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January 05, 2011

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Outstanding post. Mine will be much, much shorter.

America is a complicated country/culture.

In a nutshell, this great nation was destroyed by the continuous, devastating effect of television on our culture. It has made the country lazy, dumb and gullible.


A nation of sheep.

For wolves, like us on this blog, our fate will be a bounty on our heads for scaring the flock.

"For wolves, like us on this blog," - azrebel

...this skin of wool itches terribly.

The generation concept is ill-defined, grossly misused and irresistible. I want to jump into a vat of hot oil every time I hear the phrase "boomer narcissism" And when we bow before The Greatest Generation, who are we really venerating? The smug Rotarians who remade this nation as a craptacular shopping frenzy and drive-til-you-die road to nowhere?

I'm sorry Mom and Dad had to live through the Great Depression and WWII. That said, it's time to get another story.

I got this guilt trip as a kid, that I wasn't worthy of everything given to me because I didn't have to struggle for it. Is it any wonder boomers were the fist generation to indulge in wholesale recreational drug use? We knew on some level how crazy-making consumer civilization was. We were never quite good enough and on some level inadequate to life itself. Unless we bought something.

We've seemingly ironed out the Generation Gap unpleasantness. Parents and children alike consume without much guilt or awareness. We have virtually infinite choice when it comes to TV viewing. Computer games have altered the very structure of our brains. And we agree it's entirely appropriate to medicate the pain away.

The boomers are chastened and wiser now. We didn't change the world or love away the meanness. We were just caught up in an alternative vision of life that, on second thought, was probably just a daydream. It's odd how unlived dreams come back to haunt us. And they will.

The more i think about all the accomplishments of your generation, the TRUE 'greatest generation'; the boomers- the more i wonder why there is no statue commemorating your triumphs?
Think of it; a statue of a hippie and his "old lady" (that's what the boomers called their girl-friends back then), love beads around their necks, flowers in their long hair that's held by leather head bands, granny glasses on both, paisley shirt for him- tie-dye for her, fringed leather jackets for both, bare feet below super-wide bell-bottoms and both giving the 'peace' sign! The statue would be 69 feet high (of course), face San Francisco and the inscription would read simply: "GROOVY"
The Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. is a fitting place.
Not that my generation really NEEDS a statue like that- humankind will never forget your words and deeds which so irrevocably changed the world, deeds like inventing sex, drugs and rock 'n roll; Feminism, Civil Rights and GLBTQ liberation; words like "Tune in, turn on, drop out" and "never trust anyone over thirty".
Not content to rest on their laurels the boomers even now are expanding the boundaries of creamed corn, adult diapers and Viagra!
It's to our boomer fore-bearers we owe our present civilization and culture, to which i say:
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

Krazy, why do I get the sense that your idea of civilization is an all-you-can-eat buffet and a sixpack of Bud Lite?

Jon: I have long believed that we have seen America at its best, even though seers like Tom Friedman tend to sugarcoat our decline in context with "the rise of the rest". And I'm not a great believer in generational stereotypes because so many trends (ex: "entitlement") seem to span multiple generations.

I've got about 20 more candles on my cake than you do, but I also don't feel that I've ever fit within MY generation, which is increasingly polluted by the "I've got mine" mentality.

Perhaps those of us who are not tribal by nature are always destined to be misfits?

Don't trust anybody over sixty...

Jon I keep thinking about your "308,745,538" post and your reference to "The suburban apologist Joel Kotkin". I went to his website thereafter and nosed around. Interesting. He thinks American will be young and revitalized in 2050. But the real key for him is that America will be truly multicultural.

In other words: his optimism is based on the death of the Teabag generation. I am of course talking about the graying whitey-righty population base that elected John McCain to yet another term. This is the true miserable and miserly generation: Those born from 1930-47 (Russell Pearce, 1947), who didn't learn any lessons from the Depression and who were too young to fight in WW11 and missed Korea too. The white bread generation: Because grocery stores back then didn't carry brown bread or brown rice; and because: Fair, fat, and forty was all it took to get ahead...

In particular...

The generation that benefited most from "The Great Compression," but didn't learn their history as to why that was so. Really, is there anything uglier than old people, who having been giving so much, instead of growing wise and understanding, have turned that cultural gift into a voting block that emphasizes selfishness and racist bile?

