Friday, July 11, 2003

We are the first, we did it best

When I’m feeling like I’m about to collapse in a bitterness meltdown (see yesterday’s post); it’s good to wake up to some light news’n’views. And nothing gives me more pleasure than the sounds of baby boomers’ indignant squawking – voila today’s SMH letters page.

The letters were in response to a column penned by She Whom I Have Vowed to Never Mention Again – so I won’t, other to note, with some satisfaction, that she has, albeit obliquely and in future, agreed to take up my existing gauntlet (same URL) in respect of burkas and her 8 year old son.

Anyway, as the (just made it up) saying goes – just listen to the song, and never mind the muse behind it. And the rights to this song’s chorus most definitely belong to today’s lead-letter writer, Jonathan Puckridge of Leichhardt:

I have a theory about all this baby-boomer bashing . . . It's simple: jealousy. Let's face it, boomers really were the generation to do it all. Freedom, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, politics, happenings, spirituality, lifestyles - you name it, we did it first and we did it best.

And for the past 25 years, all you sad, subsequent generations have been bleating about it. I can't blame you . . . what's left for you to aspire to? Real estate investment?

“We did it first and we did it best” – I’m prepared to concede this, totally. But basic historical accuracy (and more controversially, the all-purpose Rule of Threes) requires an additional leg to Mr Puckridge’s “We came and we saw (stop)” boast.

Yes, Jonathan:

You did it first, you did it best and, circa 1985, YOU SOLD YOURSELVES AND THE WHOLE SHOW RIGHT DOWN THE LOVE CANAL.

That’s right, whatever you may have done and achieved back then, you all have not a single shred to show for it in 2003 (nor in 1993, for that matter). So I hope you now think that it was worth it.

I picked 1985, BTW, because it was the year of the baby boomers’ real Woodstock: Live Aid. This time, they weren’t the mainstay of the audience, but they certainly had their fingers in every other pie, as well as their ageing carcasses disproportionately on stage (Status Quo kicked off the gig, for fucks sake!). Combined with embedded MTV cross-promotion, and its mid-Atlantic blandness (dual concerts were held in NYC and London), Live Aid was the perfect baby boomer swansong – a way of them saying:

We are the world from now on, and we are getting fucking incredible ratings figures and turnstile clicks from the children”.

Oh, and for the record, Live Aid – just like everything else the baby boomers ever touched – was a complete failure on its own terms, a fact that was quietly realised soon after the event took place. Not that this abject failure has since filtered into the public consciousness, of course – even in China, Live Aid has come to quasi-officially symbolise the crowning glory of rock’s “new idealism”.

P.S. Jonathan Puckridge ends by asking “I mean, what's left for you to aspire to? Real estate investment?”. Err no actually – I rent, and probably always will. My immediate to medium-term aspirations, Jonathan, extend to flying into Sydney on the last plane from Melbourne when a southerly is blowing, so having my flight’s path take me low, low, low over Leichhardt, and therefore hopefully casting a pall, and rattle, over the inevitable dinner party conversations gloating about Sydney property values a few hundred meters beneath me.

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