Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What a Long, Strange, Thoroughly Obnoxious Trip It's Been


I'll never forget it: On July 13th, 1985, folk legend Joan Baez walked onto the stage at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium -- site of the U.S. half of that day's massive Live Aid concert -- looked out over the crowd of rowdy kids, lifted up her voice as if she were a pastor at a revival and said triumphantly, "Children of the 80s, this is your Woodstock and it's long overdue."

I'll also never forget my reaction as I sat on a couch with my teenage friends, all of us watching the show live on MTV:

"Fuck off, hippie."

At first glance, my swift and admittedly crude dismissal of an icon of 1960s counter-culture might seem the product of my youth, immaturity and overall lack of ability at the time to appreciate the positive impact that Joan Baez and those like her had on the generation that followed them. You know something though? I'm now almost 40, and although there are those who would tell you that my level of maturity remains that of a teenager, I gotta say -- I don't give any more of a crap about Joan Baez today than I did in 1985. Looking back on it, I still consider her little more than a silly, pompous 60s cliché.

It's standard operating procedure, practically a rite of passage, for each new generation to fiercely rebel against the one that preceded it -- regardless of the optimistic nonsense that Pepsi's highly paid ad agency would have you believe. But for anyone unlucky enough to follow those who came of age in the 1960s, defiance to some extent has felt all but impossible. This is because, quite frankly, the 60s marked a high point in the evolution of American society as a whole and set an inapproachable standard across so many aspects of our culture -- music, art, political activism, even the act of defiance itself -- and it did this despite being one of the most turbulent periods in our nation's history.

And how do we know this?

Because for 40-some-odd years, the fucking Baby Boomers have never stopped reminding us.

Never in the history of this country has there been a generation that's cast a longer shadow without really having done anything to earn it than the children of the 60s -- specifically the so-called Woodstock Generation. For the most part, they're thoroughly undeserving of the immortality they've pretentiously bequeathed to themselves. But for God's sake, don't ever say this to the True Believers in the Boomer-Woodstock nostalgia aesthetic; they'll immediately begin lecturing you on the seemingly self-perpetuating legacy of the 60s protest movement, the brilliance of Abbie Hoffman, and the philosophical importance of shitting outdoors in the mud while Canned Heat plays Going Up the Country somewhere at the other end of the farm.

In case you hadn't already noticed, all this free love for the era of free love has really been pegging the meters lately thanks to the 40th anniversary of what was known officially as the Woodstock Art and Music Festival ("Three Days of Peace, Music and a Complete Lack of Hygiene"). Yes, it was 40 years ago that a bunch of hippies descended on the tiny town of Bethel, New York to drop acid, whirl around in circles and make memories that would last not only their lifetime but everyone else's -- because it was just that important.

If you weren't able to be there for whatever reason (you were part of the oppressive establishment or, you know, hadn't been born yet) the Woodstock folks need you to understand that, dammit, you should wish you could have been.

Such is the real legacy of the 60s, as filtered through the haze of bong smoke still looked back on with fondness by many of those who were there: It introduced the most narcissistic, self-congratulatory, self-indulgent generation this country has ever seen. A group of people political satirist Christopher Buckley jokingly calls "The Un-greatest Generation."

But once again, don't tell them that. As far as they're concerned, they own the goddamned world -- and to some extent they do, and have since they first went from being counter-culture warriors to being shallow, shameless Wall Street capitalists in the 1980s. When Wavy Gravy gave way to Gordon Gekko. When the Baby Boomers ascended to a position of real power in America, it was almost a certainty that they would do what they'd done since the 60s: shove their values (which always came down to one thing: them), their culture, and their nostalgia for their own childhood down our collective throats, allowing the rest of us the opportunity to fully grasp and revel right along with them in what they already knew so well -- their lives ruled. It was this gargantuanly egocentric attitude that gave us the "Me Generation" during the 70s and went on to bankrupt parts of this country, both financially and morally, in the 80s and beyond. No wonder "my generation" (no pun intended), the so-called Gen-X, eventually decided that the only way to fight back was to abandon all that phony, ultimately self-serving conscientiousness and just not give a shit about anything.

