Generation XX

Gen. X Celebrities I Love and Loathe

We will always have polarizing celebrities with us, but it seems the 90s gifted us with an extra batch of kooky, weird misfits. Before I begin gleefully ripping on people, my usual disclaimer: I’m Gen. Y, I didn’t experience most of these people/their work at the height of their fame, and also sometimes I’m kind of bitchy. Alright, let’s go!

Chloe Sevigny: LOVE

Chloe Sevigny, celebrity actress and fashion designer, is looking straight at the camera, wearing round-lens glasses, a white collared shirt and a black jacket.Hey guys, did you know Chloe was an intern for Sassy? And that, supposedly, she was wandering around the East Village when a fashion editor at Sassy saw her and was like, “Now that’s what I call street style!” and scooped her right up. And that she was really awesome in Kids and Boys Don’t Cry, for which she “garnered” (weird word, no?) both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress? And that she might have to go to therapy for The Brown Bunny Incident (don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about”¦)?  (Ok, I’m just linking to her Wikipedia page because that’s where I’m getting all my info and I’m too lazy to individually link every damn little detail).

Chloe is one of those “it” girls whose career has been decidedly all-over-the-place, but I like her anyway, in large part because I think she deserves to be called a fashion icon. I love her menswear-ish, classic style–it’s not something I necessarily want to imitate, but she always looks fantastic.

If Persephone readers aren’t convinced, read this quote about her personal style:

Little House on the Prairie was my favorite show. I would only wear calico print dresses, and I actually slept in one of those little nightcaps!

And I don’t know if this video will turn you pro- or anti-Chloe, but it’s too bizarre not to share:

Billy Corgan: LOATHE

Does anyone actually enjoy listening to his voice? Yeah–it’s unique to The Smashing Pumpkins and, within the context of their songs, it works, but really? It sounds like someone harnessed a banshee in a blender.

I want to admire certain things about Corgan–essentially, he was a tough kid who decided he was going to be a rock star, then made it so through sheer force of personality and determination. He has a differently-abled brother he took care of when he was kid, then wrote a song about/for (“Spaceboy”) when the Pumpkins had finally blown up.

But, unfortunately, he treated his bandmates like dirt, made poor decisions that appear to be fame/money-motivated (continuing to tour after Jimmy Chamberlain and Jonathan Melvoin overdosed, and Melvoin died? Poor decision, Corgan), left whiney rants about James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky on a public MySpace (I mean, he could have at least spilled his soul in a password-protected LiveJournal), and the 2005 full-page ads for a Smashing Pumpkins reunion in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times were just totally déclassé.

This song will always be my summer jam, though:

Liz Phair: LOVE

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone to make a comeback more than Liz–listening to Exile in Guyville marks a definitive turning point in my life, when I decided that I wasn’t scared of the word “feminist” anymore and”¦well, I’ll spare you the leg hugs and crocodile tears and give you the short version: the summer after I graduated college I was living by myself and working this big, important, adult job, but felt more lonely and lost than I ever had before (or since), and Exile was the musical equivalent of/addendum to all the other things that got me through it.

I also sympathize  with Liz, because her career path since Exile has been exceedingly rough–she’s become what every artist dreads, the one-hit wonder. In fact, she’s like a one-hit mega-insta-classic wonder, because Exile routinely makes Best Albums of All Time Ever in the Universe lists, and Liz let down a lot of fans (and proved a lot of harsh critics right) by never delivering another album even a fraction as good as Exile (even  Whitechocolatespaceegg and Whip-Smart are underwhelming).

Liz still managed to eke out a few top 40 singles, but listening to Extraordinary and especially Why Can’t I kind of makes you wish she’d preserved the whole “what-might-have-been” mystery.

Ok, enough ragging on Liz: here’s a live recording of Fuck and Run, a celebration of Old Liz:

Bret Easton Ellis: LOATHE

This description is from Ellis’s Wikipedia page: “He is a self-proclaimed satirist, whose trademark technique, as a writer, is the expression of extreme acts and opinions in an affectless style.” In other words, he thinks he’s hot stuff and he likes to titillate readers with gratuitous violence/language/sex/drug use while making no effort to match his style to his material. Or, in other, other words, he thinks he’s too cool for school.

If I were single and had a list of dealbreakers, one of them would be listing Bret Easton Ellis or American Psycho in your Facebook Books section. One of my pet peeves in contemporary, lauded fiction is the popularity of stories that revolves around WASP-ey, “disaffected” teens–the story of rich, white kids with screwed-up internal lives has been told more than enough times, and that’s basically Ellis’s bread-and-butter.

And apparently, this is what Ellis tweeted in response to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project: “Not to bum everyone out, but can we get a reality check here? It gets worse.” OK, valid point, but if that’s been your experience, then start your own damn campaign and figure out a way to help GLBT kids, as you see fit. No need to rain on someone else’s parade.

Here’s the American Psycho trailer (confession: I’ve never seen the movie or read the book. But can I please still loathe Ellis?):

So who are the Gen. X celebrities you love and loathe? Have your opinions about any of them changed since their heyday?

7 replies on “Gen. X Celebrities I Love and Loathe”

I loathe Brett Easton Ellis with a deep, burning passion. I knew I liked you. The movie of American Psycho is actually scads better than the book, which I think I may have burned when I was 22 or so.

I also loathe Bono. (Sally J just got a chill and she has no idea why.) Pretty much for the same reasons you loathe Billy C.

HK again.

Oh BEE. I was in college when his book, “Less Than Zero”–should that be BEE’s epitaph, joking– was published, and I read it voraciously, so impressed that he was a professional author, a peer! Ah callow youth. The book was good, but not spectacular, but I was envious of his 80’s fame. He was in “Vanity Fair” for gosh sake, hanging out with Judd Nelson and checking out hot clubs!

Hee hee I sorta miss the poseur days of the 80’s.

Eeeeeeh, can’t agree on Chloe. (wish I knew how to do accents on my laptop so I could put the misplaced umlaut over her name). Am wishy washy about her. Admire many of the daring roles she has played. But she can stink when badly cast (think Manhattan bourgeois WASP in “Melinda and Melinda”–why oh why?)

She says cool stuff, then dumb stuff, but she is her own person. She’s such a product of her hometown despite her rebel/outcast adolescent life among the Aryans from Darien (CT). Part of that trio of hipsterish artists whose early lives were miserable because of their outcast statuses among the Abercrombie & Fitch clad Wall Streeters. The other two are Gus Van Zandt and Moby. Seriously I don’t see how and why Jay McInerney (overrated Gen X icon IMO) dubbed her the IT girl.

I spent six years living in Darien. I call them my years in purgatory.

Michael J. Fox: LOVE

He was too cute as Alex P. Keaton
He looked adorable in denim and chucks in Back to the Future
He continued being teh funny on on Spin City
He has been the epitome of grace dealing with Parkinson’s and still continuing his acting career while also starting a NFP Foundation and actively lobbying for stem cell research.

He’s an impressive man and when the day comes that he passes on, I will be devastated.

Can’t argue with you on Bret Easton Ellis. Actually, that whole genre of privileged white guy lit leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Full disclosure: I fall smack dab in the middle of Generation X, and I can’t think of many celebs from that era I like. I rarely listen to her music these days, but I still have a soft spot for Courtney Love, warts and all.

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