• Ilya B Shambat
    66
    Many people are looking fondly back to 1950s and want to re-create them. I caution them against doing that. If you re-create 1950s, you will re-create the conditions that led to 1960s; which means that you will be met with something like 1960s down the road in one or another form.

    It is said that the people who fail to learn from experience are doomed to repeat it. The people who see 1960s as an anomaly have not studied history. The Romantic Era that followed Enlightenment and the early 20th century that followed Victorianism both carried many of the themes that took place in 1960s. The 1960s do not have a monopoly on these themes. It wasn't the first time that they were tried, nor will they be the last.

    I attended a private Anglican school on a full scholarship. I was a star student for some time, then I started acting like a 1960s teenager. This was highly disturbing to some in the administration. They thought that the baby boomers were a bad crop, and that only they behaved that way. They were wrong. Not many people in my generation took the route of the baby boomers. The young people these days, however, have a lot in common with the baby boomers of that time. They are passionate about big issues, they take a strong stance against corruption and oppression, and many of them are attracted to the same beliefs to which the baby boomers were attracted when they were younger.

    I get tired of people attacking the people who had been a part of the 1960s. I've known a number of them, and I was impressed with what I found. I want these people to have a legacy that lasts after they are gone.

    Many people want the World War II generation to have a strong legacy; and that is fine. There was much good about that generation; but let us not be under any illusion that they were all that gen-Xers think them to be. I've known any number of baby boomers whose World War II generation parents raped them or murdered their siblings. It was also the people in that generation that were attracted to ideologies such as Nazism. They were strong and hard-working; they were also brutal and authoritarian. These qualities win wars; they also start them.

    Were baby boomers, as many gen-Xers claim, the worst generation? They include Steven Jobs, Colin Powell, Jane Fonda, Oprah Winfrey, Bob Woodward and any number of other admirable individuals. Some of them were bad parents; but some were excellent parents. I am good friends with a baby boomer who has raised three very healthy and highly successful children, one of whom started a multi-billion-dollar company. He has kept true to the 1960s ideals while becoming a successful entrepreneur; and in his retirement he has created, from his own resources, a huge political information website to inform the voters about the candidates that they will face.

    He is not the only admirable baby boomer I know. I know a woman who has been a teacher, a journalist, an MD and an editor of a bestseller by a premier American scientist, and who is presently fighting corruption in the medical system while being a successful entrepreneur. I know another woman who was a headmistress of a private school for 30 years and turned it from a place where bullying and abuse was common to a much more humane, and highly respected, institution. I know eminent professors, brilliant psychologists, and first-rate artists who are baby boomers. Maybe the gen-Xers who hate baby boomers do not know these people; I however do.

    So no, 1960s was not an anomaly, and baby boomers are not the scum of the earth that gen-Xers regard them to be. There is much that is right about both. If social conservatives try to re-create 1950s, they have not learned their lesson from history. They will be met with the same themes that took place in 1960s. And that hardly works in their best interests.
  • Jake
    1.2k
    As a baby boomer, I would suggest that our primary crime was that we knew better about many things, such as the environment, war, the bomb, consumerism etc, but went ahead and made all these dangerous mistakes anyway. Unlike our parents the WWII generation, we can not plead ignorance.

    That said, a key success of the sixties is that today's younger generations take the more open society created during that era for granted, and are largely unable to imagine society without the social changes the sixties unleashed.

    I would give the hippy boomer folks (of which I am one) high marks for the more open society changes, but on larger more important issues such as the climate and nuclear weapons, we blew it.

    But to be fair to we boomers, today's younger generation is repeating some of our mistakes. Not on climate so much, but for sure on nuclear weapons, the most significant threat to everything they hold dear.

    Here's the proof. Watch the upcoming 2020 election through this lens. PRESIDENTIAL election. There will be round the clock blabber on every channel for over a year, and nuclear weapons will barely be mentioned. We boomers are on our way out, so such insanity can not be blamed entirely on us.

