Re: [sixties-l] Brewing hatred of the baby boomer generation

From: christina mcvay (
Date: Sun Jun 11 2000 - 13:45:05 CUT

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    I certainly wish Brent Green luck in getting his letter to Time
    published--though I think the comparison to Jews in nazi Germany is
    stretching it a bit. I teach at Kent State, mostly freshmen & sophomores,
    was also a freshman here in 1970. My general impression (there are, of
    course, some pretty perceptive young people out there) is that younger
    generations are not learning to hate us so much as to view us, as Brent
    suggests, as silly and somehow misguided. Over the years I've discovered
    that one thing that does get their attention and maybe make at least some
    of them willing to look a bit deeper is pointing out that if it were not
    for us, they would be sitting in college classrooms in suits and skirts, &
    administrations would still be functioning as substitute parents. (This
    may seem silly in itself, but it opens the door to more serious
    consideration of other sixties issues. . . .)
    --Chris McVay, English & Pan-African Studies

    At 07:33 PM 6/9/00 EDT, you wrote:
    >Dear Fellow Sixties-L List Members:
    >In the interest of thwarting a growing image of baby boomers as a generation
    >of self-indulgent navel gazers, I respectfully refer you to the June 12,
    >2000, issue of TIME magazine. In an article entitled "Twilight of the
    >Boomers," 52-year-old turncoat and journalist Daniel Okrent positions baby
    >boomers as a "generation committed to nothing more (or less) substantial
    >what we appear to be leaving as our signal (sic. single?) legacy to American
    >culture: casual Fridays."
    >I've seen more and more articles and book reviews in the mainstream media
    >foisting this attitude. I hope some of you, as activists and scholars, share
    >my indignation and commitment to challenge ageism, no matter how cynically
    >it's framed.
    >I'm pasting here my reply to TIME with the hope a fraction of the letter
    >up in print. I invite you to do the same.
    >TIME Magazine Letters
    >Time & Life Building
    >Rockefeller Center
    >New York, NY 10020
    >To the Editors:
    >In his recent article, "Twilight of the Boomers," TIME journalist Daniel
    >Okrent demonstrates ageism in its most disparaging form. At best, he is a
    >revisionist; at worst a bigot.
    >Okrent agrees with the accuracy of the satirical newspaper the Onion in
    >arriving at a foreboding conclusion: "The ravages of age will take its toll
    >on boomer self-indulgence, and the curtain will at long last fall on what is
    >regarded by many as the most odious generation America has ever produced."
    >Substitute "African American," or "World War II veteran," or "feminist" for
    >"boomer" in the first clause of the above sentence, and then substitute
    >"group" for "generation" in the second. Is it difficult to understand my
    >Those who buy into his prejudices gloss over the baby boom generation's true
    >Whom, exactly, does he think built the digital economy and set in motion the
    >longest economic recovery in American history? Boomers set the stage by
    >developing the personal computer, operating systems software, and the
    >Internet. Look at advancements in almost any field from 1975 through
    >mid-1990, and you will discover significant, unsung contributions by baby
    >Has my generation lived off the fat of the land without suffering or
    >Although 58,000 of us died in Vietnam and another 300,000 became injured,
    >war was within US borders -- a war against arcane values and a hegemonic
    >political and social power structure. Because of many noble sacrifices
    >1) Never again will a million US citizens be sent to fight in an undeclared
    >2) Never again will women live in this society as second-class citizens;
    >3) Never again will racial minorities suffer segregation and discrimination
    >sponsored by sectors of our government and its institutions;
    >4) Never again will companies paternalistically and autocratically control
    >employee's lives;
    >5) Never again will companies dump poisons unabated into the natural
    >Blatant prejudice is hardly the worst implication of this article. By using
    >an acerbic lens through which to view the aging baby boom, Okrent invites
    >war between generations that his sources haunting predict. Because of the
    >size of his soapbox - TIME magazine -- he is contributing handily to a
    >loathsome image that younger generations may learn to detest -- ushering
    >elderly boomers toward becoming a hate symbol like the Jew became in Nazi
    >Okrent needs to disavow membership in my generation; we don't want him.
    >Brent Green

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