Scapegoat Generation and Persistent Lies

Fri Sep 8, 2006

Mike Males, a professor from UNCA, has been disproving the Boomer stereotype about drug use since around 1992. The cultural myth goes something like this in relation to drugs: Baby Boomers did drugs, but only because it mattered (man) in the 1960s and 1970s. Gen Xers did more drugs and just to get wasted, if you can imagine it, and moved on to hard stuff like crack.

The data to support this has never surfaced. Drug use has been going down since 1977. SATs also have been getting better since around 1972, although they dip down briefly
early 1990s.

The current myth that’s irking me is that Boomers are somehow wealthy beyond belief. This is coupled with the weird idea that they were obsessive workaholics in their 30s and 40s. I don’t recall it this way. I remember Boomers being lazy materialistic assholes when we graduated in 1986, when they were going through their first mid-life crisis. Later they became nauseatingly petty later-term breeders.

The problem with assuming Boomers are wealthy is that it creates an unrealistic safety net around social security. The Census released a report not long ago that found nearly a third of Boomers struggling. (The census later reversed this decision, which smacks of some sort of revisionism. The data is still there, if anyone wants to have a look.) This is a much higher percentage that other generations as they entered retirement age.

So while some of these smug shits might, in fact, be wealthy, most are not. And the persistent fabrication is making it almost impossible to get Boomers to face reality and help us deal with the impending crisis.

This is how culture creates its mirages.


Punk SLC and the Disappearance of Hardcore

Sat Feb 26, 2005

Punk SLC is probably the only movies I’ve seen that captures the zeitgeist of the late ’80s / early ’90s, but it doesn’t do a good job of explaining why the hardcore scene fell apart.

I think someone needs to write an authentic history of our generation’s struggle with youth cultures. We need a new interpretation of our youth, one that isn’t cynical and dismissive of the energy we put into things like punk, heavy metal, grunge and slacker culture. 

The Boomers have no problem articulating a glorious myth about their youth -- it is, in fact, their most guarded fable -- but whenever our generation looks back to our violent teens and early 20s we see nothing but waste. This is embedded in our worldview, a carry-over from the postmodern reality we experienced then, but we better carve some meaning from it soon or it will be swept away.

In some ways, I think those of us who flirted with hardcore cultivated hatred toward one another, daring each other to go further, to bring this violence into the world. It was bad chemistry and somewhat dangerous, but it happened. It was real and like the character in Punk SLC, I felt a little lost at time, sometimes angry and frustrated at a world that didn’t hear me.

As mysterious as it is to me how the energy of those hardcore years could suddenly dissipate, it’s just as strange that they existed at all. Maybe to combat a culture that wouldn’t accept us we created a culture that no one could accept, that was like a bitter pill that wouldn’t go down.

The funny thing is that now we can look back and see nothing at all from the hardcore movement, not even the exhaust fumes left after a jet explodes. After years of tell the media ton screw off, the media did just that.

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