But we never could escape the warm bath of encomium flowing from a media machine designed not just to chronicle but glorify the Boomers as they made their way through life -- from their self-reflective 30s (the tedious navel-gazing of Thirtysomething and The Big Chill), through their ascendency to their rightful place at the very pinnacle of American society (the too-much-is-never-enough Clinton presidency), now into their autumnal years (story upon story devoted to how they're "redefining" retirement -- bringing the same level of self-indulgence to it that they've brought to every other period in their lives). To drop a phrase from a generation that existed long before theirs, the more things change the more they stay the same.

The reality is that although the 1960s themselves were an extraordinary time and I'd never devalue some of the truly impressive accomplishments that took place during that era, it would be great if we'd all be allowed to, well, get over it. An adherence to the standards supposedly set in the 60s has at times done far more harm than good. Think the 60s protest movement -- the way in which people are encouraged to protest, highlighting individualism (making my point perfectly) -- really has any relevance to today's climate? You're out of your fucking mind. When what was called for in the lead-up to the war in Iraq -- what would've been truly effective -- was a show of strength through unity and, yes, conformity among activists, what we instead got was what we've always gotten since the 60s: a bunch of dumb-asses in face paint and colorful t-shirts acting like buffoons. Needless to say, this struck fear into the hearts of absolutely no one in the political and media establishment. All it proved was that those who were opposed to the impending war would never be able to get it together enough to make a successful stand against the people calling the shots.

So why did we engage in this thoroughly impotent form of activism? Because we'd been taught since birth that "this is how they did it in the 60s, man!" (regardless of the fact that it can easily be argued that the real reason for the Vietnam protests in the first place was that none of the hippies wanted to get stuck going to war -- 'cause, wow, bummer man).

Big fan of those ridiculous Jesse Jackson-led marches? Do those really accomplish a goddamned thing? Not quite. And yet we allow Jackson to continually hijack any real dialogue and chance at lasting understanding simply because he's a 60s icon -- one who's always at the ready to inject himself into any public fight simply because it will get him on TV (making my point yet again). Or how about this one: Think about how every political or cultural scandal since 1972 has ludicrously been dubbed "Something-or-Other-Gate" -- named for the Watergate break-in ordered by late-60s pariah Richard Nixon.

The 60s is the decade that just won't die.

Those who lived it have spent the last four decades looking down their noses at the rest of us and saying, "You're welcome."

Joan Baez's comment at Live Aid was more revealing about an entire mindset than even she probably realized. So much that's happened since the 1960s has been compared against the standard supposedly set in the 1960s. This is especially interesting when you consider something: Live Aid was actually about alleviating world hunger; what was Woodstock about? You guessed it -- them. They came up during a time when maybe being an individual could be perceived as a threat to the squares in the establishment -- but did that ethos have to continue throughout the rest of their lives, even well past the point that they actually became the establishment? Did the Woodstock generation ever really grow up?

Look, Dennis Hopper is now a card-carrying conservative. The last Kennedy brother is dead. American Express is now aiming retirement package commercials at you featuring a smiling, gray-haired couple saying, "Never trust anyone over 90!" -- officially making you a walking punchline. Taking Woodstock came in 9th at the box office over the weekend.

The trip's over. Will you please go away and leave us alone now?

54 comments:

Web Dunce said...

Chez, angry a little? As a fellow x-er (I just turned 40 on Thursday - surreal, but I digress), I feel your pain where the Boomers are concerned. However, admittedly, I've always loved the hippie ideal. I say ideal because I know it isn't real. But the music is great. The drugs were big fun during my formative years. Funny you should mention Woodstock. It pains me that every five years since the "20th Anniversary" they seem to come out with more product. It was a big concert. Period. Some of the best acts of the time were there. I could never stand Joan Baez and her shrieking voice. Joe Cocker - totally different story! I actually watched the director's cut of Woodstock the other night and the thing that struck me the most, believe it or not, was the very end. The field was destroyed and people were picking up the remaining trash. All I could think of was if that were today, there would be an additional million or so water bottles strewn about the field.

ntx said...

