeneity. I lacked either the imagination or the courage to be any more different than that.

Ten months ago, a man from this company came to speak at my work about generational differences. I came in to the talk somewhat interested in what he had to say, as it was soon after I’d started this blog. I left with a bad taste in my mouth, mainly because he’d completely misunderstood and misrepresented our generation. One of the major mistakes he made was the impetus for this post, and I sent him an email pointing out his errors. I decided to wait a while before writing anything about it here, just to give him the benefit of the doubt. But it’s been well over half a year, so I kind of doubt he’ll respond at this point.

One of the things he said, and I’m just going to take him at his word in spite of everything else he got wrong, was that this commercial represents everything that the Baby Boomer generation was about.

When I saw that, it explained so much about why the past forty years have sucked so badly. First of all, it was a commercial. Secondly, it was a commercial for something that is bad for you. And where Boomers might look at something like this and see visionaries, we look at it and see imperialism. They are going to blatantly lie to us, they are going to “teach” us things, they are going to give us beverages that will rot our teeth. They say they want to buy us a home, but it turns out they are the ones that took away the homes we bought for ourselves in the first place. But somehow it’s not their fault. Somehow it just happened that way. If that song represents what the Baby Boomers are about, then I think this song is the perfect rebuttal.

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