I'm not worried about late baby boomers at all. Anybody that was young in the 60s-80s has a sense of social rightness built into them. Those were fecund decades: Buckminster Fuller, Save the Whales, The Whole Earth Catalog, Carl Sagan. For a long while I've been ruminating about the 70s as point source for some of our culture's most incisive thinking. There was a lot of smart people writing smart stuff back then...

No, I am not worried about your age group Jon. What worries me, is how long these old selfish bastards will live. The sooner they are gone, the sooner American will get on with its future and lose its past. Because today's old people, for the most part, really suck.

(Side note: I'd love to see a graph showing global warming denial as a function of age. Birtherism as a function of age. Social empathy as a function of age. etc.)


"No, I am not worried about your age group Jon. What worries me, is how long these old selfish bastards will live. The sooner they are gone, the sooner American will get on with its future and lose its past. Because today's old people, for the most part, really suck."

Oh, I'm so sad-- and sorry too, about your suffering. That you have to endure on a daily basis the existence of my generation. And I'm sure that when we're gone life for you will be like sailing on a sea of smooth buttocks.

"...like sailing on a sea of smooth buttocks." Great visualization! Unfortunately I'm too old to remember who's it is!

I have a number for you:

6,866,000,000

This subject may apply more in the last post and I apologize for that. I hope I am not breaking a blog rule.

However, at dinner tonight, my wife asked me what the world population is. I hadn't looked in a while and I answered that it was around 6.3 billion.

After dinner I went and checked. Oh My, when did those additional 600,000,000 people show up?

Overpopulation is going to trump EVERYTHING we care about and discuss on this blog.

Our concerns pale in comparison to the fact that in no time at all we will have extra billions at the dinner table waiting to eat.

I wish my wife wouldn't ask me these questions. ( : - (

Azrebel, think of that 600,000,000 as a generation, then it begins to rhyme. Here's a piece by one of Arizona's great reporters (along with Talton and John Dougherty), Charles Bowden. It concerns Mexico, the drug and human trafficking trade, and a culprit he identifies as overpopulation. Malthusians don't get much respect but it's clear there's no clean or just way to even distribute Earth's bounty. We are living next door to to an unfolding tragedy.

http://www.hcn.org/issues/42.4/the-war-next-door/article_view?b_start:int=0&-C=

I've actually read that the world can support a few billion more people with little problem with one use asterisk; that we humans must live "cleanly" and give up much of our greed and self interests. Actually in was an article in National Geographic (Jan 2011).

For instance, the issue of water was brought up: I think that the Colorado river is an example that can be used as what it would mean to give up some American self-interest. If we can learn to be efficient water users and even to resupply some of the Colorado's flow with say, desalinated ocean water. I think it would benefit the U.S. and Mexico to share this technology even if it means that we supply most of the financing.

I've had this discussion with others and interestingly, the generational differences of opinions are astonishing. Those in my age group, 30 and younger, don't see an issue with this but older generations think that somehow it is un-American and European Union like (socialist); a slippery slope if will.

Funny thing is I don't really see evil in the EU and those countries have not lost a sense of patriotism or awareness of their identities. Older Americans fear such unity internationally even if you point out the fact that Spaniards still speak Spanish, Frenchmen still speak French, and Germans...

I'm not really praising the EU either. I've been to many countries and have friends from these lands and can tell you that not all is as it seems. I've read many times on this blog that readers would choose to live in N. Europe given the option years ago; however, I would not. One shocking fact I've witness about Europeans and the EU (aside from some financial collapses) is racism. Open racism, especially towards blacks and more recently those that are or look Arab, Muslim, etc.

And while I am fully aware that this same racism exists in the U.S., I mean more open racism in Europe. 1950's type American racism. Where great athletes in European football leagues are called racist slurs. Germany even had to plead with their citizenry to withhold such open displays during the World Cup in 2006...

Also violence in Europe that is escalating. They may not have gun issues but a knife fight and attack is just as frightening and deadly. The youthful mobs in many European countries turning to the "gangsta" life seems almost Philadelphian on steroids.

