February 12, 2013

"Shushing the Baby Boomers."

I linked to this January 2007 NYT piece in the previous post, and I've linked to it before — here and here. Is Obama a Baby Boomer or not? If Obama the solution to the Baby Boomer problem or part of the problem? Obama's ambiguous generationality. Much to say there.

But I've just got to make a separate post to call attention to the historical artifact that is Robert Grossman's illustration depicting Barack Obama leaping over 6 little figures who represent the Baby Boomers:

60 comments:

Nonapod said...

I've seen it broken down that Boomers where born between 1945 - 1964, Gen Xers where between 1965 - 1979, and 1980 - 1994 are Millennials.

MadisonMan said...

I don't consider Obama a boomer, mostly because he spent a lot of his growing-up life outside of the USA, so he missed on cultural milestones that unite all boomers.

I say this as a child of 1960 -- at the end of the boomers.

campy said...

Obama transcends time and space. Obama is the past, the presentr and the future. Obama is The Won.

EDH said...

I was born the same year as Obama, and I grew-up as the youngest among quite a few older, Baby Boom cousins and their friends.

I always thought that my observations from that vantage might have helped me to avoid some of the mistakes they made.

Shouting Thomas said...

Not much of any importance to talk about today, huh?

Good.

It's time to give it all a rest.

Mr. D said...

I was born late in 1963, so I’m a technically a late Boomer. I have siblings who were born later, all the way into the mid 1970s. I tend to have more of a Gen X view of things as a result of that. The concerns of my fellow Boomers, especially the older ones, have only occasionally coincided with mine.

I tend to think of Boomers as people who can remember when John Kennedy was president, or at least events during his presidency.

AustinRoth said...

And Obama said: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

To those who are thirsty I will give drink without cost; to those who are hungry I will give food for free; to those without shelter free housing; to those without medical coverage Obamacare; to those without cell phones Obamaphones; to those without wi-fi ObamaNet; to those with guns - I will take them from you."

Brew Master said...

It hardly matters if he is a boomer, he is still trying to fundamentally transform this country in their image.

Socialism, it'll work as soon as we find the right people and put them in charge!

We are the ones we've been waiting for!

Paul said...

He is not leaping over them... he is shitting on them for they will be stuck with the bill.

ByondPolitics said...

Yes. He certainly is a baby boomer. The U.S. Census Bureau defines baby boomers as born between 1946 and 1964. His birth falls well within those years.

His mindset certainly is that of a baby-boomer and not of someone in my generation.

Ann Althouse said...

The outer limits of what is the Baby Boom can't be set by a specific cut off year. As I wrote in one of the links:

The main thing that ought to make you a Boomer is that you were raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII. These people thought it was the greatest thing just to have a normal, nice family life. So they had us, and we, who knew nothing but that pleasant life, found it insipid and turned on them, mocked them, and rebelled. Most of us know now what assholes we were to treat them like that, after what they went through, but they made us what we were.

So being a Boomer has to do with who your parents were. Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was born in 1942, so she was more of a Baby Boomer herself, because she was raised by parents who went through the Depression and WWII. She lived through part of WWII herself, but only as a baby. And look how she lived her life. Obama had to build his character in response to that. Now, he did also spend a lot of his formative years living with his grandparents, and that might have produced something of a Boomer personality. But, basically, I'd say Obama is not a Boomer.

By my standard, Sarah Palin is slightly more of a Boomer than Obama, because, although she was born 2 years later, her parents were born earlier, in 1938 and 1940. Still, they mainly grew up in the post-war era, and it was their parents, Palin's grandparents, who had the key experiences that lead a person to place extraordinary value on a normal, ordinary life.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The misuse of sociology has its limits.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The misuse of psychology, too, apparently.

X said...

did you ever notice how many hippies weren't actually boomers but were creepy older dudes?

traditionalguy said...

Trying to figure out Obama based on an assumption that he is a pro American politician is doomed to confusion.

Obama is a false flag operation Boomer. He pretends to be whatever will lull us into sleep while he structurally divides the races, divides the young and the old, divides the immigrants and the natives, divides the men and the women, and divides the rich and middle class.

