First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elderberry Wine

It's hard to respect my elders. I used to. Back in the day, elders were people who deserved respect. Because they'd made it to being elder and that was amazing. The village elder was respected by all as a voice of reason and leadership because no one could figure out how he became so elder. This is something on which we all pretty much agree. As late as 1900, it took a rare combination of smarts and luck to make it past 40.

But now medical science has conspired to make us all into elders. It doesn't take anyone special to be old now. Nowadays old people are--or will be--the same dopes and morons you see bumbling around at 25--or 50--texting while driving and drinking 5 hour energy drink. An endless supply of selfish, mediocre, old people riding medical science into the future. Evolution's oopsy.

The largest and most annoying wave of these defilers of Nature (these scornful, mocking, ancient, deriders of God's Will!) are the Baby Boomers. I'm not saying all Baby Boomers are bad, I'm just saying generally, as a generation, they remind me of the seagulls from Finding Nemo ("MINE. MINE. MINE."). Entitled egoists grasping at old age the way they grasp at everything else not nailed down in this country. Aging beyond reason while they continue to go up and down the 12 Steps, read self-help books, write self-help books, and take credit for everything good that happened after 1960.

Here's a list of people who are not Baby Boomers: Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Janice Joplin, Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, Gloria Steinem, Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, John F. KennedyMalcom X, Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, and Rosa Parks. Here's a list of people who are Baby Boomers: The fucking BeeGees.

Politically, the first time the very oldest of the Baby Boomers got to vote was 1964. Lyndon Johnson. I think we can agree that their voting record has been a little spotty ever since. Really though, I'm generalizing. Some of my best friends are Baby Boomers.

Besides, what are you going to do? We're stuck with them. An entire generation of people who didn't eat right, didn't exercise, did drugs like other generations do air, polluted the planet, ran up our debt, and sold out everything, living on and on and on all the while telling us how great they were because Woodstock and Civil Rights*. Civil Rights are cool--eroding* in the face of a largely baby boomer controlled government--but cool. And Woodstock sounds like it was great fun. Otherwise, meh, Baby Boomers. Meh.  The largest voting block in history gets everything it wants and then realizes what it really wants is money and food. Where is the shame? I mean c'mon. You gave us the 80's.

HM

*With the help of a government not at that time governed by baby boomers.

*Except for gun rights and corporate personhood rights. So you know, way to go Baby Boomers. Civil rights and stuff, yay.


Over at DadCentric, I wrote something that while much less confrontational, is at least as inflammatory. It's about camping and bathing. Good luck.

7 comments:

  1. When I still worked in the housing industry, everything we did seemed to be "because the Baby Boomers want it!" Then the bubble burst and I got laid off. Stupid-ass Boomers.

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  2. I've been keeping my mouth shut for about a year about how pissed off I am at you Gen Xers (I mean really? What kind of generation name IS that?). YOU are the country's real problem. Sadly, Boomers have to take credit where credit is due: most of you were raised by Boomers. That's the Baby Boomer's biggest mistake.

    ::sigh::

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  3. Oh, please. I love you Cheryl, but come on... "Gen X" was first coined in the 50's and later stolen by the Boomers to name us; again, their poor judgement not ours. Personally, I agree with you that they generally sucked as parents. Absolutely, the biggest mistake they made was how they raised us -- should have called us Generation Latchkey. But it's closely followed by disco, the Bushes and crack.

    And if you have issues w/ Gen Xers -- "We learned it by watching you, dad. We learned it by watching you."

    --XO--

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  4. I'm at the very tale end of Gen X and I totally agree that 1. our biggest problem is that we were raised by Boomers and 2. we definitely should have been called Gen Latchkey.

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  5. Oh Tumbleweed, I've struggled long and hard with this whole generational issue. I think generations are arbitrary. What's far more important is what was happening in the world during our upbringing. I was raised during a time of rapid social change, none of which my parents embraced. It was a harsh time for kids with parents, teachers, and other adults dishing out corporal punishment that rarely fit the childhood crime. I was 16 when Roe v. Wade was passed and birth control was still not something readily accessible. Fear of pregnancy was every woman's nightmare. Men took no responsibility for birth control.

    Those of us raised in violence and chaos who chose to have children tried a gentler way of parenting. Those parents? Worked their asses off and set aside money for their children's educations. As a group, the children of this group of parents were the best educated in this country. With the current economic climate, they're highly likely to continue to hold that distinction.

    What so many 30-45 year old people took for granted wasn't an option for those of us a bit older. The rights those same people have always taken for granted as their birthright, didn't exist until people like me fought for them.

    Today, most couples have 1 or 2 kids. When I was growing up it was unusual to see families with fewer than 3 or 4. I was one of 6 children; the first 4 of us were born between 1955 and 1960. Try to wrap your head around what it was like for a woman, who at that time in America, was expected to raise the children. Dads did not do anything within the 4 walls of the house.

    It was a different world, one so different that only those of us who watched in stunned horror as JFK, MLK, and RFK were assassinated and students were killed at Kent State by our National Guard. We lived in a very harsh world and we wanted yours to be different. I still want that for my nieces and nephews. Sadly, we seem to be turning back towards those darker days.

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  6. All I can say is that I wish I knew the boomers you know. My experience on the other side of the generation gap is radically different. No one I know went to school on their parents' dime (except ironically the children of "older parents" who weren't boomers) -- that was Pell Grants and loans. And a fat lot of good all those degrees are doing us. Now we are unemployed with college debt and setting the next generation up for more of the same. Meanwhile, boomers who bought their houses for $12,000 are selling them for a huge profit even after the bubble burst.

