*Turns out my dereliction of duty yesterday matched your dereliction of publishing. So, no promo post this week. And I’m alive. The cats are still sulking, except Havey who thinks we MUST be mad at him, so he keeps coming over and snuggling-SAH*
Every time we say something scathing about the boomers, RES gets justifiably upset and protests.
JUSTIFIABLY but not necessarily accurately, mind you.
While it is entirely justifiable at being tied in to idiots you have nothing to do with but the age, [I was born the year after Obama, and I resist any intimation that everyone born in the early 60s is like the little train that couldn’t but bragged really loud.] there are more factors that go into “Why I’m not a boomer and will beat anyone who says I am to death, with a wet sock.” And I’m not the only one who feels that way. And there are reasons for that too.
Look, RES is correct that boomers as we see them are largely creations of the media. They invented this “baby boom” generation who was somehow, automagically, going to make the evil nastiness of WWII (and WWI before that) go away.
In a way, what the opinion makers and narrative creators were doing was the equivalent of a young woman who gets pregnant out of wedlock, and freights the resulting infant with all possible good qualities and a grand, predestined fate. I’ve seen this more times than I can count, to the point I started calling it “the fated infant syndrome.”
They were doing this civilization wide, and trying to will a “fated generation” into being.
It worked about as well generationaly as it it does individually. The fated kid normally beats all odds to fail at whatever he was “fated” to do.
And here is where we get to “not accurately.” (Not that I’m tying RES to the dunderheads of his generation. Look, frankly we Odds aren’t typical anything. But we still follow trends — all my sins remembered — and respond to peer pressure, which explains where my “generation” comes in and also the fate of the echo-boom (poor things) which ended the year older son was born.
Before we begin this, remember that generations are not as they appear on TV. Not only the dates of starting and ending, because it can be WAY more flexible than that, but that individuals are individuals. RES is right in that. And most individuals are not media creations, even if they are influenced by them. Also that none of us can do anything about the currents of history we’re caught in, and which are sometimes very odd.
And about generations not being the way they’re portrayed, note older son was born the last year of the echo boom. The designation echo-boomer seems to have gone the way of the dodo, but if they still used it, would older son fit in? Well… no, because his parents weren’t boomers, and by the time he was born were, in fact, divesting themselves of vestiges of boomerhood (as described on TV, she says before RES throws something heavy at her head). So his most influential cultural unit had nothing to do with the entire idea of boomers.
Dan is an echo boomer, since his mother was born just after WWII. In that he is like Obama (a year older than us) whose mother was also a boomer. The resemblance stops there, as Obama’s mother, perhaps more than usual seemed to have lived the tv-boomer lifestyle and Obama chose to embrace it, while Dan was the child of an intact family unit, and even though coming to adulthood with a bunch of second-hand-tv-boomer attitudes, chose to reject them.
But I’m very much the child of children born during WWII and by the time I was 22 was shedding the boomer attitudes I’d acquired from my brother who is almost ten years older and completely embraced boomer stuff.
Confused? don’t be.
Numbering generations by the years of birth is a creation of the mass media, and therefore stupid. Most “mass” things are stupid. The idea of “normal” sizes for instance, and that “normal” cuts should fit everyone is loony if you look at the variety of human bodies. But mass production has had people starve, cut and rearrange themselves with compression to fit what the machines could produce in batch lots.
This created other mental artifacts, because if people all should fit one thing, by gum, there should be a recommended diet.
The one thing we’re finding out — though Dave Freer tells me biologists who specialize in other species have always known this, but it couldn’t be SAID about humans. Was Verboten — is that “ideal diet” is almost individual. For instance, if I eat lunch, I’ll gain weight, almost regardless of anything else. Imagine how much joy I get whenever health professionals or well meaning people enjoin me to “make a good lunch.”
In the same way I suspect how each person is influenced by the “image” of their generation, and which image they choose to embrace and how is unique.
However, the TV boomer thing had an effect. And it wasn’t the fault of the boomers. Not really. Just like the child born out of wedlock, they were propagandized from birth. And there was no way ANYONE could have fulfilled everything expected of them: they were supposed to study war no more, and yet they were supposed to achieve everything, including the stars. They were supposed to break all rules, and yet harmony should rule. They were supposed to have free love and it would work automagically. They were supposed to learn painlessly and joyously, and yet they would be SO SMART and educated.
