Balustrade’s Blog

March 30, 2009

Don’t eat the brown acid

Filed under: Uncategorized — balustrade @ 9:29 pm

I believe it was Tom Brokow who coined the phrase ‘The Greatest Generation‘ in reference to the generation of not only Americans, but Brits, Aussies, and Canadians (I believe we can safely remove the French from that group) who survived the Great Depression and fought World War II.  And I take nothing away from those hugely important and desperate times and tribulations.   But there are also a couple of other items that tend to get swept under the rug.

Among other feats of the Greatest Generation was the Vietnam fiasco, which by the end, caused millions of deaths (Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot anyone?), and abandoned their allies to the oppression of communism.  

But beyond any doubt, their greatest failure has been the raising of the baby boom generation.  In the name of complete disclosure, I too, am considered a baby boomer, having snuck in just under the wire by about 40 days.  By doting over their own broods and showering them with everything their little hearts desired, they created what I suppose some people fondly refer to as the ‘Me Generation‘. The boomers wanted it all, and they got it.  Devoid of any real suffering, hardships, or wants, they matured into the most self-centered, narcissistic, slobs who among other things gave us the Weather Underground, Charlie Manson, and the Black Panthers.  I could go on and on, but its too depressing.  

And the boomers are now running the show.  I know Clinton was hailed as the first baby boomer president, and he was, but boomers weren’t running the entire show, at least in my opinion.  We had adults like Bob Dole running the Senate.  And I also know the AP has declared Obama the first President to follow the boomers, but I’m younger than the President and if I’m a boomer, so is Obama.  And the boomers are definitely running the show these days.

And how does a generation raised on expectations they deserve everything, and they deserve it right now, hold the mantle of responsibility to lead and guide the greatest nation humanity has ever created?  Apparently the same way they ran the Summer of Love.  Which I’m sure is just fine and dandy for them, after all, fond memories are the best memories.  How ever, does anyone besides me remember how that ended?  Altamont Speedway ring any bells?

For a sneak peak, take a look at what passes for responsible government in New York state.  Staring down a projected $16 billion budget deficit, Wall street is in ruins, unemployment going through the roof, what did the responsible adult, mature baby boomers in Albany do?   Boost spending 9%.

That’s not plugging shortfalls, that’s not cutting services or consolidating to improve efficiency, that’s not biting the bullet to get through these hard times.  That’s opening up the wallet, seeing a moth fly out, and then grabbing the plastic and heading for the nearest mall.  Picture Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble yelling “Charge it!” as they head to the stores.  

Among the other little items in the budget, they’ve agreed to shit-can the relatively flat tax code in order to ensure the “rich” “pay” their “fair share.”  Rises hunting & fishing licenses, include more items under the bottle bill and cancels the STAR rebates.  

While the bottle bill jack up may seem like a good idea, Albany is not doing it to promote environmentalism and cut down on pollution.  As a matter of fact, I bet Albany is hoping the litter from these bottles increases about a thousand percent.  You see, when you pay a nickel deposit, you get the nickel back when you return the bottle.  What happens to the nickel for the bottles that get tossed out the car window?  The state government sucks it up like a Hoover vacuum.

The STAR rebate was a program the state came up with several years to combat the ever increasing school property taxes.  The state agreed to massive funding increase for schools, on the condition they curtail tax increases.  And to seal the deal, the state would send checks to home owners to compensate even more.  Which was a fiasco in and of itself.  Forget the fact the counties already have the tax rolls, so they know who we are, where we live, and what my tax levy is.  No, to make sure we all were 100% certain just who was responsible for this money from “heaven,” every property tax payer had to march on down to the county clerk’s office, wait in line and fill out yet another form.  

At some later date, we’d get a check large enough to not be insulting, courtesy of our beloved politicians.  Of course they could have done all that behind the scenes, made it a heck of a lot more efficient, and saved all the money wasted to follow this ridiculous maze.  But then again, the primary goal is to make us love and feel indebted to our politicians.  

