Boom!

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*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.

307 responses to “Boom!

  1. “Havey who thinks we MUST be mad at him, so he keeps coming over and snuggling-SAH*

    Because he’s a good kitty.

    • He’s a dog. That’s what he is. He kept trying to lick my elbow during the night to apologize for imaginary transgression.

      • Where mine wants to lick my elbow or shoulder because she wants me to get up and give her more half & half. Should have never let the cat know that oh-dark-thirty risings include sweetener & half & half in my tea, instead of black tea… and that sleepy humans can be piteously meowed into sharing the half & half.

        Worse, through a fumble-finger moment yesterday, I discovered Kili-cat likes braunschweiger. Likes it a lot. Now she’s trying to herd me to the fridge to share more meaty goodness.

        • Ohhh, that is a dreadful (for you) discovery. I was not the one who decided to let Athena T. Cat try ham, or tuna, or smoked turkey. I will admit to canned chili – no beans (which she devoured with gusto, to my vast surprise.)

          • We’ve got slides and prints of a cat we hand raised dipping her paws into a jar of home canned smoked salmon, very patiently pulling out the tiny pieces and sauce/oil. She LOVED that stuff. Jar was down to dregs and was open on the counter because it hadn’t been rinsed and put into the dishwasher. Worse she recognized when we opened another jar and insisted we share the actual goody not the dregs.

          • I’m curious why your avatar is of Dragon when Athena is the only cat you ever seem to talk about. He’s not an EX-cat, is he? Or is he just the cute-but-boring type?

            • He caught my fancy. There are several people who comment here, at MGC, or at places where I hang out who have calico cat avatars. I was hunting for a kitty-dragon, or dragon-cat (loooong story) and this popped up in the search. He resembles me in terms of attitude, and Sarah had fussed that my previous avatar looked too much like the aliens from Sesame Street (maroon bluebonnets).

              Athena’s 15, and she’s starting to show her age. Gigancat is the former cat, who was very large, and anything but boring (he never, ever learned that large cats moving rapidly on wooden floors have no braking capability. Among other quirks.)

              • >> “Sarah had fussed that my previous avatar looked too much like the aliens from Sesame Street”

                [Glances at the ridiculous pink THING this blog gave me as a default avatar and notes that Sarah seems to have no problem with it]

                [Glances at Sarah and cocks an eyebrow]

              • >> ” I was hunting for a kitty-dragon, or dragon-cat (loooong story) ”

                If you care to tell it, I’ll listen.

      • LOL!
        National Dog Day.
        I should have known better. 😀

        • Look, he’s a cat. He just thinks he’s a dog. But he thinks it very hard. He and Greebo are both more cats than dogs.

          • Ah ha. Now that I’ve maneuvered her too close to far from the net, time to spike the ball!

            So, Havey is a cat that identifies as a dog?

            (let the carp slinging begin!)

            • Yes. Afraid he’s a transdog…. 😀

            • No carp here. I swear, our elder dog identifies as a cat. You know the walk that cats do sometimes on the back ledge of a couch? Yes, she does that … all 4 legs on a 2-3 inch ledge balanced at the top of the couch. She’s also quite the jumper … sigh.

      • Isabeau will nip at you. little pinches that HURT.
        While you are sleeping.
        or while you sit on the toilet

    • The very best cats have something of the dog-like qualities in them.

      And the truly eccentric cats adore curious foods. As children, my brothers and sister and I had a Siamese cat who would cheerfully tuck into anything he saw us eating. Cooking dough. Cornflakes. Canned peaches. Popcorn. Breadcrusts. He had to see us eating it, though.

      • A friend of mine couldn’t have pizza in the house unless it was in the fridge or some other cat-proof container, or watched like a hawk (and not always then, the cat was both sneaky and insistent). When pizza is left out at his house, the cat would carefully fold the cheese out of the way, and proceed to lick up all the pizza sauce. All of it. GONE! The cheese would be carefully cleaned of sauce, but no cheese would be eaten at all. That surprised me a little, but one day I asked the cat and I swear the look that cat gave me seethed “Cheese? That’s what food eats”.

      • My childhood Siamese Calimero adored French fries and also chicken in all forms including on the hoof…

      • Annie The Insane is pestering me right now for more popcorn.
        Isabeau likes oranges. Annie will also eat saltines, doritos, both will eat potato chips, and Allie won’t eat hardly anything other than cat food. I think chicken is about it, and only if the mood strikes her.
        My aunt had a cat who loved olives, and another one she had to buy a extra cantaloupe for in order for her to eat one . . . he’d attack and rip the bag if you hadn’t already opened the door and rolled his melon across the room.

        • we had an Annie when i was a kid who loved cheese poofs- the big poofy ones, not the little crispy ones.

          • Annie prefers the fried cheetos to the baked, but will eat both, Isabeau the opposite. She will attack to get the baked poofy ones, and sometimes will lick the fried harder ones, but more often gives you a look of “I am disappoint”

      • We had a cat who ate Fava beans. 18 pounder he was, he’d pull the spoonful of favash (sp?) out of your hand.

      • We had a cat that liked green seedless grapes. Only peeled ones, though. My Lady liked to peel ‘em with her teeth before eating. Naturally the cat wanted to know what it’s human was wasting so much time on, and my Lady offered the cat the grape she had just finished, expecting an ‘Oh. Silly human food. No thanks’ reaction.

        Nope. The cat (Imp) ate the grape. And would eat as many as anyone ever had the patience to peel.

      • I’ve had two oddballs food wise. First was Spike, he adored Maple Syrup, but only the real stuff, no Aunt Jemima for him. He recognized pancakes immediately (we used to have it as a lazy dinner if shopping had gotten missed or everyone was home late) and would start mobbing you and begging and meowing. No clue why he liked it, cat’s allegedly don’t taste sweet according to the scientist types. Even odder was Tyger. He liked granular (white) table sugar. That’s NOTHING but sweet. At least there are other flavors in maple syrup. The annoying thing about Tyger is he figured out what the sugar bowl was and would knock the top off it and start pawing through the sugar. That got the sugar tossed as having paws that walk on litter touch my sugar was somehow unappealing. He also would push sugar bowls off the table or counter, we lost at least two that way.

  2. Look, frankly we Odds aren’t typical anything.
    We’re typically untypical?

    I’ll show myself out

  3. Pooper-scooper? We may be beyond that – it might be necessary to get out the high pressure hose and the squeegee. Ah, memories of my first work experience…

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Generation Herakles has connotations that would mislead in the precise way the boomers were mislead.

    • Hercules. Augean stables. I get you.

      • analytical-engine-mechanic

        Yes, and *that’s* the one that’s also been running merrily around the back of my head for a few weeks / months. 5th labor, King Augeas’ stables… cleaning up “Our Augean Stables” is by now a job fit for a hero / demigod, because of all the accumulated, ah, waste matter built up in our country and our culture.

        Having (finally!) researched it, I’ll note Hercules let the water do the worst of the work for him, and (eventually) got paid what he’d contracted to do the job.

        And for that matter, one might also refer usefully to, for instance, Generation Sons (incl. Daughters) of Martha.

        • On the payment thing…

          IIRC, he was cleaning the stables as one of his labors. It was later announced that he didn’t really clean the stables (the water did it for him), so he was compelled to perform an additional substitute labor (one of two such additional tasks).

      • I keep saying that Trump needs to put on his Hercules outfit and divert the Potomac thru all the Executive Branch Augean Stables, starting with the FBI’s.

  4. I was fated to be the lead manager of exploration and resource development for the first interstellar colonization expedition. You know, a survivalist with a ray gun and robotic digging machine. And then we failed to acheive FTL travel. All that hard work and hopes dashed. Darn it all. And I was hoping to discover Fuzzies. So much for being born in 1959.

    Yes, generational year groups are rather poor means of modeling population behavior. My parents and grandparents instilled a huge amount of Great Depression thinking in me while growing up; mostly to the ethic of, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Hunting for food. Gardening and canning. Heck, even my mother teaching me how to sew shut holes in clothing. (Never did get the knack of knitting though.) Did get the, “College degree is necessary to be successful” drilled into me. Didn’t take me long to learn that most college degrees are useless, most of the courses (especially the mandatory ones) are pretty much useless indoctrination tools, and that the really smart people are the ones who take courses about something that interests them, or how to actually do something.

    • I was going to colonize Mars.

      • I had always wanted to live in the city in which I grew up.

        I was still pretty young when I decided that having a sizable property in the southern mountains to retreat to might suit. One sizable enough that I could legitimately post No Trespassing. If I hear you I will shoot.

        Now when visit that city and see what has become of the social mores I come away glad that I did not stay for the nonsense.

        I still think a large property in the mountains could be nice. Especially if I could pay someone else to do the upkeep.

        • I could legitimately post No Trespassing. If I hear you I will shoot.

          For optimum effectiveness, I recommend the “i” in Trespassing be dotted via large caliber bullet hole.

          • “Trespassers with be eaten”

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Seen at a SF/Fantasy bookstore: “Trespassers Will Be Teleported”. 😉

              • My first job was at a Comic Book store in downtown Cleveland. The store’s social circle included an artist who could do a good imitation of the old EC Horror Comics style. So we had a sign that said “Shoplifters will be eaten” complete with threatening zombies.

            • I don’t eat people.  I won’t eat people.  Eating people is wrong.

              Or do you mean, as the docent in Colonial Williamsburg answered to my question, ‘What did you do about rabbits in the garden?’– ‘We harvest ’em,’ while lifting a gun that had been resting in the back porch to illustrate his meaning?

          • “No Trespassing. Survivors will be Prosecuted.”

      • My brother took a bunch of pictures when he was in Afghanistan. I noted that in most of them, the terrain looked like pictures from the Mars rovers.

        “Yeah, everybody there said the same thing…”

      • You can have Mars. Barsoom on the other hand, or even RAH’s Red Planet….

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        A worthy life goal.

      • So was I.

        NASA failed me. Maybe one of my kids will go . . .

