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October 20, 2014


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I occasionally enjoy reading Salon but it frequently indulges in what some might call "click bait". That is, find a subject people like for some reason, give it an irresistably provocative title, then sit back and enjoy the traffic. But the generation meme itself is lazy and dumb, an approximation of such sweeping latitude as to be completely meaningless. This isn't even "social science". It's graffiti gussied up with complete sentences and polysyllables. This is my pet peeve: liberals who buy into memes created by the other side in order to distract us from actual issues.

Political cynics in the Atwater/Rove school love this stuff because it affords them another opportunity to reduce complexity to a good guys/bad guys cartoon. For example, hippies are bad and smelly.....and they were all boomers! During the Occupy movement, the counterattack went straight along these lines. America-haters were having sex and defecating in public. Of course, if those offenders were boomers, you'd have every legitimate right to be disgusted. They're not only stealing all the Social Security, they're using Viagra while they do it.

The GOP (Goebbels' Own Party) will always be disgusted with smelliness and lack of order. Nixon and Reagan's Pavlovian cues to outraged burghers were tailor-made in this way. Reagan told his famous joke to rouse this cultural disgust: a hippie is someone who looks like Tarzan, walks like Jane, and smells like Cheetah. The current Ebola hysteria is founded on this bedrock of fear and loathing. A disease out of Africa and very possibly carried across the border by ISIS and Mexicans will kill us all because Democrats are wimps more interested in smoking joints than protecting America.

Are most of us idiots easily manipulated by political operatives and ad executives? I'd like to think so! It's a more comforting thought than realizing that our puppetmasters in three-piece suits and Gucci loafers are pushing our buttons while they pick our pockets. But, as you know all too well, they don't smell, they look like nice people, and they love America, Chevrolet, and Aryan Jesus. We are, I fear, a nation of Good Germans. Now, that's a meme I might buy into.

Yesterday I gazed in wonder at all the pictures posted in Facebook of my Sunnyslope High class's 50-year reunion. Did we know then that long hair, bell bottoms, and rock 'n roll would inevitably lead to no hair, paunches, and endless farewell tours by Cher? I don't think so. The bewilderment of old age is our comeuppance. We were lucky to have that well-woven safety net beneath us so we could experiment with psychedelics and communes before returning to its hammock-like comfort. We skipped gladly through a minefield of youth and now look at our reward: walkers and adult diapers. We didn't do this on purpose. We did it because there is no purpose besides doing the easiest thing possible at any given moment.

Salon has become a leftwing version of the National Enquirer. I can barely stomach its colorful misinformation campaign.

A few more hard yards towards the left goal and Salon will be hardly different than the drips and dimwits who appear with sweaty brows on Fox -- maws agape with rage - trying to grunt the ball to the right.

Dunnos to the left of me, Ignos to the right. If a pile of dog dirt could have cancer, this is what the bottom of your show would smell like...

And just like soft dog poo, left and rightwing extremists is ubiquitous: 20% of Americans identify themselves as extreme liberals and 20% as extreme conservatives. That means 40% of the population are know-nothings who think they know everything. A nation of knee-jerking jerks, absolutely certain about the integrity of their ideological reflexes.

And now...

Hey look over here:
Millennials versus baby boomers versus the "I like Ike" generation.

No look over here:
A snap of two gays swapping germ-laden spit. Ugh, mouth bugs...

No, no look over here:
Some dolt with a semi-automatic colt demonstrating his right to open carry in front of a kiddie-packed school. Whew.. Thank god he was white, we dodged a bullet there.

And now I guess I am suppose to hate Amazon (the left's new chew toy) and bendy Apple iphones too. Not only can't I keep up, I stopped caring to keep up with the artificial rage of the minute/hour/day/week... a long time ago.

Heinlein wrote: Freedom comes when you tell Mrs Grundy to go fly a kite. Today I write: Freedom comes when you quit the internet as a news source and start reading a hand-thrown newspaper again.

Boomers who are a decade older than me got the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll — I'll always envy them that. The bastards ('58 boomer here). And the plus side, no military draft.

To me it's all about the math. What is it, 70 million of us bummers.

Been to any doctor offices lately? Old farts as far as you can see.

The numbers involving every system are going to be upside down. Too many taking, not enough paying.

