Rebels Without A Spine

There is a style of story that is “We’re all rich and depressed and looking to forget how rich and depressed we are.”  Unfortunately I think it’s become not just a style of story, but a way people see the world.  Which, of course, is what stories are: a lens through which we see the world.  And this particular “heartbreak fo being well off and having kids and a house” way of looking at things is something that seems to have struck sometime in the late sixties as the “chic” or “cool” way to look at the world.  It informed much of New Wave SF and a lot of the “literary” fiction they were trying to emulate.  And it’s not that it leaves me cold.  Most of the time it leaves me rolling my eyes and wondering if we shouldn’t bring back the pillory.

I followed this link from Instapundit a couple of days ago and found myself facing another of those “we look happy from the outside, but our lives are a self inflicted hell and this is how everyone lives” stories.  And, quite frankly, wanting to slap everyone mentioned in it, good and hard.

It reminded me of reading Bright Lights Big City where the guy was supposed to be from my generation and everyone in my generation was supposed to be like this, because the editors buying books all knew my generation was self-centered and cared only for self satisfaction, unlike the sainted sixties people who were caring and against the war (or afraid to be drafted into it and self centered, but never mind that.)

Through their eyes, the fact we told them to put their sit-ins, and their love-ins too where the sun don’t shine and cut our hair and went to work – often at a very early age – meant we were sell-outs, establishment stooges and everything that was wrong with THEIR parents.  Now, of course, as they are afraid to slip off into irrelevancy they’re trying to claim everyone to sixty four was part of their generation, but I was born in 62, and I don’t have Alzheimers.  I remember being called selfish and self centered because I wouldn’t be a good little girl and question all authority that they told me to question.

Ahem.  Sorry.  As I said before I have a cold war injury, it only hurts when I laugh.  And the generation before mine is more likely to make me cry.

And before you people who are ten years older than I resent it – look, I’m not talking about the guy on the street.  I’m talking about the opinion makers, the entertainment leaders and everyone who crafted this “boomer” image.  (And those who are only ten years older than I are already at the end of that curve.  My brother was born in 54 and he always considered himself to have been born the last or the second to last year of the baby boom.  By that time they had precious little in common with post war babies.)

The bommer image is something else again, manufactured by the media, and, to believe Soviet archives, soviet agit prop.  BUT to the extent that has been swallowed whole, it is responsible to a great extent for the problem of the people in that article I read.

I don’t know how widespread this is, or if this woman who wrote it is completely insane.  BUT it is the “accepted narrative” for what it’s like to be young, married, with kids.  It has been that way since I was young, married with kids.

Supposedly the BURDEN of conforming and growing up is so terrible, you have to do dope on the side, or run around sleeping with everything that moves, or try to be young and transgressive.

Because being transgressive is cool, man.  It’s where it’s at.  All the hep chicks and cats do it.  We have to stick it to the man, and speak truth to Powah!

(Excuse me while I rinse my typing fingers in moliatic accid.)  If the previous sounds dated it is because is.  This is because the lingo is from the sixties.  However, it is still the prism through which school is being taught and enforced.  And it is still distorting our culture.

There have been several articles hailing the death of cool and the idea that life is supposed to be permanent teen rebellion.  But they’re missing the point.

At this point “cool” – sleeping around, doping, being a perpetual adolescent – is not rebellion.  It is what every generation from mine on was told they SHOULD do.  Rebellion has become conformism.  The pierced kids with multiple tattoos? They’re the ones doing what their boomer parents and teachers tell them.  “Rebel, stick it to the man.  Refuse to grow up.”

The pierced kids with multiple tattoos are the ones who are considered deep thinkers and “serious” at least if they come from the “right” families.  It’s the kids who write about how horrible the world is and how the entire thing needs to be run by government, or the ones who earnestly wish they’d grown up in their parents generation, who are considered “rebels” and worth listening to.  Instead, they’re the kids who, in the fifties, would be wearing a three piece suit.

There are other reasons for the horribleness detailed in that article.  The refusal to grow up is also anchored in a society too wealthy to punish it.  It is aided and abetted by guilt over material achievements which comes from having been taught fantasy – Marxist – finite pie economics, in which nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything just is endlessly redistributed.  And it is worsened by a child-raising ethos that requires the parent to be a combination empath and saint, capable of affecting behavior without even a swat to the behind.  (Yes, there are children who don’t need those.  And after four, mine didn’t.  We could reason with them, then.  Most kids do need it, however.  Not beating, but a swat to the behind.  Look, guys, all great apes spank.  While we’re not apes, we are too.  You can’t have it both ways and say we should never spank, but we’re creatures of nature and should behave naturally.  Well, you can, but it’s irrational and means you’ve swallowed the “noble savage child” whole.)  Requiring EVERY parent to control EVERY child at all times through mental ju-jitsu puts so much strain on the parents, that it’s a wonder more of them don’t crack.

HOWEVER over all that joyless “bad behavior” and conformist “rebelling because it’s expected of us” sounds like a serious case of having internalized a prior generation’s priorities which are no longer appropriate, if indeed they ever were.

I say rebel for real.  Love your husband.  Don’t sleep around.  Grow up.  Think of your husband and family before you think of your own little psychodrama.

When I was a conflicted teen, I found that concentrating on OTHERS’ needs and problems kept me sane and helped me grow up.  Maybe that’s something to do.  And maybe learn to enjoy hanging out with your family.  Maybe don’t do pot just to conform.  Maybe don’t get drunk and talk dirty just because it’s expected of you.  Maybe find out who you are for real and enjoy that.

It’s okay to enjoy being an adult.  A lot of us do.

Oh, I know, it’s not hip or cool and the entertainment establishment will think you’re hopeless.  Have you noticed those guys are not so important anymore?  In fact, you could say they were withering away, and old fashioned.

They are the man.  The man wants you to dope and fornicate and get drunk.

Don’t do it.  Stick it to the man.  Speak truth to power.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I know change gonna come, oh yes it will.”

 

249 responses to “Rebels Without A Spine

  1. if indeed they ever were

    This. To the nth degree.

  2. The other thing is that the article doesn’t actually know how to judge “bad behavior.” A woman with five kids is a “slut.” Two people that go smoke on the stoop in the middle of a party are “sneaking out.” And if you go to somebody’s house for a party and the adults who want them get served genteel drinks out of the cupboard, then somehow that’s the same as having a full bar. And it’s supposed to be scandalous at a kid’s birthday party. (Mind you, if people are drinking hard at a kid’s birthday party, that’s wrong. But wine or beer or a host who likes to mix drinks for his guests — what’s that got to do with the kiddies being there or not there? If there was a party, adults sat at the big table and drank adult drinks; and kids ate at the kids’ table and drank kids’ drinks.

    • No, it seems to be “we want to rebel, because that’s cool, but we don’t know how to rebel, and we really don’t want to do this stuff, and we’re all unhappppppy” It struck me as a bunch of whiney kids.
      Eh. in Portugal adults (and teens) can get wine ANYWHERE. it’s not rebelling. It’s … well… drinking. 😛

  3. I was born in 1954 too – like your brother, and I’ve always been resentful of the boomers because I feel like I had spend most of my adult life helping to clean up after them. I mean, my very first political-social involvement was in working to resettle Vietnamese refugees in my home town in 1975. I just barely made it through the public educational system in California just in time, before it was comprehensively wrecked. Then into the military, just in time for the All Volunteer Force to piece itself back together after Vietnam.

    You want another case of terminal childishness in pop lit? I remember watching Bridget Jones’ Diary, and thinking that she was a case of seriously arrested development. The character was an aimless, clueless teenager. By the time I was in my late twenties – the age of Bridget Jones – I was a college grad, a career military NCO, a single parent … and most definitely a grown-up.

    • My brother WANTED to be a boomer. Don’t go there. Me, I feel like I’ve spent my entire life going “Oh, for the love of heaven, you’re older than I. GROW UP ALREADY” to teachers, bosses and the occasional editor.

      • It wasn’t until my thirties, but I discovered in myself the complete lack of ability to marshal “faking it” around such people in the interest of harmony. I could do it in my twenties, but somehow, after being exposed to sheer “teh stoopid” in extended family and co-workers, I ceased being able to get along to get long, so to speak.

        These days, even in situations where we’re around such people, like sisters-in-law, all day at a family event, I’ll get away with saying the bare minimum. I simply can’t suffer fools like I used to be able to and the most foolish of the fools are those that never could mentally let go of high school or college.

        • my inability to fake it anymore has led to this blog and probably closed a lot of publishing doors to me forever. BUT I can look at myself in mirror now.

      • That’s been one of the problem with a lot of the Boomers(not all by any means, but a lot), the lack of understanding that each generation has to accept the mantle of societal leadership. You can’t be the “cool guy” forever.

        It’s okay to be friendly, but too many think that we should be friends. I have my own friends – what I expect from my seniors is leadership. And if they won’t provide it, I will.

        Of course, this has started to trickle down to succeeding generations, so maybe we’re all screwed. 😀

      • I’m dang near 30 and just getting to where it’s “less than most” people about my age are acting like mature adults at least most of the time.

        Really sick of it.

        • Those of you who have done the child rearing thing will know what I mean:

          Back when the Daughtorial unit was young our watchword was “she’s just going through a phase.” Until the day we realized that we had acquaintances who had never grown out of some of those phases…

  4. Pah. Twenty years ago, back when Newsweek still had news, they ran a back-page op-ed from a film-maker (B-movie horror, rebellion flicks, that sort of thing). He said he was disappointed in the lack of creativity in modern rebellion. 🙂 A local church (Pentecostal) ran a billboard this spring proclaiming, “Kids – shock your parents! Come to church!”

  5. There’s a phrase, and even a photomeme for this sort of whining:

    “First World Problems”

    http://www.quickmeme.com/First-World-Problems/

    • No kidding. I just skimmed the article. Sweet jeebus, the money those people are throwing away on drinks, and the damage they are doing to their kids! It reminds me of the Victorian-era paintings of the decadence preceding the fall of Rome – wine, women and men lolling around in a lush setting, attended by slaves of all sexes; the figures in the painting look either bored or as if they are desperately trying to escape reality. First world woes indeed.

