Chapter

Fast Sofas and Cyborg Couch Potatoes: Generation X on the Infobahn

Rob Latham

in Consuming Youth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780226468914
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226467023 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226467023.003.0006
Fast Sofas and Cyborg Couch Potatoes: Generation X on the Infobahn

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This chapter deals with the cultural discourses surrounding the so-called Information Superhighway, a vast engineering project conceived on a par with the Fordist construction of the literal superhighway system in the 1950s. The Information Superhighway would realize the fantasy of a totally “wired life” that had circulated in postindustrial discourse in the 1970s. Don Tapscott's indictment of Generation X as a cohort of grumbling slackers cynically complicit with boomer technologies emerges as quite suggestive, since GenXers' transitional status makes them an especially contradictory social formation. A GenX effort to grapple allegorically with the cultural promises and perils of the Infobahn is presented. Ernest Hebert's Mad Boys struggle to find some way out of an invidious double bind, in which every prosthetic enhancement of them as consuming subjects bears with it an inescapable exploitation, a vampiric shadow that leeches their youthful substance and energy.

Keywords: Information Superhighway; Don Tapscott; Generation X; Infobahn; Ernest Hebert; Mad Boys

Chapter.  15341 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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