Volkswagen Super Bowl ad is an anthem to Gen X

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Now that I live on a farm, which, by the way, has been inescapable for three days because of snow, I keep up with the world by watching trending topics on Twitter.

Right now, a trending topic is “Volkswagen commercial” which is about their new Super Bowl commercial. Volkswagen has conveniently released the commercial early so we don't have to spend this Sunday watching men giving each other concussions to see it.

Here's the commercial:

This makes me happy to be part of Generation X. First of all, this is the small window of time when Generation X will have the largest buying power in the consumer market. We are at our highest earning power, which, admittedly, is not impressive, but earnings are all relative, and people are discriminating against the Baby Boomers because of their age, so it's our heyday.

It's also our heyday because Gen X values are front and center. And we're about family. We don't earn as much as Baby Boomers did because we work such fewer hours. We've downsized our careers to take care of our kids. We've taken back the dignity of working part-time. We've deconstructed stay-at-home parenting as a respectful career alternative.

So I love this commercial because it captures the shared experience of Generation X. We like being home to make our kids peanut butter and jelly. You could not sell Baby Boomers with this. They think it's lame to sit in a kitchen waiting for your kid to be hungry. We like having a male breadwinner and we're not afraid to say it.

And we are surrounded by little boys in love with Star Wars.

When we look back, we will see that Gen X redefined family and work. We are the first generation that gave women a choice to do anything they want. So we're the generation that reveals that what women really want is to be with their kids. Maybe not all the time. But more than men. That's for sure.

The woman in the kitchen is not glamorous. She's efficient, self-confident, and she knows what her child needs. She looks like she was vice-president-of-something before she had kids. And she appears to have managed to keep a marriage together, which is something Generation X works harder at than their parents did. (The divorce rate for college-educated white women is now less than 2%.)

The moment at the end of the commercial is so intimate. The father knows his son so well that he can participate in the Darth Vader game that he hasn't even been home to see unfolding. And as a husband he can talk to his wife with a raise of an eyebrow.

The family has a car that is not too expensive, but it does the job. That's what I want from my life: Intimate, fun, and not too expensive. God bless Volkswagen.

153 replies
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  1. lizriz
    lizriz says:

    Funny, I totally thought it was a little girl, and LOVE that it’s open to interpretation. Such a brilliant commercial.

    Also, this Gen-X woman isn’t looking for a male breadwinner, or kids, but just speaking for myself on that one. ;) Peer dater all the way! And I would rather be the breadwinner if there’s to be only one. :)

    • Pen
      Pen says:

      I felt the same way. I like that they (or I thought they) left it up to interpretation as to the gender of the child. Hey, why not include 100% more kids (i.e. females)?

      Unfortunately, VW intends it to be a boy. I find that a bit sad. This is from their description on their own YouTube channel:

      The spot features a pint-sized Darth Vader who uses the Force when he discovers the all-new 2012 Passat in the driveway. It leverages humor and the unforgettable Star Wars – „¢ score to create an emotional commercial.

  2. Devin
    Devin says:

    I can’t help but feel like you’ve taken a commercial that is primarily about a child with a great imagination and a VW Passat and made it entirely about the people who only appear for a couple of seconds. I realize that you think the commercial was made to appeal to people like the parents presented but you fill in entirely too much information just to allow yourself to write a lengthier post.

    I mean honestly, the woman looks like she used to be a VP of something? SHE has kept a marriage together? None of this is presented or relevant to the commercial. I can’t help but wonder if you’d have the same ideas about her if she were a different race, was dressed differently or overweight. What makes a person look like they were the VP of something? Being skinny and white with your hair pulled back? What makes you think keeping the marriage together rests on HER shoulders? It takes two people in a marriage and as I told my boyfriend who seems to blindly accept anything you post, for all we know she slept with some stay at home dad she met at the park and the husband has stayed with her because he loves her too much. Sounds ridiculous right? That’s because I’m injecting random information into the commercial, much like you’ve done.

    That only touches on some of the issues I have with the post but others have already been brought up (like your broad generalizations of both Gen X’ers and baby boomers).