As it is, I'm working extra to pay for cal's retirement.

We can all sleep a little easier at night knowing this towering intellect, Mr. Balkin, is on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Pat, is this the kid who just graduated from law school in 2011?

I'm very sad that Fukushima decided against an ice wall to hold in all the radioactive water. I was looking forward to ice cubes in drinks that glowed in the dark. I'm just glad that ISIL and Ebola keep us looking away from the fact that the WHOLE PACIFIC OCEAN is being poisoned.

koreyel, was there a point to that word salad beyond attempting to convey how superior you are to us yuckypoo liberals? Could you perhaps offer an actual policy preference or two that demonstrate your higher wisdom so that we "extremists" may learn?

Oh, and, equating a gay couple kissing with open carry nuts is pretty gross. But then, I'm one of those "extremists" who thinks that homophobia is bigotry.

Ruben, that's the same fresh-faced little Libertarian, alright. His wife is employed by the Marine Corps, and in thirty years, give or take a few, they'll switch from blaming Boomers for everything to blaming "these kids today."

Ruben, Maybe it will make U happy if city of Phoenix prop 487 passes and that pension I worked for (Union President 75) and contributed to, will go away. And because I am a retired Phoenix cop my social security is penalized by 2/3.

I like your point on the ISIL and the ocean but you should know that ISIL has only killed 8 Journalists while the right next door, the Mexican government, federal police, Army and Cartels have killed almost 90 journalists and have beheaded far more folks than ISIL. In my opinion ISIL does beheadings under the old Osama Bin Laden theory that it makes guys like John McCain want to bankrupt America fighting a war in the middle east.

Soleri said, "We did it because there is no purpose besides doing the easiest thing possible at any given moment." does your post today fit that definition?

The Club met today at the Downtown Public Market. Present were Petro,Ramjet and yours truly. We waxed philosophically for a few minutes, bad mouthed everyone else that wasn't present and drank our tea. Learned that Ramjets history in Phoenix is nearing the 100 year mark.

Nice column Jon but I dont know enough about math to respond.
Hasta Luego

Cal, I don't want to mistake your irony for a rejoinder but I'll treat it that way since typing loosens up my fingers in the morning. "We did it because there is no purpose besides doing the easiest thing possible at any given moment" is both hyperbole and truism. That is, people tend to do what they want rather than what they ought to do. This is unremarkable but somehow stating it nakedly seems like a provocation. Why is that?

The most obvious examples are in our personal lives. We overeat, we eat the wrong things, we don't exercise, we drink too much at the Christmas Party, and smoke too much in the face of evidence that it causes lung cancer. Of course, not all of us behave this way but my hyperbole still suggests enough of us do to make this problem a roughly true generalization about human nature.

It's in the political realm where we see this problem more acutely. What's easier than blading the desert for suburban sprawl? What's easier than ignoring scientists' warnings about climate change? Why do we have an absurdly complex health-care system? Because it's easier to believe right-wing propaganda that regulations represent tyranny than understand simple logic.

The boomers who were demonized for sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll now vote largely Republican (the over-65 demographic is the only age cohort the GOP reliably wins). Why? Because the dirty, little, secret of my generation is that most of us were always going with the flow. When the flow contained Beatles and love beads, that was our fashion. When it became mortgages, chain retail, and city-destroying freeways, we did that. Now we fight fiercely for the sanctity of our Social Security checks against the government that would tax us to support schools. Sun City anyone?

Our personal vanity will dress up our protests as Sisyphean and tortured, but most of us have long given up on doing anything that costs us money, personal convenience, or pangs of conscience. People will stay glued to their TV sets vexed to their cowlicks about the Kardashians and then self-congratulate when they turn off their TV sets that they aren't that way.

I am no better than anyone else even if I'm rude for bringing up our all-too common hypocrisy. I give a minimal amount to charity, for example. When hungry, I will stop at a chain fast-food fry pit. When depressed, I will have a couple of drinks. Maybe I should read Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life. I won't but I will think about it for a few seconds before checking out Facebook and the rabbit holes of other peoples' lives.

Side-note: A couple of new replies, here:


Koreyel wrote:

"20% of Americans identify themselves as extreme liberals and 20% as extreme conservatives."

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014 about 12 percent of the population described themselves as "consistently" liberal, and about 9 percent as "consistently" conservative.