His true goal is that of a fifth column operation to set up World Marxist Power revenge on the USA for Reagan's victory years over the USSR and to finish the Final Solution of those pesky Jews that we once stopped under Harry Truman.

bagoh20 said...

I don't see him hurting the boomers so much as continuing to enable us. Obamacare will be the first punch to the gut when we find out our doctor is mostly gone now. And instead we will have forms and waiting, and rules, and forms, and waiting, and eventually the question: what the hell happened?

A: Low information voters and high information leftists. The two most common forms of stupid.

bagoh20 said...

One of the basic ideas that defines when boomers were born is the end of WWII and the boom in births resulting. I think you have to start it in 1946. Kids born after that had no experience of scarcity, except a scarcity of wisdom and restraint.

Nonapod said...

Ann Althouse said...

The main thing that ought to make you a Boomer is that you were raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII.


My mother was born in 1935 and my father was born in 1937. I was born in 1974 and have always considered myself a Gen Xer, but under your definition I could perhaps be a Boomer.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

At this point, what difference does it make?

m stone said...

...Palin's grandparents, who had the key experiences that lead a person to place extraordinary value on a normal, ordinary life.

I agree with Ann that O is a non-boomer. The point of upbringing is excellent. Some social scientists believe that grandparents play a far more important role than given. Geneticists now know that we have genes passed from the grandmother.

Broken families create more than a social mess.

Marshal said...

Paul said...
He is not leaping over them... he is shitting on them for they will be stuck with the bill.


This isn't true at all. People in the prime of their careers and younger, including those not yet born, will be stuck with the bill. The Boomers plan (not really a plan so much as an insistence backed by self-interest voting) is simply to ride the final wave of solvency to death and leave everyone else with nothing.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Here's the boomer test:
1) Did your father and/or uncles serve in World War II or Korea?
2) Were you, your siblings, and/or your school classmates subject to the Vietnam War draft?

AllenS said...

Obama isn't a Boomer, he's a Bummer.

That's Boomer lingo.

Paddy O said...

I'd say he's ideologically and in personality a Boomer. Certainly late in that ranking, but he was someone who was strongly influenced by mentors who shaped his approaches, thinking and policies.

He seems to have a very Modern view of the world, with its associative idealism, rather than a postmodern suspicion of metanarratives and power structures.

His family background doesn't share the narrative of the typical Boomer, but I'd argue that he was radically shaped into a Boomer ideology precisely because of his curious upbringing--isolated from what could be very early Xers--and also being taken care of by his grandparents.

His was an atypical Boomer childhood but still one that leads to the sort of Boomer views of world and self.

Jay said...

Obama: Post-Racial; Post-Partisan; Post-Boomer.

Shouting Thomas said...

It doesn't matter that much who's president.

Obama is the product of decades of diversity (i.e., race and sex quota) indoctrination in the schools, corporations and government.

This religion is official policy from the ground up. There's no escaping it.

It's almost as if Obama was invented as the apotheosis of this indoctrination.

edutcher said...

Barry's a Boomer and so is Moochelle.

A lot of Boomers went off to either become hippies or small c communists or both.

Ann Althouse said...

The outer limits of what is the Baby Boom can't be set by a specific cut off year. As I wrote in one of the links:

The main thing that ought to make you a Boomer is that you were raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII.


The Blonde's youngest brother was born in '62, 15 years after Herself. The idea of putting kids born that late into the Baby Boom is simply that families were bigger then and a lot of parents had their last kid(s) in their late 30s, early 40s.

PS If you want to delineate true Boomers, I think you're talking those born in the period after WWII to after the Korean War.

The Baby Boomers have a lot of shared experiences and tastes in common, no matter how much we hate each other.

We all remember Bandstand, the Lone Ranger, Davy Crockett, the Man From UNCLE, Elvis, duck and cover, Liz and Dick fooling around on the set of "Cleopatra", and miniskirts and can relate effortlessly to millions of people, regardless of where they came from on such topics.

Larry J said...

So they had us, and we, who knew nothing but that pleasant life, found it insipid and turned on them, mocked them, and rebelled. Most of us know now what assholes we were to treat them like that, after what they went through, but they made us what we were.