    As for parenting, boomers' mothers were home with their 6 kids. We were alone with our 1 or 2 siblings-- literally -- from a rather young age and given an absurd amount of responsibility in our homes. As for parenting style, most of us were raised by hippie "just let them be, man" neglect or the same physicality that you faced. Lots of boomers raised their kids exactly the way they were raised, and lots of Xers were raised by their grandparents b/c their parents were busy.

    To that end, I don't need to wonder any more than boomers do about what it was like to raise kids in the 50's because like many Xers, I was raised by the same women who raised my parents. My grandmothers, who birthed 6 kids each, raised their own and their grandchildren. Our moms were busy. Ironically, they are also too busy to help raise their grandchildren, so our kids are growing up in daycares.

    As for a kinder, gentler world? Boomers need to look at the world that they are creating for MY children -- a violent corporate oligarchy. Not to mention corporatized education, retirement, health care, gov. works, etc... Boomers are the largest voting block -- they still have most of the power. For good or bad, because Xers are so disenfranchised, most of my generation doesn't even vote. So, the changes you see in public policy are boomer changes.

    JFK, MLK, and RFK weren't boomers and they weren't really voted in by boomers. Over the last 30 years boomers have frittered away what those great people gave us with their greed, and now they are looking around and blaming the resulting tattered remnants on us. Who are the boomers? Clinton (NAFTA), Bush II (I shouldn't need to elaborate), Obama and Romney (corporatist tools). Nothing to crow about there.

    I feel your frustration with my generation; I really do. We don't value workers' rights or civil rights like we should. But that's because our parents let TV raise us and assuaged their guilt by buying us off. The corporations own TV --thanks again boomers -- so they taught us to distrust unions and to drink the corporate kool-aid.

    We are lost and so is the generation behind us. But that is largely because we grew up powerless and alone behind the single largest voting block in American history, and they don't look at the destruction they leave in their wake. Instead, they wax nostalgic about the '60s, when many of them were too young to vote.

    Where were our parents when we were being brainwashed by the 1%? Too busy. Too busy going to coke parties and discos, selling out their own unions or busting the unions for corporations, bankrupting social security, corrupting government, and abandoning civil rights in a crazy religious backlash to their own debauchery. Those tea party folks? Boomers.

    Sadly, you are right. Xers will pass on horribly distorted values to our kids. Why? Because we are ignorant of our past and mimicking our parents. We're too busy trying to grasp that bullshit "American Dream," or to send our own kids to college (have you seen the price tag on that shit lately?). Or maybe we're just trying to make rent after losing our jobs, our savings, and being foreclosed on. Boomers chose to be 2 parent working households because they "wanted." We do it because we "need."

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  7. I understand what you're saying but I think you missed the bigger point I was trying to make. Not only are many of us experiencing the very same issues that you are (savings gone, foreclosure, etc.), our prior history includes witnessing the decline of the American Dream as the 'heroes' we were counting on were assassinated, women weren't treated as anything except attachments to men and baby-making machines, the fear wrought by the Cold War, confusion & civil unrest about the Vietnam War, ad nauseum. As the first children to have access to TV through school, we saw JFK, MLK, and JFK killed and the war in Vietnam playing out in shaky black & white footage. What is now commonplace was just beginning back then.

    Most of us grew up with the same levels of advanced responsibilities you mention. We had to because one parent simply could not raise 6 children without help from the older children. We lived below the poverty level as did many other large families; most of our neighbors were blue collar workers ~ some actually had health benefits. We never did. My father used to say he banked on our good health.

    Interestingly enough, there have been studies that show dramatic differences between those born between 1945-55 and 1956-65. My aunt (and her former husband) and my older sister fall into the first group. Along with my 3 younger brothers and 1 younger sister, I fall into the second group. That first group did all the things you're referring to: either too busy doing whatever it took to get wealthy or partying ~ in both cases neglecting their children. The second group, not so much. My brothers each have 2 kids because they couldn't afford to have more. My older sister has 1 & if Roe v. Wade had been passed a year sooner, she might not even have that one. Her parenting style was much like what you experienced. When my niece was 2, both my mom and I (all of 18) told her that if she didn't come home to raise her daughter we were going to seek to terminate her parental rights. I often wonder how much different things would be for everyone had she not come back because things got worse and now there are 2 more generations of fucked up kids as a result.

    It sucks that I, along with so many of my peers, can't retire when we'd anticipated. Our continued presence in the workforce out of necessity is making it harder for younger people to get INTO the workforce. There's something very wrong with that for all concerned.

    We live in a complex world and making sweeping generalizations about any group of people is something I try to avoid. I am discouraged that so many people younger than I am don't vote. Yes, it's all a bunch of bullshit, but it's always been that way. It's just that it wasn't transparent before. It's been a very long time since I voted for a candidate in a General Election because I believed in him/her. Instead, I've cast my vote for the lesser of two evils. I will not stop voting. If I do, I'm letting the bastards win.

    This country needs your voices more than ever before. You are the best and brightest group of people I've ever met. The Presidential Election is important and, from my perspective, US Congress, US Senate, Governor, State House, State Senate, and local town/city races are critical. Whichever party rules the federal and state houses is going to be making the big decisions. I can't let that be someone who opposes everything I've believed in all of my life.

    (Side note: I was so angry with my choices in 1992, I wrote in Tsongas for President. I had a visceral reaction to Clinton that began the first time I heard him speak and continues to this day: my skin literally crawls. I know he's doing GOOD WORK these days, but my spidey senses are always on red alert when I see/hear him.)

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