    Donald Dump, or any president, can order a massive nuclear strike with a single phone call. He doesn't have to get the approval of Congress, he doesn't have to consult with the chain of command, or any other advisors. He can bring on the end of the world all by himself, and the generals and other big shots won't even know it's happening until they see the out going missiles on their radar screens.

    And yet....

    We are totally bored by this subject and can't be bothered to discuss it, even in a Presidential election where everybody is looking for some edge over somebody else.

    Boomers didn't invent insanity, and younger generations have not transcended it.
  • Anaxagoras
    106
    As a baby boomer, I would suggest that our primary crime was that we knew better about many things, such as the environment, war, the bomb, consumerismJake

    Interesting how racism never made that list.
  • petrichor
    40
    I'm a gen-Xer, and I've never been under the impression that my generation considers boomers the worst. I always admired much about the boomers. And the 1960s look like a good time in many ways! Not the 1950s though. Yuck. Do lots of people in my generation really want all that? Not the gen-Xers I know. I really can't imagine women wanting to go back there.

    I am an oddball though. My parents had me at quite a late age, so I wasn't raised by boomers. My older brothers and sisters, with whom I did not grow up, were boomers. So I was a gen-Xer raised by silent generation parents. My parents were still clinging to 1950s values when I grew up. So my life in some ways was like that of a delayed boomer. I often felt like that, like I was the last of the boomers or something, and not really fitting in anywhere. So my perspective might be skewed.

    My peers never had to resist such an old-fashioned, conformist father. My dad still hated rock music and long hair on men perhaps more than anything! Naturally, I was a headbanger! And if he didn't get The Beatles, he really didn't get Metallica! But he was old and tired by then and so at least didn't beat me over it all like he did my older brothers. He was pretty much retired to the recliner and TV. And seeing what happened with my elder siblings, I never let him find out about my drug experimentation. That might have gotten him out of the chair!
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    Many people are looking fondly back to 1950s and want to re-create them. I caution them against doing that. If you re-create 1950s, you will re-create the conditions that led to 1960s; which means that you will be met with something like 1960s down the road in one or another form.Ilya B Shambat

    Which conditions are we talking about here?

    Are we talking about the feverish anti-communism of the 1950s, or about the Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg (waving genitals and manuscripts)? Ayn Rand or Jack Kerouac? Are we talking about William H. Whyte's The Organization Man (collectivist management) or The Cather In The Rye? Are we talking about The Bomb or the massive post-war housing program building the new suburbs? Are we talking Leave it to Beaver or the Mattachine Society and the beginnings of gay liberation?

    If social conservatives try to re-create 1950s, they have not learned their lesson from history. They will be met with the same themes that took place in 1960s. And that hardly works in their best interests.Ilya B Shambat

    Slicing the centuries into decades is natural but it doesn't work very well. The push from above for more control and the counter-push from below for more openness is a constant. The hippies of the 60s, the anti-war demonstrators, the beards and long hair, free love -- all that -- didn't characterize the larger population of even those between 16 and 24, all those on the coasts, and so on. If it seemed like everybody was a hippy, it was because the hippies were associating mostly with each other.

    Deviant groups (like hippies, homosexuals, high-church Anglicans, communists, KKK) tend to operate within a social membrane. What one sees, hears, experiences within the social membrane is quite different that what one will see, hear, and experience when one steps out of the membrane.
  • Akanthinos
    1k
    Boomers ARE the worst, tho. It is 100% true an undeniable that boomers got themselves the very best situation of any population in history, enjoyed themselves as much as they could (and are still going) while preserving a complete lack of self-awereness in how they were fucking up the world. And then they become old fucking bourgeois who either double-down on the supermodernism shit, or take a turn and become the most affected, pretend-woke griefers there is.

    - "WHY are you leaving the lights on, Akanthinos?"
    - "Why do you feel you have the right to even make a sound about environmental consciousness after a lifetime carreer in house construction?"