    • Chris M.
      Chris M. says:

      “I mean honestly, the woman looks like she used to be a VP of something? SHE has kept a marriage together? None of this is presented or relevant to the commercial. ”

      Hmm… Obviously this post is not just about what is in the actual commercial. Penelope used it as a starting point to present her ideas about Gen X and changes in values (which people can agree or disagree with, but still, it’s her reflection). The added details about the family are there just her (creative) way to illustrate her points using “personas” (a representation of a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behaviour set).

      I find it sad that someone had to explain it to you…

      • Devin
        Devin says:

        Awww…did I hurt your feelings my criticizing poor Penelope?

        I’m well aware of what she was trying to accomplish, the point is she went too far and failed miserably at it. She presented her “ideas” as if VW had integrated them into the commercial but that simply is not the case. She used the commercial as evidence that her ideas can be found in marketing but the evidence (the commercial) has nothing to do with her claims.

        The fact that you don’t see that is what is truly sad.

      • Chris M.
        Chris M. says:

        “Awww – did I hurt your feelings my criticizing poor Penelope?”

        LOL! If you looked in the archives of comments for “Chris M.”, you would find that I am constantly criticizing her ideas.

        “She presented her “ideas” as if VW had integrated them into the commercial but that simply is not the case. ”

        We will have to agree to disagree on that then.

  3. Diana
    Diana says:

    Penelope… why must you try to divide Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers all the time? We should be sisters in the effort to move society along in its evolution.

    I too was all about family but I understood that men could leave you high and dry so I also went back to school and had a full career later.

    “We like being home to make our kids peanut butter and jelly. You could not sell Baby Boomers with this (!!?). They think it's lame to sit in a kitchen waiting for your kid to be hungry.” Penelope! Many Boomers lived through the earth mother phase. What are you thinking! I was a stay at home parent who enjoyed having a male breadwinner so I could do that and I was not afraid to say it. My children were more important than money or career and I shopped and worked at a food co-op, preferring not to support The Man with our limited food budget. And I never bought my kids a jar of processed peanut butter – ever, only natural, unsalted nut butter, where the oil separated out and had to be stirred all the time. I made our clothes. You’d think you reinvented motherhood the way you talk!

    I still want to be with my (adult) kids.

    My mother and grandmother were efficient and self-confident in the kitchen but alas, I never had the talent, but I knew what my children needed so I did my best to cook healthful food.

    I kept a marriage together, despite his later alcoholism, until I could support my kids on my own. It takes two to keep things together and I worked harder than anyone I know at it for as long as I could.

    I drove used Datsuns to save the earth and because of the oil crisis in the 70s. The car in the commercial was way more expensive than anything I ever owned back then. A new car? Forget it. That house in the commercial? Way nicer than anything I lived in. These people are rich for their age in my eyes.

    I’d love to see the statistic that “The divorce rate for college-educated white women is now less than 2%.” That means that all of the other husbands are holding up their end of the bargain? Not sleeping with someone on the side? That is truly amazing if it is true.

    I like your blog and I like you. Why must you drive a wedge between yourself and the women that struggled before you? Cut us some slack please. We Boomer women wanted only the best for those that came after us, or at least I did/do :)

    • Pen
      Pen says:

      Great comment, Diana.

      I don’t want to make assumptions about Penelope’s motives, but how it comes across to me is that she wants to stay young and hep and relevant, and so she’s making sure to hightlight the divide between the “old fogies” and her generation. OTOH, that doesn’t really make sense, because everyone knows that the young hep people will also be old soon (or now).

      I too, don’t see the reason for what seems to be excessive classification and division. Not that you can’t make generalizations, but somehow Penelope seems to lean on them and really emphasize them. But they feel like stereotyped boxes.

      And…. WERE there even any generations before the Baby Boomers? Apparently not! Or ….. they don’t count for much anyway.


      • Diana
        Diana says:

        Hep, or hip, is as old as (wo)mankind! Every generation thinks they invented it. And of course, one does not have to be young to be hip. To the contrary, in our youth we are usually faking it. The good news is that if we develop a sense of humor about our youthful posing, we can earn an honest degree of hipness, which is really about awareness. Good subject Penelope!

  4. PJayBee
    PJayBee says:

    Hey, Penelope,

    I love your blog and I hate the aspects of this post — and others you’ve written like it – that are divisive. I am an older woman — probably old enough to be your mother and thus I fall into the allegedly evil category of “boomer.”