    • Me, too. Grew up right next door (for rural Idaho values of “next door,” meaning easy walking distance) to my grandparents. Don’t remember when Granddad was born, but he was older than Grammie and she was 1920. Waste not, want not, and you’d best know how to be self-sufficient when the chips were down. My folks are both supposedly Boomers (49 and 52, respectively), but you’d never know it by traits. It was the depression-era mindset that stuck, with them and me both. I disowned my age-cohort (Millennial, natch) almost as soon as the media declared it.

      Why do I feel like that will be a good thing here in not too long, I wonder… 🤔

  5. Good article! I was born in 1957, my mother in 1936, and my father in 1928. And, we didn’t have a working TV until I was around twelve, and then it got one channel *badly* (you could usually hear whatever was on, but quite often couldn’t see the picture) and we only watched most of Star Trek, pretty much nothing else. So I’ve never really felt like I fit the descriptions of my generation, either. A lot of Depression influence, a lot of original homesteader influence, some WWII….

    • Eh. My Dad is slightly younger than yours (31) and my mom is slightly older (34) than yours. We didn’t have a TV till I was 8, and then I watched Merry Melodies and old 40s movies. On Sunday. Oh, and educational programs.
      Weird how similar our experiences were across an ocean and a language barrier.

      • Heh. I recall some of the cartoons that comprised my youthful Saturday mornings and doubt any of them would meet contemporary broadcast standards. Not simply Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry but Hekyll & Jekyll, Betty Boop and the Out of the Inkwell features and George Pal’s puppetoons, such as “John Henry and the Inky-Poo” which would be denounced as racially insensitive nowadays despite its Oscar nominated status.


        We won’t even begin to discuss my childhood exposure to the adventures of Amos & Andy.

        • Also and Andy; two successful Black men who own their own business. No, we definitely can’t expose impressionable children to THAT!

        • For a while I was bewildered that kids were following anime (I canNOT get over the character design – Betty Boop was closer to Reality… and most of what I saw was ‘shot on threes’ or WORSE and the flicker/jolting was headache-inducing) and saying LT didn’t make sense. Then I tried to watch what passed for LT on ABC (was it?).. and with EVERY gunshot edited out of a ‘Hunter Trilogy’ (“Duck Season!’ “Rabbit Season!”) cartoon… yeah, it didn’t make sense. Wasn’t the cartoon’s fault that someone “fixed” it… fixed in the veterinary sense. Blargh.

      • Dad was 39, Mum was 45, I was 64, I never thought of myself as a boomer. Mum was a boomer. It was always my perception that was pre 60. Suddenly I am a boomer and boomers are the “cause” of all the words ills.

        • Dad is ’38, Mom ’44, and I’m ’80. I’m so out of sync . . . I mean, you’re sixteen years older than me, but my parents are each a year older than yours, respectively.

          I’m a Y. You’re a Jones, or maybe a really old X. Don’t mind the people who want to lump you in with Boomers and me with Millennials.

    • Interesting!

      I was born in 1956, Father in 1936, Mother in 1937. As far as I can remember we had a TV, but we could get only 3 channels, the NBC one in Midland, CBS in Odessa, and ABC in Big Spring. The NBC channel came in the best the CBS the worst and if we wanted to watch the Big Spring channel, someone had to turn the antennae with the pipe wrench that hung by the back door.

      • Also born 1956, although barely (before Nov 1 school cutoff date).

        Mom b. 1934, Dad b. 1935

        One small b/w TV until after I left for college. Two channels – ABC/NBC, that is it, until cable showed up, finally. Even then the antennae was a “work in progress.”

  6. Generation year groups reflect certain common experiences — e.g., everybody born in 1950 remembers the Kennedy assassination(s) and moon landing(s) just as everybody born by 1990 remembers the reactions to 9/11, when somebody did something. But such common experiences are not as “generation defining” as the Gaslight Media would have you believe. They are far, far less predictive, for example, than astrological sun signs. Everybody ought be able to recognize that.

    • Yep. It’s more like Richard Fernandez’s “memes” or “infective memes” understood as self-conscious things worked through the gaslight media (good term!) to shape and mold us. not with incredible success, but then the media amplified any little success, so..

    • The whole idea of “generation whatever” is entirely specious.

      You can’t put a boundary on something that really does not exist in the first place; the things that really go into making “you” who you are do not correspond to a particular set of years.

      The important things are cultural inputs; you get raised by your grandparents, and most of your inputs come from the generation that they came from, not the one that birthed you. Likewise, the cultural milieu you’re set in: If you’re a kid out in the world, spending time with your period-specific peers, you’re a child of that. If, on the other hand, you’re raised in isolation, with entirely different experiences than those peers provided…?

      This whole thing has always been a really crappy model for understanding the issues it tries to encompass, and I think we really ought to stop using it. It’s nowhere near fine-grained enough or wide enough in scope to really be useful. Idiots would have you believe that I was a boomer, born during the last years of that phenomenon–But, since much of my cultural programming came from my grandparents generation, who were born before 1900, guess what? I’m out of step by multiple generations from those born in the same year I am.

      The dates don’t matter; what matters is the cultural imprint–Which is wildly variable. There are places here in the US today where the kids born in this decade are getting very different cultural imprints than the mainstream, just as it was when I was a kid.

      This whole thing stems from popular journalism, reeks of self-directed wannabe self-fulfilling prophecy, and is about as accurate and true to the real world as a fairy tale. None of this generational crap has any reality past mythologizing each generation’s desired attributes, and what’s really annoying is to hear crap like “…the Greatest Generation…” come out of the mouths of men and women who were actually Nazi and Communist sympathizers. I mean, let’s get real: Yeah, that period of time produced a lot of good people. It also, I might point out, produced the people they had to fight against, so why the hell are we lionizing them? The Rosenbergs and the rest of the crapweasel scum that passed the nuclear secrets on to the Soviets were just as much “Greatest Generation” as the poor schlubs who had to board the landing craft and land on Omaha Beach.

      This whole idea is a really crappy way to even think about these issues of culture and milieu, and it’s about damn time we stopped playing the popular games that the media wants us to. It’s devisive, inaccurate, and entirely full of typical pop-culture BS, not reality-reflective at all.

      • > You can’t put a boundary on something that really does not exist in the first place;

        Bah. That’s what liberals *do*. How else are you going to create artificial divisions to stir up trouble?

        • Given this group, I was wondering how long it would take until we’d covered the “it exists, the lines are in the wrong place, and it doesn’t work that way” AND the “of course it doesn’t exist, they’re being idiots.”

  7. 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.”

    The more things change…

  8. For the Record: I also object to typecasting Milennials, Gen-Xers and all other demographic blocs. Labels are simple, people are complex.

    Except for Progressives, an End Times cult that practices a nihilist theology. Broadly speaking, they have forfeited the right to be viewed as individuals because they have rejected the right t think and act as individuals.

    • I think there might be a useful way of defining the terms….

      “Boomer” is someone who has at least N of the traits:
      * Blames all of the world’s problems on Millennials
      * Was born in roughly the boomer-time-region
      * Thinks of themselves as the hottest **** that was ever hot (hence why the Millennials ruined everything)
      * Couldn’t wrap their heads around changing conditions if you put a gun to their head.

      “Millennial” is someone who has at least N of the traits:
      * Blames all of the world’s problems on Boomers
      * Was born in roughly the millennial-time-region
      * Thinks of themselves as the hottest **** that was ever hot (except that the Boomers totally ruined it for them)
      * Thinks they are Supreme Masters of the Tech. Because that is what all of the adults who couldn’t learn how to program a VCR thought they were

      • Maybe — but I think it is primarily an exercise in auto-hypnosis.

        Generationaly, there are certain defining experiences. “Boomers” experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis, the War in Vietnam (at least, as a threat to themselves or somebody they knew), the defenestration of LBJ, the assassinations of JFK, MLK, RFK and lynching of Richard Nixon. We also experienced the Moon Landing, Birth Control pill, Salk Vaccine and breakthroughs in medical technology allowing organ transplants and more.

        Just as a later generation grew up with the broad acceptance of cell phones and the internet.

        All of this constitutes the Zeitgeist in which we gained societal awareness, but it predicts nothing about a) our experience of that Zeitgeist nor b) our response to it. I assure you that the experience of the acceptance of the Birth Control pill was different for girls than for boys, that far more Boomers served their country during the Vietnam War than protested it (and as we all know cough*Kerry*cough some worked both sides of that street) and that not all that many kids went to San Francisco, with or without putting a flower in their hair.

        While we all experience the broad economic trends that are expressive of our times, some give up, complaining and demanding somebody (other than me) absorb the college loans, others work their way through, accumulating as little debt as possible by attending state schools rather than private, applying for scholarship assistance, buying textbooks used and otherwise economizing — and eschewing degrees with no discernible market demand.

        We all move through this world, but we are not all IN this world in the same way.

        • I look at my brothers, and the variations are pretty large. I’m closer in attitude to $ELDEST (born in 1945) than to my middle brother. Not sure any of us are a close fit to mass-media Boomerhood. Go figure.

        • Here’s a question, in the form of a Gedankenspiel: What is more important, the date you were born, or where you grew up, in terms of culture and surroundings?

          Everyone talks about “formative events, shared by members of a generation”, but how do you account for people who didn’t actually “experience” those events? And, it’s not just a question of where they were; it’s a question of what they paid attention to, and what they allowed to influence them.

          Case in point: I “came of age” in the years between 1978 and 1979. I paid attention to the news, and learned all I could of the world. I have peers who were in the exact same place, went to the same damn high school I did, and yet… We had totally different experiences of those years, and had totally different takeaways from them. Are we to be glommed into the same “generation”, for these purposes, just because we were in the same place at around the same time?

          Because, I’m here to tell you, we had and continue to have nothing whatsoever in common. I was the only student in my graduating class to have joined the Army, the only one who looked at the world and said “Yeah, this is all going to shit around me…” and then decided to do something about it, as opposed to getting high and hoping to be at Ground Zero when the inevitable happened. Most of my high school class consisted of people I’d have to charitably describe as “oblivious”; they had no inkling whatsoever about the issues of the times, the politics, or much of anything else beyond the next beer or who had the good dope. They still don’t.

