...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

August 20, 2005

Boomer Deathwatch

i discovered an interesting niche blog this morning, Boomer Deathwatch. It's about that old Gen X - Boomer antipathy. i consider myself a Gen Xer, so i can relate to a lot of it. Here's an excerpt from the top post:

In the meantime, I worked minimum wage jobs and buffed up my political and social paranoia, built out of bits and pieces of leftover 60s radical rhetoric. Reagan was evil; Thatcher was a witch; the CIA pulled the strings; the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their counterparts at the Kremlin were glaring at each other over some future battlefield, wracked with nervous ticks and drenched with booze-soaked flopsweat, and one day they'd go too far and blow us all to kingdom come. There was no good or evil, or it was all evil, or we all had the potential for good. I don't know, it changed all the time, depending on what I was reading.

Then the 80s boom ended and the Wall fell and I finally got tired of being afraid and confused. More to the point, I got tired of letting fear and ignorance dictate how I saw the world, so I started reading books, some of which I didn't agree with at first. I stopped reading music magazines and started reading about economics, if only to find out just why all of the magazines I'd worked for as a freelance writer and photographer came and went in such regular cycles.

I was 'empowering myself'. Sure. Basically I was trying to peek my head up over the surging boomer crest ahead of me before the building echo wave behind me swept me down again. There had to be more to be seen or heard than the surging spectacle of sex, drugs and rock and roll that had been the backdrop for my whole life. If it looked like I'd never afford a house or a family, at least I wanted to know why I didn't die in a nuclear holocaust, or live in the Orwellian 'security state' of total surveillance and mind control that so many of my peers seemed to think was inevitable - indeed, already here, if you listened to many of them.

i was born later than the authors of this blog, so i don't have the same reference point they do on Carter, Punk, Disco, etc. (i read Douglas Coupland one night, yawned and promptly dismissed it.) But i get the whole "Boomers ruined it for us" meme.

i remember when Time ran that cover story about Gen X back in the eighties and it wasn't too flattering. And this whole shit storm erupted about whether Gen Xers were slackers, and why the Boomers were so bitter about the next generation.

Then the conflict seemed to die down, sometime in the late nineties perhaps. Boomers started to realize with their mortality staring them in the face, that their entire life could not be the big self-indulgent youth movement they thought it would be. And that Gen-Xers weren't all lazy cynics, and they didn't necessarily want or need to follow in the Boomers' footsteps either.

By the way, i recently saw The Big Chill for the first time on DVD. i'd heard so much about that movie that i figured i was missing out for having never seen it. i was wrong. i didn't miss a darn thing.

Posted by annika, Aug. 20, 2005 | TrackBack (3)
Rubric: History & On The Blogosphere


Absolutely, you missed nothing. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of good entertainment from the 60's and 70's but there was even more crap.
I was on the tale end of the boomers. I graduated college in 1980. I saw all the selfindulgent, narcisstic dip weeds who were a little older than me and tried not to be like them.
I usually found myself working alongside younger people and so I developed an affinity to the Gen X crowd. I think Gen X'ers and the current crop of young people are so much more normal than the Boomer generations.
They were the most self absorbed, self destructive, and sheep like fad followers ever.

Posted by: Kyle on Aug. 20, 2005

The only thing that makes me a boomer is my age.

I don't know anybody who is remotely like a character in The Big Chill. I suspect they are as representative of most boomers as the cast of Real World is to most of today's college students.

I could easily slander my parents generation, who never hesitate to vote themselves bigger Social Security benefits out of the paychecks of their children. They were also the folks who won WWII. You'd have to go back to the Civil War to find Americans who sacrificed more.

I'd give the boomers some credit for improvements in Civil Rights, balanced against a lot of destructive, self indulgent behavior and the shameful betrayal of our Vietnamese allies. Does winning the Cold War count for anythinng?

The Big Chill is OK, but I'm more Animal House or American Graffiti.

Posted by: MarkD on Aug. 21, 2005

Annika - for an interesting perspective on generations, read Strauss and Howe.

Generations: The History of America's Future

Posted by: Col Steve on Aug. 21, 2005