      • I was going to say that it reminded me of the French court during its debauchery days.

      • Re, the boredom on the faces in the paintings:

        I believe that late in life Oscar Wilde observed that most people never really try hedonism, they just dabble at it. For, if they really tired it, they would discover that it becomes a never ending chase for some new amusement or titillation, never quite succeeding in satisfying for long and exhausting to the soul.

  6. I could barely finish reading that woman (hookers, sluts, and drug addicts) without rushing to the toilet and doing a complete flush. It made me feel completely slimy.

    I was born in 61 and was one of the children who was in trouble for being selfish and had a work ethic. I worked in my family business, family childcare (9 children), and housekeeping by the time I was thirteen. I had my first job as a cashier at 15. Until I got sick I was working all my life. The media was calling us material oriented until we supposedly became part of the Boomer Generation.

    You want to bring back the pillory? How about caning with it?

  7. I’m a baby boomer. I was a total non-conformist: I’ve never done drugs, never slept around, never acted like a slut. I look at my ‘contemporaries’ and shake my head at their stupidity (and did back in the day, also). I’m either older than my years (Heaven forfend!) or younger (yeah! that’s it!). But so many of my ‘contemporaries’ are women that I really don’t care to associate with, and that can go double for the males of the species who seem to think that Alan Alda is the role model they work to emulate. Sorry, but give me John Wayne any day. 🙂

  8. ppaulshoward

    Don’t get me started on the “speak truth to power” idiots. Too often they’re “speaking Politicially Correct nonsense to people who have less power than them”. [Frown]

  9. Sarah, is it possible that the rebellion you advocate is already happening?

    Look at the collapse of the porn…well, I really hate calling it an “industry,” so we’ll say the porn business. The standard explanation is amateur online porn. But that’s been here since the introduction of the World Wide Web, at least, and porn was still thriving a decade ago. Could it be that people are seeing porn as the most obvious example of phony rebellion for profit, and refusing to oblige?

    Also, even though my musical tastes are as Boomeresque as they come, I don’t see much in the way of rebellion in modern music–not that I’m really up on it. Much as I would hate Justin Beiber and Adele being the entire musical future, it’s possible that they could be the calm before the storm of honest-to-God right-wing rebellion in music. (Ok, that’s probably a pipe dream).

    • If you are into hard rock or metal, try Iced Earth or Sons of Liberty’s album “Brush Fires of the Mind” for Tea-Party heavy metal. Or Madison Rising. It’s out there on the fringes and seems to be working its way in towards the middle.

      • Or, for something a bit lighter, Muse…though they won’t admit their politics.

        • If they won’t admit their politics, I won’t accept them as political allies (even though I might still listen to their music if it’s good enough). Conservatives have this bad habit of rushing to claim celebrities as their own based on some obscure quote, and then getting burned by those celebrities. For example, Rush is often listed as a “libertarian” rock band based on their song “The Trees”–but they have plenty of other songs that are pretty left-wing in orientation.

          • but they have plenty of other songs that are pretty left-wing in orientation.

            Being a die-hard fan, ie read as someone that still buys a new Rush album on the day it’s available, I would say they have a number of atheist/agnostic-themed lyrics rather than left-leaning politically. What is 2112 if not rebelling against central authority and the liberation of society from an authoritarian regime. It doesn’t matter if it’s religious-based (temples, priests, etc). As authority over of the individual gets larger, it slides politically left until absolute tyranny. As authority over the individual reduces, it slides right until anarchy.

            • Actually, I was thinking of “Distant Early Warning.” A great song musically, but pretty much environmental fascist in its lyrics.

            • In 2112 Rush (not Limbaugh) was transgressive back in the day b/c they were channeling Ayn Rand. Though Rand was anti-religion, she was also libertarian. The split between religious and atheist libertarians fomented by Bill Buckley was not one of his better moves. If you believe in smaller government, we don’t have to agree about religion or not.

              • a way to splinter groups – so that they have less of an impact imho

              • The most interesting observation on Ayn Rand that I have seen in quite some time appeared at National Review Online’s gangblog The Corner this morning:

                It’s very evident from this passage and from a great deal of what he has to say about his opponents that Obama thinks he is running against a band of nihilistic Ayn Rand objectivists who champion complete and utter radical individualism. That weird notion is also behind the various attempts to link Paul Ryan to Rand, which are pretty amusing if you’ve followed Ryan (for what it’s worth, I would say Ryan thinks Ayn Rand is correct in her analysis of the left, which she believes has drawn the wrong lessons from the death of God, but is incorrect in many of her own prescriptions because she shares the left’s belief that God is dead, but that’s a story for another day…).

        • Free-range Oyster

          A few more suggestions, all of them to be found on Spotify or YouTube:
          anything by The Army You Have, especially “See You in November”
          “Government Cheese” by the Rainmakers
          “Freedom” by Alice Cooper
          “Who’ll Stop the Rain” by CCR
          anything by Steve Lee (country artist from OZ), I’m particularly fond of “I Like Guns”
          “Rainbow Stew” by Merle Haggard
          I’ve found many of the lyrics from Rise Against suit my beliefs well (especially Re-Education Through Labor), but I suspect they mean them differently than I interpret them

          In many cases, I don’t know about the philosophy of the artists, only the song. The Army You Have is explicitly Tea Party, and just writing “Government Cheese” pins the Rainmakers as conservative or libertarian. No one else would dare.

          And of course to finish there is this bit of patriotic deliciousness: http://youtu.be/uZfRaWAtBVg

          • Nobody will ever call John Lennon anything but a flaming socialist, but he did perform “Taxman” on the Revolver album.

            • Free-range Oyster

              That’s on my political/philosophical playlist, but the list here was getting long already. 🙂

            • George Harrison is credited with writing Taxman. Don’t shout it out too loudly, but recent biography of Lennon suggests that he may have seen the error of his ways (living with Yoko probably contributed to that) and was becoming a Reaganite.

              [B]y the time he died, John Lennon was a closet conservative embarrassed by his radical past, according to his former personal assistant.

              Fred Seaman claims that the former Beatle was a fan of Ronald Reagan, … ‘John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on [Democrat] Jimmy Carter,’ he says in a documentary film.
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2009562/John-Lennon-closet-conservative-fan-Reagan.html

              • Yeah, I even heard he watched Pat Robertson on the 700 Club, but I don’t quite believe it. I credit my teen-aged agnosticism to his song “Imagine.” So, he had a lot to repent of.

                • Nyaw, if you bought that load of crap you have only yourself to blame. It wasn’t even good music. The lyrics made She Loves You wise in comparison.

                  Mind, the first time I tried visualizing “world peace” I came up with a desolate wasteland, so maybe Heinlein, Laumer and their compadres had already done their number on me.

                  • You. I. Two minds that fester like one. Add in CACS and we’ll take over the world. Mwah ah ah ah ah.

                    • Then what will they do with it?

                    • Raze it for an interstellar bypass?

                    • But I don’t wanna take over the world. As The Spouse says it is full of people who don’t mind, don’t follow instructions, and don’t clean up after themselves.

                    • Yep. Good Omens. Ruling the world would be like cleaning up everyone’s room for them.

                    • Yes, but if that’s true, YOU get to decide on pillow fluffiness.

                    • Don’t you people know that’s what minions are for? I thought you were writers. (running away)

                    • The problem then becomes managing the minions and managing the world. It is surprisingly hard to find good minions, it seems that nobody takes pride in doing good minion works these days.

                    • It used to be that you could hire or create minions and henchmen and they would be yours until retirement or death, whichever came first. NOW, though, with the various web services and professional match making systems like LinkedMinion, it seems like the turnover is so high that it’s nigh impossible to make long-term world domination or extortion plans for fear of losing exclusivity to another villain, er, writer. Let’s face it. While the evilbook revolution is shaking things up, every two-bit ne’er do well’er and wannabe kingpin is now vying for the same blood money.

                      The margins SUCK, making us keep our payrolls low, making the minions do far more with far less. THAT’s why they bail when the next jetcar screams by looking for new help for some idiot newb’s next caper, er, book.

                      We need a Legion Of something, or some such…

                    • I know. What ever happened to unyielding loyalty?

                    • Unyielding loyalty went the way of the free market; to the highest bidder 😉

                  • Been there. Done that. Read the book 😉

                  • You gotta make your own minions through a genetic vat. Every evil villain knows that… little fact.

                • Imagine is such a warmed up load of spit. “Nothing to kill or die for” — so, humans as humans are all dead… lovely.

              • I have heard that about Lennon becoming more conservative. I like to watch my wife’s face when I remind her about that story.

                Incidentally, about that Lennon conversion – is it time to cue the conspiracy theories?

                • According to Alice Cooper, who had known him quite well, he never took the final step. Yoko did not approve.

                  • Probably because Yoko was a big fan of Mee-lee-wok-ay, or, The Good Land. Did you know it was the only major American city to elect three socialist mayors?

                    “Does this guy know how to party, or what?”

            • Sorry, that was George Harrison. For some reason I have been inspired to listen to that album every April…and even more often of late.

          • Thanks. I’ve copied the list for checking out.

          • Amazingly nobody has mentioned Ted Nugent. Actually I’m not a big fan of a lot of his music, but I do like his politics, and love to hear him debate people, he has a sharp mind and is very quick on his feet. Also Kiss for another older rock band with conservative views. Cruxshadows seems to lean libertarian/right if you like goth, and quite a few of the newer country artists such as Miranda Lambert, Trace Adkins, Toby Keith, and such make no secret of their Tea Party views.
            Oh and Kid Rock, who I hesitate to put in a genre, since he has crossed through so many of them.

            • You had me until Kid Rock. His politics are fine, as far as I’m concerned, but I hesitate to put him in a music genre because I have serious problems calling him a musician. That mostly stems from my personal opinion that he sucks 🙂

              • I thought it was bagpipes that made that suck and blow drone…

                Mind you I do have Scots heritage — and I do like occasional bagpipe music.