I'm unaware of any polls asking respondents to self-identify as "extreme" liberal or conservative, but I'd be interested in seeing this if you have a link.

Also note:

"Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat, and 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican."


Polls along with Hockey and Football should be illegal.

Ran across this today:


It is metro populations (cities >1,000,000) since 1900.
The historical stuff is not totally accurate (if I’m reading the footnote properly). I think the metro definitions are for present day conditions. Thus a county is contained in a metro today – it will be shown as part of the metro in 1900. Some metros grow by absorbing surrounding territory.

another piece on baby boomers

I am in agreement with Soleri. There were a hell of a lot of 'born again' boomer Christians in Kansas who voted for Reagan.
It was easy.
Regan said, ‘We can cut taxes, increase spending; we can ignore auto efficiency standards, pollute to our hearts content and never think twice.

Some boomers still worship Reagan like he was the second coming of Christ.

Very interesting stat, wkg, and one I'll save the link to.

The chart uses current municipal boundaries (metro area, not city proper) as defined by the Census Bureau, then combines historical census totals from within that area to determine the population within modern city limits but for past decades beginning with 1900.

Since the concept of census tracts doesn't go back that far and I'm not sure exactly what kind of census data was collected for unincorporated areas, etc., it's an artificial construct, but an interesting and potentially useful one.

As long as we're on the subject, it looks as if an actual majority of the Phoenix population is Catholic, no doubt the result of large numbers of Hispanic immigrants. (In 2000 45 percent of the metro area population was Catholic, 13 percent Mormon, 5 percent Jewish, and the rest either protestant or unaffiliated. Since the Hispanic population grew from 34 percent in 2000 to 41 percent in 2010, I'm guessing that Catholics now account for more than 50 percent of the Phoenix area population.)

That could be an important aspect of local politics, if Republicans play their cards right, appealing to Hispanic socio-religious sensibilities (e.g., with regard to abortion issues).

Regarding expected growth, "by 2020, it's forecasted that Phoenix will become the 4th most populous city in the US, and by 2030, the US Census Bureau estimates its population will reach 2.2 million with a metropolitan area that's home to 6.3 million".


I need to clarify those Pew poll stats I provided about political positions.

The Pew data actually contains two such graphs: the one I referenced asks 10 questions about political policy issues; Pew analysts then use the answers to determine the percentage of population falling along various parts of the political spectrum.

The second such Pew graph asks respondents to directly identify themselves (e.g., "mostly" or "consistently" liberal or conservative) and accepts the self-labeling at face value.

The figures are different. In the self-intentifying poll, the figures for "consistent" liberals and conservatives are close to those provided by Koreyel.

A new comment added, here:


(Debunking soleri's hilarious if shameful misinterpretations of Walt Whitman.)

Side note: Still another new reply, here:


(In which I give Soleri the spanking he deserves -- and no, that isn't a homoerotic reference.)

Side note: a new ripe one here:


Cal, I really enjoyed the Vice rant. They are right on the money with all the points they made.

If I were able to respond to them, I would say:

Hey, staff at Vice, your rant is right on the money. Now, if you youngsters had only learned math, I would feel good about your future. But you can't do basic math at all. Percentages and fractions escape you.

It sucks to be you.


Your father and grandfather

Donna wrote:

Oh, and, equating a gay couple kissing with open carry nuts is pretty gross. But then, I'm one of those "extremists" who thinks that homophobia is bigotry.

Nice. As this exactly makes my point.

You are offended by my comparison because seeing two gays kissing doesn't trod on your sensibilities. And because of your extremism you can't understand how a Christian couple with children might not want their children exposed to that. After all, if two men swapping spit doesn't offend you, why should it offend anyone else?

But flip the coin, and you are deeply offended by the open carry activist even though he is breaking no laws. How dare he trod on your sensibilites! After all, your sensibilities are the legit ones, and those righty Christians? Why they are just lame bigots.

Wouldn't it be cool if the pro-gay and anti-pay lost their voices and all we could hear were birds singing and wind blowing through the trees.

Wouldn't it be cool if the pro-abortion and the anti-abortion lost their voices and all we could hear were the birds singing and the wind blowing through the trees.

Hey Ruben,

You don't have to read or listen to anything.
You can listen to the birds all you want!

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