And also probably means the state isn’t keeping their end of the deal with the school districts, which probably means the school districts have no incentive to keep their end of the deal to keep taxes increases to a minimum.  

So here we are, at the metaphorical beginning of the second Summer of Love.  It’s spring, the future is wide open before us, we’ve got a brand spanking new President, and it’s time to party like there’s no tomorrow.  Bratty teenagers always want to party like there’s no tomorrow.  They don’t have to worry about what comes next because there are adults to clean up the mess and sort through the rubble.   The only problem is we are now the adults, and we’re supposed to be the ones making sure what needs to get done, gets done.  Heaven help us.

The only thing I can say is Gimme Shelter.

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4 Comments »

  1. Well-written article. But Obama is not a Boomer, nor Xer. As many influential voices have repeatedly said, Obama–born 1961–is part of Generation Jones, born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Generation X. Google Generation Jones, and you’ll see it’s gotten a ton of media attention, and many top commentators from many top publications and networks (Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, Newsweek, ABC, etc.) specifically use this term to describe Obama.

    It is important to distinguish between the post-WWII demographic boom in births vs. the cultural generations born during that era. Generations are a function of the common formative experiences of its members, not the fertility rates of its parents. Many experts now believe it breaks down this way:

    DEMOGRAPHIC boom in babies: 1946-1964
    Baby Boom GENERATION: 1942-1953
    Generation Jones: 1954-1965
    Generation X: 1966-1979

    Here is a recent op-ed about Obama as the first GenJones President in USA TODAY:
    http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20090127/column27_st.art.htm

    Comment by hedt2047 — March 31, 2009 @ 3:24 am

  2. For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve been told the boomer generation runs to 1963. I was born in 1962, which makes me a boomer. And if I am a boomer, some one older than me is a boomer.

    Calling him something else is nothing more than the media rebranding their favorite son to make him seem newer, hipper, more cool.

    I stand by my assertion.

    Comment by balustrade — March 31, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  3. Actually, you were told your whole life that the Boomers were born until 1964, not 1963. You were told that by experts, who were merely giving their opinion–there is no official arbiter of generations, it’s always just been the subjective opinions of sociologists, etc. Most experts used to think that there was one generation born during that demographic birth boom, now most experts believe there were two. If you were willing to believe the consensus of expert opinion before, why not now? That consensus has changed because a mountain of data made it clear that two seperate generations exist during this time frame. Also, the media didn’t invent Generation Jones to make Obama seem hipper, the Generation Jones concept and term were introduced long before Obama came onto the scene. The bible of demography–American Demographics Magazine–did a cover story about Generation Jones before Obama even gave his 2004 DNC speech.

    Comment by hedt2047 — March 31, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  4. I don’t believe I would call people who definitively classify generations by starting and ending dates “experts,” because the entire concept of a generation is purely subjective. There is no way to objectively determine “it started on this date and this time, and lasted exactly this long.” There is no science involved.

    The concept of a baby boom generation is no more science than classifying a generation X or a generation Y or a generation Z(2). It’s pop culture desperately looking for the next cool, hip term or phrase.

    There may be scientific data that can be gleaned from who, what, where and why pop culture has decided to fix starting and ending points, but even the name baby boomer itself was nothing more than a catchy phrase coined by some one, that pop culture liked, and kept.

    What is the scientific or mathematical significance of me declaring that right this second is the beginning of generation “Zohan”? Absolutely nothing. Unless it sticks. In which case make sure Oprah has my editor’s phone number, because I invented it just now.

    And deciding to create a generation “Jones” out of thin air has no other significance than that given to it by those who choose to use it or not.

    “American social commentator Jonathan Pontell defined this generation and coined the term naming it.[4] Prior to the popularization of Pontell’s theory, its members were identified with either Baby Boomers or GenerationX’ers.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Jones

    Comment by balustrade — April 16, 2009 @ 9:05 pm


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