Generation X-Box

0679314245_01_lzzzzzzz I’m reading a very interesting, amoral novel titled JPod.  It’s a recent book by Douglas Coupland about a group of 20-somethings in Vancouver who work in a large computer gaming company.  Coupland is the guy who catapulted the term "Generation X" into popularity in the early 90’s… a privilege he now seems to disdain and admire.  JPod peers into the consumeristic consequences of the Gen-X/1990’s era and how those now in their 20’s are trying to deal with life and work.  He calls this group "Generation X-Box."  JPod is a funny, creative, and truly vulgar look at spiritual and material tensions.  Imagine the film Pulp-Fiction meets the TV show The Office.  What you get is a raunchy, violent gangster cubicle mentality. (Note: Because of the graphic content, I do not recommended this book for a younger audience!  I do, however, recommend it for a study into postmodern culture.  And to be honest, I enjoyed stepping out of my "Christian" reading zone for this one.)  If Coupland’s satirical take on the emerging generation is correct, then our society has an interesting ride ahead.  The characters are community oriented, but desire complete individualism.  They long for meaning, but dismiss the yearning out of fear.  Work is life, and yet it absolutely isn’t.  Sin is blatant, yet subversive… and judgment is retained for hypocrites.  And God?  Yes.  But who?  What?  Where?  Why?  Really?

Here’s an excerpt from a conversation where one of the characters steretypes the JPod X-Boxers:

"Kaitlin, surprising us all from behind her cubicle wall, snorted and said (without standing up), ‘You feel chilled because you have no character.  You’re a depressing assemblage of pop culture influences and cancelled emotions, driven by the sputtering engine of only the most banal forms of capitalism.  You spend your life feeling as if you’re perpetually on the brink of being obsolete- whether it’s labour market obsolescence or cultural unhipness.  And it’s all catching up with you.  You live and die by the development cycle.  You’re glamourized drosophila flies, with the company regulating your life cylces at whim.  If it isn’t a budget-driven eighteen-month game production schedule, it’s a five-year hardware obsolescence schedule.  Every five years you have to throw away everything you know and learn a whole new set of harware and software specs, relegating what was once critical to our lives to the cosmic slag heap."


  1. Hah! Hey Ken! Douglas Coupland? I read a book of his last year in English class called “Eleanor Rigby.” In the back it had a preview for J-POD and It was pretty insane. They were writing fictitious letters to Ronald McDonald and betting to see who could seduce him. I remember one starting like this…
    “Hey Ronald, you mayo-guzzling bun pig.”
    So I’m not really sure that I want to read it, personally. I’m suspicious it would be just like walking through the halls at school. Funny author though.
    Anyway, how are things getting settled in Calgary?

  2. Thanks Robert,
    I’m loving the adventure of reading JPod. It’s Rob Bell-ish in its presentation… though much more abstract. Coupland seems to love making fun of anything… and if you’re not careful he sucks you in and then whomps you with his sarcasm.
    As for the books on the right, Besides the Nouwen books I haven’t yet dug deeply. McManus’ Unstoppable Force is good, but it is similar to his other materials. I’m looking forward to Burke and Greenleaf… but haven’t opened them up yet.

  3. I loved Generation X. Read it over and over. At least once, I read it out loud with a group of people, while we mocked the person who most nearly resembled the character.
    I think I’ll pick it up.
    Which of the “Current Study” books on the sidebar go you recommend? I just read Sweet and Willard and ordered the Greenleaf book. I think Creative Ministry is the only Nouwen book I havent read.

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