Wed Jul 24 2002
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War and Late-Boomers
Which war, conflict or international tantrum (besides Afghanistan) do you believe had the most impact on the Late Boomer psyche?
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Questions and Answers:
Q:Do you think the bitterness and anger from Late Boomers will occur with Late Xers? Hi, I've been reading up on generational sites for the last couple of years, and one thing I have noticed repeatedly is a lot of intense bitterness and boiling anger from those born in the "late Boomer" years. I was born in 1975, so I am not a Boomer, though I think I can understand the bitterness that Late Boomers have, it's something that the typical early and middle Boomer doesn't seem to display. I don't know if I'm a middle of the pack Xer, or a late Xer, but do you guys think this same thing will happen to late Xers? Often times I find myself disliking these kids born in the '80s. Many of them, especially those born in the early '80s, are my peers, but talking to them it feels like I'm 20 years older then them, not 4-7 years older. They feel like another generation to me, and I suspect when the term "Generation Xer" becomes more of an insult refering to anyone over 35, rather then a cool label, many Late Xers will develop the same bitterness that Late Boomers have. Heck, I even had an argument with a guy just 4 years younger then me, maybey even less about when the '80s ended and the '90s began. It could easily have been an argument between some born in 1959 and 1955 about the '60s-'70s. More things change, the more they stay the same it appears.
John M
A:John, You've made an astute observation. I personally believe that the rift you describe within "generations" comes from having labels affixed to groups by outside parties that would not self identify as a cohesive generation or cohort. Identity is psychologically important as the most intimate of constructs to the individual. Identity is a similary personal conscept for social groups. To have identity forced upon one is distressing and possibly harmfully. This probably speaks to why some of the later born in generations become angry or bitter. I hope that with this site some of the bitterness will dissipate and we can just be proud of who we are, confront unfair stereotypes, and celebrate out achievements. Thanks for an excellent question John. Nancy
Q:I was born in 1967, am I a boomer?
A:Hi Jim, "Officially" you are not a Boomer, I'm sorry to have to break such sad news to you. According to the U.S Government the Baby Boom began in 1946 and ended in 1964. But you are more than welcome to join the ranks of Honorary Late Boomers and Late Boomer Lovers! Like all else in life... it is mostly attitude. Nancy
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Children of the 60s
by Nancy Hill

I used to say, "If I see another Boomer web page with "psychedelic" or swirly pastel backgrounds, a lava lamp, or a cartoonish hippie, I'm gonna lose it!" Now I have to include the "shaggy headed clean-cut boy next door" in the instant trigger for a gut churning response. I swear... "I'm gonna hurl!" as my daughter says, if this 70s retro sentimentality doesn't get more realistic. Oh sure "That 70s Show" is cute, but it isn't quite there. Although the nondescript name of the show does illustrate the fact that there isn't a name for us or our times.

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Now one part of me is gagging and retching at the blatant mis-packaging (anything familiar here?) of our generation into a distilled sticky sweet pabulum. While sex and drugs and rock and roll are mentioned, it's all squeaky-clean sex and drugs and rock and roll. Where are herpes, overdoses, and Sid and Nancy? I tell ya, WE are the ones who have to do something about this. We are the only ones who CAN do anything about this. There has never been any balance in our culture's perception of us, the Late Boomers...

But for the moment I just want to wander down memory lane and digress (something I do very well, if I do say so myself) about what I remember as really happening, as opposed to what society is collectively choosing to remember about being a kid back then.

The term "hippie" was buried (I saw it, on TV!, they had a coffin and everything) during the "Summer of Love." I was ten years old that summer. I never was and never will be a hippie. I hate to admit it, but my memories of "the 60s" are mainly from television. I have personal memories of things like reading Nancy Drew books with my best friend, and the like, but those are memories of my life, my memories of "the 60s" really do seem to have come from news broadcasts! People who know me have heard the story about me seeing my brother, the Marine, on the 6 o'clock news when he was in Vietnam, but this goes beyond that to something we all experienced. Well maybe not all, but many of us. While my growing up in a fairly rural not-much-going-on area could explain this "televised" view, it could also be that by the time we were kids, everyone had a television (which wasn't the case in the 50s) and it was still a relatively safe form of entertainment. We were allowed to watch most of what we wanted to see when we wanted to see it -- there was no 24 hour a day Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, or Disney Channel. Parents didn't have to "police" our viewing. Maybe they should have... all the trends we now collectively wonder about got started during our youth.

My childhood wasn't exactly the "Wonder Years," but I didn't live in suburbia either. I remember "Dark Shadows" coming on in the afternoon, just after school let out. I swear this directly translates to some of the vampire/Anne Rice success/Victorian romance novel success the western world is experiencing. Girls thought Quentin was sexy! And "Gilligan's Island" was a hit for similar reasons... Ginger and Maryanne fueled young male fantasy. TV even entered into my non-TV playtime.

I remember closing my toy box lid to get a better view of the Beatles waving and smiling as they came down those plane steps to set foot on American soil for the first time. And my favorite "Barbie" type dolls included a Twiggy doll and a Samantha (Bewitched) doll. Does this relate to the popularity of Wiccan practices today? And then there was H.R. Puffinstuff (actually spelled Pufnstuf) -- wowsa. Was that trippy silliness or what? And for kiddie consumption, no less! The sixties psychedelic life for us was experienced through a children's eyes. Did it set us up for acceptance of giant talking mushrooms? Oh, never mind. I think the biggest single influence of the 60s on me was Rocket J. Squirrel. Bullwinkle and Rocky shaped my political views, my sense of humor, and even my fascination with archetypes in fairy tales.

I doubt that I'm the only one who remembers much of the 60s through television's filter. Now I know at least one person my age who actually went to Woodstock as a child/young teen, but for most of us that was a world away. I think we should get our stories straight and market our memories ourselves rather than letting mass market culture try to reinvent the various stages of our lives.

Enough for now...

I promise that next time's rant will be more "mature."

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Recommended Resources see all items...
Drag Racing Funny Cars of the 1970s
Wallace A. Wyss and Louis Hart's new book will be coming out in April 2002. Vroom. Vroom. For all the Late-Boomer Gear Heads.
The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society & Politics
A few world altering events from 1969 - 1984 are glaringly absent, but this is the current must read history of the decade that changed the world.
The Pro- crastinator's Guide to Financial Security
David F. Teitelbaum, a financial analyst for the federal government sets out concrete guidelines and strategies for mid-lifers who got a late start planning for retirement.
The Trial of Henry Kissinger
Christopher Hitchens forwards the premise that Henry Kissinger should be tried for war crimes for his part in the bombing of Cambodian and Laotian civilians and for his role in political assasinations in Chile and East Timor.
By Ronald Radosh. Scathing view of the old left in which we grew up from an insider who has done an about face.
100 Greatest Boomer Toys
Great photos that are sure to evoke memories of 50s and 60s toys such as: Thingmakers, Spirographs, Colorforms, Life-Size Kitchens, and Easy-Bake Ovens. Also excellent thought-provoking essays.

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Jul 24 2002, 14:19:49
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