          Are we to say that we’re all the same people, because of the time and place we share…? How’s that possible, when 90% of the idiots I went to school with were completely oblivious to most of what was going on around them? Good God, the week after Reagan got shot, we had a “current events” quiz in one of our history classes, and only about 20% of the class even understood that there’d been an attempt on the President’s life, let alone the significance of it all. About half of them thought that John Hinckley had tried killing Jody Foster, or that Jody Foster had been the one pulling the trigger.

          How the hell do you have a “shared experience” when most people aren’t even paying attention to much past the ends of their noses????

          Had nothing in common with the vast majority then, and still do not. Most of them are parasites on the body politic, never bothering to make themselves aware of anything past their direct personal interest or participating in anything past that. I’m fairly well convinced that had someone sat them down inside the Soviet Union, they’d have become good little Soviet Men and Women without too much fuss and bother. Few of them even make the attempt to be what I’d term “good citizens” in a free country; the rate at which they volunteered for public service and actually did meaningful things for others? Far lower than other generations.

          From all of this, I flatly refuse to accept any of this “generational” BS. It’s about as good a reference for society as astrology, and actually, somewhat less factually based. Astrology actually has better references, being based on thousands of years of observational folk wisdom about birthdates during the year, and so forth. The generational theory of things is mostly a recent figment of media’s imagination, more than anything else. I’ve always placed it on about the same level as astrology or that peculiar Japanese nuttiness about blood types…

          • [sigh] That should be “…years between 1978 and 1985…”

          • What is more important, the date you were born, or where you grew up, in terms of culture and surroundings?

            I believe you answered your opening question. For better or worse, it is “Embrace the power of ‘and’.”.

            • The point I’m getting at is that time and place mean nothing, when you are talking about this stuff. It’s what the actual influencers are, and those are not at all congruent to time and place.

              You grow up in the same town with a kid whose parents are well-off scions of a wealthy family that just happened to settle there; you’re the product of the original homesteaders who have been surviving since the early 1900s as gyppo loggers. You don’t run in the same circles; you don’t have the same friends; your economic circumstances and trajectories are totally different. How much do you have in common, that can be used to group you socially into something like a “generational cohort”.

              This whole idea is nuts; the reality is that you’re not a “product of the times” so much as you’re a product of the things you experience, which may or may not have anything at all to do with the rest of the people who were merely born around the same time, and who happened to have shared space with you for a bit.

              The real question is what cultural inputs you received, and what conditioning you got–Which may or may not have come from a peer group of any kind. Hell, I know socially isolated kids who grew up in an area and time that should have made a massive impact on who they were and became, but because they were raised in deliberate isolation from that milieu by their overly-protective grandparents, they were basically products of their grandparent’s influence than anything they would have gotten from the peer group they didn’t participate in.

              The generational model of this is severely flawed, in that they set hard-and-fast dates for things. What do you call someone born in the 1960s, but raised and given primary cultural inputs from family members born before the turn of the 19th Century? They sure as hell aren’t “Boomers”, that’s for damn sure…

              • I took “where” as “what is the environment, both big (nation/state/city) and small (neighborhood/family) scale”. Yeah, I grew up in a town where my classmates ranged from “child of Big Railroad VP” to “Son of the cobbler”. Dad was a draftsman–closer to cobbler’s kid than the VP scion. Still, major differences in environments all around.

                • The thing that just yikes me about the whole thing is that everyone so solemnly agrees with all the characterizations, when the reality is so at odds with the construct.

                  I’m supposed to be a boomer; I loathe the majority of the things that “everyone agrees” are the hallmarks of that supposed construct. You can’t even really make a case for “shared experience” since I’m a part of the cohort that had no problem going off to war, and wouldn’t have been a “war protester”, which is the supposed marker for the “Boomer experience”.

                  The entire premise is fundamentally and irrevocably flawed. You simply cannot use such broad brushes to characterize people, and trying to do so is going to lead to massive error in oh-so-many ways.

                  • I didn’t protest the war, but had no desire to interrupt my schooling to participate in it. The draft ended while I was an undergraduate. If it hadn’t, I probably would have ended up in the Signal Corps. (An acquaintance I knew through radio stuff was in the SC, so fairly likely.)

                    Some of my experiences match the template; smoked a little bit of marijuana (but was too cheap to do much 🙂 ), listened to rock music, ranging from Moody Blues through EL&P. Being Odd, didn’t date much, so Free Love was an abstraction.

                    Some call me a Boomer. I call me “myself”.

                  • I hate to disappoint you, but if you ‘came of age’ between 1979 and 1985- you’re not a boomer. Heck, you’re on the cusp of being young enough to have been the child of a boomer.

                    Welcome to generation X.

            • My money’s on where you grew up. For me, midwestern university town of 30-someK. Never like someone growing up in a big city, especially coastal big cities.
              I’m a war baby. Joined the AF, spent 17 years in Strategic Air Command units, 8 years in missile launch control centers, a lot of “waking up under the grass/gravel”, and have handled 34 of the keys that could have opened the gates of Hell, just to verify they’re in the Red Box, and then lock them back in.

          • > no inkling whatsoever about the issues of the times, the politics,

            I’ve seen some “history of the [1960s, 1970s, 1980s] quizzes that consternated me. I thought they’d be, well, about history. But they were almost exclusively about movies, TV shows, and popular music.

            I lived among those people, but I was never of them.

            • I lived among those people, but I was never of them.

              Perfect summation of how I feel ever time I get lumped in with the nasty bastard parasites we all think of when they say “Boomer”.

          • *pats down self to make sure she hasn’t turned into Kirk*

            ….if 9/11 hadn’t happened, I’d probably be there.

            As I’ve mentioned before, I was in boot during 9/11.

            • That’s something I’d never wish on anyone…

              I think that the real problem here is that the people who keep using this “generational theory” are the same divisive bastards who keep talking about racism–The end goal is division, more than anything else. They talked up how great the Boomer Generation was, and it was mostly self-referential “Look how great we are!!” stuff, intended to hype their own causes and hobby-horses. Reality? Most of the people born in the so-called “boom years” are more different from other boomers than they are from similarly situated folks in the generations both before and after theirs.

              It’s all about the inputs; you live the life of dreams in a California suburb, and you’re going to mostly be a California Dreamer, regardless of when you were born. Grow up in the hills of South Dakota, and you’re always going to have more in common with fellow South Dakotans of whatever generation than you’re ever going to have with some dweeb from Central France who happened to be born the same year you were…

              Likewise, you can take the boy out of the Army, but you’re never, ever going to take the Army out of the boy. Or, girl from Navy… And, those two will have more in common than anyone who never left home to serve in any form.

              Every time I hear this crap about “the Greatest Generation” or the “Boomer Generation”, I want to reach out and throttle someone. “Greatest Generation”, my ass–Who the ever-loving hell do you suppose raised those snotty little self-involved Boomers, in the first place? Which generation was running the schools that educated those rat bastards? Who started us all down the trail of fiscal insanity we’re on? Oh, yeah; the “Greatest Generation” did all of that, just as they were the ones who, worldwide, also required the killing to make them stop with the genocide. You say “Greatest Generation”, and apply it as broadly as it should be, and guess what? You have to include the entire generational cohort, from around the world right along with them, which happens to include a healthy swathe of really right ripe bastards like the men who made up the Wehrmacht, the SS, and the Imperial Japanese Army. And, if you want to restrict it all to “just the USA” for the “Greatest Generation”, you’d better take off the rose-colored glasses and recognize that that cohort included a bunch of real scumbags like the Rosenbergs, war profiteers, and sundry other even less savory types.

              So, yeah… Don’t start doing this sort of thing by birth years alone; there’s far more to it than just the vagaries of when you happened to be born.

            • And I was in boot when the Berlin Wall came down. Well, FTC.

      • A while after, but not too long after, Three Mile Island there was a cartoon of one dog talking to another (I think it was dogs). “I attribute it to human error. But then, I attribute everything to human error.” There are times I suspect/fear great wisdom in dog.

      • I’m supposed to be very late Boomer, or Gen X (which has vanished from the media, interestingly enough.) Major time markers – Camp David Accords, Ronaldus Maximus, Challenger, fall of Berlin Wall, Gulf War I, Columbia, Clinton Follies – Federal Version, 9/11.

        • TheOtherSean

          Under the majority of definitions I’ve seen, I am Gen X, yet a few have me as a Millennial…. and I think I’m only about five years younger than you. I remember all of those events except the Camp David Accords, which occurred when I was still very, very young.

        • Same here, and like Sarah I absolutely cannot figure out why our cohort is supposed to be identical with those born nine months and a day after the troops got home from WWII, who were in High School and thus draft age under and active draft when the Cuban missile crisis scared everyone to the core, and were ending HS or entering college when JFK was assassinated.

          Dude: I was barely walking when JFK was killed, so No, I don’t remember where I was when I heard.

          I do recall watching the Apollo mission on our black and white TV, and seeing the Vietnam casualty numbers in the nightly news; I was one of the kids who were the last to use the portable classrooms as they were closed up and carted away as I went through in school as enrollment dropped; I saw Star Wars first run in theaters (and then went back and saw it again lots of times that summer); I remember the Camp David Accords signing delayed the premier of Battlestar Galactica on the west coast (the wikistupid page says it was not interrupted, but if on the east coast it was interrupted 2/3 of the way through, it was in fact delayed on the west coast: I was watching and recall being pissed off); I remember even/odd gas rationing, colored flags to show if the station had any gas, and sitting in line for hours to fill up; I know both how to dial a dial telephone and how to run a VCR; I voted for the first time when RR was elected (I was an idiot kid so I voted for Anderson – time travelers, please go back and slap me. At least I didn’t vote for Carter.); I was in college when the Beirut bombing and the Israeli strike on the Iraqi nuclear facility and the invasion of Grenada happened, and onward.

          How I am supposed to share a mindset with the idiot hippies – I was not yet 6 years old during the summer of love – is just beyond me.

          • scratches nose. I WAS not walking when JFK was killed. I only walked at three. LOOK here, see, I could talk. And I was the youngest of a vast extended family by TEN YEARS. I could look adorable and ask to be carried.
            Eh.

