Future historians will note that American society peaked in the late 1960s. Culturally, this is a foregone conclusion. We listen to our parentsâ€™ music and call it “classic rock,” a canon that can be approached but never surpassed. When we think of art, we think of Warhol and Rothko. Our top-selling cultural products have names like “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”â€”nostalgic Baby Boomer dreams that one day man will dance amongst the heavenly spheres, whereas in reality we have come crashing down, Icarus-like, in fiery debris. After the sun-bright Baby Boomer generation flared into supernova, it collapsed into a black hole.
We knew all this long ago. We were called the “slacker” generation. But how could we not be, after Free Love turned to AIDS, we saw Peace commodified and sold for junk bonds, and realized the calls for “revolution” were nothing more than the mewling of infants begging to be indulged? Our coming-of-age movies were “Reality Bites” and “Fight Club.” Our famed irony and sarcasm were not a sign that we value nothing: They were self-defense in a world where nothing is valued. This is the world the Baby Boomers, the so-called flower-children, have left us: A world poisoned by me-firstism, by NIMBYism, by I-got-mine-ism. Our parents’ generation has rebutted the hard work and sacrifice of our grandparents with short-term thinking and situational morality justified by Excel spreadsheets.
We grow into middle age not surrounded by prosperity and security, but by our doubts and fears. Even as the rich have gotten richer, we have seen our standard of living fall. The middle class is barely reproducing itself, bifurcated into those barely treading water and those on an endless paper chase after useless honors. Our hopes have been dashed, our dreams sold for firewood to keep warm and hold back the wolves for one more night.
All true, but he doesn’t look into the source: egotist of the baby boomers, something the NIMBY generation has faithfully replicated. Good thinking.