Sunday, January 04, 2015

Boomers

 

P.J O’Rourke, writing in the AARP Magazine for December 2014, raises some interesting points about generational titles in America. His main issue is to examine the “late Boomers” who were born in the 1960s. He finds that the usual identifiers attributed to Baby Boomers may not apply or be appreciated by the Late Boomers. They seem to be transitional to the post Boomers, which makes sense. He interviews some representative des, but makes the point more clear by showing that these people missed the seminal events that define Baby Boomers.

If born in the 1960s you did not participate in anti-Vietnam protests or their times. You are not likely to find Woodstock of any significance, if you know of it. The list goes on. These are the things that boomers recognize and if they are of someone else’s past and not yours: you are separate.

One, of course, starts to speculate about how the general Baby Boomer participated in these events. For example, Woodstock took place within the time period, yet the movie of it made it a possession of many. As has been said, those who romanticize Woodstock were not there.

Most Boomers would know of anti-war protests, but yet most did not participate. They were at work or in class, or just did not have a protest nearby. Was it truly a shared event?

Now when you venture into fashion trends and music, some community does emerge. Sgt. Peppers is a big album to many Boomers. Even those totally into a life of consumption wore hippie clothes. Long hair was common even in working class situations. Here we find some commonness. Yet, it is through media and marketing that this takes place. Blue jeans spread across the butts of kids across the country, but it is the marketing of Levis executives and the works of James Dean that push that spread. Later folk may not know James Dean but they are packaged in jeans.

The point is the full experience discussed to by the media may not apply to all in that generation, even a majority. It is a part of the items and the events package listed as making a generation, but it might not be as common as intended by the media writers.

In the end, he reveals that a survey found that Republicans are more likely to be able to identify Woodstock than Democrats. Interesting.

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