To the editors:
Hey, a short while ago you published a denunciation of the generation of the 60s by some callow person, apparently representing the 80s [“Boomed Out,” July 31]. I’ve been meaning to reply, but did not get around to it until now.
The best generation I’ve lived through is the 60s, and I think the two worst generations are my own of the 50s and the yuppies of the 70-80s. All we remember of the former is a disgraceful silence, and the only legacy of the latter will be tedious arbitrage.
I still remember how students at the University of Wisconsin in 1957 used to cover their faces and run when the FBI showed up to take pictures whenever the Socialist Club sponsored an event. The most courageous act then was to join the Young Dems, and even that courage grew only after McCarthy was safely dead. 1957 was also the year when the UW faculty, which uttered not a word against McCarthy (or Reagan or Nixon) while he was alive, began obsessively denouncing him at virtually every lecture ca. 1957-59.
My first conviction that a better generation was with us was when a group of students peed at the FBI cameras on Jefferson’s Lawn at the University of Virginia. It was certainly an improvement over the National Student Association president at the UW who was a paid informant of the FBI; and over the UVA students who only two years before the demonstration on the lawn cheered when a truckload of rednecks clubbed demonstrators for civil rights at the Corner.
As for the yuppie generation, no one is mourning for the reported 800 MBAs purged from Salomon Brothers, and along with the fear following the stock-market crash I’ve actually been hearing some cheers that the wine sippers of condominium-land will crash too. I don’t wish grief for any generation, but the only thing besides Reagan-Casey-North the yuppies will be remembered for is phrased in the current joke: “What’s the difference between a pigeon and a yuppie? A pigeon can still make a deposit on a sports car.”
But let’s hope the yuppies will not have to join the scores of homeless people I see trying to find a warm place to sleep at my university on Halsted.
Lauren G. Leighton