As a baby boomer, may I just say, "AMEN!" Good God, we're a tedious and self-absorbed generation. Demographers always called the boomers "the bulge in the boa constrictor." Apparently the poor boa seems to have been constipated for the last 30 years.

Anonymous said...

This is great. I've told my parents and other of their generation that they've screwed their children, grand-children, and great-grand-children. It makes them angry.

As you've said their generation has been all about themselves. As a whole they've elected a leadership for the country that has failed the follow on generations. The current health-care reform debate is a great example. They want to keep their socialized medicine, but don't care how their progeny will continue in the hell that they've created.

Jeremy said...

Baby Boomers in a nutshell:
"Our daddy's came home REALLY horny from the war, wouldn't wear rubbers, and fucked a lot to make up for lost time/drown the memories of men in trenches choking on their own blood in a day before we recognized PSD... that makes me special."

I couldn't agree more about Baez being a warbly, full-of-herself cliché.

I still think the Dead and Jefferson Airplane (or at least Jorma Kaukonen) are good things to come out of the "era" and the "scene" though. That's just me. I'm still a bit of the hippie (maybe that comes from having a dad who was a huge Alice Cooper/KISS/Iron Butterfly fan and me having to rebel against him?)

Matt Osborne said...

I'm so glad someone else wrote this. I had the feeling I was all alone in thinking the 60s were a glorious era whose participants should shut the fuck up.

My parents used to play Joan Baez records after dinner. I'd always take my Legos into the den and watch Knight Rider. Her music was so depressing that SNL made fun of her with one of the all-time funniest sketches in the history of that show: "Make Joan Baez Laugh."

Jeremy said...

Hahaha... and I missed the opportunity to comment on "redefining retirement"... the new definition is "that thing we refuse to do to open up the job market to some of the college graduates currently bagging groceries, even when we can afford to, because, yes, we're still that damn selfish."

Anonymous said...

Another Gen-xer checking in. BRAVO Chez! You nailed it on the head completely. It's all about them all the time. They are the center of the world and everyone and everything else sucks. The reality? BOOMERS CAN LICK MY SWEATY BALLS! They ruined everything and their legacy will be the massive mountain of debt that we all have to pay to support their sagging asses into retirement and death. Isn't it ironic that the same people that once said 'don't trust anyone over 30' now say....without a hint of irony '50 is the new 40' or something equally ridiculous? They get sex, drugs and rock and roll. We got HIV, Nancy Reagan saying 'just say no' and Milli Vanilli (a fraud perpetrated by a boomer run record company). Christopher Buckley is genius and Gordon Gecko would have certainly been at Woodstock. But the best sellout of all is the lame and pathetic decline of Jefferson Airplane from '60's Woodstock icon to '80's sellout Starship. They epitomized the Boomer ethos.
Live AID was far more worthy than Woodstock but nobody really cares since it wasn't attended by Boomers. For that matter, the 'US Festival' was better than Woodstock, but nobody remembers since no boomers other than Wozniak were in the audience.
Gen-X to Boomers, can you hear us now? Fuck off and die. And check out 'Boomsday' from Christopher Buckley.

Stephen said...

Our drugs are better and more potent now. That's all that matters.

p.s. 10 Years After rocked the house more in 4 songs than most of the acts (minus Sly and the Who).

gina said...

*cackles gleefully*

Anonymous said...

Somebody call the Waaahmbulance!

Jester said...

From one X'er to another: AMEN. PREACH it, brother. Stephen King (himself a Boomer) nails his own generation the best: "We set out to change the world. And all we've fucking done is invented the Home Shopping Channel."

Guess what. Gen-X has done FAR more to change the world than all the Boomers on Earth. And we'd be doing more to change the world for the better if, quite frankly, the Boomers would get the fuck out of our way.