          • OK, first an admission. I am an Alice Cooper fan. Courtesy of The Daughter I rediscovered him at about the time he released Last Temptation. I really like when a man obviously loves his own wife. From what I have gleaned Mr. Cooper is probably an ODD.

            Alice represented the scourge of society according to Ann Landers in the days when he released such songs as Cold Ethel. At the same time he became friend with Groucho Marx and other members of the Friars Club who understood that his act was an act, and that it had roots in the Grand Guignol. Along the way he drew the interest of Salvador Dali and got to do The Muppet Show. Now he continues to write lyrics, records, tours, eats barbeque when he can, follows baseball and he plays prodigious amounts of golf.

            NOW to the point. Alice Cooper has said that he thinks it is not advisable to get your politics from rock stars — as they are rock stars.

        • Ah,hah. I’ve wondered about them. I have Uprising on my iPod. It’s lines about “pushing drugs to keep us all dumbed down” and the “green belts wrapped around our minds and endless red tape to keep the truth confined” made me think of them as my sort of people, but I figured I must be wrong.

          • Not necessarily. Muse appears to be to politics what Creed was to Christianity.

            • Bands, it should be remembered, are multi-partite entities, group minds, as it were. Few bands have ideological coherency (or any other kind, for that matter.) Enjoy the song, read into it what you will and don’t worry ’bout the message. One reason I enjoy bands in languages I don’t speak is that I am not forced to notice how banal, jejune and just plain stoopid their lyrics are.

              Remember, The Beatles sang both “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” and

              You’re lovin’ gives me a thrill
              But you’re lovin’ don’t pay my bills
              Now give me money
              That’s what I want
              That’s what I want, yeah
              That’s what I want

              • Few bands have ideological coherency

                As a former rock jock, I met quite a few of the A and B listers and quite a few of them have their idiocy quite coherent. System Of A Down comes immediately to mind.

    • “Could it be that people are seeing porn as the most obvious example of phony rebellion for profit, and refusing to oblige?”

      An interesting and novel hypothesis, but… no. Just no. Porn consumption is up, production of porn is up, the percentage of people who say they use porn is up. There is no porn backlash. It’s just gone a little further underground, culturally speaking, since now we don’t have to argue with the film distribution industry, the publishing industry, or the post office that we should be allowed to have it at all. This is one of the dangers of winning too complete a victory – your coalition falls apart.

  10. AS A BOOMER — I was born in 1953 — I am proud of my generation and dismayed by how the “Media” portrays us. Far more Boomers served in ‘Nam than protested it, many more Boomers actually “grew up” and raised good kids than didn’t, etc etc etc.

    THAT SAID, these bimbos need a good swift kick in the fundament. Holden Caulfield is tolerable (barely) because of his callow youth. While it is charming to see a child constructing a moral universe it is appalling to witness the behaviour in a putative adult. The women depicted in this article (curse you for imposing it on my consciousness, Sarah Hoyt!!) are unhappy because the can’t stay adolescents forever — and probably sneer at their male contemporaries exhibiting “Peter Pan Syndrome.” More than anything they remind me of the generational equivalent of those grannies who, in the mid-1960s, dyed their hair purple and went about in miniskirts. Pathetic.

    • I agree. I often think the Baby Boomers are unfairly denigrated due to the changes that took place during their time, most of which they could not control. Blaming every single Baby Boomer for what less than 10% did is just as wrong as blaming every single gun owner for Virginia Tech.

    • To be fair my hubby was a BOOMER. However, he was in ‘Nam in the Army plus he was on his own at an early age. He views much of this stuff with distaste. I agree. He did get spit on when coming off the base, which is another reason he is not happy with that group.

    • More than anything they remind me of the generational equivalent of those grannies who, in the mid-1960s, dyed their hair purple and went about in miniskirts. Pathetic.”

      Reminds me of a guy that I heard talking about a hippy commune up the road from him. He said it was a bunch of flower children that bought it in the sixties, and “all the women used to run around topless and that was pretty cool, but now they’re in their sixties, and they still run around topless. It’s not cool anymore.”

  11. Douglas E. Winter did a series of short stories for the horror magazines, each was a satire of some current novel set in the Zombie Apocalypse. “The Zombies of Madison County,” etc. “Bright Lights, Big Zombie” was the funniest and most bitter, because he had to do so little rewriting to turn McInerney’s characters into zombies. Nomming on one’s neighbors and passersby in the streets was just a mildly embarrassing habit, like doing too much coke.

  12. And now, for a semi-contrary opinion:

    I do think that there is a certain value to rebellion. Think of the leftists as viruses and *certain* rebels as white blood cells.

    In an ideal world, the viruses would never infect cells, and we could count on the continuing function of those cells. In reality, many cells get corrupted by those viruses.

    Think of the teaching profession. I made a comment recently that I’m not interested in paying the salary of teachers who clearly can’t do their jobs. Someone nearby, from the looks and posture of him probably a fairly typical conservative-ish type, said that it wasn’t the teachers’ fault, because they weren’t allowed to discipline students. He was probably stating what many people believe–that teachers are suffering from a breakdown in authority due to all the Bad Kids.

    In reality, teachers don’t have too little control, they have too much. They are indoctrinating students with anti-American propaganda. The real good kids are the ones who talk back to their teachers. Remember the kid who disagreed with his teacher when she said it was illegal to criticize the president? If you saw his picture, you’d see he *looked* like a rebel–long hair, a slovenly appearance–but the fact is that he was still the kid standing up to a teacher who was either a liar or else too misinformed to be in her job.

    Or take the current “rebellious” paleo diet, which seems to be popular among libertarians. Paleos are sticking to the Man, the Man in this case being the government-agriculture complex.

    When Obama says that black kids should stop gang-banging and start reading, it may seem like a conservative statement–until you realize that he wants them to read the output of the leftist publishing industry in order to be further indoctrinated.

    I realize, for the record, that you weren’t condemning rebellion per se. I still think, however, that conservatives and libertarians need to be clear about the difference between loyalty to the free American republic, on the one hand, and loyalty to Pillars of the Community, many of whom have been infected by the leftist virus, on the other hand.

    • No, what I was condemning was being a rebel “just like everyone else” — phony rebellion. HOW in HECK could I condemn rebellion? Me? My general attitude is “you and whose army are going to make me?” AND I’ve paid for it.

      • Sarah, you just gave me three more reasons to (chastely) love you:

        “I wouldn’t be a good little girl and question all authority that they told me to question.”

        “…conformist ‘rebelling because it’s expected of us'”

        “They are the man. The man wants you to dope and fornicate and get drunk.”

    • Free-range Oyster

      “In reality, teachers don’t have too little control, they have too much.”

      Bingo. I am in the midst of reading some of the observations of John Taylor Gatto, highly decorated veteran of the NY public school system, and this fits what he describes perfectly. This is not a bug, this is the intended outcome. You know how much control a teacher should have? As much as may be imparted by the respect they command. Treat them as scholars and not as serfs, and children will do amazing things.

      “[C]onservatives and libertarians need to be clear about the difference between loyalty to the free American republic […] and loyalty to Pillars of the Community…”

      I agree whole-heartedly. For myself, I am loyal to God and His work, the doctrine of liberty, my kin, my kith, and my tribes, in that order. Pillars of the Community can convince me that a specific idea is good on the merits, or they can have an invitation to go do something anatomically impossible. Same as anyone else. On the other hand, I am neither conservative nor libertarian: on my most statist days I am a pragmatic minarchist.

    • Sorry, having done the PTA thing and been a school board junkie I don’t exactly agree. It really depends on the system you are in, but for the most part what is supposed to be taught in the classroom is not in the hands of the individual teacher. There are so many layers of intrenched systems that there are plenty of hands in the pot spoiling the broth. There is the teacher’s union, who may be one of the biggest problems at present, as they will often defend a teacher who is failing to teach (google: rubber rooms) and have a large hand in who gets to run for school board in most areas. There is the administration, who if you are lucky, is not overwhelmed by the demands of the board, the unions, their lawyers and the public. In some states you have much of your scope and sequence dictated by a state school board, and what text books may be used in the classrooms. And everyone is under threat of EOG testing.

  13. Time to truly rebel – wear a suit! Show up to work on time! Understand that your subordinates are your responsibility, not your friends! And the list goes on and on.

    • That’s part of it–but you also have to know when to stand up and be counted. When the company for which you wear a suit (only if appropriate–suits aren’t for blue collar jobs) and show up on time starts bowing to PC, tell them they shouldn’t do so. That was the point of my previous post–conform in the small things, rebel in the big things.

      • Get meta-rebel — decide when something is only “PC” and when it’s actually an attempt to treat other people with dignity that may be lacking in the current environment.

        • Well, sorta. Except companies tend to be all thumbs when trying to be “sensitive.” Witness the bizarre sexual-harassment-training seminars. (which is how everyone I know refers to them. Something like “I’m now certified for sexual harassment. YAY.” It’s kind of like the Catholic Church doing economics. You just want to go “oh, no dears. It’s cute and somewhat endearing that you try, but NO.”

          • Where Catholic economics is concerned, your mileage may vary. I recommend to your attention Father Robert Sirico and the Acton Institute. They are spot-on wrt economics.

            • Took her to mean when folks try to misapply Catholic theology about dealing with people between people into rules about dealing with business between people.

              Example: You might THINK it’s great to “forgive” debit when you feel like those who owe it need the wiggle room, but in economics that means that you’re encouraging groups of people– which are not moral actors, any more than an entire society is, individuals have morality– to put themselves in bad situations.

              Economics is groups of people, and even though we use the work-around of things like “the White House says” groups just don’t work like people.

              If I understand Fr. Sirico, he’s a Catholic who is doing economics. Kinda like the Catholic monks and Fathers who are doing astronomy. It’s a science/theory, even when done by Catholics, describing what is and maybe what folks should do, rather than a theory-based flavoring of “what is.”

              • Liberation theology. Social justice economics. They’re not either. They’re the names Marxism hides under. To confuse charity with the gratification of envy is wrong, but the sort of thing unworldly people who don’t GET economics will do.

