This holiday could download a number of tales and from these perhaps observations and hints of wisdom about family, friends, and the true meaning of whatever holiday now a front for shopping this was. In the film Withnail & I, the Drugdealer proclaims the end of the most amazing decade – the 1960s. For those of us too young to remember or still don’t believe our parents – that was THEGREATEST DECADE EVER. When that decade came to a crashing halt it tossed off overdosed idols, sex flew head first through the windscreen and once again became dirty, and free liberated people rioted at home and chopped off heads overseas. The 1960s then became a product, collected by the left as souvenirs and used by the right as a marketing gimmick to sell us fear of those communists the SOVIETS and whatever bugbears arose after their anathema. It is definitely a package we have been sold – the 1960s bookended by specific time and such-and-such bumper sticker product of the summer of love. Yet, whenever this period existed in or out of “1969,” and for how long across the 1970s it staggered about and bled to death, that Boomer generation, throughout their lives and currently are far different from their parents and worlds apart from the lives, struggles, and belief systems of their grandparents. Those dirty kids, (our parents or grandparents… yes, some boomers are grandparents) who sucked up drugs, Greatfull Dead tickets, and more drugs this time through enema, are more like split off phylum than descendants to the elders of the WAR GENERATION. We, however, the XYZ generations, we’re coasting in the same patterns. The lives of our X’ers or Y’ers or Z’ers are not much different when you strip away the bands, products, commercials, and teevee show. Hell, anyone under 40 can hold their own in a conversation about a) Smurfs, b) Gummy Bears, c) Safe Sex with each other. Not true for those of the bommer generation where 19 and 40 were moon and….. um, Moonunit.
This struck me as reconnoissance photos returned from the weekend. Two images of gatherings of our united Doom Generation – and by that I don’t mean the 1985 film, but those of us who united will live to see The Change. One, is a group of 30somethings, the other, 20somethings. Rural and urban. Which group of consumers is which? Look hard at your generation gap and actually feel sad that we, those of us soon to be in charge won’t have Woodstock, we don’t get Free Love, we’re late to the Drive In Movies, never will get BackpackEurope ™, films that challenge mores and traditions, experimental living situations, Red, Green, and White Parties, Funny Girl, protests, university take overs, Folk Music, we won’t close out our own age, nor write any chapter on some grand accomplishment or social change. Our Doom Generation is one scientifically created, yet more in need of pills and procedures to keep us running, sexually active yet neutered, open-minded yet all wearing the same clothes, watching the same films, sexting to that cute girl about a Teevee show that has been canceled for years, yet you and she can quote it together. Could this be a good thing? Perhaps we have reached a stasis? A middle earth where we are leveling out, the plastics piling in our oceans creating new continents of flat land, we will explore remotely. Outside of the Droids, iPods, and video games, a communist inevitability of unity. A United Colours of Benton “ein volk ein reich ein fuhrer” and Chinese children will sew it all together as we sleep. We consume, we eat, we fuck, we bomb from so far away that our video games could be our own Ender’s Games, lulled into sleep, rocked by our materialism enjoy the life that has been given us – what did Floyd say, a “leading role in a cage” as the oil drips out of our wrists we slashed and we laugh, “look here, the blue pill the doctor legally proscribed me was right.” Our plates are full, but perhaps that entire lump will fall to the floor. Today our America is divesting itself from a needless war and joining in on one that is lost among the Grave Yard of Empires. We will withdraw there too, not because the job is done, but our Commander-in-Chief is warning us – the cost of war are soon to be too great for our economy. In the great hall of West Point, the military in their gray sat looking shockingly like the Soviet Presidium. Under the tattoos, the lip rings removed for service, the Doom Generation is watching no great revolution – unless this is a clever term for unraveling. Our generations since the Boomers are lost in ways new and complex to break – 1980s fashion has returned, for the third time in many of our lives. We’re on repeat, the record skipping as it comes to an end. We were late and missed the party. The changes you didn’t need a weatherman to forecast, have also evaporated. We don’t even try to start new kinds of wars anymore. It’s all “the next Vietnam.” Danny The Drugdealer said of politics, “if you’re hanging on to a rising balloon, you’re presented with a difficult decision: let go before it’s too late, or hold on and keep getting higher. Posing the question, how long can you keep a grip on the rope?” Which of us shall jump first? Perhaps since our generation is so common in culture, we may indeed want to jump together. We may need to jump together, before we fall. We can let The Change wash over us, or take it on as revolutionaries. No communes, no talk therapy, no middle ground. Our revolution must look nothing like our parent’s revolution.