        • John R. Ellis

          Gen Xers: Formally The Cynically Evil Embodiment Of Everything The Boomers Feared…now all but completely forgotten by “mainstream” news and actively courted by the latest crop of nostalgic TV sows. Not a bad trade.

        • SheSellsSeashells

          I never saw much generational discussion before somebody put a label on Generation X, and I *do* think there’s a certain…alteration…brought about by being the first kids raised after the sexual revolution. Not, for the most part, a good one, and I say this as an Xer. (Mostly. Have never seen an entire episode of the Brady Bunch, and I am very happy to keep it that way.)

          • Given the recent disproving of Birth Order Personality Typing, it seem improbable that “Generational” typing is more meaningful.

            Of course, the ongoing argument over Nature/Nurture* strongly suggests that nobody knows nothing about a thing in this arena.

            *I’ve lost track; anyone know who currently has the upper hand in this rasslin’ match?

          • I have, but i disliked the show because it coming on meant the morning cartoons were over.

    • Of course. And I agree with you. And GENERATIONS, even if we took some bits of it when we were immersed with it, are not as simple as painted, and heck, we’re individuals.
      People here, particularly.

  9. Articles like this depress me. I feel like I must bear a load I can’t. It might be because I’m depressed or that I’m incurably lazy, perhaps I have Eloi DNA. I am lucky to be a child of my parents’ middle age. I have never had a major lack in material things in my life. My parents weren’t wealthy so I didn’t have the cool stuff from the cool stores like some of my wealthy classmates. On the other hand I have always had what I needed and some of what I wanted.
    I’ve had both bad and good things happen to me. I lost my parents many years ago, while (I’m sure that my commas are the despair of grammarians.) my husband’s parents are still alive.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I had things easy compared to my father, grand fathers, and almost certainly so forth.

      Does that doom me to mediocrity or failure, never measuring up? No.

      God sees us as individuals. He does not measure us by others.

      Just work on being the best of yourself.

      • I have taken care of my Lady (multiple serious health problems, plus psychological issues) and not much else. I worried that I disappointed my Father until he told me that I reminded him of HIS father, who he had loved and idolized.

        And he told me that just after we had spent an afternoon arguing.

        I’m gonne live off of that one for a looooong time.

        🙂

    • It’s certainly not your fault. All I’m saying is we’re all children of our times, so all of us have some stuff we absorbed through the skin as it were.
      BUT here? You’re generation rebuild. And you don’t need to take too much on. Even tiny pebbles cause ripples.

      • And never forget that tiny pebbles at high velocity will make large holes, hydrostatic shock don’t you know.
        And a handful of tiny pebbles dropped into the gears will stop the mightiest of machines.
        Our tiny pebbles have much in common with that infamous horseshoe nail that cost a monarch his kingdom.

    • There are times, and these be them, when even simply not being a dumb[BLEEP!] is to combat the forces of crud. And whatever all you might be, I am quite certain that you are NOT a dumb[BLEEP!].

    • Come, my dear emily61. Join with us of the Morlocks, and set your fears aside!

      You know, if H.G.’s Morlocks had combs, decent dental hygiene, and interior lighting, they’d have been the good guys.

      • They are the good guys! They have jobs, are productive and love meat! You just caught them on laundry day before dentist. I wrote my response before food. I am grouchy before food. I feel better after food and putting away clothes.

      • I’ve thought that with the utter uselessness of the Eloi, that Wells was being terribly unfair to the Morlocks.

        • Same here. The Morlocks had an actual civilization. Maybe not a nice one by our standards, but they were a technological society.

          The Eloi… they were just sheep that could talk.

          Whatever Wells’ point was, it zoomed over my head art 5,000 feet and climbing. Maybe it was some kind of allegory for the type of British socialism Wells was enamored of at the time, but I don’t know enough about that to connect the dots there, either.

          I’ve never met anyone in meatspace that liked that book much; and the handful online, it turned out they only knew it by the various movies. But it certainly seemed to be a favorite of academics, publishers, and “you must read this” lists – it was on the suggested reading list at least three times when I was in school.

          “Roast Eloi? Why, thank you. I say, you wouldn’t happen to have some Thai chili sauce in a cabinet somewhere?”

          • Meh. Welles was simply predicting the Hollywood social milieu decades before the first films were shot there. Vacuous young pretties allowed to gambol only to eventually be consumed by the Morlocks who run the system.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            It’s been a while since I last read the book but I don’t believe Wells showed either the Eloi or Morlocks as that intelligent.

            What’s interesting about the “evil” Morlocks thing is that the Time Traveler believed that the Morlocks were descendents of the “workers” while the Eloi were descendents of the “management class”.

            Surely, Socialist Wells would have liked the Morlocks better. 😈

            • Socialist Wells was warning the aristos of the fate awaiting them (well, their descendants) if they did not amend their ways of treating the workers.

      • It is not widely known, but Morlocks have cookies.

      • Notice they are kept safely off stage, so we don’t get to sympathize.

  10. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a Boom tomorrow.”
    Susan Ivanova
    😀

  11. Margaret Ball

    I’m glad you recognized that the fifties weren’t perfect! And when one adds that the fabled “sixties” didn’t really start until late in that decade… there WERE things that needed changing. I grew up in the Jim Crow South, lived in a dorm with bars on the windows during college (presumably they were more worried about our purity than about fires) and did my first serious job searches in a world where the Help Wanted ads were divided into male and female. I’m glad all those things are gone, even if I’m not thrilled about some of the replacements.

    • Of course there were things that needed changing. There always are. We’re human.
      And of course I recognize the fifties weren’t perfect. I probably would have gone insane living then.
      I’m just not sure we should have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
      Take that male and female thing… well… we should be able to not hire a man for an office of women, and vice versa. Without fear. Regulations suck as a way to “fix” things. And we should stop lying to the young. They’re so afraid to discourage girls from STEM they’re not PUSHING them and then they fail at STEM in college.
      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This was trauma from WWI and WWII processing itself through the college. Both the “everything can be solved with proper military discipline” of the fifties (and btw part of the all women should stay home was because it might be the first time in history when the vast majority could afford to stay home.) I LIKE the “can do” that comes through in the books of WWII vets, but not the “with proper top down discipline” which was part of running us into the idea that command and control economies are best, which was part of the “ordered from top down integration and women’s rights” which…. head desk.
      We need to re-learn history. And most of all we need to rediscover the constitution.

      • I’ve perhaps mentioned how 1950’s (style) textbooks, printed before the Great Sputnik Panic, actually communicate useful information in a reasonable way. But that’s nothing compared to the early version of, say, Amateur Telescope Making – Book One (as it has become known since 2 and 3 happened…). It was the idea that anybody, anywhere could, if they wanted to, go ahead DO THIS THING. Or even Do A NEW Thing. No permits, no governance, no degree, etc. needed. Much was post-WWI, but it was USA, so not nearly the damage that Europe experienced. And as for ‘top down’ in that? HA!

        I might might need to re-read ATM-I. Even if the ‘chapter’ layout is screwy in the not-re-edited version.

        • As a side note, the instructions for silvering a mirror note that it’s a really bad idea to let the silver solution dry out, since your jar will tend to explode if you do.

          The warning was there, but *without* the “OMG, this is Dangerous”. A certain level of trust in the sensibilities of the participants is shown there.
          (Considers if silvering a mirror is actually cost effective with current proces.)

      • Top down command and control is a sledge hammer, useful when driving a huge spike such as winning a world war, but way less than optimal when trying to motivate squishy humans.
        This is a fundamental fact of life that has totally been rejected by the progressive socialists. Just give them sufficient control and they by damn well will perfect the human race, or kill us all in the process.

        • WWII experienced far less Top Down Command and Control than is generally recognized. A major theme of Arthur Brooks’ Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II is America’s industrialists successfully dodging Washington micromanagement.


          A similar theme permeates the story of Andrew Jackson Higgins’ battles with the bureau of ships to produce the shallow draft landing craft that enabled America’s landings at Normandy and numerous Pacific islands. See: Andrew Jackson Higgins and The Boats That Won World War II, Jerry E. Strahan.

          • Talk to actual WWII vets who served overseas and you will hear more stories involving the acronym FUBAR than “isn’t it great when the hierarchy decides how to do things”.

            Much of the vaunted American successes were actually the result of front line folks working around the hierarchy – see “scrounging” as near universal practice in all theaters.

            The mythos of “if only we could direct everything during peacetime like we did during the war” is more the result of home-front academics pining for power than actual combat troops expressing wistful remembrance of all the great orders they got.

            • One must admit that the poster case for rear echelon command and control writ large has to be our late lamented police action in Southeast Asia. As I recall on occasion unit level actions were carried out under the direction of POTUS. And from all accounts LBJ was a piss poor commander in chief.

              • This goes in the “Just because you can does not mean you should” impact of connectivity technology file – also evident at “Desert One” in April 1980.

                Per various autobiographies, this aspect is purportedly now recognized by those who rise to those exalted ranks, as those wearing stars have to resist the impulse to reach out and intervene with company-level and lower decision making when modern technology enables them to do so if they don’t resist the urges.

                Basing good practices in such critical situations on the willpower of people who can rise in rank through the exercise of political rather than military skillsets is perhaps not ideal.

                • Joe Resch, the guy who invented NCR’s mechanical computer that did all that Enigma codebreaking, was nearly driven insane at a critical period of WWII by having an Army officer constantly ride his butt while living in his house and working in his office. (And threatening his wife to his face while making nice to hers, and guilting him that every dead soldier was his fault…. It was a total creep controlling the man’s life.)

                  • A somewhat lighter look at the Intelligence community during WWII is YOU’RE STEPPING ON MY CLOAK AND DAGGER. Long out of print, but considered an absolute classic by WWII enthusiasts, it was reprinted in the early 2000’s and now is on Kindle.

                    Could have been awful, but the author makes it clear that he takes the War seriously, it’s the War Department he finds risible.

                    • Thank you for that pointer… I’ve actually been looking for this very book, with only the vaguest of descriptions to go on, for years.