  14. You are stronger than I am. I couldn’t read more than a page’s worth. I stopped when she mentioned her book because clearly she’s one of THOSE kind of writers, and I don’t read them (I try to avoid neurotic losers as much as possible). But yes, even that much was ghastly.

    I’m with you, I was born in 1960 and we are definitely not part of the Baby Boomers culturally. I do see it in a number of my friends who are 3 years older, but I think they were the last shreds of it – or maybe they’re more wannabes. Like others have said above, I got stuck with the mess the Baby Boomers created – the destroyed college degree in particular. I jokingly called us the Shell-shocked generation once, we saw all the violence ahead of us and weren’t impressed and just want to get on with our lives.

    As for “cool” – anyone who is trying to be “cool” (as defined by the sixties, or high school) and is over the age of 35 is just pathetic.

    It’s that whole fear of “growing up.” I do understand that one, given where things were in the 50s and 60s. Previous generations really did push putting aside all childish things and working at joyless jobs (I’ve talked to kids from Asian families whose parents don’t see any value in, say, reading a fantasy book for fun. If it doesn’t put money in the bank or give the family something to brag about, it has no worth). The Baby Boomers did question this, but a lot of them came up with the wrong answer – like chucking it all or even trying to destroy it – instead of what most of them did do, push for more life balance, or decide that just because we’re over forty doesn’t mean we have to have blue beehive hair, or that adults can still have toys, and I do support that. (Sadly, this idiot woman who wrote the article doesn’t seem to get this – she certainly appears to be looking in the wrong places for happiness. Of course, happiness isn’t “cool.”)

    • Of course, happiness isn’t “cool.”

      No, not once you’ve grown up, any more than what made you happy at five should be expected to make you happy at fifteen.

      I forced myself through the article, trying to decide whether this woman was despairing of her cohort’s dissipation or bragging about it. (Answer: both.) More dismal than their despair over the lack of purpose in their lives is their purposeful pursuit of purposelessness

      C. S. Lewis described this in his dismissal of Susan Pevensie as having “… wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now, and she’ll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age. Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one’s life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can.”.

      • Yes, this woman does read like an aging teen-ager, doesn’t she. Just pathetic. (Oddly enough, a lot of what made me happy at 5 still makes me happy today, just the grown-up version. I still love fairy tales and drawing and crafts. I even loved them all at 15, which is why I was lousy at being a 15-year-old.)

        (I’ve personally always believed Susan grew out of being a stupid teen – we’re all dumb at that age, hormones destroys our brains – and made it to Narnia eventually. :-))

        • (Have you read the Susan Pevensie Meets Doctor Who fanfic? I know there’s at least a couple kicking around, but there’s one particular one which is just… Makes me jump up and down and yell Yes! Yes!)

          • Was it this one? Because the others I found were pretty lousy, but that one is good. I had tears welling up in a couple spots, and I’m going to have to bookmark it to re-read.

  15. Thomas Jefferson said that a little rebellion now and then was a good thing. The near-constant “rebellion” of the current generation is a fraud, and a slap in the teeth of REAL rebellion.

    I’m a Boomer, although I hate that name. I was born in 1946. I’m married to a war-baby (born 1942). We have three children, and two of them have “rebelled” against at least some of OUR values. They were taught Judeo-Christian morals, honest values, and to speak the truth. I get very sad sometimes when I see how they act.

    I also spent 26 years in the Air Force, including a year in Vietnam. I got whatever college I could between working, raising a family, and deployments. I actually enjoyed my life in the military, and knew I was doing something good and honorable. I was taught as a small child that you got what you worked for, that nothing was ‘free’, and that life wasn’t ‘fair’.

    In the late 1970’s, I learned a very important concept, one I’d been exposed to, but which hadn’t been adequately explained so I could understand it. Basically, it’s that everything we do has consequences. Some of those consequences are good (work hard, get a pay raise/promotion), some are bad (get drunk and drive, all kinds of consequences), and the majority are neutral and you have a hard time knowing what they are. I’ve also learned that SOME consequences are delayed – boy, have I learned that one. Doing things like jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, crawling through swamps, moving huge, heavy objects single-handedly, all have delayed consequences.

    The one thing I know for sure is that you cannot escape those consequences. I think a lot of “boomers” are beginning to discover that fact, and are angry “nobody told them there would be a test”. They lived their lives as if there were never any consequences, and now that those consequences are piling up, they want to continue to run away from them. Good luck with that…

    • I was listening to my eight-year old daughter playing with the four-year-old daughter and the two-year-old son. They were divvying up various toys and such, I don’t recall exactly what it was. When the two-year-old got more of whatever it was, the four-year-old threw a fit. The eight-year-old calmly told her that “sometimes in life you work real hard and don’t get as much as a toddler”.

      She has more sense at eight-years-old than a good deal of my 30+-year-old in-laws.

  16. Actually, the whole article started off sounding like the opening of one of the Penthouse Letters, and then quickly turned into a typical soul-searching-rich-Manhattanite article. It was definitely in the category of “unintentionally funny.”

  17. Before I even finish reading your post: If you weren’t having so many problems of your own lately, I would curse you for getting me to go read that post. I now have a crick in my neck from the cringing I was doing while the article trapped me with morbid fascination. I’ll never get the mental images scrubbed from my brain.

    if that article was not massively exaggerated, this country’s in big trouble.

    • The trick is to wait until after the missile launches THEN commandeer the silo. They’re usually pretty-well stocked and self-sufficient. On the down-side, you’re under a targeted bunker buster, but that’s sweet, quick death rather the ten-thousand small cuts you’ll get out here.

    • hear, hear – still spitting in the yuck out of my mouth… can’t get it out of my eyeballs though

  18. Boring Time worked with our kid, personally. (Or, in the barely-famous Fireplace Experiment, flicking on the gas fireplace and letting her lean her little hands against the glass till it became uncomfortable, with me saying, “Hot” — and she stayed away from anything else I told her was “hot” after that. Or the time I let her try to crawl down the stairs head-first (holding onto the back of her onesie, of course!) and she bumped her head, and cried, and never did that again. Never had kid-gates on the stairs. She wouldn’t mess with those stairs till she was much older.)

    I recall rather a few Boring Times out in the car when she wasn’t behaving reasonably in a restaurant. *sigh*

    Of course, she’s no neurotypical.

    As for all the other rebellion stuff… Meh, I never was in tune enough with rebels to bother with all that. I had more important things to do. (Read. And live day-to-day in a toxic environment made more stressful by what I now suspect are dubious claims about The IRS Will Take Everything Any Day Now.)

    • Our oldest would climb out of his crib. He fell out a couple of times; didn’t stop him. When he burned his hand on the muffler on my father’s riding mower before anyone could stop him, he DID learn the concept of being careful of hot things – but it took blisters to do it. As an older child, he would run through the house at top speed and carom off door frames without slowing.

      When we were told we had to agree to no physical discipline (baseless accusation by mother-in-law, don’t ask, because I don’t want to break my keyboard), we tried “time out”. This resulted in one of us, well, just me, really, because I was the only one strong enough, to sit in the corner with him, holding him there for his time out. Even then, he was like holding onto a blasted eel, and almost impossible to keep in place without hurting him.

      He’s grown up to be a reasonably responsible young man, though. Still waiting to see what the younger one is going to do in the next couple of years.

      • Robert. Eventually we took down the baby gates. He flung himself over them, head first on the floor, and kept on going. It was like raising the youngest of the Incredibles. No, seriously. We resorted to smacks on butt because I didn’t want to get the phone call from kindergarten “your son murdered his teacher and three classmates.” So he HAD to fear me. He did. Weirdly, we’re now the best of friends. His brother, OTOH who was never half as bad (only in self-defense, aka revenge) and who was sickly and therefore really got swatted very rarely, made us be MUCH harsher in his teen years, with privilege restriction and grounding and such. However, he too is now very nice to have around. I like them both. A lot.

      • Discipline? Smack on the butt. I wish. The Daughter became a contortionist and I could never get the butt. Time out was difficult as well. At one point by the time we got into time out the whole reason we had started the process was nearly forgotten. Then I came up with the idea of the portable time out, I simply dropped a hula hoop over her and that was the time out space. It became easier when she could understand consequence, i.e., ‘if you whine we will not buy you any treat, even if buying it for you was the reason we came here in the first place.’ We had only had to demonstrate that we meant it a couple of times. When she would show signs of whining I would ask her to tell me the whining rule and there was no further problem.

        • Smack on the butt worked until they UNDERSTOOD. After that I could do FAR more evil consequences. “One more word, young man, and that game you want for Christmas? Kiss it goodbye.” As for contortionism, they TRIED. This is when I got REALLY GOOD at contorting. G-d, they hated it. 🙂

          Though Robert says the times I really scared him when very young was when I DIDN’t smack him. I just went white in the face and said, “Go, if I touch you I’ll kill you. Go to your room and not a peep until I can see you again.” The first of those was at three and a half throwing pixie (in an elizabethan collar) outside so I’d chase him, then locking the door after us. Me — 9 months pregnant, stuck outside, with no cell phone or keys and KNOWING this kid was in there alone, doing G-d knows what. (This was revenge for my ignoring him while I cooked and he wanted to play.) I took advantage of his being a little boy and not having a concept of reality. I yelled through the door “If you don’t open the door RIGHT NOW I’ll beat you black and blue.” He opened. Second time when he tried to jump from top bunk on his little brother a year later. If I hadn’t been there and shoved him aside mid-jump, we wouldn’t have Marsh. Yes, I know he didn’t get the consequences, but after I went white-cold on him he GOT it was really, really, really bad. Afterwards, because at four and a half he could SORTA get it, I explained he ALMOST committed murder.

    • “Boring Time” — Yes! AKA “Parental Lectures”: inflicted boredom works especially well with Bright children as they reach terminal tedium before the parent runs out of meaningless platitudes. Easier on parental wrists, too.