    I’m sure you’ve read about the Summer of Love in ’69. We were against the establishment, for sexual love outside the parameters of marriage, against unnecessary wars, for kindness, flowers, and, well, for dope. The Summer of Love was the mindset of most of my generation, and likely still would be, but for real life which must always intervene.

    Over time, we learned that loving kindness didn’t pay the rent or the car payments or the telephone bill. Unless you were wealthy, you had to go to college (or not) and eventually work. The magic fairy never came to pay my bills or let me live my dream life of smoking grass and writing great short stories while high.

    I became a lawyer: civil rights and criminal defense and fighter-against-domestic-violence, and contested divorces. How could I come to work late or leave early when lives were at stake? I love solitude, and reading, and hiking, but everything has a time and a place.

    Right now, I’m supporting two children in their twenties who are still deciding what to do. No, they can’t possibly take an uninteresting job. No, they can’t take a job that would interfere with their freedom. By the time they figure out what they want to be when they grow up, they’ll have aged out of the employment market. Just like, evidently, several of your readers. How are they ever going to pay for their lives in old age if they’ve never worked for more than minimal (“but I’m happy!”) income? Believe me when I say that being in your 60s is hard, physically hard. Although one thinks aging is for other people (I did), it will happen to you, too. If you’re lucky.

    Penelope, not everyone is talented in IT or able to support themselves by writing, or knitting, or consulting. Before you consult or sell your knitting or whatever from home, you must have actually done something, — learned some skills, put in some labor.

    Most folks are in the average I.Q. range, and most jobs are not inspiring. My children are special, as are everyone else’s, but dammit, somebody has to grow up, get a job — even one they don’t love — and pay the damn bills.

    And the issue of having a man support you? Are you kidding???????? There is divorce, there are lousy husbands who never pay their family support, there are men who gamble away all your savings and you don’t know until they leave, and there are good men who are lousy providers and uneasy parents. We feminists worked so hard to give our daughters a future. Now you say . . . shove it.

    It seems to me that you are describing and justifying your current life and rural lifestyle and generalizing it for everyone. Or justifying it for yourself. Penelope, not everyone is going to have the Farmer or some other great guy to provide most of the support.

    All my life I’ve been afraid of being a bag lady when I get old. Don’t any of your readers feel the same way? Or are they relying on their parents’ insurance policies? The future awaits. . . and it is grim unless you have money.

    Despite this rant, nothing will keep me from reading you every day. You have a rare talent. Keep strong.

    • David Propper
      David Propper says:

      PJayBee – Brilliant – you blew me away. And hey, I’m afraid of being a bag man. But, good news: my 28 y.o. and 32 y.o love, love, love their not so special jobs. Guess their mom reared them well, with a lil bit of help from me.

    • Joan E
      Joan E says:

      PJ – great rant. Penelope does seem to pick on us boomers. I am in my fifties, so had a much more careerist approach, but was so often entering into situations where there were few or no other women. We were fed the myth that we could have it all, which meant that we would get little sleep, and our kids would be in daycare 9 hours a day. My company refused to let me work less than 40 hours/week (and my manager, director, and VP were women!) Others who had the option to choose the “mommy track” faced being the first to go in a down-sizing. Gradually in the last 10 years, flex-time, work-at-home telecommuting have become the norm at many companies. Male managers leave early to coach sports and my company grants 8 hours of time to all employees to take for volunteer work. This did not come about because gen X chose it, it happened because women have become a larger part of the professional workforce, and more men do not have wives at home taking care of everything.

  5. Anita Junttila
    Anita Junttila says:

    I Love this post !!! We ( my five year old son and I ) watched the video ten times and laughed about it all evening long. My oldest, 19, posted it to his facebook account. We love the force ! I love VW. My next car will be a VW diesel Jetta. Can’t wait.

  6. Tim
    Tim says:

    I think what makes the commercial work is the kid’s physical performance. The gestures and poses he makes are just brilliant (and were probably determined well in advance by the creative team).

  7. Karen Vitale
    Karen Vitale says:

    Love the ad, but not as much as I love your take on it.