                    • I read “You’re Stepping On My Cloak And Dagger” in HS, and thought that it was hilarious! Even then – and I went back and found a copy in print, and it was still hilarious!

            • The key point was that someone at the coal face *could* change directions, and if they were right they wouldn’t be stripped of rank and sent to a labor camp.

              You have to have some kind of central command, so that everyone is working for the same goal, and all the vast tentacles of logistics work together, so soldiers, weapons, ammunition, and transport all happen at the desired times.

              The flip side is, it works best if you have some flexibility at the tactical levels, which causes the intermediate levels to get ulcers…

              The difference between “top down” and “local flexibility” can be summed up with a single example:

              Stalingrad.

            • The rural myth of “Oh for love of all that’s holy, don’t shoot the American officers!”

              • That’s really not much of a myth… The reality is that if you were to eliminate about two-thirds of the Army’s managerial class, things would run ever so much more smoothly. Of course, that’s not just the officers, but a lot of the senior enlisted, most of whom were selected to become such because they were such good “YES!!!!! men”.

                It’s really odd, but the most effective and productive units I ever served in…? We were critically short of “leadership” when we were most effective and productive. That’s not a coincidence.

                I have one memory that sticks out–Our platoon was heavily encumbered by being organized directly under our battalion’s S-3, a Major. Dude screwed up so much stuff once he got on the river crossing site that it wasn’t even funny–He literally lost some of my guys, by moving them around without telling me. Huge issues getting everything set and ready for the set-piece river crossing we were doing as a part of the last real Team Spirit. After his less-than-stellar influence led to the squad leaders and platoon sergeant getting no sleep for 48 hours, the morning of the river crossing, we were down on the river waiting for the first units to come in. Instead of friendly forces, we got a bunch of ROK Special Forces guys who paddled across the river. By this point, we were so burned out that we just pointed up at the tent the Major had put up as his “River Crossing Site Command Post”, and let them do their thing. Which they did. Nice guys.

                Removal of said Major led to a very quiet and well-run river crossing, with no major (pun intended…) problems arising. End of the day, commander shows up, asks for the Major. “Oh, they captured him this morning…”.

                We were somewhat chastised by the boss, but since we’d managed everything for the crossing site, we got away with it. If I remember right, the ROK SF guys returned the Major and his driver about a day after that… They’d used them to infiltrate further into our lines, and conduct a CP raid, which also had limited to no effect on things.

                Which just goes to show you: At a certain level of experience, you’re really better off not removing American command authorities. The lower-ranked guys are just going to do what they were gonna do, anyway, and you’re really wasting your time. By the time any real effect shows up after taking out a layer of command, it’s going to be too late to have real effect on the tactical situation. Hell, it might even turn out to lose you the war–I was Observer Controller at the NTC for one round of battles where the OPFOR managed to take out most of micro-manager commissioned leadership above company level, and the resultant “WHEEEEEE!!!! Our tanks can do 45 mph, cross-country!!!!!” thing left the poor bastards so screwed up that it wasn’t even funny. The commanders who got taken down had been so cautious and crawling at such a low rate of speed, that when the clearly insane junior leaders lost their “guidance”, they went nuts. About the last half of that battle was the fastest I’d ever seen anyone move in training, and it was stunning to both the OPFOR and the O/C guys; we literally could not keep up with the death-ride those guys went on. Which lead to them being in total control of the battlefield, against all expectations.

                • Terry Pratchett-gism.

                  Urban Legend: supposedly happened to a cousin’s friend’s brother’s buddy.

                  Rural Myth: Actually does happen to your cousin’s buddy. All. The. Time.

                • Somewhere or other I recall reading that a Major is somebody who must be promoted from Captain to get him out of direct contact with the troops and who will not be promoted to Lt. Colonel because he’s a blithering idiot.

                  Think it may have something to do with the old Purchase system of the British Army. Was Major the highest rank available by purchase, or the lowest one gained solely from higher command?

        • And they somehow manage to elide over every case where massive amounts of control centered in the government lead to a takeover by somebody like Stalin…and the liquidation of the Intellectual class that they belong to.

      • Margaret Ball

        “They’re so afraid to discourage girls from STEM they’re not PUSHING them and then they fail at STEM in college.”
        Gotta wonder if that’s not the desired result. In my day they tried to discourage girls from STEM by telling us we couldn’t handle the coursework. (Of course, we Odds responded with ‘Hold my beer.’)

        Plus ca change…

        • Right? The only thing that kept me from STEM was mom, and I knew I’d made a mistake first year in languages. SURE I’m digit dyslexic, so I’d limp through real science depending on how well my “fixes” were working (varies with stress AND teacher) but I’d never FAILED. Just managed a couple of C tests, which mom used to browbeat me into the humanities. But the people in the humanities just weren’t my people. And it was all soaked in Marx and icky.
          Turns out what mom was REALLY afraid of? That I’d get pregnant. No seriously. she so completely misread me, she thought I wanted mechanical engineering because boys.
          The funny thing is that I could have gone through all of the degree and not dated once. I was not horrible looking, but associating with guys in MY geekdom? I’d go from zero to “sister” in ten seconds. I’d have gone through my degree maybe with a crush on one or two guys and hearing them tell me all about the bubble heads THEY crushed on.
          I mean, even when guys had crushes on me (I later found out about a few I knew casually who were also geeks) the chances of my DATING were almost zero. I didn’t read signals. AND if I’d dated, the chances of that proceeding to “jump into bed” were about nil. At best, I’d have had a long bumbling and very proper courting with about a 10% chance of success without me losing interest. Honestly, I think the only reason Dan and I figured it out is that we were on the phone, and also that it was fish or cut bait, because of the distance. I’m glad of it, but it was never high probability. Sometimes I think all children and parents are total strangers.

          • Can’t fool me, I’ve seen pictures. You were a hottie!
            Doesn’t change a lack of social skills typical of most odds, but obviously it all worked out for the best. What sort of life could a female engineer in Portugal have looked forward to in those days?

            • mostly unemployment. There is a chance the US would have accepted the degree though. But then I’d have been happy engineering and probably never have written. Meh. I’d be better off, but probably not doing that ineffable plan thing.
              Looks skyward. HAVE I TOLD YOU unless money massively increases, I’m going into politics, lately?
              What do you mean I shall not tempt the Lord my G-d. I’m THREATENING sir.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                And G*d is thinking “That’s a threat? That’s just what those Liberals deserve.” 😈

              • Aha! And last year you were outright hostile to the idea of “Governor Hoyt.”

                After you get sworn in you can turn over most of the scutwork to your lackeys and minions, lock the door, and get *hours* of prime writing time…

                And once you’re out of office you can do the talk show circuit; “Sarah Hoyt, former Governor of Colorado, and author of…”

              • Dear heart, had to point out in a friendly poker game at my club Sunday afternoon that a certain player could not expect to win if he discarded every hand. Admittedly, he was getting a series of carp cards, but in tournament play waiting for the perfect hand is a great way to get blinded out of the game.
                In a some what similar fashion, you cannot expect to make your fortune as a writer unless you generate a significant amount of product on offer.
                Thus speaks my weekly nag for my favorite niece to pound her keyboard and get me something to edit.

            • PRETTY SURE it’s empty threat, yeah. But I’m plucky comic relief. (Looks skyward hopefully.)

            • I’m thinking of Midwest U in the early ’70s. We had about 200 EE students in my year (not the EE/CompSci, just the hardcore EE) There was one female in our class. (And come job interview time, her offers tended to run towards “microcode our processors”.)

              Fast forward 12 years when I started my MS, and there were 1-10% women in the classes, though they tended to be more common in the computer-ish classes.

              Go to current day, and SIL was an engineer at Big Corporation, and her daughter is an engineer at Medium Corp. SIL was discouraged by advisors and one or two lower level professors, but made it. Niece was encouraged, and seems to be quite good, but working for a “hire ’em young and burn them out” company. SIL got fed up with the bureaucracy…

              • I was pondering the impact of the “Burn them at both ends then throw them away – we can get more” employee management policies of places like TehGoog and Zuckerbook on the current working age cohort:

                Will the response be an across the board Cartman “Screw you guys, I’m going home!” with an (even more) accelerated flow to other industries and locations? Will startups rise up here with pledges to not behave like those crappy old places to work and displace the old school massive first-gen internet companies? Or will there be broader political repercussions here the the Glorious People’s Bear Flag Republic, either to trustbusting or alternately with the “I think socialism built the roads” thing leading to Really Bad Ideas?

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Game industry apparently uses that paradigm also, and when I was growing up I’d heard that programmers should plan for a short career with burn out and an early retirement. As I wasn’t spending highschool awake all night programming, and as my health did not really permit that degree of intensity, I decided I wasn’t cut out for programming. I sought out other fields. Might have been a mistake, I can’t tell.

                • “Burn’em up!” was the mantra when Silicon Valley meant semiconductor manufacture. Even companies that had a supposedly good reputation (looking at you, Intel) did it, while places like Fairchild or National would do so, adding frequent layoffs to the mix. HP was different for a while, but started to get funky in the ’90s.

                  A kinder, gentler startup? I doubt it, but pigs have flown. (Usually in cargo unless support animal. 🙂 )

              • Tracy Kidder’s “The Soul of a New Machine” was about the development of a new Data General mini back in 1980.

                They were pushing the dev teams at 80 hours a week, and when the machine finally shipped, laid off most of them and moved the rest to “support.”

                “We nearly killed ourselves doing this, and now we’re simply cast aside.” Yep.

                I don’t remember if Kidder said it was normal industry practice at the time, but it was solidly “how things are done” by the mid-90s when I read it…

                • Where I worked at the time, they didn’t lay on a bunch of new people to develop a new product (we were doing bipolar memories, now analogous to high-speed buggy whips), because it wasn’t practical to have big teams there, but absurd hours were common.

                  I was doing test engineering for the new products, and 12 day workweeks were too common.

                  OTOH, at my last big employer, they did have a big team for more exotic projects. When the chip I was doing test development for had a fatal flaw (and the dot-com bubble was busy bursting), I was in the first tranche of people to get laid off. OTOH, a mixed curse; the severance package steadily got worse as they laid off the more essential* employees.

