My elder siblings are all much older than I, and they grew up with Dick Clark. There is a famous family story about a squabble that developed between my sister — who came home from school ready to dance to American Bandstand — and one of my brothers who probably wanted to watch cartoons. The donnybrook apparently involved black eyes and clothes being thrown out a second story bedroom window.
Good times, good times!
I’m sure my sister will be thinking about that today as she ponders the death of the world’s oldest teenager. In fact, I expect there is going to be an outpouring of boomer nostalgia to rival the break up of the Beatles or a Woodstock anniversary.
I admit, I have some issues with boomers; — who doesn’t? I’m convinced a third of them walked through the high school doors at age 14 and decided to stay there, and another third are perpetually floating through the years 1968 to 1973 like lost-and-angry satellites in space. Still, it cannot be easy to watch your generation (and mine, too, cuspily) reach its culmination and begin to die off.
Most boomers, of course, are just normal folk, living quietly in retirement, but many of their publicly-established spokespersons will never retire; they 50 years and more in our our faces, still helping to direct the narrative, the news and the noise. Botoxed into near-mummification but ever-swaggering with anti-establishment cool, they totally miss the fact that they are the establishment — the prevailing culture against which other generations must rail — and seem almost quaint, anymore.
By dint of sheer numbers, the post war Baby Boomers are still a force to be reckoned with, but their influence is ebbing. Dick Clark was a huge part of the boomer culture. This might, after all, be the day the music died. For the times, they are a-changing.
Check back — I’ll round up some reactions! (Here’s President Obama’s!
Tony Rossi is first out the gate with a nice appreciation
Baby-Boomer-era Catholic Sisters are and the changing times