OPINION – The “Lost Generation,” the “Greatest Generation,” and the “Baby Boomers” all received informal names for their generations because a famous writer or newscaster coined a pithy phrase that stuck in the popular imagination. Those of us born between 1981-1996, by contrast, have commonly come to be known as “Millennials,” despite the fact that none of us were actually born in the millennium. It is a term that is as banal as it is misleading. ‘Millennials’ rightly feel that this moniker is not reflective of our experiences or our achievements. We want something more. We deserve to be called the Now This is Podracing Generation.
“Now this is podracing!” was memorably quoted by hero Anakin Skywalker in the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as he races through the exploding Droid Control Ship. This catchphrase became immensely popular and is arguably the very first pop culture reference that was popular to all ‘Millennials,’ regardless of their age.
In addition to its wide appeal to the Now This is Podracing Generation, the podracing storyline in Phantom Menace has several features that strongly parallel the life experiences of the Now This is Podracing Generation:
- When Anakin is introduced, he works for Watto, a greedy, sleazy individual who has enslaved Anakin and treats him as unskilled labor, despite Anakin being an undeniable genius. Of course, this is much like all those members of our generation who graduated prestigious schools with advanced degrees only to find themselves employed in low-paying positions where their contributions are not respected.
- The disruptive impact of his genius inspires deep jealousy and resentment in Sebulba, an older, more experienced podracer. He makes numerous attempts to sabotage Anakin, finally causing himself to crash. This is exactly like the tendency of older generations to blame the Now This is Podracing Generation for the bad economy, the state of politics, and our failed education system.
- Mimicking our generation’s experiences with technology and our smart phones, Anakin’s truest friend in the movie is R2-D2, a machine with a bevy of features and tools that make Anakin’s life easier and who provides him with the majority of his social interactions.
- Most telling, though, is the creepy, over-the-top pickup line Anakin uses on Padme. Many a member of the Now This is Podracing Generation has doubtless thought about this scene as he or she has received a similar message from a prospective date.
- Finally, there’s the fact that Anakin was mentored by Liam Neeson. Through his widely-viewed films The Chronicles of Narnia, Taken, and Batman Begins, Neeson has been one of the most influential mentors in the art of badassery to the Now This is Podracing Generation.
We here at Marvelous Movies know that renaming our generation the Now This is Podracing Generation is likely to be controversial. However, we believe that it is less on the nose than “Millenial Falcon,” and that the only ones who disagree with us belong to the Jar Jar Binks Generation.