To the editors:
Julie Phillips scored a direct and telling hit with her recent article on the residue of the baby boom [July 31]. For the past few years my friends and I have also noted how incredibly boring this older generation has become. The boomers have turned into tyrants in their old age, demanding attention they no longer deserve.
Their greatest offense is not simply that they live in the past, but their assumption that we want to live there as well. They refuse to acknowledge that anything of value has happened since 1970; certainly they have accomplished nothing. However, this period covers my entire adult life to date, and I don’t enjoy being written off so casually.
Yet in their nostalgia the boomers do themselves as great a disservice as they do the rest of us. To hear them tell it, the 60s were nothing but a parade of quaint fashions and irrelevant movements, all quite dead today. Their spokesmen recently informed us that Sgt. Pepper is not a work of art to them, but merely a tacky souvenir from a bygone era. The people who truly appreciate the artistry of Sgt. Pepper (and the tedium of most other 60s music) are those of us who can see beyond the fashion of the day–mainly because we were never part of that fashion to begin with.
Ms. Phillips’s insightful article has given voice to the silent outrage felt by millions of young Americans who have lived their entire lives in the shadow of the boomers. By clinging tenaciously to their past, these dull, self-satisfied has-beens deny us our right to the present. Unfortunately, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Like Ms. Phillips I don’t expect them to ever stop talking about themselves, but perhaps if somebody nails her article to Bob Greene’s forehead they’ll at least tone it down a bit. Or maybe they’ll take the hint from their old pal, Bob Dylan: “Your old road is rapidly aging / Please get out a new one if you can’t lend your hand.”
Eugene W. Dillenburg