A Look Back at the Looks Back

It began with the March on Washington, or more precisely the 50th anniversary thereof: the 50th anniversary of the 1960s. Because Baby Boomers control the media, get ready for a decade of 50th anniversaries.

38 thoughts on “A Look Back at the Looks Back

  1. A little respect, Ted – do you really think that in 30 years, when your generation’s «look backs» become the big thing in the media (presuming, of course, that there is anyone to look back then, which is not a given), that those anniversaries will be so very much more to celebrate ? Right, we fucked it up – but a lot of us did try….

    Henri

    • Oh, they’ll have a lot to look back on. Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and Barack O’bummer are all x’ers. Will some future cartoonist hold all x’ers accountable for their actions?

      Some of the x’ers have been in the workforce for thirty years; yet the rich are still getting richer, the globe warmer, and the corporations more powerful. Why haven’t they fixed things yet? In another eleven years, the last of the boomers will retire – shall we assume that all those problems will disappear on that day?

      Did you have parents who said, “Just you wait until you’re older?” Yeah, me too. Didn’t you hate it? Yeah, me too. Did you swear to never say it? Yeah, me too. Did you actually say it once your were older? Yeah, me too.

      Don’t worry, little x’ers. Your time is coming. Just wait until you’re older…

  2. Boomer Generation is only one appellation they are worthy of.

    How about Chameleon Generation, always willing to take the politically correct posture with the proviso that there was more personal upside than downside to the celebration of a principle without an actual commitment to that principle, valuing style over substance.

    A story applicable from antiquity:

    Spartans and Athenians saw a respected elder walk in to a stadium and no seat was available for him. The Spartans all stood to offer him their seat. The Athenians all applauded the gesture.

    The teller of the tale observed that the Athenians appreciate virtue while the Spartans practice virtue.

    The Boomer Generation has much in common with the Athenians.

    • Any sources for that parable, Glenn ? Does it originate with those Athenians who, like Platon and his relatives, were bitter enemies of the Athenian democracy (about which, believe me, I have no illusions) ? I can agree with the remark about the Athenians «applauding» virtue, but have some difficulty with the notion that the Spartans «practiced» any form of «virtue» which I should care to recognise as such….

      Henri

      • Even if the teller of the tale was a fabulist with an ax to grind, the the analogy remains applicable for my purposes, both for the Athenians and the Boomers.

        Just substitute A and B for the parties referenced to avoid discomfort and distraction from the issue at hand.

        I am always hesitant to give credibility to allegations without personally witnessing the events or on the testimony of 2 or 3 otherwise credible witnesses to the relevant facts.

        My measure of Boomer behavior is based on many personal interactions with them over many years.

      • «I am always hesitant to give credibility to allegations without personally witnessing the events or on the testimony of 2 or 3 otherwise credible witnesses to the relevant facts. » I note, Glenn, that you fail to provide us with a single credible witness to the homily about the Spartan and Athenian reactions to the plight of the respected elder without a seat. Should we thus be « hesitant to give credibility to [the story]» ? It would be interesting to know how you yourself would react were you to see a so-called «Boomer» without a seat in similar circumstances – or perhaps, as you seem to intimate above, they do not, in your opinion. merit the appellation «respected elder»….

        Henri

      • The parable was about a specific virtue. It’s a narrative. You can generalize it or you can forget about it.

        I don’t even know if Thucydides was a real person. Do you? I have read some that argue he is not.

        If the message upsets you, don’t worry. You have much company among the Boomers who will never let the issue arise in their company, except to anxiously await to glory in failures of others.

        I am not about to submit a list of my actions for your approval.

        I don’t approve of your acceptance of Boomer failures as the expected norm, foretelling of the march of principled people into dissolution as inevitable, while Boomers find relief in the coming failures of those who are to come, providing for them perverse role models and excuses in the Boomers failures.

        Rebellion against the surrender of the Boomers is called for, not anticipation of more inevitable failure.

        Resistance is not futile. It is the means by which the measure of the oppressors strength is taken.

