Viewpoints Page

Baby boomers suck

AGreetings `boomers. T.S. here, and I've got a few questions for you to ponder as you slide past middle age and into the Big Five-Oh. You're getting old now, which must be hard for a generation who predicated so much of its identity on youth. How does it feel?

And what do you do at 45 when you've spent your entire existence as if in the grip of a mid-life crisis? You've been self-indulgent and narcissistic your entire lives, after all. So a brand-new, deep red Porsche isn't gonna help. Your swine-like consumption in the '80s left you feeling awful hallow, didn't it? Meaningless sex? Didn't help in '74, did it? Dope and drink? You kicked all your habits in '82, remember? It's a damn shame. What's a boomer who wasn't gonna live past 30 to do on the downhill side of 40?

When your generation slides off the planet, what will you have left behind as a legacy (aside from the infamous X Generation you hold in such contempt)?

The much rhapsodized "social progress of the '60s?" Pissed away in the '80s with Reagan-Bush. The music of the '60s. Ripped off and reheated R&B from an earlier era. Maybe your great legacy will be the architecture of the '70s.

But maybe we slackers just don't understand you. Maybe it's a "`boomer thang." You make your collective opinion of us 20somethings clearly evident in the images of us you present via the media. Greasy hair. Flannel on flannel. Blank stare. Dull, monotone voice. No ambition. Irresponsible. Insipid conversation. Fair enough.

Just so we understand each other though, let's take a walk through the last four decades and examine the character and themes of your generation.

You're born into a post-war boom that expands the middle class and provides for all of your material needs. Mom's at home. You watch a lot of TV and wear a Davey Crockett racoon-skin hat.

Pop works a 9-to-5 gig somewhere and dinner's ready for him when he comes home. Your parents aren't perfect, but they work hard and provide a comfortable, stable home for you. Pop screams in the middle of the night from nightmares about the shit he saw in the war, and Mom has a vague, restless look in her eye, but you've got lots of toys and, all in all, things are good. Ike is president, life is soft and the future is bright.

Then the '60s roll around. You smoke your first splif and listen to "Mr Tambourine Man." You go to an anti-war rally or two. The politics are beyond you, but there are lots of stoned chicks with their bellybuttons showing who are devoted practitioners of the doctrine of "free love," and you're not stupid, after all, so Hell's Bells man, why not hang out?

You grow your hair long and fly the friendly skies and have lots of very casual sex (and why, oh why, is that can't you seem to get emotionally intimate with anyone when you turn 30?) but you're starting to feel like a fucking bum so you say to anyone who'll listen, "Hey, man, I'm Doin' My Own Thing, OK? Don't lay your middle class trip on me." And when that rings hollow, you just say "I'm rejecting my parents' bullshit bourgeoisie values, I'm rejecting materialism, I'm cultivating a higher consciousness," and Sgt. Friday shakes his head and you go on pointing out how various parts of your hippie uniform represent your rebellious individualism.

And after hawkin' a nice-sized clam on that baby killer, you mosey back to campus for a bowl of the kind and a little mogambo. What the hell ... school is cheap. It keeps you out of the draft. So you stay in school until 1973, when the war ends.

Ah, the '70s...Cocaine and the BeeGees. Plato's Retreat and naugahide. Camaros and Club 57. You had a good time in the Purple Decade, didn't you, `boomer? Sure. Group gropes and a lot of flake. Wore silver platforms and got fucked in the bathroom of several discos. Now you've got pictures of yourself with a Farrah Fawcett flip and flairs. Remember that wrought-iron coffee table? And that wrought-iron staircase? And that wrought-iron bong? Groovy.

And then came the '80s. Time to make some money. Greed. Avarice. Reagan. Bush. Hey, hey real-estate boom, condo, Beemer, couisanart, tiny vegetables, designer water, more more more, fuck tomorrow live for today. You turn into a bush-league Gordon Gecko. You are your parents times a thousand, asshole. But what's more, you are also a fucking hypocrite of epic and frightening proportions.

And now, in the '90s, you have the nerve to criticize our generation? To insult us with those fucking beer commercials? To hang handles on us like "Generation X" and "slacker?" To be shocked that we demure at the prospect of running out into the world to deal with the mess you swine left us?

As a child, you lived out the great Middle-Class Myth in comfort and security. As teens and young adults, you indulged your libidos in every conceivable way. When you hatched into yuppies, you indulged yourselves a little more, sort of like Sherman marching to the sea, looting and pillaging, burning what was left and then pissing on the ashes.

So, like, save your head-shaking and disapproval, man. You gave away any right you had to criticize us or any other generation a long time ago. What little good you did for this country in the '60s you undid with greed and apathy in the '80s and '90s.

-- T.S. Snopes is descended from a long line of demonic white trash, and was View points Editor for the Union.