    Gen Xers are also terrible, but like everyone after the Boomers, they can claim that this is caused by the trauma of being raised by such incompetent asswipes. Xillenials (79-86) are probably the best positionned not to become complete waste of skins. They grew up in a world where tech didnt prevale everywhere yet, so their childhood was still "normal", but it came about as they came into adolescence and early adulthood, so they arent left in the dust like most boomers.

    Millenials and Zs are going to end the world. And they'll enjoy it. Half of the fucking movies targeted at that audience are about kids unapologetically murdering their classmates and posting it on instagram for views. It doesnt even have the veneer of comedy and absurdity that came with shit like Going Postal or Hobo with a Shotgun. Just fucking Suicide-girls lookalike (because you also need to be titillated as you watch brains get splattered) playing Mean Girls but with AR-15, with the tag line "why are you butthurt? Its just a movie, lol!".
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    Unlike our parents the WWII generation, we can not plead ignorance.Jake

    And LIKE our parents who were born in the 1920s (to be old enough to serve in WWII) we were not actually in charge. The decision to go to war in 1917 (for the US, anyway) and 1941, to build the atomic bomb, to organize the massive armament program, to bring 16,000,000 men into the army (11% of the population), and so on was made at the top, of course. These decisions were not made by popular vote. I'm not criticizing the WWII 'greatest generation' in any way here. Just that they performed admirably where they were sent and put.

    "The People" weren't in charge of major decisions in 1941, 1951, 1961, and at many other times.
  • T Clark
    3.1k
    Baby boomers, GenXers, Millenials - it's all bullshit shorthand created by people too lazy to look at what's really happening. It puts a veneer of legitimacy on caricature and stereotype. I'm a 67 year old American who worked, raised a family, and did the best I could to be a good citizen and a decent person and to take responsibility for my own actions.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    Why do you feel you have the right to even make a soundAkanthinos

    Good question. Akanthinos, go to your room and stay there until we call you.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    Spoken like someone who still thinks he wasnt all along part of the problem.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    - "I was a great capitalist drone all my life, I reproduced my labour value and I accumulated wealth. How dare you imply I am not an excellent individual and that my lifestyle is inherently directed by the death drive of society?"
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    Many people are looking fondly back to 1950s and want to re-create them.Ilya B Shambat

    Unlike the essay written in 1995, I'm guessing you wrote this one in the early to mid-70s?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    There are no innocents. Everybody is guilty.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    You seem to be in an unusually bad mood with this topic.
  • T Clark
    3.1k


    I want to make sure I understand what you mean when you say

    "I was a great capitalist drone all my life, I reproduced my labour value and I accumulated wealth. How dare you imply I am not an excellent individual and that my lifestyle is inherently directed by the death drive of society?"

    Looks like you mean for this to be a clever paraphrase of what I wrote. Ha! I like that. I think I'll do the same for you. How's this?

    "I am a dick."

    Did I get that right? I've been gone for a while. Are we still allowed to call people "dicks."
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1k
    Institutions are extremely difficult to change. I don’t think you can blame society’s problems on any given generation when the institutions cross generations.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    True, no one is innocent. The end result of all Boomer politics is the proliferation of gated communities guarded by AR-15 toting private police. The difference between reactionnary and woke Boomer politics is weither or not those communities will have all-inclusive bathrooms, will allow transgender and women in their private police, and weither or not recycling is popular.

    Welcome to Hellworld!
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    Sorry things got too real for your geriatric ass... :kiss:
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    Welcome to HellworldAkanthinos

    The gated community phenomenon you describe is a hell-world kind of thing, for sure. Just be aware that not all boomers (people between 1945 and 1965 give or take a year) engage in the same dreary politics. Some of us have been contrarians from the getgo and have found our fellow boomerang's preferences to be quite appalling.