    Last May I quit an insane corporate job because it was eating my soul. Not my most rational moment. And, given that I didn’t have any exit strategy aside from consulting, not one my husband was all too happy with. But he stuck with me.

    My kids stopped avoiding me because I wasn’t a raging, bitchy maniac any more. I kicked my Starbucks habit and cut a lot of fat from our budget. And we saved a lot of money on entertainment, because staying home to fight about finances is so much more fun and cost-effective.

    Last month, a job literally dropped into my lap. Working from home. Doing what I love. Three-quarters of my former salary, but it’s OK, because it’s not about that any more.

    Who knew all this time I was just getting my Gen X on?

    Love your blog. Love your message. Couldn’t care less about your spelling.

    Rock on, P.

  8. TWM
    TWM says:

    Great commercial and, yes, it’s a boy. The number of little girls possessing, much less wearing, full Darth Vader costumes – heck even a simple mask – is, well, if not zero, then pretty darn close.

    • Pen
      Pen says:

      Oh really? I’m very curious how you know that. I don’t see how you (or anyone) could, in actual fact.

      That said, if you have a reference that shows it, I will gladly take a look at it.

    • Marie
      Marie says:

      I can think of one little girl right off the top of my head – Chicago blogger Mimi Smartypants’s little girl Nora.

  9. Mahon
    Mahon says:

    God, maybe the ’60’s will blow over after all. There are things we’ve learned in the last 50 years we can keep, but speaking as a slightly pre-boomer (DOB45) it is good to see some movement toward a restoration of balance.

  10. Tzipporah
    Tzipporah says:

    My 4 year old son cackled over this a few days ago, and made my husband replay it about 6 times. Yes, we have 4 year olds who have seen Star Wars – and as GenX, they will see ONLY episodes 4-6 until they’re old enough to discriminate good from bad cinema (15?). :)

  11. Jane
    Jane says:

    Wonderful post. I LOVED it. I shared it with all my college-educated former vice-president Mommy friends who will love it, too. I’m waiting for my husband to come home, my little boy just had PB and J, my daughters are on a playdate, and all is well. We play “light dark” with our saber – turn off all the lights, and use the light saber to find people around the house.

  12. Patti Murphy
    Patti Murphy says:

    I like the commercial, but I don’t agree with you about the male breadwinner and the housewife thing.

    I think that the two-career approach is the best thing for income insurance, especially in this economy. Granted, my husband and I aren’t executives, but between the income security and the benefits our careers provide, we do alright and we don’t work insane hours. He’s a teacher working very child-friendly hours and I’m a tech writer with a somewhat flexible schedule.

    We’ve had excellent daycare for our children and they seem to be very secure and happy little people.

    I’ve found it kind of odd that at a time when men are participating more in parenting and there are more options for high-quality daycare, women are ditching the work scene in droves. Our two-income situation puts us in a minority among friends.

  13. Joan Bentley-Mussen
    Joan Bentley-Mussen says:

    WOW! Talk about unfounded generalizations. What makes you think Gen-X moms are so special? I’m a boomer mom, and I (and almost all my friends) delayed having children until we had done the “career” thing. Once we had children we devoted ourselves to them (my two are Gen-Y). Of course, we had the luxury of being college educated with college educated husbands who could support a family on one income. We’re all still married to our original spouses as well. However, I wouldn’t generalize about a whole generation based on such a small data sample–nor based on a commercial. The commercial is cute and obviously directed at a specific demographic, but it is not a representation of a generation. I’m glad it resonated with you–it did with me as well (even though I’m of that ancient boomer generation that no one cares about any more). The vast majority of boomer, gen-x and gen-y moms did not and do not have the luxury of staying home to wait for their kids to get hungry. If both parents don’t work they know their kids will BE hungry–and that’s reality–not a cutesy generalization based on a tiny cohort.

