Concerning my despicable boomer "hatred"

Contrary to reports, HTWW does not want to sentence an entire generation to mandatory euthanasia


Andrew Leonard
December 11, 2009 10:30PM (UTC)

Judging by the comments thread on yesterday's post, "Curse of the Boomer Hegemony," and some extremely upset and vituperative letters written to me personally, I really hit a nerve with my comments on the generation that supposedly won't let go.

I will cop to an inflammatory headline, but for the record, I am not calling for mandatory euthanasia for baby boomers, nor do I bear them any special ill will. Indeed, as a 47-year-old born in 1962, I belong, according to some demographic calculations, to the final trailing edge of the boomer generation, although I have always considered myself part of the pitiable "lost" generation, stuck between the boomers and Gen X, with no identity to call my own. But if you want to, consider me a self-hating boomer wannabe.

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I would have thought that the tongue-in-cheek humor implicit in my favorite paragraph was obvious, or should have been to regular readers:

There's no stopping the "me" generation. In the '60s they got all the good drugs, in the '70s all the sex, in the '80s all the money, and now, in the waning days of the aughts, they won't let go of all the jobs. It goes without saying that during the next decade they'll gobble up all the good healthcare.

But I'm used to humor and sarcasm missing the mark online. To me, the most fascinating thing about David Rosenberg's analysis was that the over-55 cohort of Americans is the only age demographic in the U.S. experiencing job growth right now. That's pretty interesting, and it does suggest that economic exigencies are postponing retirement. As for myself, I can't even imagine retiring, ever, so I'm sure I'll be fending off my own legions of, to quote one correspondent, "ignorant snots" jealous of my stranglehold on self-involved blogging, deep into the 21st century.

And just to make the point of my last sentence -- "Conspicuous, self-involved consumption abhors a vacuum" -- totally clear: While I can understand why that might sound hurtful to a 55-year-old who has kids in college and is living on the edge of unemployment, my point was actually hopeful, in that it pointed to the possibility of a new generation of Chinese and Indian consumers pulling the locomotive of the world economy, replacing the yeoman efforts of American baby boomers.

As long as such consumption doesn't overheat the planet into unlivability, I'm fine with that.


Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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