It is interesting and America is not alone with her issues. Beautiful and human scaled European cities are facing huge challenges. It also can be argued that the younger generation of white Europeans are becoming more conservative, racist, and divided without the help of Evangelical devices and characters (Fox News, Pearce).

A few European cities that seem like they may actually be most successful in terms of little violence and actually true social inclusion and diversity are (IMO): Berlin, Madrid, and Oslo...

I too have heard about the "we can handle a few billion more" on this planet theory.

If a person really thinks that, I would invite that person to walk into a Walmart, stand in that big area by the registers. Look really, really, really close at the evolution of the human species surrounding you, then come and convince me that two billion more of those creatures would be good for this planet.

Gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

rebel, I think that is where the huge asterisk comes into play...

And admittedly, it has been a while since I've been to a Wal-Mart.

"and even to resupply some of the Colorado's flow with say, desalinated ocean water." - phxSUNSfan

The energy to do so would be prohibitive. Said simply: water is heavy. Moving agua is one of the greatest bounties of nature. Beyond the redirection of flows, schemes to move water in quantity, are little more than another spin of The Great Exercise Wheel. If such schemes to shuttle water were economical, we would be using much more pumped storage on our electrical grids.

Massive desalinization is another layer of delusion.

"I've actually read that the world can support a few billion more people" - phxSUNSfan

Footprint analysis shows that if every human being enjoyed the lifestyle of the average professional sports fan, then for the current population to be sustainable, another five or six Earth's would be required.

Who knows, maybe we'll find a few more
Earths by the time Haiti gets its first NBA franchise.

To refer to people born between 1946 and 1964 as a single generation is foolish. The most obvious example is a person born in 1946 who at the age of 18 has a child. According to the conventional Boomer definition, the child and parent are in the same generation.

One way to segment this overly broad definition of a generation is by who was personally effected by the Vietnam draft. That cutoff would be those born in 1954 or earlier.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not implemented effectively until the 1970's. The older half of the 1946 to 1964 age group did not personally experience affirmative action during their formative years in the workplace. Sexism against women was also accepted behavior well into the seventies.

Being born after 1955, I don't appreciate being grouped with George W. Bush, the Clintons or other notorious individuals of that age group. Closer to my age group's values and outlook would be Bill Gates, Tom Hanks and Steve Jobs.

I appreciate JMAV's post about the fallacy of generational stereotypes because the present Golden Agers (my slot) are actually pretty diverse, as first described many years ago by the likes of Faith Popcorn. She may have coined the term "psychographics". That said, too many of the Golden Agers are selfish and clannish and prejudiced, but those qualities are by no means confined to their generation, my opinion.

JMAV, I think there may be some value to the generation concept when it comes to economics, demography and other professions, but it's useless as a generalization when it comes to individuals.

I am probably very close to a walking parody of the notional "boomer". That is, I did all the evil things hippies are famous for: dropped out, dropped acid, got lost in countercultural ideas and styles - everything. And I can tell you that I am in a very small minority where my generational cohort is concerned. Most of them were never very liberal in the first place and today they're watching Fox News.

I'm glad younger people are a bit more open-minded although I suspect that will change with age. It's fun to romanticize one's youth when it seemed possible to change the world by simply being. Now that we're older, we burrow into the most comfortable and familiar niches and defend that with righteous indignation. "I've got mine" is the battle cry of conservatives and the elderly.

The real question is why we look at the catastrophe of modern life and think that it's somebody else's fault. False constructs didn't create this suburbanized wreckage we call America. Ideas had less to do with this than simple physical realities. And there's no more seductive idea than that of a collectively sentient group of contemporaries screwing it all up.

That's it! The readers of this blog have solved the crisis!

To solve the water problem, we just have to pump water from the Pacific to the Colorado- preferably somewhere above the Grand Canyon.

To do that we just build a series of human-powered pumps and a pipeline. We can employ enough people (around the clock) to completely solve the unemployment problem AND they will be low-paying menial jobs with few benefits and, of course, no unions or pensions.

Think of all the construction jobs to build it! And we'll need new communities along the route to house the pump workers- the Housing market is back!

America will be back on top by cornering the market in human-powered pumping technology! We'll be back in manufacturing to make pumps and seals- and shoes!!! And it's GREEN.