  14. Elizabeth Marie
    Elizabeth Marie says:

    Baby Boomer here. I don’t think anything related to my child is lame whether it’s watching and waiting to see when she might get hungry, helping her memorize French verbs, write an essay, haul drum equipment, have a sleepover, listening to her vent about boys, best friends, homework. I’m not the only Baby Boomer I know who made taking care of children a priority, for whom family is the most important thing, who doesn’t make much money (at all), gave up a career, and doesn’t mind, who drives a small, economical car. I might be old, but my values could match yours any day. :)

    Many of my friends who are around my age, maybe a little younger, waited to have children. We are two income families, but barely, both parents work flexible hours. I’ve put off some projects, career changes, etc., so that I can be here for my teenage daughter, which is exactly where I want to be. I find great joy in my choice. Postponing things could be considered unwise given the “fact” you state that no one can see me or hear me any more since I’m over 50, that since I’m a boomer, my time is over. Love the commercial, but it said different things to me than it did to you. I saw a parent getting involved in a child’s imaginative play. There’s nothing more fun or more intimate, nothing more magical.

    Do you dislike people in their 50s and 60s? Just curious.

    I’m grateful that my Gen-X nieces and nephews and some young friends see me as Elizabeth Marie and not as, “That Old Baby Boomer.”

  15. SaraH
    SaraH says:

    Hey Penelope, I was blown away when you said the divorce rate for college-educated white women is less than 2%..but in the link mentioned before it says 20%. Is it 2 or 20?

  16. Laura
    Laura says:

    The child is genderless, although I *think* it’s a girl. There’s no indication whatsoever that the mom is a stay-at-home mom. You are reading your own bias into this ad.

  17. JeanE
    JeanE says:

    I’m a boomer, not a Gen X, but I did get a kick out of this commercial. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I spent my days in the kitchen while listening to my 3 year old, in his best imitation of Darth Vader, tell his older brother “No Luke, I am your father.”

    Being a stay at home mom wasn’t as cool back then, but the rewards of mothering, as always, were priceless.

  18. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    Star Wars – didn’t that come out in the 70’s?

    BTW, I was born in 1950. I stayed home with my kids and made plenty of pb&j sandwiches. We earned much less than most of my friends because of that. My husband chose a job that would keep him close to home rather than one that required him to travel constantly and leave his family. Sacrifice? I can write a book about it. Please don’t paint the previous generation with such a broad brush, and don’t be so smug. Plenty of us did the same thing – sacrificed career for kids.

  19. Shandra
    Shandra says:

    I love watching the Boomers get upset. Boomers, we love ya but Penelope is right on about how Gen X reprioritized after growing up in the shadow of that massive cohort – maybe out of economic necessity, at least in part. But also because we raised ourselves on TV and Star Wars.

    Great post.

      • Shandra
        Shandra says:

        Because it’s so typical of Boomers to get offended if something is not geared towards them.

        Penelope says “this ad is targeted to this demographic group for these reasons” and someone has to take offense. The fact is that Boomers were not kids when Star Wars came out and even if they liked the film the relationship to it is different than for those of us who were impressionable young kids when we saw it for the first time. It’s also true that the cultural zeitgeist around SAHPs is different for my generation than for the Boomers. It has to be, since our career paths have been so different.

        It’s not an attack on boomers and it’s kind of hilariously stereotypical that people took it that way.

  20. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    Gen-Xers, we boomers love ya too! But you didn’t invent this stuff, you know. As I said, don’t be so smug. Somebody will be doing the same thing to you one day.

  21. Laura
    Laura says:

    Regarding the comment about how the Boomer generation is so large it overshadows the Gen X’ers, consider this: My grandparents were part of the Lost Generation, my parents are part of the Silent Generation (do you see the pattern forming?), and I am part of a generation that is completely ignored! Some call us the Jones Generation, but we are not Boomers and we are not Gen X’ers…talk about being overshadowed!

    One thing about us Jones women, however, is that we are not so much into putting other women down for making different life-choices…why be so divisive? We can all learn from each other. Everyone has to make decisions based on their own circumstances…what does it say about a person who “justifies” their choices by putting down everyone who chooses differently?

  22. Lori
    Lori says:

    Dear Penelope – I enjoyed the Star Wars commercial. I am also a Baby Boomer. I find your assumptions so vast and general and quite negative. There were many “boomers” who did give up careers for their children. I stayed home with mine, home schooled and then went back to work to support their college degrees. Your generation is not the first to discover the value of family nor will it be the last. To try to put women against one another this way is an old battle that many of us are sad to see reopened yet again. People make choices. Every generation has people who choose family over career/materialism or selfishness. Every generation, yours is no different.