                  In a bit of major irony, the group manager who did the Win Big, we’ll make a killing! strategy, not only saw the entire semiconductor operation crash, burn, and get sold off, he ended up being the next CEO. I didn’t keep my company stock. :]

                  (*) As usual, it was the older ones to get dumped first. Part of the severance package was an insistence that we not sue for age discrimination.

        • It’s now the soft bigotry of low expectations (among some), rather than assuming that women will get married, have kids, and need to be able to manage a household. Plus now, the lack of women in STEM gives the Ctrl-Left a justification for destroying the disciplines that actually produce things like vaccines and flush toilets and bridges that stay up. Thus they can control hard reality, rather than just the softer fields.

          Or so they think.

          I prefer dealing with people who are just “women don’t do these things because most of them are not wired for it” rather than “women can’t do these things because they are victims so they need to show their Grrrrrrrrrl power and do these things so we will make them easier because the poor things are all victims.” [as their logic circles faster than a spider going down the drain at Hoover Dam.]

          • Yeah, as long as there’s a spot for the random chick who got dude wiring (or however you phrase it in the worldview), I know who I’d rather deal with.

            …hm, the “let gals who can do it, do it” also selects for making matches between those who are inclined to geek on the same subject…..

          • “But women that want to do it, should totally give it a go.” is my place.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              “But what if the current women in STEM fad or push creates a false consciousness that misleads them into thinking they want it?”

              The people who really like it will stick with it, the folks who don’t will dislike it and quit. Yeah, the costs aren’t trivial, but I can’t tell from the outside, and I’d rather more permissive access control than less. I don’t care what the statistics say, what I care is that the people doing it are good at it, and getting really good often correlates with liking it a lot.

              • Another consideration is that to get a STEM degree, you actually have to learn some math, some basic science, and so on. Even when they drop out of the field, those women will be less susceptible to Far Left ‘it sounds swell until you look at the numbers’ pipe dreams. Not proof against such, but they’ll have the tools to be skeptical.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  Given that Homeschooling is the One True Way, if we further assume that the purpose of women is only children and the raising of same, an engineering degree background provides more fitness for that purpose than an education degree. Of course, a solid classics program or a good job out of highschool likewise provide more fitness than an education degree.

                  Frankly, if you are instead looking at it from the ‘feminist’ perspective that career success is the only important metric for women, pushing women who really won’t want to use the degree for that work to take engineering might be a mistake. If you could forecast the type of work they would enjoy, and if training of that type would favor career success, then encouraging the appropriate training would so optimize. I personally suspect that nothing we can do with a bureaucracy will be very effective at picking people and making them substantially more successful than others without that intervention.

                • my older sister is a math ed major and regularly teaches college algebra classes for extra money, and yet still thinks Social Security will be there in 20 years…

        • STEM degree. Or told you were only after the MRS degree …

    • presumably they were more worried about our purity than about fires

      Ah yes, the madness of our eras is an identifiable thing. The era of pre-school witch-trials, the Matthew-Sheparding of homosexual acceptance, the Climate Change Cataclysm! Then there are the food fads (anybody here not remember oat bran?) and TV crazes … Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na Batman!

      And, of course, the efforts to criminalize Black Male Sexuality have returned with a vengeance. (The nasty little secret of the College Rape Panic is the high percentage of African-American males being tossed out of school with little semblance of due process.)

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Ooh. That would be a third thing fitting my ‘feminism is merely crypto white supremacism’ model.

        • You know, the worst part is when you make sense.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            To my brother in misogyny,
            We still know that the model is false. There do exist believers in feminism of some kind and degree who are most likely not secretly nuts on race.
            The assertion is only as credible as, say, the process of entrail reading by which some conclude that you or Trump or Orvan are homophobic.

        • Look at what happened to The Brian Banks story.

          It would have derailed Poor Little White Girl in the Kavanaugh hearing, so it had to disappear.

      • I recall Carson doing an A-B-C’s gag… this is the only part I recall, but…

        “And O is Oat Bran – A higher fiber cereal…
        That tastes just like styrofoam
        Packing material!”

      • BTW – “Computer Modeling” is the “HiFi Jump-roping* of our age. I was struck last night by a thought experiment on computer modeling: imagine the response to an announcement that the greatest men of computing had dedicated themselves to constructing a computer simulation determining the optimum leg-hole placement and dimensions for women’s underpants.

        Think ye the reception would be uniformly celebratory?

        *Classic Peanuts reference

        • Ahem.

          Exercising my right to revise and extend remarks:

          “HiFi Jump-roping*

          Should read: “HiFi Jump-roping*”

          That unclosed quote mark would have haunted me all day. Nearly as much as my inability to google-fu the classic Peanuts strip which explains that reference.

          • “Digital-Ready” or (somehow even worse) “Y2K-compliant” cables.

            I must remember…

            1) The average human is really quite smart.

            2) The above average are AMAZING.

            3) And the below average generally get the most publicity.

            • “Polarized” stereo cables.

              “Organic” table salt.

              • Modern Shakespeare wouldn’t start with the lawyers, but the markete(e)rs. And have much encouragement.

                It is astonishing that no terrorist group has sought public goodwil by the bombing or such servers of those ratfinks that auto-play audio/video. This shows how stupid they really are. I suspect would have significant support and the complaints would be met with, “About time, $RUDENAMES!”

                • If the 9/11 hijackers had crashed into a telemarketer HQ …

                  • Heroes to a grateful nation and a tearful funeral?
                    No. Sorry. They meant to hurt us. I’ll side with John Ringo who once on a panel said if hostile aliens came in demanding our kudzu or all our fire ants, he’d fight them tooth and nail. Even if what they destroy is noxious, if what they mean to do is hurt us? THEY GET DEATH, is what they get.

                    • Truth.

                      Someone who points a gun at your head and demands something stupid is looking for an idiot.

                      Either the genuflection gives them something you don’t want, or the stupid thing gives them something you don’t want.

                      NEVER DO WHAT THE GUY THREATENING YOU SAYS YOU SHOULD.

                    • “NEVER DO WHAT THE GUY THREATENING YOU SAYS YOU SHOULD.”

                      Unless you’re waiting for an opportunity to REALLY screw him.

                    • I don’t count tactical faked compliance…..

                    • I confess that for some things I’d be torn between “They might have a real use for the fire ants/Compliance will make it harder to say no next time” and “Sure thing, let them take the bad stuff and destroy themselves with it.” But probably the latter is marginally easier to pull off with other humans than aliens with unfamiliar biology etc., and even with humans it’s risky. Realistically (uh, for certain values of the term), if they came for the poison ivy, I would assume they had plans for chemical weapon development.

                    • If they want it for a good reason, they can ask!

                      Millions for charity, not a penny for tribute.

                    • “And destroy themselves” was supposed to be the important part!

                    • –Let me try again to be clearer. In the event that hostile aliens came demanding something we didn’t want in the first place, whether it be kudzu, poison ivy, fire ants, mosquitoes, whatever, there is a part of me that sees an appealing story in putting one over on them in a form of malicious compliance: letting them take the thing and find out the thing is its own punishment.

                      However, on sober reflection, this would probably be at best a second or third place option if we had to buy time to get our defenses in better shape, because 1. even a danegeld of stuff we didn’t want sets a bad precedent, and 2. it would be extremely difficult to guarantee that it would actually be worse for them and better for us if they had it than vice versa. For example, with poison ivy, I meant they’d likely be planning to use urushiol in chemical weapons against us, not that they wanted them for some reason we might’ve been sympathetic to if they’d asked politely.

                    • Oh, I got it, I just am too paranoid to roll with it.

                      It makes a good story, but only a short story– I keep expecting a kick in the teeth for trying to be clever.

                    • Ah, sorry, I thought the “if they needed it for a good reason, they could ask” part might mean I had inadvertently implied I thought they might have had a good reason.

                  • I perceive I was unduly curt. It isn’t that I would approve of such a strike, but recognize a significant portion of the populace would be — and an even larger portion would be “decidedly mixed feelings” camp, suppressing laughter while vowing reprisal.

                    Perhaps if I rephrased it, placing the target as Koch Industries HQ … or George Soros’ offices … a PETA Convention … WorldCon, during the HUGO awards banquet.

                • Danny Hamilton

                  I remember reading (John Ringo) about an artificial intelligence created as a long eared rabbit called Bun-Bun who carried a switch blade that was programmed to go after telemarketers. Also others but the telemarketers were a hoot.

          • Timothy E. Harris

            Let’s see if this works…

              • chop off everything after gof and you get:

              • Thanks.

                I remember discovering those pocket book collections of early Peanuts cartoons and devouring them when I was a kid.

                It seems to me you could define generations but what comic strips they grew up reading. There’d be Generation Peanuts, Generation Doonesbury, Generation Far Side, Generation Calvin & Hobbes …

                It would probably have more predictive value than the current idiocy.

                • I would be “Generation Far Side”, no matter what the calendar years might be.

                  Peanuts, Doonesbury, Wizard of Id… those were what were running in the papers, and I’ll be charitable; perhaps they’d run out of steam long before and were coasting on inertia, because few of them seemed to have any point. Whatever built their fan base, it’s nothing I can see.

                • Generation Calvin and Hobbes here! The Far Side takes second place and Foxtrot in third for newspaper comics.

                  • A friend had one of the compilation books, which I enjoyed. But the strip never ran in the local papers, so it was never part of my “media experience” when newspapers were a thing.

                    “Dilbert” I knew mostly from… I don’t remember if it was PC Week or InfoWorld. I got a couple of the compilation books of those, but they’re something I can only handle in small doses. The first few pages are riotously funny, and then the bitterness sets in as I realize how accurately they reflected my time as a corporate sarariman.

                • SheSellsSeashells

                  I owe what political savvy I have to my childish determination to find out why the grownups were laughing at Doonesbury. Which required research. And reading. And ended up with one of my recently-divorced mother’s new suitors bribing me with three years’ back issues of National Review.

