Is it really about what is authentic, or our misguided attempts to judge authenticity in others? The essential issue seems much more that none of us can know what is authentic in someone else. Whether their jacket is authentically distressed, store-bought distressed, or store-bought distressed because it reminds us of our favorite jacket that once was authentically distressed and has since fallen to pieces. Implicit in that act of judging authenticity, of criticizing the marketing and our susceptibility to it, in wondering which artist is more correct in their judgment of one work or another artist, of who has a more direct line on the 'truth' is the idea that we have special access to authenticity because we believe ourselves to be authentic and question whether anyone with different motivations or concerns can also be authentic. The question, to me, isn't how do we ascertain authenticity or define it's value, but rather, why are we still trying to define something inherently indefinable for anyone but the original actor?
@Al Cracka I think something else probably factors into the equation: people who found Carved, tried to write like him, and then learned to dismiss him when they couldn't get there.
Not at all surprised by the (totally empty and fatuous) "On the Road" or any of the Ayn Rand comments, but I had no idea the Carver backlash was so huge. I think the person who said that may be due to all the imitation he's had to suffer was right on the nose.
Obviously every generation thinks they are different, that some quality of time and place has put a marker on them that previous generations didn't have and future generations will inherit. But just because every generation thinks that doesn't make it untrue.
For my two cents, the apathy and PermaSlacker attitude of Gen-X /is/ what sets us apart now as we are in our mid-30s and early 40s. We either gave up on the system and dropped out in a decidedly non-hippie fashion, or we just kind of let things happen to us.
The main expression of our attitude is that we simply don't believe in anything that we're told. By the man, by the media (often the same thing, granted), by our parents or peers. We have decided, collectively, that the whole thing is a sham and we have no expectations regarding any effort that we put in.
Does any of this make us special? Hell no, but we don't believe in special, do we?
Good on you for including PJ's great ode in that list. But I have to agree with whoever posted Velvet Underground
Seriously, you think that entertainment owes us anything in the way of factual truth? I think the point of the whole thing flew out the window while you were looking the other way.