Monday, October 17, 2005

fucking baby boomers

D.P. was just mentioning that he's getting increasingly fed up with the Boomers and their self-indulgence and then Vice comes along and does their new issue about this (it's Vice, it's not really SFW, but you can sneak a glance here and there). This page has some funny stuff. The boomers that I'm most (I almost wrote intimately acquainted but that sounded wrong) familiar with (my parents, obviously) are selfish and childish to the max (as we gen x-ers say). I have more maturity in my pinky toe than they have in their whole bodies. I don't know if it's cuz they're boomers, but a lot of my friends parents seem to never to have gotten their shit together, and quite a few are drug-addicted on top of that because they want to remain forever young and can't stand the aches and pains that go with old age. Not to mention their vanity. And so many of them seem to be desperately unhappy and searching for a quick fix to get out of it. I could go on but I'm getting mad thinking about it.

21 comments:

beckler said...

For instance, I think this is funny

PONTIFICATING
Are they constantly sitting by the lake in On Golden Pond? Well, yeah, kind of. Their whole life is a big hangout with nothing to do but ask meaningless questions about stuff. “Oh, should gays be married? Oh, what about the death penalty? And what is rap anyways?” Who gives a shit? The other day I tuned into CBC Radio and you know what the topic of the day was? (This is not a joke.) It was, “Why do we say duck tape instead of duct tape?” Hey, old people, I don’t have time to ponder. I’m busy doing stuff and trying to pay off the Sisyphean debt you stuck me with. Move!

Of course, they’re not listening. They’re by the lake musing. They love to muse because you never have to get into facts or statistics. You can just throw math in the garbage, grab a big book of critical theory and hmmmm away.

You ever see that PBS, eight DVD series about New York? Jesus Christ. You have to wade through about twenty minutes of musing to get one fact. “There is no definitive book about New York,” says one of the many tweed blazer wearing history pontificators, “because it is ever changing.” What in the fuck does that mean? Have LA, Boston and Sri Lanka just sat there in awe of the Big Apple wondering why they don’t change too? Ivory tower professors puke out this blethering rhetoric because they want to get their soundbite in some big book of quotes while we sit there rolling our eyes waiting for some actual information.

beckler said...

and this:

HOUSES
Thanks guys. You bought them for $20,000, made sure all of you had one and then, when it was our turn to try, you all simultaneously moved the decimal place over to the left. Great. Now you all have $200,000 houses. One problem. None of us are ever going to have even close to that kind of money. Either move the decimal place back where it belongs or we are going to burn your houses to the ground

alice said...

did you see the article i posted on the chicklist about how some smartass is finally figuring out that overpopulation of the boomer population in upper management is creating a crisis in the chain of command? cuz none of them have trained people below them in middle management to take over when they retire. in many public agencies that will need strong leadership. i can pretty much state for a fact that my working life since i graduated from college has been about wondering what all that talk about the "corporate latter" is cause it never exists where i get a job--you're either at the top or the bottom and no one cares to make the steps between the two places accessible or visible even if you have a master's degree. well, the bee published an article on it today which just makes me furious cause i've been talking about this with maya for aeons and now someone finally figures out this is a problem when it's practically too late to get all us underlings up to speed before the big boomer exodus from the work force.

alice said...

um, that would be "ladder." sorry, i got a bit passionate there for a minute.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I want to stick up for this generation a little bit. There's some rad shit they did that we totally take for granted. Maybe the idealism that makes them seem spacy and out of it now was necessary for the changes they made when they were young.

Of course a bunch of them are total Ds, but there's a bunch of Ds in our generation too! And I don't see how our generation is any less vain, and it'll be interesting to see how gracefully we handle ageing. We're the ones who made 30 the new 21. I'm sure 50 is gonna be the new 30. We don't want to get old either. And when you meet a boomer who isn't annoying and is totally rad, it's fucking awesome to talk to them about shit.

The workplace thing is a wierd phenomenon, but I see it as a good thing. They'll all retire at once, and since we postponed our entry into the workforce until the last possible minute, we'll get their jobs! That's an over-simplification I'm sure, but there is a positive side to what Alice was talking about.

-michele

P.S. Don't get me wrong...I think our generation is better, cooler, smarter and funnier. I just have a thing against age-ism, and it seems rash to diss an entire generation.

beckler said...

yeah, i just think the vice thing is kinda funny, it's obviously a crazy generalization. it's just refreshing because i've been hearing about boomers my whole life and i know SO MUCH about their music and culture and it was just refreshing to hear someone say "fuck them". Not like I really want to say that, but I'm glad someone did.