With all those people doing physical labor on the pumps, the obesity epidemic will be over (on average). They'll be so healthy they won't need health care and the existing system can then be devoted to caring for the rich, as it is so well-designed to do.

We're Number One again! (in small irrelevant highly-selective ways only visible to those with blinders)

Now, I just need to find a corporate sponsor or a Republican who wants to take the credit or a show on Fox and I'll be set for life!

Rate Crimes: "Footprint analysis shows that if every human being enjoyed the lifestyle of the average professional sports fan, then for the current population to be sustainable, another five or six Earth's would be required."

I'd love to read that "analysis" if you can provide it. I'm not sure I believe that but I do see issues with the average fan in nearly every American city. Mostly, transportation to the venue. Seattle and L.A. are amongst the worst offenders in those terms but I still don't think this analysis is applicable in the real world: Not everyone likes sports.

I think Seattle could encourage more ridership on their light rail/transit lines if they did what the Suns do with ticket sales; include a small surcharge in the price of every ticket sold that includes fare for that game day...it is a small step but when an area sits only tens of thousands then it actually has a big impact.

Buford,
They will write songs about you and there will be statues all along the pipeline. "The Man Who Turned The Southwest Into A Tropical Oasis".

You are a genius.

I was going to go with a bucket brigade from Rocky Point to Lake Powell.

What was I thinking????

Ooops: "when an AREA sits..."

Replace with: "when an ARENA sits..."

As for desalination, I think you have what was written mistaken for mass desalination that would provide enough drinking water for L.A., Phoenix, and Vegas.

On the contrary as this would be about modest but substantial replacement of water; especially for the Colorado River Delta. Meaning more water for Mexican farms and farms in the U.S. close to the river and near the border. Aside from environmental replenishment, we'd provide Mexico's devastated farming industry a chance to regain its footing (revisiting NAFTA might help as well).

Another huge water issue, more than desalination, would be urban water usage. This is an issue of greed at its worst and primarily in Las Vegas with its garish resort casino fountains, pools, and golf greens that take most of its water from the Colorado. Do we really need Vegas as it currently exists today? No...We also would need to curtail suburban expansion in the West. These are all part of the huge asterisk mentioned before.

"Mass desalination" is already occurring in other regions, including the Middle East and foreign companies are leading the way in innovation (of course) into this foray. Siemens being a world leader (a German firm). It would be wise to proceed with caution since mass desalination could have a devastating impact on sea life if over used and concentrated.

To clarify: every ticket sold for a U.S. Airways Center event (game, concert, exhibition, WNBA, hockey, arena football) is a valid ticket/fare for light rail 4 hours before the scheduled event until the last train in operation for that day (meaning midnight Sunday-Thursday and 2:30am on the weekends).

I should probably proofread before I post or email Rogue to fix some of my errors and confusing lines.

I meant to say that "an arena seats" and not "sits."

Also, I think this might confuse people: "modest but substantial replacement of water..."

I mean that it would be a more modest project then supplying huge populations plenty of drinking water but substantial for ecological reasons and some farming needs. How I worded this phrase earlier appears contradictory.

As others have apologized before me, I don't want to seem pedantic or verbose rather clearly communicative.

I just returned home to hear the news about Gabrielle Giffords.

Disgusting.

"The one thing that I can imagine really happening is that the millenials will be so steamed by what we've done that they will simply deny us any elder care. 'Forget about having operations and having a comfortable hospital bed when you're 80 years old, Mr. Boomer. We're just gonna put you out on the curb like an old broken television and forget about you.'"

James Howard Kunstler, lifted from KunstlerCast #126

Maybe not as bad as that, but I see an increasing struggle for resources between generations. Whether it's a semi-deluded comfortable boomer centrism or semi-deluded utopian tea party activism, the elder tribes will not let go of the spoils they 'deserve'. They will still vote for manna from heaven while subconsciously noticing that something is just not right.

And what will my generation do? If we don't engage there is still the motto "During loss of cabin pressure put your own oxygen mask on first."

Boomers are chastened and wiser now. We will not change the world or the love of mischief. We were only taken in an alternative vision of life that, after all, was probably only a dream.

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