Sunday, April 18, 2004

From the “I told you so!” files

There is nothing more satisfying for a crackpot than to see that another person has – quite independently, mind – picked up on their theories.

Thus, triumph no. 1: my “Summer of 1979” theory, with its twin fundamentalist revolutions of Thatcher/Reagan and Khomeini is echoed in a new book by Francis Wheen. Even more gratifyingly, the reviewer of Wheen’s book “How mumbo-jumbo conquered the world: a short history of modern delusions” doesn’t mince words about the Watson/Wheen theory:

Of course, the new Thatcher-Khomeini turning point is rubbish.

This is “gratifying” because the reviewer, a novelist called Peter Temple, is a fuckwit of the highest order. I am able to confidently say this, despite being totally unfamiliar with Temple and his work, on the basis of this:

Wheen is a man of the old-fashioned Left: sceptical, secular, suspicious of capitalism, a believer in the possibility of progress and human improvement - much like Australia's Phillip Adams but with a disciplined mind, a sparkling prose style, and no disfiguring camel hump of ego.

Hint to Peter Temple – don’t ever again try killing two Phillip Adamses with one stone, as it were. (When you do, the perfect ricochet-thickness hide of one only serves to deepen the wound of the poppy-lopping attack on the other).

For my triumph no. 2, 40 y.o. former publisher turned first-novel author Sophie Cunningham has chosen to run with (again I assume coincidentally) my Day That JFK Died date-of-birth for the last baby boomer. Or at least that’s how I read the author’s decision to give the protagonist in “Geography” that auspicious date of birth*. The novel’s protagonist is most definitely a boomer because she has some kind of a life crisis in her late 30s after a high-flying career, as a result of which she turns to Buddhism.

If the protagonist was GenX, of course – even (or so goes my theory) born one day later – a high-flying career would probably not have happened in the first place. And in any case, few GenXers need the assauging, modular precepts of Buddhism in order to be relieved of their attachment to material things. Courtesy of four decades of boomer subjugation, most of GenX has been, ahem, pre-emptively relieved of the risk of any such attachment.

* Cath Kenneally “Mapped out: the anxieties of generation sex” The Australian 17 April 2004 (no URL)

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