I've been noticing lately that the Baby Boomer generation, of which I am a founding member, has not been receiving very much love as we "age out" of the general population. Boomers are about as popular with other generations as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are with the population outside New England. And that's okay with me. As the tee shirt slogan of the moment in Boston asserts: "They hate us because they ain't us."
This Atlantic article really got me to thinking about how my generation has always refused to comply with norms. And most of us now simply refuse to meet the expectations others have for us as we "age out" of the population. Other generations have done their share of navel-gazing, and none quite so eloquently as "The Lost Generation" as chronicled by one of its greatest writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald:
"We were born to power and intense nationalism. We did not have to stand up in a movie house and recite a child's pledge to the flag to be aware of it. We were told, individually and as a unit, that we were a race that could potentially lick ten others of any genus. This is not a nostalgic article for it has a point to make -- but we began life in post-Fauntleroy suits (often a sailor's uniform as a taunt to Spain). Jingo was the lingo.
"That America passed away somewhere between 1910 and 1920; and the fact gives my generation its uniqueness -- we are at once prewar and postwar. We were well-grown in the tense Spring of 1917, but for the most part not married and settled. The peace found us almost intact--less than five percent of my college class were killed in the war, and the colleges had a high average compared to the country as a whole. Men of our age in Europe simply do not exist. I have looked for them often, but they are twenty-five years dead.
"So we inherited two worlds -- the one of hope to which we had been bred; the one of disillusion which we had discovered early for ourselves. And that first world was growing as remote as another country, however close in time."
If Boomers are indeed hogging all the resources and oxygen in the process of perpetuating our social and (especially musical) preferences and looking out for our own self-interests, then so be it. The lessons we pulled out of the debris and rubble of the 1960s, Vietnam, Watergate, and the struggle for civil rights taught us that we needed to look out for ourselves first and foremost, while maybe doing a little good along the way. And especially to keep on rocking in the free world.