Generation X

The upper half of the first Philippine Collegian issue under Barry's term.

Shown is the upper half of the first Philippine Collegian issue under Barry Gutierrez’s term that began in school year 1995.

(Note: When the first issue of the Philippine Collegian came out under Barry’s term, it was the biggest in size. While it continued to maintain its critical stance against the UP administration, the national government, and the University Student Council, Barry’s Collegian also dealt with mundane matters of student life. To this end, Barry’s Collegian introduced a front page column called Disturbing The Peace, indicating a shift in the paper’s editorial direction. Barry’s first Collegian editorial under his term articulates that paradigm shift; a shift that has—to a greater or lesser degree—helped him become the University Student Council Chair a year after he became Collegian editor in chief. This editorial—among many others that he wrote from 1995 to 1996—just shows that Barry isn’t just a good writer, he was—and continues to be—a clear thinker as well. But hey, don’t take our word for it—scroll down and read.)

To ad agencies, big business, Hollywood, and, yes, some local rockers, this is who we are. An age of slackers and cynics, party animals, and underachievers, fanatics of grunge, devotees of MTV (or Channel V as our cable network may allow) and guzzlers of Blue Ice and Cali Shandy.

The X Generation, indeed.

It is easy to dismiss the whole concept as simply a blown up commercial gimmick. What with all kinds of commodities, from jeans to rock clubs, cashing in on all the hype.

Still, for those of us in UP, the X generation lable is somewhat apt. Not because we are Reality Bites types, slacking our way into an aimless future. But because we are a generation of change and loss, of the unknown and the unknowing. Our X is the X of alienation.

For we are students in a University that feels it has lost too much. Its traditional militance. Its intellectual drive. Its radical soul. We are heirs to a glorious activist heritage, and yet it is this very legacy that aleinates us so. It haunts us with the ghosts from the past, burdens us with the disappointments of the present, and torments us with the apprehensions for the future.

We are expected to seize the present by reliving the past. And when we choose to speak with our own voices, our judges would hear only our silence. For many people, our X generation is the lost generation.

There have, of course, been many attempts to “liberate” us from this cage of silence. And in the past years, the Collegian has always been at the forefront of such efforts. With issues charged with “relevant” topics and “radical” analyses, we in the Collegian have fought to stem what we viewed as the slow demise of activism and critical thought.

But in our struggle to be heard, we failed to listen. In our desire to secure the present, we dwelt too much on the past. In our zeal to lead, we left the rest of the students behind. We gave ear to the voices of our predecessors, but not to the silence of our contemporaries.

This year, we in the Collegian believe that it is time that UP’s X generation be heard at last in its own voice. For too long this era has been judged by the standards of another generation. We in the Collegian believe that it is time to prove that if vibrance and talent
be the measure, then this generation has not lost one ounce of UP’s soul. This time, we will lead by allowing the students to show the way.

We may be UP’s X generation: The silent. The alienated. The lost. But we are also UP’s next generation: Poets. Intellectuals. Artists. Radicals. All of us with our own distinct voices.

This year the Collegian is our paper. And this is our time.