Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Baby Boomers: The Gulliblest Generation


Regardless of the absolute truth of Lincoln's maxim about fooling people some time and all of time etcetera, one thing is certain. People are pretty easy to fool, and always have been. This is just a thing, and a thing that we must live with and be aware of.

Enter the baby boomers. A generation that rose to power in an age of mass media operating under the myth of objectivity. A generation not blessed with partisan journalism. A generation that, even as it violently dismantled the narratives of the West (yes, with the aid of their fathers and fathers' fathers, as the chickens came home to roost), insisted that its bards at CBS and the Times be able to narrate their victory unmolested by alternative tellings.

That is the Gulliblest Generation. This is a generation that fell for a trick and wouldn't admit it. A generation that wanted to believe its own story.

Last night I was listening to a retrospective on Bob Dylan (on public radio, of course) in which several studio musicians who worked on Blood on the Tracks reminisced about that amazing album. One of them said something about washing up on the shores of the 70s after the storm of the 60s, and the interviewer said something about how you could almost feel Watergate coming.

Oh how I hated that moment. Man. Baby boomers, you know? If any baby boomers are reading this, please hear me now. Watergate wasn't that big of a deal. Do I mean by that that it was morally okay? Not at all. I just mean that it shouldn't have been generation-defining. But it was, because you allowed a story to be manufactured in your faces. You wanted to manufacture and believe a reality.

Watergate? Really? That's your Kennedy moment? Your Pearl Harbor?

There are two kinds of gullible people. The people who laugh it off when exposed, and the people who are embarrassed and push the lie even further. You've met these guys. They'd rather double down and redefine reality than to be shown to have been wrong.

From the NY Times.
This is the great hallmark of the Gulliblest Generation, that they have been willing to redefine reality to conform to them. Screw succeeding generations. And as their power grew, so did the strength of their narrative. Imagine what this country might have looked like if not for the explosion of alternate and partisan news outlets brought on by the explosion in technology.

Why have I gone on this rant? Because I saw Hillary Clinton's mug on Facebook, floating above the heading Using Private Email, Hillary Clinton Thwarted Record Requests. It's a New York Times story. Just so you know, I ain't even mad about it. At least, not about the scandal itself. "Scandal". I mean, technically she should be in prison, but hey, she's Hillary Clinton.

I can put up with all the corruption and nepotism and abuse and high-handedness. I can put up with the media complicity and manipulation and lying. Really, I can. I'm from Latin America. You Baby Boomers have the power, so go ahead and use it. And tell your stories about how it's all okay. Just...

Just don't ever bring up Watergate. After everything that's happened in the last ten years, it's too much for me to handle.

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