    Women and transsexuals can be on the gated community security force if they display the requisite knee jerk viciousness (and a healthy inclination to use force) needed to protect the residents of such places. As far as I am concerned, let's just say no to all inclusive bathrooms. As for recycling, do it or ELSE.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    I really dont think you could have chosen a better piece to showcase your outdatedness. :up:
  • fishfry
    516
    Boomer here. I have personally seen, with my own eyes, a Whites Only sign on a restroom in Florida in the 1960's. People have no idea what the world was like before the Boomers made it much much better. No fucking idea at all.
  • Maw
    1.1k
    (White, Male) Baby Boomers benefited greatly from the New Deal and post-War economy and then fucked it up for younger generations, so they indeed suck
  • T Clark
    3.1k


    "I really dont think you could have chosen a better piece to showcase your outdatedness"

    So - "outdated," "geriatric". Seems like you might be intimating that older people don't deserve the respect other people do.

    Or have I misunderstood?
  • Brett
    328
    White, Male) Baby Boomers benefited greatly from the New Deal and post-War economy and then fucked it up for younger generations, so they indeed suckMaw

    That’s a big statement, and also an incredible generalisation.

    ‘Baby boomers’ is such a loose, inaccurate term. It refers to people born in a particular period, that’s all. But somehow it’s come to mean something about their behaviour and attitudes. It was a period of great diversity among people that age. Some of them got mortgages, some went university and got their degree and went on to work in the corporate sector, some dropped out and went and lived on communes and tried to develop a different way of living together, some committed themselves to resisting the government and big business, some entered politics, some became writers and recorded the times, some formed groups that sought to make change with bombings, some formed a united front against police harassment in the ghettoes, some went to prison, some went to Vietnam, some didn’t and went to Canada, some developed ideas about women in society, some about gays in society, some worked on the space program, some went to Africa to do volunteer work, some went to Cuba to join the revolution, some hoped there would be a revolution in America, some went to Salvador to help and were raped and murdered and left on the side of the road, some raised families, some hoped the next generation would be better. Get it!

    Edit: But it’s quite clear where we did fail.
  • Brett
    328
    As a baby boomer, I would suggest that our primary crime was that we knew better about many things, such as the environment, war, the bomb, consumerism
    — Jake

    Interesting how racism never made that list.
    Anaxagoras

    You know it was on the list. What sort of thing is that to say?
  • Anaxagoras
    106
    You know it was on the list. What sort of thing is that to say?Brett

    Because not all people didn't think racism was bad, especially during that time...
  • Brett
    328


    You know it was on the list. Of course not everyone thought it was a bad thing. That’s why so many made it an issue.
  • Akanthinos
    1k


    Jesus fucking christ, are you really going to claim that Boomers solved racism in America? Yeah, try and claim the Million Man march for the boomers, just to see how black folks react to that one... In the meantime you still left us a world in which hospitals increasingly adopt the practice of charging 39.95 for the service of allowing parents to hold their newborns.

    Any self-respecting and self-aware boomer would admit firsthand that he and his generations failed the social revolution that HAD to happen after the 50s.
  • fishfry
    516
    Jesus fucking christ, are you really going to claim that Boomers solved racism in America?Akanthinos

    Is that a claim that I made?
  • Hanover
    4.3k
    And when we look back in 20 or 30 years to this generation and to this time, will people claim we were the Trump generation that stood for whatever it is that Trump stood for? Or, do you suspect that many who were blessed enough to live through these magical years might stand up and say they had nothing to do with Trump? That is simply to say that while there might be some general zeitgeist pundits wish to attribute to a given era, many, if not most, don't actually subscribe to it. Most spend their times tending to themselves, their jobs, and their families. Most baby boomers are a whole lot like most Millennials, which are just regular folks going about their days.

    Most of the WWII generation did not save the world from Nazism, most baby boomers did not protest racism, and most Gen Xers did not fight to save the planet. So, to the OP who poses the question of whether the baby boomers sucked, sure they did. They sat around and got high, screwed around like bunny rabbits, tuned in and dropped out, and made us forget what made us great. They also passed civil rights legislation that gave African American full rights as Americans. There is plenty of good and bad to be said of each generation. I, for example, am a stellar example of excellence in an age of mediocrity.
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