I work at a large corporation and it's MADDENING how the Boomers simply... refuse... to retire. They continue to grace us with their presence in all the jobs worth having, dispensing their boundless wisdom, even though every financial and business system that a Boomer touches turns to shit. It's no coincidence that Enron, George W Bush, and the bailout happened on the Boomer's watch. But for God's sake, don't tell them THAT, either.

I say when the last Boomer dies, we bury him or her head down 10 feet under, then salt the Earth over the grave and pray that such a generation never comes again.

Anonymous said...

What ticks me off about that entire time period in American History is just how blatant it has been white washed. From the jackasses of Weather Underground who basically achieved nothing beneficial (seriously what did the "day of rage" do except speed up the flight of money from Detroit, to the completely false notion that young people helped end the war in Vietnam (just look at the polling data and it shows that college age people supported intervention in Asia the most with the WWII generation supporting it the least). But what trying pisses me off is the utter lack of responsibility of the effects of popularizing the drug culture had on inner cities. Not only that, the free love movement helped in destroying the family unit as well. The concept of helping your fellow man just is completely false when you seriously examine what happened to black communities during the 60's. Really...what did woodstock achieve other than giving a bunch of selfish people an excuse to get loaded and fuck in a field? If anything, the Boomers showed that creating a lasting, false image is more important than achieving any real goals.

Hex said...

the worst part of the whole Boomers/Woodstock cross they love to nail themselves up to in my eyes is the way it's become a card to play -- the whole hippie ideal being lauded as great only when it serves the interests of a group that won't let it go.

Case in point, kids of my generation danced and frolicked to a band called Limp Biskit at a festival concert that was actually also called Woodstock, and I promise you -- none of us can forget that crap fast enough.

Id Molotov said...

Let's be clear: The events of the 60's happened because events and situations prior to the 60's made them an eventuality. We are more a PART of the makings of history than we are MAKERS of history (with a few rare exceptions of genuinely brilliant individuals who do make history).

The boomers were the product of a newly established middle class and got to go to college (in record numbers) instead of having to get a job out of high school. Living was easy and Mom and Dad were footing the bill, so they had a lot of time to think about themselves... and they never stopped.

p.s. Joan Baez is a shrill, shrieking nightmare and I'd be hard to fault old Bob Zimmerman if he'd pulled a "Jackson Brown" on her back in the day...

slouchmonkey said...

Encomium? Did you mean meconium?

My folks were not part of this scene. Oddly, they were that group that somehow remained in the 50's era of thinking and behaving.

Yes to all of this.

The best part of Woodstock?

Pete Townshend punching Abie Hoffman in the face and taking his Les Paul to the back of his dirty head. "The next person that comes on MY stage is going to get fucking killed!"

I guess PT proves your point too. Only, in a cool way. Cuz, he's my hero.

jrm78 said...

The disappointment that I have for the boomer generation is reserved for all the things that they left unfinished. Drug law reform? Killed off in the late 70s. Civil rights? Sure there were tremendous gains made, but there is still a long way to go before we truly have equality in this country (and there are plenty of boomers actively trying to roll back those civil rights, or deny rights to GLBT people). A lot of wasted potential from the boomers.

And in return we get endless wars on metaphors (beginning with the war on poverty, becoming ridiculous with the war on drugs, and finally jumping the shark with the war on terror), a bloated national debt, diminished job prospects, and health reform being kneecapped again because some seniors (to be honest, not all boomers) want government out of medicare.

But hey, THEY didn't start the fire. They just shot the firemen trying to put it out.

Thankfully, my boomer mom can't stand the worst excesses of her generation either and has said that many in the anti war movement of the late 60s were just there because it was the "cool" thing to do. Also, I think we tend to underestimate how many "Okies from Muskogee" and other reactionaries (who never bought into the whole "peace and love" thing in the first place) are from the boomer generation.

(disclosure: I'm an X-Y cusper (b. late 1978) I have my doubts about gen Y too)

Lauren Walker said...