      • Not my two terrors. Robert went elsewhere mentally and Marshall plotted revenge. And the mills of Marshall grind exceedingly fine. This is the kid who at seven flung himself screaming at his older brother. “What was that for?” “You broke my lego castle.” “That was a month ago.” “Yeah, I’ve been waiting.”
        Even Robert learned it was a BAD idea to mess with that one. (I’m very proud of Marshall. In many ways, he’s my clone.)

        • Oh, you have no idea how thoroughly, comprehensively and completely boring I can be. The trick is to inject just the slightest bit of possibly interesting content, then ponderously grind it into dust. I’m telling ya, in my prime I could bore rocks.

          • Sweetie, Dan can bore ME. It’s one of his tricks. Start on something computer related, make my eyes glaze, then ask something like, “So, it’s totally okay if I buy the complete series of Monk on DVD?” And since I’m reduced to “uh uh” he can then say “You said to get it.”

            • Yeah, but what The Spouse did not say here is that in the process he taught The Daughter how to be a verbal bulldog… Me, I was trained by an appellate attorney, who used to make up hypotheticals just so we could argue. (Which is why I knew what a hypothetical was when I entered kindergarten, much to my teacher’s chagrin.)

              • My four-year-old girl, who’s a middle child and already the Bart Simpson of the family (along with being gorgeous to boot) was born in very late October, so she will be nearly a year older than her classmates when she goes to kindergarten. I do not envy her teacher one bit. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m sending her to school on her first day with piece of paper taped to her chest reading “YOUR TURN” in 72-point, bold Ariel.

              • Well, yes, that was the problem when they were older. We couldn’t out bore them. They could outbore us. Barracks lawyers, both of them. AND Marsh who is Lord Malaprop could make us laugh to boot. Like when he said after death he wanted to be crucified (he meant cremated.) Though Robert was bad enough. Did you know that in the end times the Gorgonzola will rise from the sea? His fundamentalist friend told him so. (And our friend Charles immediately quipped “And then the cheese will hit the fan.”)

          • Mine would just leave as soon as it got boring.

            • Free-range Oyster

              And this, my friend, is why God inspired man to invent duck tape. 🙂

              • Ah, but even though that did not involve corporal punishment, it would still have been interpreted as a violation of the agreement, and we may very well have lost our kids.

    • Our only effective non-swat on the butt punishment was telling Robert the trash-collectors would pick him up. This was NOT set up because we thought of it, but because trash collectors once broke into our backyard (don’t even ask) and scared him half to death. He was convinced they’d come for HIM (instead of having the wrong house for a pickup.) So, after about two, instead of the swat on butt, we started the “okay, fine, I’ll call the trash company.” Our friends all said it would take years of psychotherapy, but he didn’t even remember it — and is very nice to trash collectors — until we joked about it last year. And then he went “Good Lord. I remember that.” 😛

      • We were at a yogurt place when my son was 10. With a 50’s/60’s theme, they had a lot of faux car front ends, but lots of real chrome. Their benches were made from chrome and it was a HOT day. He got his order and went to go sit on one in shorts. I stopped him saying it was too hot to sit there. He looked at me, ignored what I had just said, and sat down…coming right back up rubbing his thigh.

        Seeing the value of a lesson in which the old man’s experience was obviously correct, I brought it up from time to time as he went through high school whenever I thought he wasn’t listening to my advice given based on my own experience. He probably listened about half the time, which is a pretty good ratio for teenagers.

        • I have often told The Daughter that she may know more facts about all sorts of things and she may have read more books, but I have managed to keep breathing longer than she has and have more experience. Appropriately, as time goes by, the differential is becoming smaller.

          • eh. My reply to the boys is “I’m older and meaner than you and I’m approaching the age when I think young people should be whipped twice a day for going around being young. You don’t want to fight this battle.”

      • OH… You never told me that, about attack of the Trashman. I always wondered what possessed you to suddenly threaten Robert with the trash collector.

    • I was the good one. *smirks, then ducks* My sibling was/is the normal one. Our parents, in their great wisdom, punished Sib by taking away all the cords to the various electronica in Sib’s bedroom – and leaving the gaming equipment, electric guitar, TV, stereo, and so on for Sib to look at (and vice versa). It worked pretty well.

      • THAT’s what we did to Marsh as a teen. He went weeks without being able to use his computer. It worked.

        • In The Amazing Maurice Pratchett introduces us to a young lady who is punished by being sent out of her room. (“I can’t get at my books.”) Until then, I had never encountered another person who was punished that way – which I was. Couldn’t get at my books, couldn’t get at my computer. Dreadful.

    • My parents tell me that when I was three or so, I threw my first temper tantrum. It was time to leave and I didn’t want to leave, so I got down on my hands and knees and started banging my head against the floor. My father, wise man that he is, didn’t start panicking or yelling for me to stop hurting myself — that would have been a great way to ensure that there would be more tantrums in the future. Instead, he just waited patiently until I glanced up to see if my antics were having the desired effect, then said, “Are you done? Because we’re leaving now” and turned around and walked away. I promptly got up on my little toddler’s legs and ran after him. And that’s the story of how my first temper tantrum was also my last.

      • When I was a toddler, I had one tantrum because I wanted more time with my dad. He had other things to do so he carefully took me to my bedroom, left me on the bed, told me to stay there. I cried myself to sleep.

        I can’t say there weren’t other tantrums… but when I got older (pre-seven) the tantrums were rare and over broken promises. My mother and I had a thing. Still have a thing. I learned not to trust her early. Dad says she is honest as the day is long. I say that she is into self-deception.

        • I forgot to say – that I learned from those experiences not to make a promise unless I was sure I could do it. I still use qualifiers – if I feel good, if I have the time, or if I can. If I make a full promise, I bend over backwards to keep it even if it hurts me.

      • we did that to the boys. “Call us when you get a job” and walk away

    • Oh, you’re another use-boredom as punishment parents! Very good. Whenever I heard Jane and Dan quarreling, I’d sit them both down and boring-time would start: I’d ask Jane what Dan did and ask Dan what Jane did with each confirming that yes, indeed that is what happened. All the while I had NO concern about how long it took to establish with exacting detail exactly the problem was. I should have billed them for court costs…

      • As a bonus, your method serves to inoculate them against “therapeutic solutions.”

      • I got punished a lot as a kid, and richly deserved it. I was pretty good about doing my chores and taking care of the livestock, but I’d disappear for hours at a time – sometimes from after chores to well after dark. My mother killed a peach tree cutting switches to use on my backside. I never hated my parents. The punishment I received was for the transgressions I did. It was just that for me, the punishment wasn’t bad enough to stop me from doing what I did.

        • You just described my life growing up, well usually it was a leather belt, not a switch, but I had alder or maple switches used on me enough to remember the feeling. 😉

          The anti-corporal punishment people always want to point out that spanking doesn’t work, becuase people like us did what we wanted anyways. They totally ignore the fact that it taught us that there are consequences for your actions, that you had to take responsibility for your actions, and critical thinking/risk analysis (Is sneaking off and going fishing worth the whipping I’m going to get when I get home?).

  19. That article… *shudders*

    Could you possibly find a more perfect illustration of the term existential angst? This woman and her friends have no purpose in their lives; they live only for their own pleasure, and are finding out just how unfulfilling that is. Real fulfillment can be found when you live for a purpose that is greater than yourself. Maybe it’s serving God, maybe it’s serving your country, maybe it’s serving your kids by being a good parent — but there’s something that drives you besides your own desires, and that’s what lets you keep going when times are hard. People with a purpose, whatever that purpose might be, won’t be caught dead indulging in this sort of pap, because they’re too busy doing important stuff, stuff that matters to them because it serves the purpose they’ve chosen. Could be changing the kid’s diapers, could be working hard on the church website, could be teaching themselves German… the actual tasks will be as varied as the people doing them and the purposes they’ve chosen — but purpose is what drives them, and what keeps them from this sort of nonsense.

  20. Rather than “Rebels without a spine” the title should be “Rebels without a Brain”. I can’t finish it. I’ve tried three times, and I’m just not that tolerant today. Personally, I’m a Thomas Jefferson/James Madison/Patrick Henry/Ben Franklin type of rebel. As I say on my weblog, I was born 200 years too late — too late for the REAL Rebellion. Then, on the other hand, we may need another one very soon…

  21. Ever notice that the truly revered artists of the hip Sixties, R. Crumb, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, all had short hair and an old-fashioned – bordering – on – archaic style of dress and odd or invisible politics (Kerouac was a lifelong Republican, something most of his young fans try to ignore.)

  22. Whenever I see tomfoolery as Ms Sohn expresses, I thank deity that this is the sort of writer I’m competing against. Sure, she’s got the media-industrial complex on her side, But small, agile mammals have dispatched sclerotic dinosaurs before. Go ahead dear. Write another dystopian novel.

    The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question “How can we eat?” the second by the question “Why do we eat?” and the third by the question “Where shall we have lunch?” –Douglas Adams, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

    • Agreed. With my books, I am trying to elucidate where we came from, as Americans, and what were the forces that shaped us. The media-industrial complex, as well as it’s embarrassingly in-bred cousin, the literary-industrial complex is not the least bit interested in that, unless it is from a Marxist, or pseudo-Marxist perspective.

  23. Nice :(. What that link leads to, that is.

    At least actual hookers are women I can respect. Kind of know one, Maggie McNeill who has blogged about two years for sex worker rights. I met her online several years ago and once drew her some portraits of photos she emailed me (nudes). Another Heinlein fan. Can be rather acerbic in her writings, but most times she seems to have a point.

    The differences between her and the ‘hookers’ of that story are rather staggering.

    As a warning, If any of you want to look (easy to find with a google search), the blog does sometimes have photos of nudes, and occasionally rather frank discussions about sex, although mostly she does concentrate on the political aspects. Lots of numbers and statistics, and links to research. As usual, most of the stuff you learn from newspapers seems to be rather off.

  24. On rebellion now:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB5YkmjalDg — with apologies for the ads. (“Hip To Be Square”, Huey Lewis and the News)

    and when it mattered:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01IaKb6DmTw — with apologies for the ads. (“Uprising”, Sabaton — gotta love military history set to speed-metal)

  25. One thing a lot of boomers (yes even the sensible ones) miss is the immense amount of privilege they got. I understand the sensible boomers here not wanting to be lumped in with the idiots, but please consider this: your general age group has been THE age group that matters for damn near your whole life.