  23. Laura
    Laura says:

    “Every generation has people who choose family over career/materialism or selfishness. Every generation, yours is no different.” Wow…looks like you just drew your own battle lines, Lori. Do you really mean that any woman with a career is materialistic, selfish, and doesn’t value family?

  24. tom weinberger
    tom weinberger says:

    whose to say that “little boy” in the commerial isn’t a “Little girl” who likes star wars? (Father of two very bright sci fi loving girls).

  25. Nadien Speed
    Nadien Speed says:

    I don’t see how you can take a car commercial and turn it into a bashing comparison in favour of Gen X’ers to Baby Boomers. All generations have their own issues…not one is better or worse than the other; just different. The negativity you have towards the Baby Boomers generation, over a car commercial, only advertises that you have some personal issues you need to resolve. Car commercials are meant to market vehicles, not make a statement to compare generational identities.

    • Steve-O
      Steve-O says:

      Superbowl commercials are trending towards variations on boring types:

      1-guy getting kicked in the crotch
      2-sexy celeb endorsement
      3-anthropomorphic animals

      This one’s different. I like it. Tells an amusing story.

      And can’t we all just admit that too many boomers divorced? Yes, I have personal issues. My boomer parents got divorced. Like it or not, boomers, this kind of stuff affects other people. Even putting aside kids, dual household families drove up the cost of housing.

  26. Doug Jordan
    Doug Jordan says:

    You gotta remember Penelope has Aspergers. She can’t help herself. But it nevertheless provokes interesting responses.

  27. Suzannah DiMarzio
    Suzannah DiMarzio says:

    I love your analysis and couldn’t agree more. I also agree with the comment that we are also a Star Wars generation. While I grew up with Barbies and Strawberry Shortcake dolls, I always wanted to head over to my neighbor friend’s house to play with his Star Wars figures and the little trash compactor set. As a result I am drawn to all things Star Wars in addition to being a Gen X mom that puts family first. Great post!

  28. Roland
    Roland says:

    This is almost too awesome for words!The folks on Madison Ave deserve ever dime they got from Volkswagen for this one. Thanks for sharing ’cause I’m not sure if I’ll be watching the entire game tomorrow. That kid reminds me of my grandson Ivan who likes to channel Batman. To be honest I didn’t read much of the post itself (we’re going out in a few) but I will be back to enjoy this video again and to read the accompanying post. Thank you sir!


    • Roland
      Roland says:

      Dear Penelope,
      I apologize for calling you Randy and “sir”. I did not realize that the post was yours and that it had been forwarded to me by Randy Gage. I am sorry! I just watched it again and I look forward to reading the text of your post.


  29. Gary
    Gary says:

    Marvelous summary of GenX from the inside. I’m an “expert” on gens, writing Generational Fathering, and looking for material. Yours is one of the best. Thanks.

  30. Mairzy
    Mairzy says:

    Wow, a lot of response to this posting. My golf buddy works at Volkswagen and she has great pride in this and the Beetle commercial.

    Small bone to pick with you, Penelope, and you’ve heard this from me before. YOU have the ability to choose part-time work and family focus because the “feminists” worked so hard for that. I’m pleased that it seems natural to you because that means we succeeded. When I was in my 30s and 40s, I was a single parent running a consulting firm, raising a child, and trying to make sure that he didn’t feel neglected. But I sure as hell was. Please don’t take your privilege for granted or think that someone didn’t sacrifice for it. I would have loved to have had a husband who provided for our family and allowed me to make choices – same as you. And given your own posts about how much money you make, it seems a bit disingenuous on your part to celebrate a mom making a PB&J.

    You always make me think. Thank you.

  31. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hmm…the “brazen” “careerist”…I don’t get it. The only way you can say that you are brazen is in your total disregard to any way of handling work and family other than your own…brazen indeed!

    Careerist? You bash working moms at every turn and you don’t have a career yourself, so how exactly are you a careerist? You don’t support working moms at all…Work life balance isn’t giving up a career to stay home with the kids…it’s actually attempting to balance full-time motherhood and a full-time job…you do neither.

