[sixties-l] Brewing hatred of the baby boomer generation - Part II

From: BrentLance@aol.com
Date: Sun Jul 02 2000 - 01:26:58 CUT

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    Dear Sixties-L List Members:

    Three weeks ago, "in the interest of thwarting a growing image of baby
    boomers as a generation of self-indulgent navel gazers," I referred list
    members to the June 12,
    2000, issue of TIME magazine. A four-page article by Daniel Okrent denigrated
    baby boomers with acrimonious fervor, falling just short of epithets.

    I sent a letter to the editor and encouraged those of you who might be
    interested to do the same. In your reply posts, some of you doubted that this
    invective would have any impact.

    Well, it did ... but not much. I was quoted in this week's TIME along with
    three other baby boomers, as follows: "Boomers set in motion the longest
    economic expansion in history by developing the personal computer and
    operating-system software." This comment represents about one-tenth of the
    sidebar space that TIME editors gave for rebuttal of Okrent's biased,
    revisionist reporting. TIME printed none of the letters.

    I hope some, if not all of you boomer list members, agree that we must
    restore our penchant for activism. We're now the target, and we're being
    criticized unfairly in the media almost daily.

    For example, in today's "Denver Post," Steven Rosen, a boomer movie critic,
    begins his review of "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle," as follows:

    "The payback for baby boomers' refusal to grow up -- for watching endless
    reruns of 'Green Acres,' say, instead of reading Proust -- is to live long
    enough for Hollywood to make a bad movie out of every single old-TV

    Subtle, but the seeds of boomer contempt received another bath in Denver.
    These criticisms must not persist unanswered.

    For those of you also interested in setting the record straight, I'm pasting
    below my rejoinder letter to TIME.

    I invite you to do the same.


    July 1, 2000

    TIME Magazine Letters
    Time & Life Building
    Rockefeller Center
    New York, NY 10020

    To the Editors:

    In a July 3, 2000, TIME sidebar, "Power to the Flower Children," you
    acknowledge a "storm of resentment from '60s-generation readers" responding
    with umbrage over Daniel Okrent's biting June 12th article, "Twilight of the

    Gee, thanks!

    You allowed a scant rebuttal paragraph and mollifying quotes from just four
    baby boomers (including mine) to balance a mordant, anti-boomer article
    spanning over four pages. The sidebar's headline reduces my generation's 76
    million individuals to "Flower Children" -- another rebuff. And you end the
    sidebar with one sad boomer's lamentation about Woodstock, further
    reinforcing our self-absorbed image.

    I wonder: Is this TIME magazine's best demonstration of the first principle
    of journalism -- balance and objectivity?

    In my previous letter, I challenged TIME editors to "look at advancements in
    almost any field and you will discover significant, unsung contributions by
    baby boomers." I flung down this gauntlet in defiance of Okrent's cynical
    conclusion that the baby boom "is a generation committed to nothing more (or
    less) substantial than what we appear to be leaving as our signal (sic)
    legacy to American culture: casual Fridays."

    Just three weeks after your fearless foray into baby boomer bashing -- an
    article rife with ageism and revisionism -- your July 3rd issue also trumpets
    the plucky achievements of J. Craig Venter (b. 1947) and Francis Collins (b.

    These baby boomers have led teams of scientists in resplendently sequencing
    the human genome, "the necessary first steps to laying bare the genetic
    triggers of hundreds of diseases," an achievement that "could change our
    very conception of what disease is." Of course, there is no mention of their
    membership in the maligned generation.

    (By the way, in the spirit of Okrent's vision of his generation, perhaps
    these two rivaling scientists finally made peace after their reported pizza
    party by then passing a bong and trading nostalgic stories about our heady
    hippie days.)

    According to the International Principles of Professional Ethics in
    Journalism, "The foremost task of the journalist is to serve the people's
    right to true and authentic information through an honest dedication to
    objective reality whereby facts are reported conscientiously in their proper

    I believe America expects this high standard of TIME and not the tabloid
    journalism to which you are more frequently succumbing.

    I challenge you to research and report a true accounting of the baby boom's
    contributions to contemporary American culture and society. (We've almost
    seen enough about the generation's faults.) And, in doing so, I further
    challenge you to live up to the beneficent ethics of your own profession.

    Brent Green

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