    I was born in 1967. All my life, with something close to zero exceptions, the not-quite-metaphorical universe has revolved around the people 10 to 20 years older than me. In early school? It was all for young adults. When I was a teen? Thirty-somethings. Now it’s the retired or soon to retire. Meanwhile, I’ve lived with the wreckage that demographic left in its wake.

    Sure, a lot of it was simple size: you don’t run a bulge like that through a society without distortion. A lot was the unthinking narcissism of a generation that largely believed it was the center of everything – because everything it saw (unless someone was one of that rare crew that looked a bit closer and peeked behind the curtain) CONFIRMED that they were indeed the center of everything.

    Add to that the epic misbehavior that saw most of the good stuff stopped by the time my age group got there, and what’s surprising is that so few of my age group are out there claiming that the boomers have had enough of the good times at everyone else’s expense and they can go perform impossible anatomical acts on themselves.

    Yeah, I’m a tad bitter. Maybe one day I’ll give it up. But not yet.

    • Eh, same here. In my twenties, the cool age to be was “Thirty Something” and OMG when boomers reproduced the yammering heads wouldn’t shut up about it. It was like no one had ever had kids before. They were reinventing parenting. (I met the kids where the parents really re-invented it. They needed to go back to the drawing board.) They were hip and cool, not middle aged. By the time I was 39 everyone was talking about the first boomer retiring, and how they’d reinvent retirement. I think the reason they’re now co-opting the people born in the fifties, my generation — and soon yours, Kate, watch — is that “reinventing dying” sounds too stupid.

      • Anyone ever watch the cartoon Dexter’s Lab? His nemesis, Mandark, was a product of hippie parents reinventing parenting by being so laid back they had their heads buried (they named him Susan, and not for the reasons in the Johnny Cash song).

      • I think the reason they’re now co-opting the people born in the fifties, my generation — and soon yours, Kate, watch — is that “reinventing dying” sounds too stupid.

        “Cryoburn”

        🙂

      • Ah, ‘death with dignity’? The boomers are not going to like the reality of dying.

        • I TOL’ them. I TOL’ them that their hankering to get someone else to pay for their health care would mean putting themselves in positions to be euthanized. I TRIED to save them from themselves. I TOL’ ’em. Millenium hand in shrimp.

          • Yeah – try to find a geriatrics specialist, there aren’t any.

            There’s already a new recommendation against giving men prostate exams because the cancer doesn’t become a problem until most men reach age 75 (implication: and who cares if a bunch of 75-year-olds get cancer? Better they die and get off government social security and medicare.)

            • Back during the Hillarycare debates, before NPR became completely unlistenable, I recall a pundit making the point that “least expensive therapy” was ALWAYS to let the patient die.

        • “Death with Dignity”??? They have abandoned living in dignity, why should they get it in death?

    • You. Me. *makes that gesture with the v-fingers at eyes* Like that.

      Bastards screwed up every experience, realized how effing stupid they were AFTER they had their fun, and decided that nobody ELSE should get to do it. Now they sit around, try to stay young (they’ll always be relevant, just not in the way they want, so they try to stay relevant in stupid ways) and suck up resources. Let them freeze in the dark, says I.

      • Eh. You got hind teat, I (and a lotta people like me) got stuck being blamed for a few vocal jackasses claiming to represent us. I could go all Obama/Warren on you and claim that, because of the Boomers you grew up without polio, you had air-conditioning in your cars (and for many, in your homes, you had computers (lissen, kid, when I was your age we programmed on punched paper tape, and if you made a mistake you had to rekey the whole thing again, from the beginning, uphill!), heck, thanks to us Boomers you had Heinlein’s juveniles, and Thomas Sowell and Milton Friedman. What did we have for economists? Keynes. Oh yeah, you can credit Rock’n’Roll to us too … or blame us for it, I can’t decide. And yeah, it is probably our fault that there are paperback books, too. And Star Trek, Spiderman and the Hulk.

        Sure, we Boomers had more than our fair share of yammerheads and the press and authorities doted on them — they weren’t anything we as’d for. Blaming a generation for anything is just stupid, ’cause the fact is that Life Sucks. Sucks for the Boomers, sucks for the War-babies, sucks for the pot-boomers, sucked for the people like my Dad who was born in the Roaring Twenties — meaning he was too young to roar but had to deal with world wide economic depression and world wide war before he was old enough to drink legally.

        It makes little sense to complain about the world sucking because if it didn’t suck we would all fly off into space. Resentment based on selective focus on slights while ignoring significant benefits just makes you smaller and meaner.

        • because if it didn’t suck we would all fly off into space

          Not if Le Sage is right 🙂

        • Okay, fine, but we are allowed to shoot the tv every time a commercial comes on saying stuff like “you’re from the generation that redifined– “

          • Sure, by all means blame the rat b@st@rds who try to convince us of that generational cr@p. They’re the same kind of hustling pimps who try to convince folk that race is a valid concept for ideological orientation (you’re Hispanic, Mario Rubio is Hispanic, Cesar Chavez was Hispanic, Cheech Marin is Hispanic.) Talkin’ ’bout my generation is just another form of sorting people into groups rather than taking them as they come. In my experience people will provide ample reason to dislike them retail, there’s no need to dislike them wholesale. That’s why I dislike everybody and only grant waivers individually, as they demonstrate likeable qualitites.

        • RES,

          Even if everyone in your generation had been paragons of virtue, you’d have STILL done a massive amount of damage. Boomers are and were a massive demographic bulge that strained and usually broke the structures around them even before the idiots got going.

          Here’s what I saw in the wake: demoralized, often shattered schools and teachers with budgets being massively cut because the need was for services to workers in the 20-30 age bracket. Followed by high levels of unemployment because for some peculiar reason shortly after baby boomers started entering the top levels of businesses there was this wave of takeovers and consolidations that wiped out middle management (usually older and not top management material) and low end while tossing out the idea that one worked up through the ranks and replacing it with this class of floating CEOs (otherwise known as MBAs, or Masters of Bugger All). Then came the bright young things who were the New Hope of something or other – and just happened to have the same general view as their (almost to a person) boomer elders.

          Much of this is invisible to even the sensible boomers. The world warped around you. You don’t see it because you’re in that bubble. Worse, what’s visible outside the bubble isn’t the sensible ones. It’s the asses.

          • Actually it should be visible even to boomers. Go back and read Heinlein — he didn’t realize that the boom wouldn’t continue, that each generation wouldn’t be massively larger than the last — he captures exactly that “we’d better ingratiate ourselves with this huge demographic group, so they’ll be kind to us” feeling. The idea was that the boomers would then have to be nice to the next larger cohort, etc. Only the next cohort wasn’t larger. (Go look at his juveniles. Young people demonstrating for salaries on the basis of existing. Politicians fawning over them. Heinlein was a GOOD artist. He reproduced the feel of society.) And so we were ignored. It wasn’t so long ago — 90s? — that editors were saying it took till 45 for someone to be capable of writing anything publishable — therefore keeping me and anyone else born in the late seventies, early sixties out. AND THEN when their precious darlings came of age, they told us they wanted to buy “the young people” because that’s where the market was.

            Look, I don’t hold it against boomers as a generation. I hold it against the stupid Marxist boomers, who wanted to impose their view on society, suspected us because we weren’t “socially conscious” and DELIBERATELY kept us at bay. I don’t blame boomers for the mess we’re in. I blame the subgroup of marxists who are boomers. They’re PARTICULARLY virulent. I hope to outlive them all.

            And Mike, you are right. It’s a cold civil war. It riffs through my generation too, and all the way to my kids’

          • So, Kate, you are blaming us en masse for having been born?????

            It wasn’t our fault!!! If the generations before us hadn’t broken the economy, caused the Depression, empowered Adolph and Benito and Tojo, fomented world wide war on the tail of a “baby bust” we wouldn’t have had the demographic effect we did. We had badly trained teachers and inadequate school facilities. Of course, if our parents’ parents hadn’t elected Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt … and so on and on.

            It is self-destructive to blame a generation for the circumstances and effects of their birth. If subsequent generations invested half the energy into actually building their lives that they exert in resentment of their predecessors the world just might be in better shape. Blame us individually if you will (I have certain grudges against many of my “classmates”, from Teddy-boy Kennedy and John Effing Kerry through to Bill Ayers, Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda and many many more, so take a number and get in line) but en masse guilt is just another form of bigotry, focused by age rather than race or religion.

            In this world, I find, it is a happier life if I focus on my blessings instead of where my shoes pinch. I give thanks every morning that I arrived in this world at a time when porcelain toilets, air-conditioning, anti-biotics, plentiful reading matter, plentiful food resources (it should give pause to consider that we live in a time when few foods are “out-of-season”) and cheap shipping are just a few of the commonplace blessings to enjoy. Against that (and more) it strikes me as adolescent self-obsession to grumble that some things weren’t more to my liking.

            • CAN we blame the Marxists in your generation? They really are particularly bad as a subset, and most of them are in publishing (okay, okay, in Hollywood, but a lot of them are in publishing) and well… feathers. Tar. They’re the ones exasperating Kate, even if she extends it to the whole generation. Mind you at this point most of them are in BAD shape. All those drugs and stuff. Chasing them and beating them would look bad for us — what with their walkers and respirators. So, the older of you guys beat them. We’ll collect the feathers.

              • Girl, i been fighting those @ssholes most of my life.

                BTW, from Wikipedia, US Census defines those born between 1946 and 1964 as Boomers. You wasn’t born heah so you get a pass. You still have to help clean the Augean Stable they’ve left us.

                • I KNOW what it’s defined as NOW — it wasn’t that way when WE came of age in the eighties. Then we were “evil” and socially not engaged. As for cleaning up — I think you’re about ten years older than I, and when have we done anything different? You me, anyone but the Marxist darlings? And let me tell you, there’s a lot of sh*t to go around. If we manage to fix this in time for our kids…

                  • It will take a decade to fix.