The thing D.P. brought up was the hero worship and veneration of their idols. He said he was losing patience for that boomer phenomenon.

And as for me, I'm going to age gracefully because I will have my parents as a bad example that I will do the opposite of. I will not be an old lady that is pursuing new age bullshit and getting a facelift. I will fucking garden and read, which is what old ladies are supposed to do.

beckler said...

And the Vice thing is obviously silly and hyperbolic. Like the thing about the housing boom. I don't think that's so much fueled by boomers, it seems like it's fueled by gen x'ers who are used to living way beyond their means and are buying first houses that they can't really afford. But I don't think the Vice thing is really ageist, because it's pro-grandparents.

Anonymous said...

This issue is of course way too huge to blame it all on the boomers but the Vice article does a pretty good job of articulating the frustration of being the next generation coming up. Everyone will have a different take since, aside from the more general problems that we can all see, most of us probably can't help viewing this issue through our particular situation. I witnessed my family go from scraping to meet the rent to being fairly well off (my mom anyway) and when I look at the arc of that progression, it seems very natural & according to some plan. Bought a house in Land park for $22,000 in 74, sold it for $145 in '87, bought a house downtown for roughly the same amount in '88 which is now worth around $400,000 & totally paid off. She works hard but honestly, not a ton harder than I do. When I look at where I am at 35, it's pretty embarassing compared to what my mom has done. Still renting, pathetic savings etc. I can't blame anybody or anything for that - but what I find myself landing on when I do get frustrated & look for the cause, I see that I falsely believed that A.) there WAS a natural progression in life or some "plan" and B.) that the older generation would naturally help bring up the younger generation.

The reason I think that is because I see how my mom's life planned out so beautifully & also that she can't grasp why I'm still where I am. I understand that, in 1974, $22,000 was a lot & I'm sure her & my dad were stressed when they bought their first house, but I'm sorry, when my mom acts like "you should've bought a house a few years ago" I can't help but feel that that's a little unfair. Maybe I'm wrong but even though wages have gone up, I wasn't mentally prepared to singlehandedly mount a $200,000 debt 5 years ago. Like my parents decision to buy a house in '74, that would've been one of the single smartest decisions I made in my life - but my mom is so oblivious to what it means to be young in the world today, she didn't offer any hint that she would help me out or try & explain that it wasn't really "spending" $200,000 - rather it was investing it. I can't blame her for any of this but I can be annoyed at her almost willful ignorance of it. In her defense, I know she thinks she's helping me be self-reliant & independent but there's also a glimmer of her formerly-poor self in there clinging to what she now has & not really wanting to view that money as a tool to help the family but rather as fuel for the increasingly luxurious life she's leading. I feel that that sense of entitlement is a boomer trait that we've inherited but at the same time, we can't see how we'll ever get there. It feels to me like we've inhereited a ton of frustration.

Anyway, I'm rambling a bit so to finish, I'll say that the boomers (in my opinion) were lucky to have lived at a time where the previous generation (their parents) had it tough & saved to give their children a better life or at least a "start" in life - AND to have lived in a time of relative prosperity. And since I do chalk some of it (not all of it) up to luck, I can't help but get mad when boomers look down on this generation like "you should've worked & tried harder like we did". They simply have no idea.

I hope this doesn't come off all "bottom line" or some shit - these are just conclusions I've come to as a result of what I've seen.

miller

lisa ninja said...

You're right Miller. You can't think of buying a house as "spending" $200K (Well, now it's closer to $400k). I just look at it as paying rent to the bank.

I agree about thinking there is some natural progression in life. I grew up thinking that. I'll go to school, grow up, get a good job (and one I like), own a house... It just doesn't happen like that, and I'm not sure why I used to think that it did.

beckler said...

My parents bought their first house in the early 80's at a comparably low price in a cheap market. My mom's parents gave them the down payment, and probably helped them out with the payments, too. They both had just OK jobs, my mom was a teacher making probably the equivalent of what I do now. My dad did blue collar stuff and was unemployed for over a year at that time. They, being stupid selfish boomers, on the other hand, just sold their house that had appreciated by over 500% and kept the money with no thought of, say, giving me a down payment on a house. Also, they didn't pay a cent for my college education, which is now a debt that I'm saddled with forever. I know some boomers are not like this, but a lot of them are. That's my sad story that my friends have already heard and in the grand scheme of things it's not so bad and I'm just glad I have a pretty good job with health insurance. But the boomers are still way selfish, for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guess its obvious that any differing views on the boomers are going to be influenced by how we feel about our own parents. I know I'm lucky to have parents that aren't judgemental about our generation, and seem to be aware of the crazy housing costs we have to deal with. They are also (finally!) really tolerant of the lifestyle me and my friends have chosen, and recognize the trade-off between financial "success" and the happiness we've gained from hanging out with our friends and staying out of the rat race.

