Miniblog #342: Helping Baby Boomers Understand How They’re Now Perceived
Dear Baby Boomers,
Let’s get something straight right away. The purpose of this post isn’t to create nor further any generational conflict. Quite the opposite. The purpose is to facilitate understanding. In fact, I for one have long felt like a man born out of time. There are many ways in which I resonate more with your Baby Boomer generation than I do my own Millennial generation.11.There’s a reason I’ve studied so much of that period of American history, love Forrest Gump, The Wonder Years is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and I’ve listened to so much ’60s music. Having said all that, it often seems Baby Boomers struggle to understand Millennials’ perspectives, so let me frame it this way: John Lennon died in 1980 before any of my peers were born. Relatively few of us are aware that he was the foremost intellectual rebel of the Beatles.22.At this point people like me are the exception. Yet none of us were alive to see him in action. As for the rest of the band, experience suggests that few could immediately identify George Harrison by name,33.Those of us who can only remember him being reclusive before he died. Ringo Starr is most well-know for his unusual name, and our clearest collective memory of Sir Paul McCartney is probably him doing a mediocre Super Bowl show nearly a decade ago.44.Shoot, even McCartney teaming up with Michael Jackson for “Say Say Say” was two years before my birth, and I’m a pretty early Millennial. As a historical reference point, it has been 50 years since the Beatles broke onto the American scene on the Ed Sullivan Show. In other words, expecting us to know about that is like asking you to know a cultural reference from the year WWI broke out. What’s my point? Honestly, after all the crap Baby Boomers went through from their parents, I don’t understand why you give Millennials so much crap.55.After all the Ageism you endured for your “rock n roll,” long hair, and all the rest, why turn around and shove it on us? Baby Boomers love saying my generation is self-absorbed and narcissistic, so I’d like to conclude by turning the tables with a bit of good-natured pushback: The world, including pop culture references, doesn’t revolve around you. We value you. I challenge you to reciprocate by valuing us.
Carson T. Clark