Born in 1957, I'm technically a boomer but I have little in common with the flower child stereotypical Boomer. Many of those were and remain assholes to this day.

bagoh20 said...

He's a boomer: He was born and lived to old age after the scarcity and before the collapse.

ricpic said...

I disagree with Althouse that the baby boomer years can be enlarged by including those born before 1946 or after 1964. For one thing the sheer size of the baby boomer cohort, especially relative to the numerically much smaller birth cohorts that preceded and followed them, affected baby boomer mentality, which was notably herd mentality. But there is another factor. The parents of baby boomers were mainly born in the 1920's and 1930's. Most had not been fully formed adults when the great depression hit. They had been older or younger children. Therefore the great depression was not nearly as psychologically crushing to them as it was to those who were young adults or middle aged when the depression struck. Most boomers grew up in households NOT marked by the cautious limited view of pre-boomers because boomers' parents saw limitless possibilities and internalized, for better or worse, that view in the boomers.

ricpic said...

bagoh's 10:08 comment is spot on.

George said...

Straus and Howe in Generations put the 61-64 cohorts in Gen X, not the Baby Boom and that's always made more sense to me. By the time those cohorts were coming of age the major issues of the 1960s had come and gone. Basically, if Vietnam isn't a touchstone for you (and it clearly is not for Obama) you are not a Boomer.

Also, the Boomers are not all flower children--political conflict in this country is between the two unreconcilable parts of the Boom Generation defined by opposition or support for the war.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I agree with Mad Man. Obama is NOT a boomer in the age/date sense. However, being a 'boomer' is a state of mind not of age. Now defining just exactly WHAT that state of mind is is quite difficult.

People who were born the same year as I [1950] but who grew up in different circumstances or different geographic locations....[California the patient zero for the baby boom fiasco versus rural Kentucky for example] may or may not be of the boomer mind set. It is all in how you were raised. As Althouse pointed out..... Obama was raised by a prime example of everything that was wrong with the Boomer generation.

The main thing that ought to make you a Boomer is that you were raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII.

Well I guess that lets me out then, since my parents were little children during the depression without much suffering. They were also too young to be able to participate in WWII, although they did experience it as students in school.

As a "technical Boomer", I resent being stuffed into the same category as those who exemplify the generation. This desire to group and sort people by race, religion and other categories is one of the ironies of the Baby Boom mindset that once tried to exemplify itself as being free thinking.

The herd mentality, lack of self awareness, fascist trend and suppression of freedom of expression is more than a little ironic.

TosaGuy said...

"did you ever notice how many hippies weren't actually boomers but were creepy older dudes?"

The originators and leaders of the counterculture movement were not boomers, they were pre-boomers who preyed upon the young who were looking for something cool and different and had been spoiled by lack of want.

The manipulated generation is being manipulated yet again.

TosaGuy said...

"did you ever notice how many hippies weren't actually boomers but were creepy older dudes?"

The originators and leaders of the counterculture movement were not boomers, they were pre-boomers who preyed upon the young who were looking for something cool and different and had been spoiled by lack of want.

The manipulated generation is being manipulated yet again.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama is marked as a boomer by all those times he voted "present". A Gen Xer would have voted "whatever".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ooops. Misread Althouse's statement. Yes. My parents were raised by parents who lived through the Depression. But....that doesn't mean that everyone has the same experiences of those times.

The Depression means different things to different people. My father's family, for example didn't experience much in the way of hardship. They actually spent much of the WWII experiences living in Mexico, for my Grandfather's job.

So just being raised by people who lived in certain times, doesn't mean that you have similar views on life.

George said...

"The originators and leaders of the counterculture movement were not boomers, they were pre-boomers who preyed upon the young who were looking for something cool and different and had been spoiled by lack of want."

They were Silent Generation, actually.

edutcher said...

TosaGuy said...

did you ever notice how many hippies weren't actually boomers but were creepy older dudes?

The originators and leaders of the counterculture movement were not boomers, they were pre-boomers who preyed upon the young who were looking for something cool and different and had been spoiled by lack of want.


Consider William Ayers and Jerry Rubin.

virgil xenophon said...

My parents were both born in 1914 (They married at age 29 during WWII-I was born in 1944) so they both definitely experienced the full effect of the Depression.

Besides the fact of the small size of my generational cohort as reason for not being lumped in with the boomers I would note that we were were/are arguably the best educated cohort in history. SAT scores peaked in 1963 and have been in free-fall ever since.

To paraphrase whoresoftheinternet "enjoy the decline stupids!" LOL!

Shouting Thomas said...

This is meant in neither a positive nor a negative way, Althouse.

Maybe it's time to take a day or two off from the blog.

Chuck the work ethic and give it a rest.

Lem said...

This is what I dont understand... out of one side of the mouth we make everything about "equality" and then on the other side we categorize people up the wazoo.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Judging from the use of the term in this comment thread, I must be the only one who refers to his feces as "boomers."

Let's use it in a sentence.

Man, oh man, after all that cheese, am I ever glad I finally laid down a boomer!

Mitchell the Bat said...

Sometimes I call it poop.

Let's use it in a sentence.

Look over there! It's a poop!

Henry said...

The main thing that ought to make you a Boomer is that you were raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII.

And before the Depression, the deprivation of Prohibition. I digress.

My kids will be raised by someone who lived through the depressing era of the baby boomers ascendant. Maybe the greatest thing is to have a normal nice family life.

Mitchell the Bat said...

My grandmother called it bunnie, but I have no idea how to spell it and it doesn't rhyme with bunny.

Boonie isn't right, either.

Maybe bounie, if you don't rhyme it with bounty.

Mitchell the Bat said...

My grandmother was sort of Jewish, if that helps any.

She must have lived during the Depression.

We called her "Nana."

She said things like "tough apples" and "small potatoes" and "wear it in good health."

She's been dead for a while.

Seeing Red said...

I have to laugh, was it McLaughlin who told some boomer the 2 boomer sides will still be fighting it out in the old folks' home?

We tail-enders are not so fond of their voices as they are.

Bruce Hayden said...

I somewhat agree that Obama really isn't a boomer. He could have been, if he had grown up as a younger kid in a large family of boomers, as my youngest sibs did. Still, even with the late boomers, while they had the right sort of parents, they seemed to be going in a completely different direction.

Which really means that, despite being the biggest cohort ever, there hasn't been, and likely never will be, a true boomer President. Both Slick (42) and Bush (43) (and, yes, Kerry, AlGore, and Romney) were all at the bare leading edge of the boomers, and I would suggest, esp. when it came to Vietnam, experienced the war far differently than did the real boomers. The big thing to note is that they missed most, if not all, of the war protesting while in college. Now, their younger siblings, for those who had them, were clearly boomers. But those five? Very marginal. And, all the Presidents (and really losing major party nominees) before them were really Greatest Generation or earlier.

One of the interesting things to me about the Baby Boom is that it wasn't really about post-war catching up, nor about a higher fertility rate. Their family size was essentially pretty much on the declining slope stretching back to the Revolution. Many of their parents, in the Greatest Generation, did come from smaller families, probably as a direct result of the Great Depression. What did change though was the marriage rate during childbearing years, and therefore the percentage of those in their parents' generation who had children. This was at an all time high. In the previous generations, there were a lot of people who never had children, but those who did, tended to have larger families.

And, the other part of this is that the Baby Boom was not limited to the U.S., but also happened in the other White English speaking former colonies (i.e. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). It did not happen though in post-war Europe. They, like us, had a small bump right after the war (where Clinton, Bush, Gore, Kerry, and Romney probably fit), and then, for them, nothing. But, for these Baby Boomer countries, a year or two later, the Baby Boom really started.

Imagine my surprise though, now over 60, when my father told me a couple of weeks ago that he and my mother had practiced birth control early in their marriage. They were married in late 1946, and had their first child in 1950. What happened during that time? For one thing, he finished his education, both a business degree and a law degree. And, I wonder if a lot of the delay between the end of the war and the real start of the Baby Boom in 48/49 or so was a result of just that - the returning vets getting married and finishing their education.

Bruce Hayden said...

Forgot to add that one theory of why those four countries had real Baby Booms, and post-war Europe pretty much didn't, is that it was post-war Europe. The whole continent was exhausted and devastated by the war. Resources were scarce, with many of their young men dead. The fortunate four pretty much escaped the war in tact, and were well placed to benefit from the post-war boom. And, I think that it may have been the combination of that, along with having defeated great evil, in the form of Hitler and the Japanese, that gave the Greatest Generation the optimism and security to have so many children.

kimsch said...

Dad was born in 1934 (died 2002) and Mom was born in 1939. Dad served during Korea, but in Germany. I was born in 1962, my sister in 1964. We consider ourselves Boomers.

If you were born after '46, but before color TV became mainstream, you're a Boomer.

Some Boomers were hippies, but all Boomers were not hippies.

Bruce Hayden said...

Back to why I don't think that the children born right after WWII are really Baby Boomers - because they are different from the rest of us boomers. I have dated women a little older than I on occasion over the past 40 years, and I can pretty well automatically identify those on the leading edge of the boom, because they aren't like the rest of us. For one thing, their college experiences seem to be more akin to those of the lost generation right ahead of us. More like the college life that we saw portrayed in "Animal House", than the protests, hippis, drugs, etc. that those of us going to college just a couple years later encountered. The girls seemed to still be looking for Mrs. degrees, and the boys willing to oblige. They were so clean cut back then.

One of my memories about starting college in 1968 was that we still had mandatory coat and ties for Sunday dinner. And, mandatory chapel service had ended just a year or two before. Well, that was gone by the end of freshman year. Guys started showing up for dinner in a coat, tie, maybe a t-shirt, cutoffs, and sandals. We also got rid of our house mother and chaperones, got intervisation, had women living in our fraternity house, etc. A very, very, different college experience than those who were born right after the war.

Crunchy Frog said...

Dad was born in '29, Mom in '32. Dad served during the Korean War. Had my folks followed the normal path I would be solidly in the Boomer set.

They didn't. I was born in 1966. I was an "oops". I got to grow up in the wreckage of Vietnam and Watergate, cynical and disillusioned.

That's Gen X in a nutshell. To the extent we had any heroes at all, they were tempered be the ever present knowledge that they were human beings first and foremost, with all the frailty and fallibility as the rest of us. Too Big To Fail didn't exist, especially among people.

We loved Reagan because he was the first person in authority who made us feel like it was okay to be proud of who we were.

furious_a said...

Technically a Boomer meself, but grew up in the shadow of Ft Sam Houston among then active-duty veterans many of whom had served also in Korea and/or WWII, and I spent vacations with grandfathers, grand-uncles and older cousins who had served in WWI, WWII or Korea.

I've always related more to those men and women (Mom was a M*A*S*H nurse) than I ever have to the older Boomer cohort, who still seem such a self-regarding and inner-directed lot.

Clyde said...

Obama was born in 1961. He's a tail-end Boomer, which covers everyone born through 1964.

George said...

"Obama was born in 1961. He's a tail-end Boomer, which covers everyone born through 1964."

Again, depends on the definition. Straus and Howe argue that 61-64 for early Gen X much better.

George said...

"Which really means that, despite being the biggest cohort ever, there hasn't been, and likely never will be, a true boomer President. Both Slick (42) and Bush (43) "

Are you kidding me? Clinton and Bush are both prototypical Boomers that represent the divide in the generation.

ampersand said...

Looking forward to seeing "Retirement Village of the Damned",where the creepiest of the baby boomers are dispatched by their even creepier spawn and grandspawn.

kentuckyliz said...

The best way to shush a Boomer is to use health informatics to statistically justify denial of care under Obamacare.

Thank you for playing.

HA said...

Obama isn't a Boomer. He's barely even American which is a necessary precondition, wouldn't you agree?

He also isn't merely generationality ambiguous. He's ambiguous by nationality, race and religion too.

I'm not even convinced he's of this planet. If I read in a supermarket tabloid that Obama was grown in a pod planted by an alien intelligent life form, my first reaction wouldn't be skepticism.