                    In the meantime, despite Chris Rock’s support of one of the chief architects of the on-going swirly, I have to do my best to make sure my daughters “stay off the pole”.

                    • It will be more than decade. The boys will have to help, as will all your kids. And RES is dead right, it’s been going on for 100 years. the boomers were JUST the perfect storm.

                    • Andres — I just renamed the poor man. 🙂 What I mean is it had been building up and the boomers just got the right time, the right number of people. It wasn’t THEM, it was the previous’ generations set-up. Will they be blamed? Well… yeah. But this is no time to point fingers. It’s time to work. And one of the first things to work at is restoring our culture’s idea of adulthood as being a desirable thing.

                    • We need a “doer”.

                    • No, electing “doers” is a big part of how we got into this mess. We need a salesman, a preacher, a teacher, someone who can explain the reasons why free-markets are best even if they look messy and inefficient as all get out.

                      Ronald Reagan was one — I paid enough attention in the Eighties to recall conservative dissatisfaction over him and liberal slanders of him, but he knew how to make the moral case for free markets. Romney is, sadly, not such a man, but it is to be hoped he can bring to prominence some who are. Non-partisan: I would love to see a Democrat leader step forward and make that case, but I think pigs will fly before we get a Republican doing it, and that is 100 times more likely than a Democrat.

                      So we probably have to make the long slog through the institutions that the Lefties took, fighting them hand-to-hand every step of the way. Baen is a beachhead, Human Wave is a battlefront, and (sorry for blowing smoke up your skirt) Sarah is a warrior (yeah, the Valkyries get the publicity but warrior maids do the work.)

                    • “RES is dead right”

                      Hmmm, gotta get that engraved … I’m thinking smoked glass in a brass frame on a polished ebony … no, cherry plaque.

                    • Perfect storm is right — Mom & Dad were desperate for normal without ever knowing “normal” in their lives. Housing in short supply (say what you will against Mr. Levitt’s town, the housing was desperately needed … watch a few contemporary movies from the late Forties.) New government schools trying to meet the deluge, staffed with bright eager teachers trained in the latest most scientific methods of Mr. Dewey. (Would it be too terrible a pun to term them Dewey-eyed?)

                      Casting blame is easy, but most problems of this sort take generations to get rooted, like an infection laying doggo waiting a momentary weakening of the immune system. People tend too readily to forget, looking backward, that what is clear in hindsight is often quite murky looking forward. It takes a powerful imagination to consider perspectives in, say, 1943 when the Axis powers seemed to have victory well in hand. When the Allies settled accounts after The Great War they had no idea what terrible seeds they were sowing, and I expect there are ample comparable points as far back up the line as you want to go.

                  • Oh, and my generation — say 54 to 64 DO resent being called boomers. First the b*stards disparaged us and WILLFULLY kept us out of everything where they could control our access. Now they co-opt us. Yes, they are Marxist bastards, slicing people into generations. NO we don’t resent the rest of you. BUT they still don’t get to co-opt us. Not while I have middle fingers. I WILL NOT fall in line for them, so they can still feel “relevant”

                    • Yeah, well, that’s the general attitude of kid brothers & kid sisters throughout history, ennit? First born get the attention and the new stuff, and the younger ones get the hand-me-downs that show the wear and don’t always quite fit. Only worse thing than being born late is being aborted.

                    • And having escaped the second, I’m grateful. OTOH I HONESTLY wouldn’t want to be a “good boomer” amid the loud Marxists who promoted the “generational conflict.” It’s easier coming after.

                  • … fix this in time for our kids…? Shoot, after this klowder of kleptocrats in DC? (N.B., non-partisan slam — so far as I am concerned the only difference between parties is one party is embarrassed over what they’re doing while the other party is putting the pedal to the metal in hopes of getting out before it collapses) the best I expect is limiting the damage so the clean-up crew has a chance.

            • RES,

              Hell no. I’m not blaming anyone for being born. I’m pointing out that even if the Marxist poison hadn’t got in, things would still have been rough for those that followed.

              I’m also, with the collective responsibility bullshit thrown around, continually stunned that the people who did follow in the shadow of the boomers are managing (mostly) not to buy it.

              I tend to speak in the broad generalization while knowing damn well that there are plenty of exceptions. I’m looking at the overall trending when I’m doing that. Unfortunately the overall trend is often defined by the loudest, most obnoxious SOBs in the cluster. It’s the Big Lie by noise and repetition.

              At that, when the self-centered, power-chasing overrated sons of bitches find all their stupid coming back to them, I rather suspect that they’re going to get the upraised middle finger salute and be told which improbable part of the anatomy they can put it in.

              The decent folk who got shafted through no fault of their own will hopefully get excluded from that reaction.

              • Kate, I didn’t think you were, but wanted to give you the chance to clarify and extend your remarks. What you’ve described is what Beloved Spouse & I have com to term the “drunk at the party” problem. EVERYbody wants the boor to go, but everybody recognizes that evicting the louse will create a scene, so we all just hang back hoping the drunk will eventually develop sufficient self-awareness to recognize what they’ve become and just leave.

                Oddly, we came up with that during the last couple years of the Clinton Administration. Can’t recall now what might have prompted us.

    • Hear! Hear! I was born in 1961 and saw that as well. You said it better, of course. 😉

      • I have always thought about how the “three generations back to poverty” phenomena could apply not only to families, but to generations as well. In the usual description, the first generation works its ass off and becomes affluent, pinching every penny, etc. The second generation grew up relatively poor and saw that first generation doing it as they grew up. The third generation knows nothing but affluence and you get a bunch of twits. To some degree, the second generation sees things as “I don’t want you to have to grow up like I did, so here’s a $50k sweet sixteen birthday”.

        Again, I think there’s an argument that this phenomena can be widely applied to generations and its one of the “layered-in” tenets of my current narrative. In this case, the Great Depression generation, The WWII generation and the Boomers would be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

    • What I really hate is that people like me – people who didn’t do all that crazy sh$$ that the so-called “boomers” did (throwing out all the rules, “free love”, drugs, shakedowns, pimpy cr$$) still get pilloried because of those that DID. The so-called “boomer” generation was constantly engaged in a low-intensity civil war between different cultures: one against obeying rules, some of which have been in place, and proven not only effective but ESSENTIAL, for 5000 years, and the other trying to live within those rules. That civil war continues, and it’s one of the things destroying our great nation. What’s worse is that I think it’s going to take a MAJOR collapse before we can return to honest rules (most “laws” today are primarily designed to give one group preference over another), and things can get better.

      • I posted this before I realized the same thing can apply to the publishing industry. The fat cats kept changing the rules to favor one group or one person over another, and shafted everyone else. Instead, since they “closed the door” on so many of us, we turned to other means – indie publishing, small-house publishing, etc. “When things can’t go on as they are, they won’t.” Can’t remember the first person that said that, but it’s true. It’s true in publishing, it’s true in government, it’s true in society. Our current “society” has a lot of sick in it. Sooner or later, one of the Four Horsemen will ride up, and the sick will be weeded out. The trick is to not be taken with them.

      • Being raised in previously unheard of affluence is a strong bulwark against thankfulness and common sense.

        I did a short story exercise a few years back where a Boomer, now aged and close to the end of his life, goes back in time through force of sheer will (Somewhere in Time without the damned penny) and starts abducting VW bus fulls at a time, bringing them forward to show them, forty years later, what life and society is like. In the last busload, one of the little suburban hippie-wannabe’s actually bumps into herself.

        Not a really good story, but it was catharsis for me, coming on the heels a huge argument at Thanksgiving over generational misdeeds.

      • Ain’t it da troof!!! Didn’t get to (didn’t much want to) attend the party and yet we’re still getting blamed for the mess they made.

        Geeze, ya’d think marxists had infiltrated the educational system and promulgated their ideas to a buncha ignorant yutes.

      • I will start feeling sorry for the lumpenBoomers when they stop voting as if all of them were on acid and not just some of them. Maybe most of you weren’t at Woodstock, but you control all elections, and most of you DO keep electing pie in the sky morons. Knock. It. Off.

        • To be honest most of the other generations do too. And education in economics would help. I was going to blog about economics tomorrow — what works; what we’re teaching our kids, etc — but I feel like an elephant just fell on me, and since I must write the post tonight, I’m doing a fluffy on on suffering for art.

          • Sorry to hear that you’re not feeling good. When you can, I would love to read the economics one. Tomorrow I go back to the dentist…

          • Old people and young people have excuses (fear and ignorance) that the Boomers don’t, at least not for some time and/or until quite recently.

  26. Pingback: counter-cultural rebels | Jonathan Moeller, Pulp Writer

  27. I was born in 1961, and am not a boomer. My definition is that you had to be an adolescent in the ’60’s.

    • I was born in 62, refused to come of age in the seventies (DUH) and turned 18 in 1980. NOTHING in common with the boomers. Claiming me is just insane.

      • My understanding of the baby boom, despite what many high-forehead types of the squishy sciences may contend, is that there was a ton of births following the return of the GI’s from WWII. Since this didn’t happen all at once after V-E and V-J day, the pattern of those births was likewise spread out, but was largely over by 1950. I have no facts to back that up, just pure stubbornness.

        • No. I agree. One of the things that used to make me jump up and down and foam at the mouth was when — still happens, though not as often — people my age, “the parents” in movies were/are depicted as having worn love beads and protested against the Vietnam war and lived in communes. What? In Middle School? Or elementary? Honestly, Hollywood needs a clue.

  28. Honestly, Hollywood needs a clue.
    Ain’t
    Gonna
    Happen.

    Hollyweird is in its own little bubble, and honesty and integrity are turned away at the gate. That’s one of three reasons I don’t watch movies very often, and then only in the privacy of my office, on DVD.

  29. Ummm…I started to post a comment on all of this that got so big I didn’t feel I should. So the concise version is this. I have to agree with was seems to be the opinion of the author’s post that it isn’t about regression and more conforming to the idea of not conforming. However I think it goes beyond just that and beyond just an age group. It is the circle of stupid. It started in media that society decided to start reflecting so media started reflecting society.