Then there was the cold war, and other stuff. Read the beginning of Glory Road. He said it better.
Here’s the thing, though. coming in ten years after, I saw the trend in the generation in my brother’s children books that I inherited. From comics to the advertisements in magazines it was all “your generations is going to break all the rules and fix everything going all the way back to a sort of prehistory, but one where we’re all noble savages.”
It had an effect. Impossible for it not to. Picture how much that kind of propaganda has to penetrate that in a little village of a country that was neutral in WWII (mostly through being bankrupt) the baby boom sounded loud and clear.
Look, I’ve also read books written by the boomers’ parents. There was a lot there that was “we can beat Hitler, we can do anything by the same methods.” The fifties weren’t the fifties the TV has dreamed, either, but they were more regimented and “collective” than we’d stand for. And these people, kind of in rebellion, dreamed up their children as noble savages.
The long hair, discarding of suits? The silly attempts at “free love?”
The world had seen them and been dealing with them for a long long time. Every so often…
The problem is this stuff all hit at the same time that the USSR was winding up its propaganda arm and the kids were perfect targets, and many people in the narrative-building arms of the society from education to journalism were being paid in Russian coin.
So Marx wound his sinuous and scaly body around a dream of Rousseau and went traipsing through the west.
Free love became rejection of the idea of matrimony, became “marriage is slavery for women.” The idea of free and idealistic poverty became “all capitalism is evil.” Etc etc ad definitely nauseum.
And unfortunately humans are social animals. Enough signals were taken in to ruin a whole lot of people. Probably not the MAJORITY of boomers, who were by and large normal, functional human beings, but a good number of them.
More than that, it was enough to plant this idea of “revolution” as an expectation in the mind of a generation. And to make people disdain the past, because they’d been propagandized that it was all bad. They weren’t going to study war no more. Or as it turned out, Latin, Greek or history.
So even the decent boomers carried that idea forward into their kids. They’d been convinced the IDEAL was this tv-boomer creation. And by gum, their kids were going to be those all wise peace makers.
Did I mention that Obama, born a year before me, was the perfect embodiment of what my son’s classmates were trying to be?
And this brings us to a problem: generations aren’t simple. Just because you were born a certain year you’re not a boomer, or a millenial, or whatever. Those are media-creations. Which I remind myself of when my kids act like typical millenials.
But they’re not. They just have… bits of it. In their case, mostly, little ones, like older son can’t spell things most of the time, without looking them up, because NO ONE EVER TAUGHT HIM TO SPELL. I tried, I swear, but the school would tell him it was okay “so long as we understand it.” (Which is why younger son did copies of texts till his eyes bled, and spells much better.) And they’re starting on adulthood kind of late, because, Obama’s economy, etc.
In the same way most boomers aren’t typical. But they do have the hangover of being raised as the generation that was going to make everything right. Which no generation can, nor should be expected to.
And we, who came after? Look, we’re just trying to rebuild.
Which brings me to the fact that no matter when we were born, all or us, in this blog, are of the same generation: Generation rebuild.
Or generation pooper scooper, if you prefer.
The disassembling of Western civilization wasn’t the work of a generation. If you want to be candid, it goes back to the French revolution. Oh, not for toppling the king. No. For the demand of equal results, which is a virus that destroys civilization.
The only reason we haven’t collapsed is that there are builders, among the wreckers.
We’re all the same generation. We build.
Sure, thanks to the media propaganda, and the idea that generations were uniform, a lot of the TV boomer bs has done a lot of bad stuff to our society. Worldwide, really.
Fine. They didn’t choose when they were born, and we didn’t either. And thank heavens, thanks to new tech, the idea of generations designated by mass media will soon be a thing of the past.
And we builders will find ourselves and each other, in spaces like this.
Which is why I tell you to build. Build under, build over, build around.
The structure is weaker than it seems, and someone has to hold it up when it blows.
Be generation Atlas.
And this time, don’t shrug. Your shoulders won’t be holding up socialism, but a construction of our own devising, one that will give us a more viable future.
Not perfect, no. We’re not perfect, and our world won’t be. And our kids and grandkids will have to continue building. But a world that takes from the past, the future, and affirms the importance of humanity and the individual.
Square your shoulders, now. One, two, three, get ready to lift.