What I hate is how everybody born from 1945 to 1965 gets lumped together under the "boomer" rubric. I was too young to go to Woodstock, and I can't retire yet, and you guys probably hate me anyway.

Anonymous said...

aww. gen x-er's crying in their beer.

give me a break.

just change your diapers and you'll be happy.

jrm78 said...

@Hex: At the time, I was disappointed that Woodstock '99 became a huge flaming wreck. But in hindsight, it was pretty much a generational rebellion over the corporate spectacle that the boomers had turned Woodstock into. IIRC, much of the rioting was because it was bloody hot out, and the corporate masters still wanted to charge $4 for bottled water, and tried to prevent people from bringing in outside water. Reading the wiki page on the matter seems to back up the reports of outrageously expensive food and drink as well as inadequate facilities for the event.

Chez said...

Lauren --

Not true. I realize that not all who fall under the Boomer banner are the same.

Anons (of course) 11:20 and 12:24 --

Hmmm. Didn't sound like I was crying. Sounds like I was being pretty angry. I assume you're old enough to know the difference.

Janean said...

My friends and I have had conversations like this many times. We're all fed up with boomer bullshit. It's amazing how much they seem to think of their generation when you look around and see what they accomplished once they took charge.

jrm78 said...

Lauren, if you were born roughly between 1955-65 you're a boomer-x cusper, more commonly known as generation jones. But yeah, there does seem to be some lumping in with the regular boomers there.

wjm said...

Ever since Brokaw's book hit the stands, I've been waiting for someone to write "The Crappiest Generation." I think you may be the guy.

Anonymous said...

welcome back, Chez

e said...

Generation Y'er here (or Millennial..ugh). I think this is a natural, and needed response, to the generations that came before you. As medicine allows us to live longer, the shadows cast will continue to grow longer, and young people will have to listen to more lectures about their failures as a generation.

So I'll just say this, the people before me failed at many things, as did the people before them, as are the people of my generation. We're all not as amazing as we'd like to be, but maybe with the amazing information loop of the internet, we're slowly finding that out at an earlier age.

Anonymous said...

This made my day, thanks.

Anonymous said...

well chez, all we need to do now is fast-forward a few years and we'll hear inara in your rant.

Ethnic Redneck said...

Thank the dark gods - I have been having a similar rant on constant loop in my head for the last couple of years, but you really nailed it. All you have to do is look at the spawn of the Boomers to see how worthless their beliefs' were. Especially the second wave. See, unlike most previous generations, the boomers were so important that when they had their midlife crisis and realized that their children didn't live up to the dream of the 70's. So they turned to medical science, and now we have, for the first time in this country, a group of people in the 40s and 50s having children en mass. And we have seen how these spoiled little monkeys have turned out. Raised with the concept that their self-esteem, their feelings, and their beliefs were all more important than y'know, facts and the public good, we now have a bunch of completely spoiled and entitled 20 year olds (you know its bad when the kids with actual goals that don't involve being just rich and/or famous are by far the minority.) Just like their parents, they think they deserve respect for showing up and trying.

If you don't know why the X-ers are so sick of this crap, imagine being stuck between two braying jackasses while being constantly asked why you are so depressed - and you start to get the idea.

Kara said...

This suits my perspective. Well said Chez.

In the same vein, I drove by a 60-ish guy with Peace and Love and GO GREEN bumper stickers on his brand new BMW SUV (no, it wasn't even a hybrid) and had to laugh. How does he not know?

brite said...

Here's something to ponder Chez...all of us boomers are going to go away and leave you alone.Leave you alone with huge deficits and a much much smaller tax base, leave you with the future to grapple without the benefit of men and women and their knowledge and expertise.I'm a late boomer and although I have no gripe with much of what you said, you're being very short sighted if you can't see that once the last of us has died on gone off 'to the spirit in the sky'your country and the entire global economic structure is going to experience some nasty growing pains.I encourage all the professionals I know, those that received an education before the era of basket weaving 202 and MBAs to think about teaching instead of retiring.The boomers may have been all the things you accuse them of, but most importantly they were and are an unprecedented global demographic.