        • The one true test of any computer model is to check on how closely it mimics reality. Feed the model historical data and see whether it spits out current conditions.
          Sadly, present policy for some disciplines is to change the historical data until the model gives you the answer you want rather than fixing the flaws in the model.
          Science is not now, never has been, and never will be “settled.”
          You have observed facts, theories, and general rules for how things actually work. When facts disprove current theory or rules you must develop new ones. That is true science.

          • Peter Grant did a post on Gorebull Warmening a few weeks ago (no, I did not view the video, so cannot comment on that). The comments section managed to draw the True AGW Believers, including the 97%ers. Had to stop reading; my IQ and/or my sanity was going from reading such.

            On a happy note, I saw the judgement in Mann v. Ball, where Herr Hockey Stick had his ass handed to him. I love happy endings.

            • Best part aside from the courts action was Mann’s “It’s fake news! I TOTES didn’t lose! And I’m appealing my loss!” nonsensical response via the intertweetpipes.

              Just delightful.

            • >> “On a happy note, I saw the judgement in Mann v. Ball, where Herr Hockey Stick had his ass handed to him. I love happy endings.”

              Hopefully Mark Steyn gets a similar win. Although I think that case is STILL stalled after well over half a decade…

          • So…
            more than one of the AGW computer models:
            -cannot predict 1980s temps if fed everything up to December 31. 1979.
            -cannot predict 1990s temps if fed everything up to December 31. 1989.
            -cannot predict 2000s temps if fed everything up to December 31. 1999- in this specific case, they predict warming instead of a decline and plateau

            One specific model will predict warming if fed a random table of numbers for temperatures.

  12. Perhaps it is my own peculiar twist, but I viewed the term boomers as not only those born during the post war rise in birth rate, but who also came of age during the economic boom of the 1960s.  These kids grew up and started their adulthood in a world of possibilities and promises.  But for those of us who were born in the last years of that rise in birth rate — we started our adulthood with long lines at the gas pump and the assurances that our best days were behind us, so learn we better learn to downsize our dreams and make insulated curtains.

    • Where I was I was the first or second year of birth rate bust.

      • Yeah, well, what do you expect when the modern main stream press’ analysis when it is pontificating on the historical? They have proven that they know little enough of the current; even less of the past.

  13. RES gets justifiably upset and protests. JUSTIFIABLY but not necessarily accurately, mind you.

    I would never attempt to convince you that RES is always right — but the smart money will bet the Way of the Wallaby.

  14. The “Generation” thing beaten into fitting genealogy frames is silly, yeah; there are ‘generational touchstones,’ but they’re… less massive.

    When my dad was a kid, he wasn’t a part of the “Baby Boom.” His class was way smaller than the ~3 years after WWII ended, so….
    He’s also just about the perfect age to have done summer of ’69.
    Was drafted during Vietnam.
    Saw the moon landing.
    Remembers JFK being shot. (although that one is edgy)

    All of those would be useful “touchstones”– just like ‘the turn of the Millennium’ was going to be it for my age group, but 9/11 ended up being a much bigger one.

    They’re mostly useful if you’re…what, something from teens to mid-20s, forming your world-view of what is ‘normal’. I’d say about 16 to 24 for highest utility, that is, that they actually cared enough for it to “form” them.

  15. “The silly attempts at “free love?””

    There have been at least three waves of that idiocy; 1870’s (think the Heanry Ward Beecher scandal), the 1920’s, and the 1960’s. Each one has been a total clusterf*ck.

    • I’ve met humans. Most days I think I’m probably one. BEST we can hope for is “Widespread tolerating.” Love and free are impossible. Not in the true definition of love, not in the “sex high jinks” definition

      • From my observations, “Free Love” is neither.


        Here I am once again giving everything that I have
        Wrapped up in a love and just getting out of the last
        There’s gotta be somebody who will always be there and pull you out
        Love is a full time job that you can’t live without

        You take your faith and you put it in me
        I open my heart, I give you the key
        You build up trust by stripping down pride
        To get to the truth, you got to clear the way

        Why is love such a sacrifice?
        Why is love such a sacrifice?

      • One of my favourite love stories is Norton Juster’s the Dot and the Line.

    • The 1960s version of “free love” took off because it coincided with “the pill”. That just means it’s been a social disaster on the scale of global thermonuclear war.

  16. Dan Hamilton

    To really set people apart is who remembers the week end of nothing but JFK’s funeral on TV? And as a Kid was pissed.

    • Er… I couldn’t. Even if we’d had a TV. I was a year and 4 days old.
      The weird thing is that for years I was sure I remembered mom and grandma receiving the news and saying “that poor mother.”
      While I have flash-memories of really early events, it seemed unlikely I’d remember THAT with its “USA” associations when I’d just started to speak (not in sentences.)
      THEN I realized what I remembered was their discussing RFK’s death. By then I had a concept of “other countries” thanks to dad. So that made perfect sense. (Mind you, I thought Rome was — still, in its ancient form — one of those “other countries” or possibly the mother country. And that ALSO is dad’s credit or fault. I’ll just love him and not complain.

      • I’m old enough to (barely) remember JFK’s death, but if I even heard about RFK or MLK I don’t remember it.

        The media aspects of some of that are weird. From what I’ve been able to piece together, FDR’s death was a *much* bigger thing in Britain than it was in the USA.

        • FDR was about to get censured by the Senate for being a lowdown SOB and killing a senator by trying to blackmail him. He only escaped scandal and getting impeached by dying of his final illness.

          Allan Drury’s Senate Diary gives the gory details, which he later turned into the novel Advise and Consent.

          • You lost me, with this… I thought that Advise and Consent was based on the 1954 suicide of Senator Hunt…?

            Can you do cites for me? I’m lost trying to find the details you reference, which I’m completely unaware of, with regards to FDR. I thought I’d plumbed the depths of his mendacity, and this is completely new to me.

    • Raising hand. Yep. 100%. Hey. For once we are actually HOME on a Saturday. Not out fishing/hunting/camping. And they don’t show cartoons. Hey. I was 7.

  17. My parents were children during WWII. I was born the same year as Obama. In no way am I a Boomer. We didn’t have a TV in our home until after I moved out. Still I get grouped into the narcissistic generation. *sigh. Them are fighting words when they want to label me. Odd maybe…. Boomer never.

    • My Dad was 1920-1991. My mother was 1926-1978. They grew up in the Depression and were adults during WWII. I was born in late 1961. However I spoke to my Mother’s mother and my Father and I read. So I was quite familiar with earlier times. Show of hands for those who remember Agnew.

  18. While much of what you say about we Boomers is right on target, you omitted the impact of the Vietnam War. It’s impossible to overestimate its impact on my generation.

    • I was always anti-hippie and pro-Vietnam war. I’ve always been Republican despite living in New York City most of my life.

    • The alternative history I want to read is “JFK was too busy with Marilyn to deal with the initial escalation and says ‘we are not going to follow the French into defeat; screw those RVN Saigon bastards; nobody cares about Southeast Asia anyway’ and lets North Vietnam forcibly reunify with the South in 1963-ish.

      No war in Vietnam, but the huge domestic scandal of “Who lost Vietnam?” piled on top of the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis during the 1964 presidential campaign causes JFK to lose to Goldwater, who ends up doing the “Only Nixon Could Go To China” thing four years early, stripping Mao away from Moscow; and with no war in Vietnam the hippies have to protest the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  19. There’s a similar lack of accuracy in the ‘decades’ trope.

    If you look at it as a matter of zeitgeist, the 20’s really did pretty much fit their decade, as did the ’30’s. The ’40’s only really lasted from Dec. 1941 until the Japanese surrender in Sept. 1945. The ’50’s run from 1946 through some kinda vague point in the early 1960’s, arguably the arrival of the Beatles in 1964. The *early ’60’s * constitute maybe two years, maybe slightly more, from the Beatles arrival through the so-called ‘Summer of Love’. The *Late ’60’s* run through the ouster of Nixon in 1974. The ’70’s may have ended at the end of the slander decade, but didn’t start unto the calder said the decade was almost half gone.

    as for later decades, I notice that even the Talking Heads, those facile manufacturers of false memes, get tangled up trying to characterize them.

    • There are definite political decades…but they don’t begin with years ending in a zero.

      The Political 1940s start in late 1945, with the victory over Japan, and end in 1952 with Eisenhower’s election. This is an era when socialism was rejected, but significant parts of the New Deal were accepted as permanent.

      The Political 1950s start in 1953 with Eisenhower’s inauguration, end 22 November 1963 with the Kennedy murder. High level of political stability, maximum internal U.S. cultural cohesion.

      The Political 1960s start with Johnson taking office, end in 1973 with Nixon’s resignation. The culture went nuts. Between Vietnam, drugs, sex, and race issues, things got pretty bad.

      The Political 1970s start with Ford taking office, end in the second half of 1983…I date it to the liberation of Grenada. Hard times. The Great Inflation, the collapse of American foreign policy and indeed of American self-confidence. The Great Guilt Trip begins.

      The Political 1980s begin with the liberation of Grenada, end in the 1992 election. The corner was turned in 1983, things looked up. Hope was reborn. The Soviets were taken out of business, Eastern Europe was freed, the American Unipolar Era begun. Then Clinton was elected, and started to throw it all away….

      The Political 1990s begin with Clinton’s inauguration, end at 0900 EDT 11 Sep 2001. Strong economy, but major cultural problems. Significant unhappiness with the culture, even though people made money. Part of this was that U.S. manufacturing was on the wane, and a significant number of middle-class workers were pushed into the lower classes. Also, social standards eroded.

      The Political 2000s began 11 Sep 2001, arguably ended in late 2008. Massive war effort, but no willingness to put the country on a war footing. As with the Political 1960s, they tried to fight a war and expand welfares at the same time. Didn’t work out either time.

      The Political 2010s? I’m not sure when they end. There’s a good case to be made that the Political 2000s end not in 2008, but in the 2010 elections, with the rise of the Tea Party populist movement to political prominence. This triggered a fight on the Right that is ongoing, and has shown how craven and ineffective the Buckleyite pseudo-conservatives really were.