So, if I were using someone else as examples of the boomer generation, maybe I'd be less defensive. Things are different for us than they were for them, no doubt. And it seems frustrating and irritating for them not to recognize that.

-michele

Anonymous said...

I think it's interesting how marriage plays in to this. On one hand, I've inherited from the last generation the idea that you buy a house after you get married. On the other, I've inherited a hesitance towards getting married from the high divorce rate of our parents generation. It's like I simultaneously bought in to and then became scared of the American dream! The smartest solution would be to reinterpret the American dream to apply to our generation & it's different circumstances but instead a lot of us have just become ironic about the whole thing.

miller

alice said...

there are some really shocking statistics that compare the financial situation of our generation with that of our parents in a series called "Generation Debt" that the Village Voice has been running for well over a year now. You'll find all the fodder for your anger over there when realizing that the houses our parents bought in the 70s and 80s were only about 2 or 3 times greater than their annual income whereas they're closer to 10 to 15 times the average annual income of someone in the 27-35 age bracket. so, yeah, we're in REALLY different situations than they can even understand.

and i totally agree with miller about the marriage thing. it just doesn't seem safe to make that kind of contract simply to get ahead financially even if it seems like the rational, adult thing to do. we've seen the effects of those rash decisions in our own childhoods (divorced families, etc.). so i think our generation has (hopefully) realized that to really make that kind of big committment to someone you have to know yourself pretty well and know what you want. does that happen when you're 24 years old? not really. So, we wait. And we can't buy a house cause it's too expensive for one person. And in the mean time it looks like we're not growing up cause we just don't have anywhere to put our energy if we're trying to avoid the mistakes of our own parents.

that said, i think it will be really weird when the reigns are finally handed over. i'm hoping it won't be a crisis, actually.

alice said...

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0411,fkoerner,51845,1.html

here's the article on student loans and other kinds of debt our generation is in compared to our folks' generation.

lisa ninja said...

Aren't there some studies/theories floating around that we will be the first generation with a lower standard of living than the previous? I know that my parents were able to build a giant house in the 70's and my mom grew up in a tiny house (around 1000 square feet) sharing a room with her sister. I grew up in a big house with my own bedroom. Now the house we were able to buy (and if we were trying to buy now, we wouldn't be able to afford one) is about 1300 square feet and my two kids are sharing a room.

I know that the relative cost of everything has gone up. People used to be able to save up and buy a new car. Now, because you can get credit so easy, they're more "affordable" but they actually cost more, you just make monthly payments forever and pay lots of interest.

lisa ninja said...

Thanks Alice, you beat me too it and actually have a reference. So yeah, what she said.

beckler said...

Thanks for the link. It was depressing to find out that I'm 10 grand further in debt than your average undergrad. This summed up what I was saying about my mom. She was a first or second year teacher and my dad made very little when they bought their first, brand new house on five acres.

"When we look at the median cost of housing, it used to be 30 years ago that a teacher could purchase a home on their own salary," says Tamara Draut, director of the Economic Opportunity Program at Demos. "Nowadays, it's hard for two teachers to purchase a home on their combined salaries."

Smitty said...

Hey miller, are you proposing to Heckasac?

I'm happy with my wife. She has a boyfriend but her marrying me covers health care that I can't afford. Pre-existing conditions (seizure-o-matic) add even more when I couldn't afford hc when I had good health.

I'll just continue working sarcastic jobs and traveling until I croak. Anything over 30 is the bonus round anyway. I'm no good at video games but I've cheated death plenty o' times. I can't wait to be a dishwasher at 60.

My parents have wisely decided to spend all the money their formerly paid off house has accrued. Once they croak, paying off their bills will be what the house is worth. Paid $37,000 for a 100 year old house in old Fair Oaks back in '77.

Becky, you've got a workable degree. Much better than a sissy philosophy, English or anthro degree. My new philosophy is I'll pretend to be Charles to sneak into the Crest on The Birds night.

beckler said...

Smitty-
Way to make everyone uncomfortable. Too bad they don't give degrees for that, because you'd be a fucking Ph.D!
p.s.-even though it dilutes the joke I have to say that it IS just a joke cuz we all know how sensitive you are.

Smitty said...

What joke? I'm too sensitive to find a joke in your comment. My goal is to make everyone as uncomfortable as I am 90% of the time. Just waiting for the hammer to drop.

Anonymous said...

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!
-db