Stop Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

We’re in for  a few days of Boomer Generation vanity and preening with Tom Brokaw’s Big  TV Series premiering tonight.

I’m stuck with being a Boomer, but I’ve never understood the media’s fascination with this gigantic and incoherent cohort, starting with the campus protest movement of the late Sixties and early Seventies. From then until now, there’s been a sloppy misreading of the Boom Gen, taking the actions of a very few as representative of the very many.  The vast majority of Boomers, like myself, never took part in any campus protest, fled to Canada, got beat up in an Alabama desegregation riot, trekked across Nepal in search of enlightenment, etc.

It’s interesting that even some of the cultural icons generally identified as Boomeroid leaders are confused as to the nature of this pack. In his surprisingly good autobiography Chronicles Vol. I, Bob Dylan writes that he  was shocked to find himself thrust into the vanguard:

“As far as I knew, I didn’t belong to anybody, then or now. … I had
very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that
I was supposed to be the voice of.”

If there’s some special wisdom or sensitivity in BoomGen that sets us apart from others, I’ve never seen what it was.  I think the so-called Greatest Generation did a much better job dealing with a much harder world than we inherited.

I’m sure the generations younger than ours can’t wait until the last self-absorbed Boomer falls over in a nursing home while gumming sweet potatoes and listening to a muzak version of “Stairway to Heaven.”

Meanwhile, if you must, take the Boomer Quiz here and find out about the Boomers’ Most Influential Movies! And if you have any idea what Jaws, The French Connection, and Raiders of the Lost Ark say about “us,” I’d like to hear it.

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One thought on “Stop Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation

  1. Cool blog, Muse Machine. Brokaw is deservedly a beloved icon. But he is nothing remotely approximating an expert in generations, and from what I’ve seen about his Boomer$ documentary, he is embarrassing himself with his lack of knowledge. For example, he uses that old widely-discredited 1946-1964 Boomer definition at a time when most actual experts now divide that demographic boom in births into two distinct generations: the real Boomer Generation and Generation Jones. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. And most analysts now see generations as getting shorter (usually 10-15 years now), partly because of the acceleration of culture. Many experts now believe that while there was certainly a demographic baby boom between ’46 and ’64, the actual cultural Boomer Generation was more like 1942-1953, while GenJones was born from around 1954 to 1965.

    Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten lots of media attention, with many major mainstream media companies using this term. In fact, the Associated Press’ annual Trend Report chose the Rise of Generation Jones as the #1 trend of 2009. There are many of us GenJonesers who are quite happy to see our long-ignored generation finally recognized, and who resent media companies like CNBC broadcasting out-of-date, badly-researched material like this Boomer$ show. We should speak out against companies like this, and do what we each can to help spread awareness of GenJones, so that our generation can finally have its collective voice fully heard.

    Here are some good links about GenJones I found:
    http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm

    http://generationjones.com/2009latest.html

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