    It comes down to two thoughts. That it is both the in thing and the fun thing to do. Many when asked say they do it because it is fun, but if they are honest they often don’t find it fun at all. They have rather bought into the fact it should be fun. That because some people like them can find it fun it therefor is. That maybe they just are not trying hard enough. So they go out and drink, drug more, cheat more, because at some point it will be fun. That will make up for everything that they’ve done. They will hit that magical critical mass where everything beyond that point what follows is the fun it appears to be.

    While I hate to do it this way because it seems to promote my blog(of which is for me really and I’m not really conserned that anyone reads it), my real responce really is just that long so the other half of my marathon of thought can be found here: http://sorwen.blogspot.com/2012/07/circle-of-stupid.html for anyone interested.

    • Yes, that is EXACTLY the psychic button being pressed by advertisers when they show lots of happy attractive laughing people having fun drinking brown swill. Or when they promote a book (film, TV show) as a BEST SELLER!!!

      Heh – I never knew Roxy Music did a cover.

      Of course, for some of us Odd folk, “best-selling” = avoid like the plague.

  30. I have to say that “rebel for real” is somewhat — limited. If you are in a subculture or — miracle of miracles — society reforms, you don’t want to keep on rebelling.

    I think the only escape is orthogonal, to stop caring about whether it’s rebellious. Or conforming. Or cool or whatever it is that fashionable is called. Which is only feasible if you instead adhere to some other rule for evaluating your behavior. One that does not depend on one’s surroundings.

    • ‘struth!! Rebelling or conforming, either way you’re reacting. Better far to be yourself.

      • Well, now, that depends on what sort of self you are.

        Besides, “yourself” does not give any criterion to judge your choices by, because your choices will determine your self. If you chose to lie, you are a liar; to tell the truth, a truth-teller; to keep silence, a person who keeps silent. So you can’t in fact just “be yourself” because you do have to make choices.

        • I think the point was to not base your choices on those of others, be it to act as they do, or to act in the opposite from them; To evaluate things on your own, rather than merely through the lens of either conformity or anti-comformity.

          • Or as my mom used to say, “if your friends jumped over a cliff, would you do it too?” We finally started say, “yes, mom.”

            • My mom used to say “if you keep doing that, I’m going to turn myself inside out.” When I was about six, I continued doing whatever it was. She said “WHY are you doing that?” I said “I want to see you turn inside out.” It was true, but it didn’t go over well.

          • Yeah, that sounds good.

            Think of it as the difference between fashion and style. Fashion is what the rest of the world wears, be it Jackie Kennedy pillboxes or Pippa Middleton … whatever she wears. Style is what you wear because it suits you, makes you look good and feels comfortable for you to wear. For a guy, it means not basing a decision on whether or not to wear a T-shirt on whether Gable didn’t or Brando did, but on whether you are more comfortable (physically, psychologically) with or without.

          • The reason I distinguish is because in my experience people who say “be yourself” do not mean “judge on your own” but a range of things from “be rebellious” to “be a self-absorbed jerk” to “do exactly what I tell you.”

            The guy who tried to nag me into changing my writing style in posts because he did not deem them my personal style was an outlier.

            • Mary,

              No, he wasn’t. People have done that to me about my books “that’s not your real style. You should dare to be yourself” — both pros and amateurs and total strangers. AND every other writer I know has had that happen to him. It’s mind boggling, but there it is.

              • That makes me feel better that “dare to be yourself” when you are writing the best you can is a common experience. Ugh

              • Mary,

                Exactly what Sarah said. Plus, wouldn’t it be more effective if you would have started a new paragraph after “do exactly what I tell you” ?

                (ducks)

              • How presumptuous, accusing you of not being yourself! I know very few people so well I could accuse them of something like that.

                Besides, I gather it takes writers considerable practice to find out who they are in the first place … and for some the fact is that who they really are is a pale imitation of some other author.

                • sigh. I fear that, sometimes, with Heinlein. But hey, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best!
                  Seriously, I seem to have a different “self” with each genre I write — ie. the book dictates certain things, but I THINK I’m still me.

                  • Of course you’re going to be different in each genre! Each genre has different conventions.

                    As for imitation, when Peter Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn, he deliberately copied the styles of James Thurber and Lord Dunsany, and it works beautifully.

                    • As for imitation, when Peter Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn, he deliberately copied the styles of James Thurber and Lord Dunsany, and it works beautifully.

                      YES. (One of the first Anime that The Daughter discovered was a join Japanese/American adaption of this book.)

                  • As a writer you are the sum (and, hopefully, more than the sum) of her influences — the people who taught you to think by challenging your preconceptions, the people who taught you to write by the way they constructed their tales, the people who taught you to take care by kicking your shins.

                    Beyond that, you are the voice of your characters,of whatever source they spring. In that sense, being true to yourself means, I s’pose, listening to and projecting that character’s voice in as true and faithful a manner as possible. Writing Shane or To Kill A Mockingbird or Darkship Thieves means writing not as you are but as your narrative focus is.

                    Or mebbe not – this is all meaningless high-falutin’ drivel, after all. Your mileage may vary but take care in dealings with a friend.

                    • well, what you say fits how I feel, though I was still shocked how much Heinlein slipped into DST behind my back. Reminds me of “if you’re raised by a Jewish mother, eventually you become one” — Who knew Heinlein was Jewish? Or a mother? 😛

                    • I wrote a full-length screenplay when I was 14…and promptly put off writing any more fiction for about twenty-five years. Throughout that entire span I was reading constantly and always told myself that it would all help whenever I got off my ass and started writing seriously. Though no excuse for waiting so long to start, I think all of those books that I read, all of those author’s styles, wit, and knowledge, went into a stew, so to speak, and it’s been boiling away since, but never really boils anything off.

                      I think when we dream things up, even if they are found to be similar through no fault of malicious intent, the things we dream up are invariably coming through our own personal, unique lens.

                  • Free-range Oyster

                    “the book dictates certain things, but I THINK I’m still me.”
                    Ooh, new thesis for consideration: writers as embodiments of existential crisis! Or here you go: the universe is deterministic, but only for creators, whose free will is subsumed by the needs of the archetypes projecting into their creation. *cajoling* There’s a short story in there… 😀

                  • Most people who know me will agree I am always me. Still, there are aspects of me that different circumstances bring out or emphasize. The person who sits in Koine class is not the same person who runs the con table in the dealers room at the Anime convention or the person who recognized the leather wall coverings at the governor palace in Williamsburg or the person who talked food with an Argentinean pastry chef.

                    I have no problem seeing that each book of yours that I have read so far is Hoyt, whatever the genre it would listed under. Isn’t that as it should be, they each reflect a different aspect of yourself. I have a weakness for the Dyce mysteries, but that is because I have long been a fan of mysteries and I have a crush on E. I recently started Draw One in the Dark and look forward to seeing where that goes. What shouldn’t change is the underlying attitude, unless seriously contorted by contract, you will always come through loud and clear as Human Wave.

            • Mary, I completely understand your point about a lot of the people who say, “Be yourself” not meaning it that way. I also have to consider that “Be yourself” can be POOR advice for some, because some people are complete a**holes, and should temper their public personas – my younger son gives me, “I’m just being myself” sometimes when he is being a real pain, and I’m trying to get him to be a little more polite and/or considerate.

              In the particular instance above, however, even though I have not been visiting this site for a long time, I felt I knew RES’s meaning well enough to provide an alternate formulation of it with an intent to alleviate what I perceived to be a misunderstanding.

  31. Which, of course, is what stories are: a lens through which we see the world. And this particular “heartbreak of being well off and having kids and a house” way of looking at things is something that seems to have struck sometime in the late sixties as the “chic” or “cool” way to look at the world.

    I have it heard it said that there is a real difference between circumstantial happiness and having learned to live with joy. If obtaining something becomes too easy it is hard to see its gain as an achievement, and it becomes hard to see it as valuable. We are not designed to waltz through life without a challenge to place the words ‘happily ever after’ after. It is good for you to work towards a goal; to learn how to and that you can overcome obstacles is a true source of satisfaction.

    It is silly to blame any generation. The boomers of the conically dissatisfied ilk are a result of the times they were born in, the way they were raised, the messages that they heard as children and the expectations that their corner of society gave them. All of that was out of their hands. Nor can I blame their parents, who sought to make the lives of the boomers easier than the ones they had experienced. These people had grown up through a depression and then came of age during WWII, so who could quite blame them for wanting to indulge their children? In this process these well meaning parents often sent their children to the ‘best’ schools they could so their children would have a better chance in life. There their children were taught to dismiss our founding ideals and indoctrinated into bad philosophies. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Now I will get on the band wagon when it comes to blaming particular philosophies — all those brave new world, we humans can make it perfect ourselves philosophies, particularly Marxism. I am even more inclined to blame the likes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Why? The particular way he and his colleagues acted to counter Marxism makes it hard for anyone after him to challenge Marxism without being dismissed as an extreme kook. Historical records now open show that he was right about communist infiltration. Being right is not enough. If you replace a totalitarian heavy with a totalitarian light we loose the baby (the true American dream of independence and the pursuit of happiness) with the bath water.

    Marx had written that the change would occur by evolution not revolution…and in here in the USA you can see it. It has been in incremental change, which will continue until the whole thing collapses like an avalanche or we open our eyes, find our voices, and create a major sea change (sorry for the mixed metaphors).

    Sarah, you had the advantage of being born in a country that had slid further down the hell hole of Marxist ideology. Some advantage? Yes, it is an advantage, though you could ask, ‘With advantages like this who needs disadvantages?’ You could see where we are headed because you were naturally independent and are no one’s fool. As you have observed before you were born with the essence of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in your soul. You also read things like the works of Robert Heinlein which nurtured that and further shaped your thinking. This is part of the importance of Human Wave writing. You have to have a way to express your ideas which allows people to identify with them, to grasp and own them.

  32. Pingback: Roy Masters — The Psychology of Rebellion and Conformity, Part 2 « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL