Baby Boomers and how we/they are perceived in today's world

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MaxE
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24 Oct 2021, 12:00 pm

I thought I'd mention that Ronald Reagan was truly Kryptonite for Baby Boomers as his Presidency drastically reversed a number of trends that had grown as Baby Boomers reached adulthood in the 70s and began to directly affect the direction of society. This happened when Baby Boomers finally settled down to raise families while the Silent Generation and earlier became Empty Nesters and had more time to be involved in politics and related activities, and universities came to be populated by people with no memory of the Vietnam War or of the Beatles being together. I see this as the beginning of negative attitudes towards Baby Boomers on the part of Generation X as well as people born before the end of WWII. Nowadays it's considered foolish to publicly show disrespect to Reagan however I'll bet a lot of Baby Boomers ever learned to love him the way the typical American is expected to.


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MaxE
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12 Nov 2021, 1:47 pm

On another thread, somebody posted a Talking Heads video which sort of made me think about how the Talking Heads were probably one of the first broadly popular music acts to appeal primarily to the post-baby boom population, although certainly plenty of their fans were baby boomers. But they nevertheless represent a clear paradigm shift from what was considered hip during the height of the counterculture with which baby boomers largely identified through much of their youth.


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12 Nov 2021, 3:24 pm

MaxE wrote:
On another thread, somebody posted a Talking Heads video which sort of made me think about how the Talking Heads were probably one of the first broadly popular music acts to appeal primarily to the post-baby boom population, although certainly plenty of their fans were baby boomers. But they nevertheless represent a clear paradigm shift from what was considered hip during the height of the counterculture with which baby boomers largely identified through much of their youth.

Yep punk and new wave was a big shift although I would name the Sex Pistols as defining paradigm shift act. Not to dismiss the Talking Heads at all. The biggest insult in those circles was “hippie”. Most of the of those fans pre MTV were dissatisfied/outsider younger boomers. Gays, nerds and the weird and probably a few undiagnosed Autistics like yours truly. While I liked the 70s hard rock/metal of my teen years I got totally into the New Wave of my young adult years. When he sang David Byrne looked and sounded like he was looking over his shoulder for schoolyard bullies. Getting rid of the 70s and moving forward into the 80s was very appealing to me. While many of the acts were not like me just the fact that people as weird or weirder were out there and could get some success was a revelation. At first most of it was angry and cynical understandable for outsiders. when the B-52’s came out they proved to me weird and quirky can be unadulterated fun. Nowadays I look back at New Wave a training run for my autism diagnosis decades later.

New Wave became Gen X music via MTV and John Hughes movie soundtracks. I think of that era New Wave as a pop music golden age up there with the 60s.


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MaxE
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12 Nov 2021, 4:26 pm

The very first people to be called "hippies" in 1965-66 or thereabouts were a really small cohort. These were people who seriously rejected post-war society and adopted a lifestyle based mostly on use of LSD and music associated with that culture. You could almost say they voluntarily accepted the life of homeless people. Many of them turned to panhandling to survive and probably many nights were spent outdoors. Some eventually left the city for rural settlements but I'll bet a lot of them soon became the kind of derelicts one identifies with Skip Row. They were followed by others for whom a "hippie lifestyle" was more of a fashion statement. By then i.e. 1968 or thereabouts very few people called themselves "hippies" except for teenage wannabes. So it's ironic to me that punks in the late 70s would use "hippie" as an insult as 10 years earlier the people who were most commonly referred to as "hippies" already rejected that designation.

"Punk" has a very similar history as a cultural phenomenon. By the time that term came into widespread use, none of the original Punks would acknowledge that term as a legitimate way to talk about themselves or their music. I happen to think of Punk as somewhat more of a niche phenomenon compared to what was first called "New Wave" but eventually became the most widespread form of popular music in the 80s. When I said that thinking of the Talking Heads made me think of the final death of the Counterculture, it's not just because their music and style was so utterly different but because it was also widely popular rather than a niche movement you might need to be in the Bowery at 2AM to experience.


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12 Nov 2021, 4:50 pm

MaxE wrote:
The very first people to be called "hippies" in 1965-66 or thereabouts were a really small cohort. These were people who seriously rejected post-war society and adopted a lifestyle based mostly on use of LSD and music associated with that culture. You could almost say they voluntarily accepted the life of homeless people. Many of them turned to panhandling to survive and probably many nights were spent outdoors. Some eventually left the city for rural settlements but I'll bet a lot of them soon became the kind of derelicts one identifies with Skip Row. They were followed by others for whom a "hippie lifestyle" was more of a fashion statement. By then i.e. 1968 or thereabouts very few people called themselves "hippies" except for teenage wannabes. So it's ironic to me that punks in the late 70s would use "hippie" as an insult as 10 years earlier the people who were most commonly referred to as "hippies" already rejected that designation.

"Punk" has a very similar history as a cultural phenomenon. By the time that term came into widespread use, none of the original Punks would acknowledge that term as a legitimate way to talk about themselves or their music. I happen to think of Punk as somewhat more of a niche phenomenon compared to what was first called "New Wave" but eventually became the most widespread form of popular music in the 80s. When I said that thinking of the Talking Heads made me think of the final death of the Counterculture, it's not just because their music and style was so utterly different but because it was also widely popular rather than a niche movement you might need to be in the Bowery at 2AM to experience.


People who went to Woodstock talk about the shock of seeing so many like themselves. Unless they were in certain sections of big cities, they and maybe one or two other people in town were hippies and they were targeted. Nobody I knew in the 70s called themselves hippies, they heaviest drug users were called “heads” (not “ Stoners” that was the 90s and beyond). Yet now when people wax nostalgic about the 70s they often say “We were just a bunch of hippies”

While the punks of the late 70s and early 80s disowned the term “punk” that is how “alternative” bands of the latter 80s and 90s described themselves.


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