VOTAR said...

Hairy pussy.


That's what I blame the 60s for.


Filthy barbarians.

Spencer said...

@Kara 2:59

"In the same vein, I drove by a 60-ish guy with Peace and Love and GO GREEN bumper stickers on his brand new BMW SUV (no, it wasn't even a hybrid) and had to laugh. How does he not know?"

If it was a "brand new" BMW with a Go Green sticker, it was probably a diesel. The X5 35d (manufactured in Spartanburg, SC) makes almost the same highway mileage (26 mpg) as the Escape Hybrid (29 mpg, partially made in Mexico) or Lexus RX400h (28 mpg, made in Japan). The fact that it does this without the ecological disaster that is the mining, material transport, and manufacture of the batteries used in hybrids, means it's total footprint is probably cleaner than a Prius. Just saying, hybrid tech isn't the only "green" game in town.

The guy was probably a douche though.

Chez said...

What did you do before the trend started where every woman looks like she's 13 down there?

Jeremy said...

Yeah... that shaved thing, that is the worst thing my generation brought us. That and the stick thin aesthetic. I do miss women who look like grown up women.

Oh, and brite, thanks for the fact that y'all will eventually "Leave (us) alone with huge deficits and a much much smaller tax base..."

I don't know how we will ever get by without the kind of "knowledge and expertise" that brought us that.

Shannon from Saskatoon said...

I think any time any one wears a label proclaiming themselves the "whatever" generation, you have to take a long hard look at where this tribalism originates and what purpose it serves.

Reducing yourself to a brand and then squabbling with the other brand? Go, Pepsi generation.

Chez said...

For the record, I'm kind of jokingly painting with a broad brush here -- although I do give a lot of credence to the idea that my generation sits right between quite a few self-absorbed Boomers and they're equally shallow, self-absorbed late-in-life hell-spawn (the so-called Millennials).

Mart said...

Damn kids these days ain't got no respect for their elders.

At 51 I am about 5 years too young for Woodstock. (Had to endure disco at its peak.) But there is no doubt that us boomers sucked America's resources dry and left her in decline. I blame the Chicago School of Economics, Reagonomics, Free Trade, the Military Industrial Complex, taxing rich people is now evil, corporations are people in court and media consolidation.

And two generations of suck-ass politicians. Even when they have a good idea - like Reagan and Greenspan raising the boomer social security tax in the 80's to cover longer life spans and the bulge in numbers; they fuck us all by recklessly spending the money collected to pay for endless wars.

But what do I know, I am just a dirty old hippie wannabe.

namron said...

Give the Millennials another few years of 15% unemployment, climate-change spawned hypercanes in the Atlantic and Gulf, carcinogenic Big Mac's, and equity-free real estate and you will beat "great generation-ness" into them. You think Boomer Ma and Pa or Grannie and Gramps are gonna' give up those free Medicare pedicures, adult diapers, and Terri-Schiavo-end of life day spas to throw the kiddies a bone?

Tim said...

The 60's is just part of that big unimportant time before personal computers. It is neither relevant nor interesting.

Ref said...

Joanie's strident, humorless politics suck, but her musicianship was and is of the first class. Just because you don't like folk...ahhh, go fuck yourselves. And anyone who admires Christopher Buckley, he of the denied child, can go fuck him/her self as well.

Sheriff Bart said...

Shit man. That's a long strange trip to go just to point out "Taking Woodstock" came in 9th. Looking forward to more reviews.

Chez said...

Ref, where did I say that I admired Buckley? I mentioned a line of his from a book he wrote that was pretty good. He's a talented writer -- I make no excuses for him as a human being.

Milton said...

doesn't every generation think that the previous one sucked? what do you think the generation that is now in their early teens are going to think about the 80's and 90's generations? probably that you were the ones who fucked up the environment, sunk the economy and thought of yourselfs as having the greatest music of all time. what? you think kids today with their attention span are going to remember that far back into the 60's and blame the hippies? they won't even know what hippies were. so yeah, they're going to blame you. but i do agree with your article Chez. still... woodstock was a pretty cool concert. by the way i'm 48 and i always thought Joan Baez sucked. however, the who and Hendrix rocked!

