Sunday, August 08, 2004

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Them

You might think that in 2004, Baby Boomers would have finally run out of things over which to claim victimhood.

You would be wrong.

Inquirer columnist Karen Heller is all hot and bothered because her kids made fun of '70s clothing, hairstyles, and music after watching the Starsky & Hutch remake.

No, really.

Referring to the likes of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell, Heller writes:

Those are fighting words. We already have political strife and class conflict and global issues and high gas prices and a looming deficit, but that wasn't enough in these times, when we should all be coming together. No, these boys, boys being the operative term, had to launch age warfare.

They've reduced my decade of Nixon, Carter and Reagan to John Travolta in snug pants.

As a bona fide member of the baby boom -- a claim as unpopular as liberal or feminist or intellectual -- as someone who graduated from high school and college during the 1970s, perhaps I can jog their memories and help reeducate the poor, misguided children of today who believe, falsely, that Anchorman is a fitting time capsule. I'm no fan of nostalgia, but these guys have played the ugly-clothes card one too many times.

She continues, with absolutely no hint of irony, that her '70s was a decade marked by more daring fashion designers, more intelligent filmmakers, more significant writers, and more vital causes. The laughable conclusion:

Perhaps, in 30 years, when the kids of today are making movies, they'll exact revenge and harvest this period for their own recycling.

Alas, when they look back, all they'll find is a stale collection of fright wigs, tight shirts and retro car crackups. They'll be forced to be creative and original.

Just like people were back in the real 1970s.

Poor Boomers. Not only do we have to listen to them prattle on about how groundbreaking their contributions have been; not only must we agree with their self-assessment of being the most important people in the history of the world; not only must we acknowledge the inferiority of all other generations' cultural legacies; but we also must respect their desire to be sacrosanct, and must never, ever laugh at them.

To offer a typically Philly response: Yo, Karen, lighten up. There isn't a child alive who doesn't think his parents dressed funny 30 years ago. And just because you protested 'Nam and Watergate doesn't mean your hair wasn't hideous. Just because Scorsese and Spielberg were making magic on the screen doesn't make today's writers and directors are hacks. Reserve that epithet for the bloggers, okay?


At August 8, 2004 at 7:21 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

As a card-carrying member of Generation X, I think the Baby Boomers have used up their fifteen minutes of fame. Enough already. They need to keep strutting around because they know they couldn't hold a candle to their parents generation, "the greatest generation," when men and women dropped everything to join forces against evil and fascism. While their parents (whom they surely mocked) were kicking Nazi butt, they were hopping buses to Canada to avoid Vietnam. Posers.

At August 9, 2004 at 9:18 AM, Blogger gr said...

the 70s also mark the last time we heard about anyone with the first name "Spiro".


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