      • I am more than willing, Glenn, to accept Thoukydídēs as a real person, even if neither you nor I can testify as first-hand witnesses to his existence. Was this remark your rather long-winded way of stating that the parable of which you seem to be so fond originated with him ? If so, why not, instead of a rather ill-tempered and fatuous statement to the effect that «[you] am not about to submit a list of [your] actions for [my]r approval» – wherever did you get the strange notion that I had requested you to do so ? – simply say so and point out where, in the «Peloponnesian war» (which I presume is the locus), it in that case appears ?…

        I’d be interested (for the sake of argument) to learn just how you are «[r]ebell[ing] against the surrender of the Boomers [or, for that matter, that of later generations]», and how you can construe anything I’ve posted here to be «[my] acceptance of Boomer failures as the expected norm, foretelling of the march of principled people into dissolution as inevitable», i e, «anticipation of more inevitable failure». That those (nota bene, not merely «Boomers», even if the later did provide the greatest impetus) who, during the 1960s and 70s in Europe and North America, attempted to change the policies put in place by preceding generations failed in the attempt, is a historical fact (and hardly something which I can «excuse» or not), but in itself says nothing about the inevitability of failure. I don’t know if such failure is, indeed, inevitable, but if it is, then, I suggest, so is the extinction of the human race, either through a thermonuclear conflagration or through anthropogenic effects on the global climate. Blaming «Boomers» for their failure is an exercise in futility ; better to get one’s arse in gear and see to it that current efforts are crowned with the success that eluded an earlier generation….

        Henri

      • Recognize, Henri, that no generation is a monolith and, as a whole, things have gone for the worse under Boomer control.

        Habeas Corpus, Posse Comitatus, freedom of the press, preemptive wars of aggression, wealth disparity, etc.

        To defend the Boomer generation is to defend these atrocious developments while entertainment revenue, indicative of generalized indifference to the political economy, is accommodated passively.

        Perverse Generation!

      • Glenn:

        “no generation is a monolith … Perverse Generation!”

        :: singing :: One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong …

      • «A generation that prides itself on individuality demands such conformity. For shame!» «Recognize, Henri, that no generation is a monolith … Perverse Generation» Well, Glenn, I must confess myself most pleased to hear that you realise (which I have indicated above by pointing out several times that claims and counter-claims about the so-called «Boomers» are valid only for some members of that generation) that there is no monolith which can usefully be described as «Boomers». On the other hand, your inability to recognise your non sequiturs and your contradictiones in adiecto, a few examples of which I cite above, indicate that your need to blame a convenient object (which, as we have seen, is hardly of a piece) for all the present-day faults existing in your country precludes any rational discussion on this matter….

        Henri

      • The net effect of the Boomer generation, which is the world as it appears to us now, relates to the ineffectiveness of its members to bring positive change. I claim the ineffectiveness is due to the defections from principles of justice, equality, anti-war, etc.

        The net effect is not disconnected from the group as a whole, despite the actions of individual members.

        There just weren’t enough members of that set willing and able to remedy the problems readily apparent to a subset of its members.

        So I find a generation dominated by defectors from principle, resulting in the conditions now apparent, to be perverse, applauding their most virtuous members without practicing the virtues they praise, abandoning the virtuous to martyrdom, while claiming more praise for themselves in recognition of the martyred.

        Perverse Generation

  3. Begin rant mode. (Y’all’ve been warned)…

    The problem with the boomers is simple. The majority of the group (not every member, but the group, as a collective notion) suffers greatly from an overwhelming stench of hypocrisy.

    You don’t get to stand there at 19 years of age, screaming about economic theories from Marx and insisting that the plight of the Blacks is the plight of all peoples ground down under the heel of the oppressor pigdog state, and then, when you reach 45, change your mind.

    What? Huh? Why not?

    Because those earlier attitudes of social justice and equality were correct. No one who examines the world can, in good conscience, deny that one tiny segment has some “right” to work the majority of the population to the point of death for the purpose of increasing a small segment’s comfort and luxury. If we have enough bloat that we can express ship Harry Potter books overnight to darling little Timmy and Susie, then goddamn it, we’ve got enough extra padding to increase public school funding without people acting like it — literally — means ripping chunks of flesh off their backs.

    And once you figure that out, once you grasp that no one has the right to seven houses and three boats and two pensions while someone who works 40 hours a week can’t find a studio apartment they can afford on their own, you get two choices: you oppose such an unbalanced system or you ignore that there’s any problem at all. You vote for more funding to those things that help to equalize the world, or you keep acquiring more and more for yourself at the expense of those who are in a weaker position than you.

    And the boomers, at least to judge by all the chanting and hysterics of the 60s, had all the knowledge they needed to make their decision. And way, way too many of them chose the wrong way.