      • The problem is that your last sentence is untrue.
        Consider that liberals controlled all the major media outlets in the 1970s and 1980s without the countervailing influence of the Internet, Democrats controlled Congress until the Gingrich revolution, and most of the politicians came of age during the Depression and WWII. Frankly, given those conditions the Buckleyites did well.

    • four years was ‘slightly more’ than two years. Beatles arrived in ’64, summer of love was ’68 iirc.

  20. from Computing Forever by Dave Cullen about Hong Kong:

  21. I’m going for Generation Mormon. How I was raised, so I guess the default choice, but I did the ‘study your scriptures and doctrines so that you know what you believe’ thing that all LDS are _supposed_ to do . . .

    . . . even though we have morons repeating the satanic ‘fat is healthy/beautiful’ lies of the world, as if they never actually read the Word of Wisdom. (A personal peeve, since one of my weaknesses is gluttony and thus those words are an attempt to murder people like me.)

    Fortunately, the LDS faith is uniquely suited to be of the USAian faith, given that it’s literally in our scriptures that the Constitution was part of the great Plan of Happiness, and the men who worked on it inspired by the Almighty in doing so.

    -Albert

  22. Did we even do generations before the Boomers? Seems like just another effort by Proglodytes to conscript innocent bystanders into serving as cannon fodder in their war on Reality.

    You have vaginas? Therefore you must think this way!

    You have melanin? Therefore you must think this way!

    You were born in ####? Therefore you must think this way!

    You want to think for yourself? Shaddup! Your [Soviet] tell you when and what to think for yourself.

  23. “a country that was neutral in WWII (mostly through being bankrupt)”

    Also helped that you had also-neutral Spain insulating you from most of the shenanigans.

  24. Sigh.

    Of course you’re going to get wrong results with 20-year generations. The sample rate is too low. Try a 10-year generation and you’ll get much better answers.

    The way I figure it:

    1935-45: Happy Days’ers. Grew to maturity in the 1950s. Very secure, very stable culture.
    1946-55: Brat Boomers. Got the full force of post-war idealistic dogma, then got slapped by the face by the reality of the Vietnam War and the horrible mess of the Sexual Revolution. Half of them are OK, the rest are potential cat food.
    1956-65: Baby Busters. Grew up with the idealistic optimism of the 1960s, then were bushwhacked by the Great Inflation (the value of a dollar dropped by 2/3rds in the 1970s), Watergate, and the implosion of U.S. foreign policy in the 1970s. Despise Brat Boomers as the older relations who smashed the bar and left us to clean up.
    1966-75: Generation X. Rode the Reagan expansion. Had no real memory of hard times…which gave them problems with the Democrat Depression of the 2010s, as they weren’t familiar with how to cope.
    1975-85: Clinton Cynics. Very cynical, they grew to maturity with the Clinton Lies. Not bad otherwise, but often not well educated.
    1986-95: Generation Y. Cynical, but also a bit inclined to whine.
    1996-2005: Generation Snowflake. Got the full force of the self-esteem cult. Much like the Brat Boomers, there is a distinct bimodal distribution with them. About half are OK, the others are whiny brats that even Gen Y despises.

    • 1956-65: Baby Busters…Great Inflation (the value of a dollar dropped by 2/3rds in the 1970s)

      Oh, how could I forget inflation. When I was a kid, a nickel could actually buy a plastic model kit. I watched most of the Great Inflation as a kid, but the seemingly princely sum of several hundred dollars in my childhood savings account book turned out to be basically nothing by the time I got to college. The only upside was that mortgages got more and more affordable, and the ever increasing property tax assessments that resulted from inflation triggered the Prop 13 tax revolt in California, which starved 30 years of State government Good Ideas.

      • Also student loan percentages that came under “make minimum payment” because standard saving’s percentages were double, or more, the rate on the student loans.

        Mortgages OTOH … I think the Longview house was at 12%, in 80. Didn’t blink at an 9% loan in ’88. Refinanced that loan to 2.9% (I think), in 2010 (was putting of the refi until kid was out of college, but we got credit jacked by the bank on line of credit). Growled at the loan officer who suggested we take money out on our equity. … after 2008? Were they NUTS? We are just under double our original loan as it is, due to home improvements, and paying off an RV. But have over 50% current equity; based on County’s retail assessment. Taxable assessment (Oregon equivalent to prop 13) only have 28% equity.

        • Yeah, should have said existing mortgages – the stretch to pay the monthly payment on a 1963 15,000 mortgage basically goes away when you are earning a 1980 paycheck. But the mortgage rates – yeah.

          Today’s 4% mortgage rates are one of the main reasons families out here are buying 1,200 sq.ft. houses on 6,000 sq.ft. lots for a million freaking dollars.

          • Uh oh – html tag runaway – look out below, it might drip html drops into other posts…

          • No, because they were doing that when 9% was an OK rate– in the areas where you’re not allowed to have more houses.

            Rules, supply and demand, and the freaking horrific state of most public schools are more to blame than the interest rate. (Especially when the taxes tend to make up for it.)

            • The last time mortgages were over 9% was 1995; The median single family home price in Santa Clara Valley in 1995 was in the neighborhood of $250k (I’m having to interpolate on a graph since I’m not finding data that old, but it’s less than $300k).

              $250k in 1995 money adjusted for inflation is $420k today.

              The median sale price for July 2019 for a middle-tier single family home is $1,079,400 (per zillow at https://www.zillow.com/santa-clara-county-ca/home-values/ ).

              It’s mostly the employment market combined with the restrictions on new builds that’s driving this craziness out here.

              • Median is a booger, as well you know.

                The basic point is that, roughly, what I (Millennial) think is a crazy high rate is what my prior generation (WTF) thinks is an awesome rate.

                • That’s definitely true – The January 1995 buyers who closed with 9.15% mortgages had seen 18.45% (with only 2 points!) just the prior decade, but recent memory for buyers now includes Great Recession rates below 3 1/2%.

    • That would make me be a Cynic.

      That really, really fits. My mom told me I was a cynic when I was still in high school. I’m the person who told all her older relatives the Patriot Act was a Really Bad Idea, then rubbed it in when Pres. Obama won.

      I like it.

      Yes, I’ve been explaining to friends older and/or male on facebook just how much the double sexual standards and resulting cognitive dissonance of “You can’t possibly consent to someone in authority over you, such as a professor” and “An intern can totally consent to the President” affected those of us who were teen girls being warned about predatory college professors then. A lot of my cohort can’t articulate why Hillary Clinton bothers them, they just know she does, and when I say that, they say “Yes! What Holly said! That’s what it is!”

    • Ooh, you reminded me of what I was going to say– we do actually have a decent method of looking at how stuff breaks down by ‘generation’ in the folks are similar sense!

      Marketing.

      Which generally figures about 7 years for a cohort, five to ten almost neve rmore than ten.

    • Cynic here, and this definitely seems right. If there’s any part of the 50s and early 60s I can truly admire, it’s the sense of optimism and unlimited horizons. This sounds silly, but it takes a certain confidence to create something like the Model Penal Code that tried to take the agglutinated kludge that is common law and turn it into a methodical, systematic code that is the MPC. Being a child of the cynical 90s, I can’t quite wrap my mind around having the level of chutzpah needed to think you can do better than the last thousand years of jurisprudence.

      Yeah, yeah, we also accept gay marriage which is its own massive rewrite of the social code, but frankly, that’s more about cynicism than optimism. We’re the children who watched our parents or our friends’ parents divorce and date and remarry and divorce again: why shouldn’t gays have the right to make promises they won’t keep and throw parties and go on expensive vacations and be miserable and get divorced like the rest of us?

    • As a Gen Xer…

      ‘no memory of hard times’

      we remember the miasma of the late 1970s, and a good chunk of us lived in the Rust Belt in the early 80s- you know, the places where *reported* unemployment reached 25% (which means real unemployment was more like 45%)

  25. I don’t know if It is a general thing, but on the Rekieta Law videos, “boomer” just means a person without computer skills. (Mr.Rekieta is younger than me, so definitely not a Baby Boomer!)

  26. When I grew up, I wanted to be a rocket designer, a rocket pilot, or (when I discovered it) an A-10 pilot. Runner up would be a Viper (F-16 Fighting Falcon) pilot.

    Didn’t have the math for the first or the second, and the back scoliosis kept me out of the third. That, and my rocket of choice would have irritated every member of Greenpeace…momentarily (being below the pad of a Nuclear Open Core Engines and <a href="http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist2.php#epstein&quot;Epstein Drive ship is momentarily annoying-for the protestors).

    My dreams may be more modest, but my fantasies are large.

  27. 1956 here, just reading the comments and reflecting that the nice safe world my parents built for me got blown up by John FUCKING Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis when I was six. And for what? An election ploy in another country. (We all found out later that JFK was so high on pain killers and booze he couldn’t find his own Johnson when his mistresses called. Holy shit, right? Compare that to what’s going on today, this is NOTHING my friends.)

    My old man was never quite the same after that. I don’t think any of them were, really. Fight all the way through a whole fucking war, the biggest war ever, only to come -this- close to being snuffed out by the push of a button by some assholes in Russia. It seems to me that’s when they stopped fighting. 1962, the year the fight went out of the Greatest Generation, and we learned to accept that we could all die any time at all.

    Kids my age either didn’t give a shit, or planned for the apocalypse. When I was a teenager I used to think up ways I could make a sound system after the Big One, so I could still hear my music.

    Fast forward to now and we are living through the hangover from the “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” party of the 1970s and 80s. Lots of kids with no dads, lots of really crappy marriages broken up because why stay with some jackass when you’re gonna DIE?

    But hey, I finally got a kickass sound system to play Yes on so I’m calling it good. And I notice there’s a hell of a lot of crusty old men like me who planned for the apocalypse their whole lives, and taught their kids to do the same. Woe betide the imbeciles who come for us.

  28. The Taliban would be proud.
    Legendary Sci-Fi editor John W. Campbell has been #Cancelled; his name will be removed from honor given to sci-fi writes, owing to very old writings about race and culture

    http://archive.is/fpi06