This election season, this entire cursed year, has worn me down to such a nub that my emotions aren’t just on my sleeve, they’re dripping off the end of my fingers like motor oil. And I can prove it. Because this Joe Biden ad just about made me cry.
This fact is, well, it’s rather pathetic. But it’s also true. The ad, titled “The Blind Pig,” features Joe Malcoun, co-owner of the titular Blind Pig, a rock venue in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a fabled rock haunt that hosted, among many others, Iggy Pop, R.E.M. and Nirvana, who called it their “number one venue of choice anywhere, ever.” Malcoun talks about how his venue has been empty since March and is in serious danger of shutting down, a fact he (quite rightly, I’d argue) blames on Donald Trump’s feckless reaction to the pandemic. As someone who counts live music shows as one of the things he misses most desperately in 2020, the ad makes me righteously furious, as was intended.
But mostly, in its use of The Pixies and the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” — which the band licensed to the Biden campaign, the first time they’ve ever let one of their songs be used in a political context — it makes me feel seen. Because no one ever sees Gen-Xers.
I wrote about the sorry lot in life for us Gen-Xers at the very beginning of this pandemic, how we were very much stuck in the middle: As parents, we worried about our children’s mental health, and as children, it made us worried about our parents’ physical health. And that has very much played out: Baby boomers are hanging on desperately to power, Gen Z and millennials have all the spending power (and free time without kids to care for so they can go out in protest in the streets like we Gen Xers all want to) and we are … ignored as always. That I could get so emotional from a simple nod from a presidential candidate — albeit a 77-year-old one who wouldn’t know J Mascis from J.Crew — speaks to how little anyone in the political arena ever thinks about Generation X. Candidates want the older vote. Candidates…