    College ended. They got their haircuts, took a couple of long showers, put on some clean clothes, and got jobs. They started saving for retirement and, pretty much every time, picked the “Fuck the other guy” option. Another huge raise for me or keep college costs down? Fuck the other guy. I have my diploma. Legalize drugs or do a series of eggs-in-frying-pan ads about how pot is bad, dude, so that you can keep justifying shoving minorities into prison? Hey, fuck the other guy. If he didn’t want to go to prison, he shouldn’t have let the cops plant that evidence on him. Support unions or get that even-bigger TV for less? Fuck the other guy, I want to want the Super Bowl on a 60 inch screen. I deserve it. I work real hard.

    A lot of what I’ve just typed also applies to the Millennials. The difference? There are only two major ones. First, the Millennials aren’t going to have the uncontrolled trough-fest that the Boomers, who were at the teat from Day One, had. The four biggest expenses anyone faces starting out: housing, college, transportation, food. The Millennials have been staring at the reality of the math for a long time now. They know they will never be able to steal, steal, steal even a fraction of what the Boomers did. Housing costs are outstripping inflation. Wages are not. It will eventually become mathematically impossible to own a house without pre-existing wealth to springboard it.

    Second, the Millennials don’t brag about how they were/are/will be the greatest generation ever. Many of them are just as venal and self-interested as the majority of the Baby Boomers were. But they have the basic honesty to not stand there screaming about how they ended the war, man. They’ve never known any state other than being in war.

    End rant.

    • Oops. Wouldn’t be a rant without a significant typo. At the start:

      No one who examines the world can, in good conscience, deny that one tiny segment has some “right” to work the majority of the population to the point of death for the purpose of increasing a small segment’s comfort and luxury.

      Replace that “deny” with “assert”

      • *No one who examines the world can, in good conscience, deny that one tiny segment has some “right” to work the majority of the population to the point of death for the purpose of increasing a small segment’s comfort and luxury.

        Replace that “deny” with “assert”*
        .
        That’s funny.

        I read it and understood it to mean:
        *No one who examines the world can, in good conscience, deny that one tiny segment has [exerted] some “right” to work the majority of the population to the point of death for the purpose of increasing a small segment’s comfort and luxury.*
        .
        Ain’t it strange, how the mind works? 😀
        .

    • > the Millennials don’t brag about how they were/are/will be the greatest generation ever.

      Seriously? By trashing those that come before, aren’t you/they holding your/themselves up as better? Don’t you have to be higher up in order to effectively look down upon someone? Those that live in glass McMansions shouldn’t get stoned.

      > And the boomers, at least to judge by all the chanting and hysterics of the 60s, had all the knowledge they needed to make their decision.

      hmmm, I’m hearing a lot hysterics from the x’ers – shall I take that to mean that *you* have all the knowledge necessary to fix the world’s myriad problems? When will you start? Maybe if you got an x’er elected to the White House everything will start coming up roses? Oh, wait, you did that already. Might as well kick the can down the road to the Millennials, after all – some of *you* are already getting your AARP membership cards…

      • CrazyH,

        As I said: You vote for more funding to those things that help to equalize the world. So more schools, less prisons. More social aid, less tax cuts for the wealthy.

        There’s a difference between getting muddy walking down a road and deliberately stopping to roll around in the filth.

      • There is a lot to admire about what the boomers started and a lot about what the boomers accomplished, but what is annoying is their smugness. The fact is, they failed. They didn’t finish the race. They screwed up. And now we are living with the consequences 50 years later. A little humility would probably be in order. Not to mention, there is no reason to think that music or film or anything else was any better in the 1960s than they were in, say, the 1980s.

      • Lest anyone take my musings wrong, I’m grinning ear-to-ear as we … uh … speak. I find it highly amusing (humbling?) to be on the opposite end of this discussion than that to which I am accustomed.

        Last time I checked, *I* was complaining about how the old guys fucked everything up. Can it be that the great wheel of karma has actually come full circle?

        “Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?”
        Jack London (b. 1876)

        “The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”
        J. K. Rowling (b. 1965)

      • Actually, Nixon ended the “war” in a blatantly political move when he already had the election all sewn up.

        He did so because public sentiment had turned against the “war.” That happened because of two things, one of which was, indeed, the younger generation’s protests focusing attention on the atrocity. The other was the un-embedded media portrayal of the real horrors of war.

        (Nixon wasn’t a boomer, btw.)

