A few days ago my cyberfriend, Melinda Applegate, asked in an email, “Why is it that so many 30-somethings can’t stand us [baby boomers]?” In taking a stab at an answer, I wrote back, in part:
"It's not just 30-somethings, Melinda - even I don't like boomers. I'm five years older than the oldest ones and have never had much in common with them. But I've had to live with boomer zeitgeist all my adult life.
“What no one likes is that boomers have controlled the culture for 50 years - their interests always become the country's interests with few other choices. But the boomers themselves didn't cause it - the media, manufacturers, advertisers, marketers and retailers did.”
Then I ran across a story by Chauncey Mabe, writing at Sun-Sentinel.com, who places the blame on boomers themselves:
“…there are so damned many of us - we constitute such a huge market of consumers - we can force the world to take notice as we matriculate each passage of life.
“It's starting to get unseemly.
“Are you as sick as I am at the spectacle of mature men of substance in line at Starbucks, dressed like pre-teen boys in shorts and T-shirt?”
Mr. Mabe, who at age 50 is smack in the middle of the baby boom, goes on to suggest that it is time for aging rock stars like Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones to make way for such younger bands as the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie and Jimmy Eat the World:
“No, none of these will equal the Beatles”, writes Mabe, “but this is their day. For pity's sake, don't be a hog. Let them have it.”
Which reminded me of a recent post from Tamar at In and Out of Confidence:
“Yesterday I went with a friend to see Pride and Prejudice. As we were setting out I joked that I will probably come out of the movie feeling depressed because I am no longer as young or beautiful as the lead actor. My friend, who is a young woman not quite thirty, burst out, ‘Oh Tamar! You've had your chance. Be fair. Let someone else have it now ...’"
In the end, Tamar, another boomer, and Mr. Mabe reached the same conclusion:
Tamar: “It is true, so true. Indeed, I have had my chance, and now it is time for me to be an elder and leave the young and beautiful for someone else.”
Chauncey Mabe: “The Bible, for example, though regrettably composed prior to 1946, is full of good stuff. Consider the death of Abraham in Genesis 25, where he is said to be ‘an old man, full of years.’ I like that. Somehow, it beats ‘an old man, with an iPod, in short pants.’"