    I think you are an eloquent writer…and an intelligent woman. But I think you have taken the easy road to “balancing” work and family. Not all women have the luxury of working part-time, and many don’t have the luxury of a working spouse, either. Your “take” on balance is from a decidedly elitist position.

    I thought I had *finally* found a blog where women who had made myriad choices in balancing work and family could find a common ground. Sadly, I must continue my search.

    You are like the flamer who started their own blog…many sane voices chime in, but you ignore them and “flame on” in your blogs. Your blogs are not “provocative”, they are archaic.

    • Idea
      Idea says:

      @ Mairzy and @ Laura – don’t fall for that shtick; PT is the breadwinner on her marriage (first and second), so that ode to the SAHM is an idealized view of what she would like to be.
      Love her writing, but wouldn’t buy anything that is promoted on this site.

  32. Laura
    Laura says:

    This ad really touched a lot of people, it’s wildly popular and surely hit the Gen-X mark and also appealed to other generations.

    The review was an interesting and well-written take on the ad. It, however, is a review. It is not “correct” or “incorrect”, it is a review.

  33. cynthia
    cynthia says:

    Penelope you summed it up perfectly once again. My husband (37)had plans to be a textile designer for life. That didnt work out. I on the other hand am a marketing manager for a telecom company. Giving this background for a reason. Today my husband and I went out for lunch in a neighboring town. It took about 90 minutes. I was in jeans because I’d been working from home. He too was casual because now he does merchandising for big box stores part time. Granted, our income (almost peaking @ 40) may not be what we thought it would be by now. We were in college during the middle of the .com boom. But in actuality, I have everything I want. A relaxed lunch with my husband on a weekday, a job that isnt 9-5 and can be virtual. This is what I wanted all along. GenXs have truely redifined the american dream.

  34. Doug Jordan
    Doug Jordan says:


    Good for you, and your husband. but Gen-x didn’t redefine the American Dream; the technology that is available to you now enabled it. Previous generation’s choices were also highly influenced by the technology and culture that prevailed at the time. Nothing more, nothing less. Please don’t take credit for things that are external to you.

  35. Tami
    Tami says:

    No, no, no. I think you’ve got it all wrong. This commercial appeals to Gen Xers because we’re the children inside the Darth Vader suit. I don’t mean that we’re evil and will take over the world, but who amongst us Xers hasn’t tried to use the Force at some point in our lives?

    There’s a lot of things the Xers are and aren’t, but I get the feeling this article will indicate more to others that we’re slackers instead of people who have strong values about their families, rather than serving a corporation.

    We were latchkey kids, our parents have been laid off (thanks to one recession or another) and we’ve been stuck behind the largest demographic in the workforce – the Baby Boomers.

    I’m kind of excited. As more Boomers retire, we’re about to come into our own. We’ve dreamed of having the keys (so to speak) for a long time. We finally get to show the world our leadership qualities … I just hope we’re ready.

  36. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    The mom's body language when she hands Darth the sandwich is one of resigned boredom. In fact, the whole commercial is brilliant in it's use of unspoken communication.

  37. Lance
    Lance says:

    The proposal…and The reality…

    When I saw this viral commercial on YouTube, I was elated for 2 reasons.

    1. I resonate with the Star Wars Gen Xer’s, and have two boys.

    2. I have wanted remote start as a stock option on a vehicle for a long time, but assumed the legality of having a unmanned running vehicle was too much to overcome these days. If anyone has ever had an aftermarket starter they can be problematic. Volkwagon has followed the needs of the client.

    Now the reality…
    Today, 5 days after the Superbowl premier of the ad, my wife gets a $25 ticket on her car for having it running and no occupant. We have a remote start, but Denver Colorado has no puffer laws and a task force to find running vehicles, in order to curb auto thefts. Remote starts be damned.

    So much progress, just to be curbed by more government programs.

  38. GutsyWriter
    GutsyWriter says:

    I’m a baby boomer mom that should have been a Gen X mom. I had no idea about this revival of the stay-at-home, make less money attitude. In fact, we moved our kids from California to Belize for a year, in order to live a simple life and reconnect with less materialism.

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  41. Rohit
    Rohit says:

    I was able to appreciate the ad much more after reading your analysis of it. I wish if I could write like you. Very beautifully written!

    Keep up the good work!

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