Kristen said...

And those Woodstock people never even legalized pot. That's what gets me.

Ref said...

Chez:

I was referring to Anonymous, above, who said "Buckley is genius."

Chez said...

My bad. For the most part, I'm just printing these things without reading them right now. I'm also preposting a lot of the material you find here -- writing it at night or when Inara's asleep and scheduling it to post later -- so that I can spend all my time with her.

kanye said...

The generation that would change the world
is still looking for it's car keys.


~The Rainmakers~

Cheryl Robbins said...

Seems I'm always late to the party and abusing the comment character counts...

I'm close with a lot of modern younger incarnations of hippies. Most of them are the types who just want to grow vegetables, raise their naked toddlers, and be left alone to live simply and peacefully. It seems with any demographic that the people who make the most noise are the ones who shouldn't make any. Adding a dab of attention-whoring narcissism to any person will make them (and those who resemble them) look bad. Remove it, and Cindy Sheehan stops being the macabre Vaudevillian act and turns back into being a somewhat normal grieving mother.

Cheryl Robbins said...

There are still plenty of people who protest without the laughable clown getup. Unfortunately, they're doing so on the internet, which is probably one of the few places we can go to be less intimidating. People think answering a Facebook quiz on the topic counts as their activism for the day. Others write blogs or tweet, which are then only read by those who read blogs and tweets, and no one ever reaches a truly proactive group of folks to come up with new ideas. Unfortunately, the more proactive-types of intelligent people are waiting tables with two jobs to pay off student loans because the job market is terrible. Others have been dosed-up on entertainment overload (World of Warcraft, Guitar Hero, iPod, iPhone, streaming video, digg, surfing, stumble upon) that they won't break free of their comatose need to be entertained until their supply lines are cut. Keep the internet up and the utilities turned on, and they don't care what happens outside of their livingrooms.

Cheryl Robbins said...

Maybe there aren't any real protests going on because the pain isn't sharp enough, sudden enough. A loved one being drafted for war is sharp and sudden. Being fired or beaten for being gay is sharp and sudden. Watching the stock market slowly tumble isn't. As long as the pain is slow and steady to avoid trauma we can and will adjust to it. We'd be cool walking around in burlap sacks as long as it took 20 years to get to that point. However, actually draft for a war and we'll take to the streets and set shit on fire. As long as we're not forced to do something we don't want to do, we have a tendency to remain cool.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Chez. This is my favourite thing you've ever written, I think.

Anonymous said...

the worst part about all of the 60's crap is the boomer adherence to so much pseudo science. i know so many people who believe that if they take a vial of sugar water (obviously contaminated with bacteria) and wave it over certain points on their body they'll be cured of what ever disease assails them. no appeal to reason can ever convince them otherwise. "it worked for my sister's mother's aunt's child who was coughing ALL the time and now only coughs on alternate tuesdays!"

Seeing Eye Chick said...

There is nothing more embarassing when you are attempting to protest an issue with some semblance of sanity, and the painted people show up. Any credibility you might have had, flies out the window and your subject melts into a world of weirdness. Bad street theatre, just say no. Not to mention, it took until the 90s, to get people to understand that when you are active duty, that you cannot just leave. That you have to follow a chain of command and orders are not subject to a democratic debate. That if one has an issue with how the military is being run or deployed, that ultimately one must address either the Commander and Chief {POTUS} or the Legislature, and not verbally, emotionally or physically assault Veterans and active duty members. To me that was the ultimate sign of ignorance of the system that they claimed to be fighting.

Anonymous said...

Those of us younger than Boomers have been screwed over by them. Financially and lack of house-ownership raped is more like it.
Sadly, most Boomers won't look outside their own bubble to realize how many generations after them they've annoyed and taken away from. Your blog is refreshingly honest.