      • &btw – the draft ended on the same day as the war, not sure how you got to the conclusion that they were somehow independent events.

      • The military found the draft useless due to resistance of those who recognized it was not worth dying for a lie.

        Rumsfeld declined to call for a draft for the Iraq invasion saying that the negatives of a draft washed out the positives, obviously in reference to the Vietnam debacle.

      • «The draftees were Boomers.» An illustration of the level of argument we have, alas, come to expect of you, Glenn. Both those who accepted compulsory military service (at, as it turned out, great physical and psychological risk to themselves) and those who refused (again, at great risk to themselves) were so-called «Boomers». It is not Crazy Horse, but you yourself who are being «dense» here, or in the British idiom, «thick»….

        Henri

      • Civilian protest did not end the war, only the draft.

        And having attained the personal victory came the Rah Rah, “USA! USA!”

        Proof?
        We now have war without draft or declaration of war.
        Q.E.D.

      • The Vietnam “war” wasn’t declared either. If X’s & Y’s were spared the draft, then you’ve got the boomers to thank for it.

        But let’s turn that finger the other way. Gen X is 54 years old. You’ve got a man in the White House. Half the House of “Representatives” is under 55. The majority of the workforce is younger than the boomers. Yet the war drags on, Gitmo is still open, the rich are getting richer, the corporations are in power, and the planet is slowly dying.

        Why haven’t *you* fixed things yet? (“Because the elder generation is in power” is only an acceptable excuse if you allow the boomers to use the same one. 😉

      • CrazyH on July 3, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        Then let’s not passively accept excuses, but rather actively recognize failures to remedy them.

      • ‘k … I actively recognize gen X’s failure to remedy the problem.

        😀

        I think we’ve beaten this one to death. Catchya next debate (where we’re usually on the same side)

      • “I think we’ve beaten this one to death.”
        .
        I agree with that. The only thing that I would (cautiously) add is this: ]
        My wife (born German, naturalized U.S. citizen) once asked her parents: How could you let it happen? (Reference to the Nazi movement.)
        Now, observing what has happened to the U.S., she says: “I wish I had never asked that question.”
        In other words, how can any generation (individual) be expected to overturn decisions made by a government that is willing to kill its own citizens to remain in power?

      • Good point, derlehrer ! One might wish to add that panem et circenses, along with divide et impera, are most useful tools in a government’s repertoire….

        Henri

      • Stop it!
        If you’re going to throw Latin into the discussion, please give those of us ignorant of such the courtesy of an English equivalent, so that we can relate without having to do a Google search!
        1) “Panem et Circensus” = “bread and circuses”
        2) “divide et impera” = “divide and conquer [rule]
        I’m not educated in the ancient languages, but fluent in a couple of modern languages. 😀

      • Consider it rather, derlehrer, a welcome opportunity to expand one’s range of knowledge. After all, with today’s possibility to search for all and sundry (I presume Latin phrases fall under the category «sundry», checking out such matters can hardly be considered an arduous task…. 😉

        Henri

      • True enough….
        But not everyone is as eager or willing as I to take the time.

  4. This “battle of the generations” is no less destructive here than it is in, say, mainstream media.

    It’s simply another of the many techniques of devision that the oligarchs employ to prevent the unification of the numbers it would take to vanquish them.

    • Indeed ! Generational battles, while not entirely empty of content, are, like so-called «identity politics», a handy and constantly employed tool in the hands of those running the show to hinder the ruled from making life a tad more difficult for the rulers. Divide et impera is at least as applicable within the Empire as it is without. The notion that the so-called «Boomers» were more «fuck the other guy» than their successors or that they, qua generation, are to blame for the fact that «[h]ousing costs are outstripping inflation[, while w]ages are not.» is historically false, but a great device with which to take the eyes of younger generations off the ball. Moreover, it might be noted that the epithet «greatest generation» is not generally applied to the «Boomers», but to their parents, who fought in WW II, but who also allowed «their» politicians to create the (second) great «Communist scare», the so-called «Cold War» (which, as anyone with the slightest grasp of history knows, was often quite «hot» indeed), and the warfare state. It was to these events which (some members of) the «Boomer» generation reacted in the 1960s and early 70s, to their eternal credit….

      Henri

    • Yes, and with that argument political discussion has been off limits in the polite society of Boomers, for decades. We have advertisements from which to choose our parroting.

      A generation that prides itself on individuality demands such conformity. For shame!

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