Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Establishment Always Wins

Today's Guest Post is from Boomie at the Wastrel Show. She is a commentor in this blog with her own great blog, please check it out. But for now she's writing about

The Establishment Always Wins...

A few weeks ago I had the displeasure of logging onto a blog site that has dedicated itself to hating Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). Being born in the mid 1950’s and a Baby Boomer myself, I was curious to find out why the generation of love and peace was now the root of national hatred. My investigation revealed a Generation X (born 1965-1980), approximately 51 million people, most of whom are hell bent on blaming my generation for their woes. Generation X’s main complaint is the stress the now aging boomers will place on the Social Security and Medicare programs. Generation X, as they put it, doesn’t want to foot the bill on a carefree, irresponsible generation of boomers.

I found web sites such as “Die Boomer, Die” and others dedicated to the death and destruction of ‘The Flower Children’. It’s as if the Baby Boomers themselves should be eliminated just for being born. These web sites are convinced that if all the Baby Boomers died, the Generation X’rs own lives would be better. Gen X’rs would have more jobs available to them, wouldn’t have to pay larger taxes, have better choices of homes, etc. Such hatred, to me, is remindful of the Jewish Holocaust and maniacal rants of Adolph Hitler. Hitler thought the world would be a better place if all the Jews were wiped off the face of the earth. Such trains of thoughts are very, very dangerous and frightening.

I concluded my research by viewing the movies of the late 1960’s when the hippies (Baby Boomers) were in full force. You can find out a lot about a generation by watching the films of their times. The one film that most accurately depicts the Boomer Generation, in my opinion, is the Academy Award nominated, “Easy Rider”. The movie filmed in 1968 but released in 1969, starred Peter Fonda as the free spirited black leather-wearing motorcycle hippie, ‘Captain America’ (who produced the film) and Dennis Hopper (who wrote, starred and directed the film) another free spirited, natural leather-wearing motorcycle hippie, ‘Billy-The-Kid’. The two actors epitomized the Boomer Generation perfectly. From the opening credits, the hippie couple couldn’t rent a room, eat in a restaurant or be treated with respect. They were spat upon, discriminated against, hated, called faggots, thrown in jail and finally casually but brutally killed in the end by two local rednecks that happened to pass them on the open road. The generation of peace and love, who finally stood up and questioned authority has always, even to this day, been criticized and silenced.

We Baby Boomers watched our beloved leaders; our hopes for a new, changed society get blown to bits. The Establishment always wins. We watched our beloved President John F. Kennedy brains get spilled out onto Jackie’s pretty pink dress in 1963. We watched the greatest peace activist of the century, Martin Luther King get gunned down on an Atlanta balcony in 1968. We watched our next great hope, JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy killed in 1968 after winning the presidential primary. Do you think it a coincidence that so many men were assassinated during this period? Over 60,000 of our peer’s lives were lost in the Viet Nam war while we listened to the lies of our then government. And now today, the woes of the current generation are being blamed on the Baby Boomers. It’s not the Baby Boomers fault, people! It’s the Establishment, stupid. The Establishment always wins! We hippies found that out the hard way. You can’t change the system. The House always wins!

In the movie, Easy Rider, the counter-culture tried to find another way. We set up communes, tried to live off the land and tried to change the system. But as Jack Nicholson, who played an ACLU attorney in the movie, who later gets hacked to death by some local townspeople said, “the hippies are feared, because we represent freedom, and that’s what they fear the most: the fact that we can be free.” That statement was true then as it is true today. The Baby Boomer generation meant freedom. Freedom from the rules and regulations. Freedom to think a different way. Freedom to live a different way of life. Freedom to live anti-establishment. As I have said before and I will repeat one last time: The Establishment always wins. You’re doomed. Stop blaming us for your problems. The problems were there before you came on the scene and the problems will be there when you leave.

And so it goes.


Hattie said...

I'm a pre-boomer,b. 1939. I can't even think about King's assassination without my eyes tearing up. People had dreams of a better world.
Gen X: have a heart.

Living Almost Large said...

I've found that the once rebellious boomers, have become the establishment. The people who once toed the line, now draw it.

The saying goes, if you aren't a democrat in your 20s, you have no heart. If you aren't a republican by 40, you're just dumb.

I wonder if that's what happened to the boomers? They've changed as well.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this guest blog is that it applied the actions and lifestyle of a small group of people in the late 1960s to a generation of many millions. Let's please not resort to stereotypes. Not all of us baby boomers were hippies and dropouts. Some of us in our 40s and 50s went to college, got jobs, and have been productive members of society. We are also still Democrats, liberals, and damn proud of it. It you want to admit you voted for Bush, go right ahead. I'm still proud that over the years I voted for George McGovern, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and other smart individuals with a plan to lead the country in the right direction. We all grow up at some point and move on to positions of more power and responsibility. It's a natural progression called the changing of the guard.


Anonymous said...

One additional comment -- in no way would I say that the movie "Easy Rider' represents Baby Boomers. Again, over generalizing to the extreme!!


Anonymous said...

LAL-That's correct. The boomers are now the establishment because the establishment always wins. What ever the 'establishment' means. Clinton, Bush, Obama, they are all baby boomers and some of them are hated just like the boomers hated Nixon and LBJ.
Anon- The people of the 1960's was not a small group, as you suggest. It is 71 million strong. The movie, 'Easy Rider'is in MY opinion to represent what the baby boomer generation was trying to accomplish but couldn't. People today, just like in the movie, think they can make that big score, get tons of money the quick way and live off it. In the movie, Captain America realizes he blew it. Just like everyone is blowing it today.(housing bubble, the Savings & Loan disaster, junk bonds, dot com) There is no quick route.

Anonymous said...

Also in the movie, 'Easy Rider', the 2 hippies travel to New Orleans to celebrate Marde Gras. Much of the city that was shown in the movie no longer exists because of Hurricane Katrina. How prophetic that Katrina would be the epitome of the failure of government, still today.
The hippie life meant freedom. Baby Boomers are mired in consumer debt, trapped and no longer free.

The Establishment ALWAYS wins.

But at least the Baby Boomers tried.

jaye said...

Come on! How can you generalize Gen X-ers in this manner? If I dredged up information about KKK members, and used it to generalize about "your" generation, would you take it seriously?

Sure, a lot of good happened during the years you want to take credit for...but a lot of bad happened, too. Don't just romanticize those years. How about all of the hatred? How about the lynchings? The drugs? Poverty? Was all of that some other generation's fault?

Another can you compare what Hitler DID with these ridiculous people. Hitler and the Nazis were truly evil. Idiots spouting their rhetoric on the internet are just that. Idiots. Had the internet been around in the 60's you would have found plenty of idiocy out there. Go to the library, read the pamphlets! It's all there.

The values that you want to attribute to the Baby Boomers are alive and well. I know plenty of amazing men and women who were born in my generation. My friends are brilliant and successful, they contribute to this country and this world and they teach their children well. And, as it happens, we're all democrats (or hide it well). We, too, vote and try to fight for what we want or hope for. I was at a peace march a few weekends ago, and I was surrounded by people much younger than I.

And wait a minute...isn't our war-mongering, peace-hating president a Baby Boomer? What about his merry band of thieves? Funny, you didn't mention them.

Drawing an artificial line through the generations, and then assigning generalized personal traits to those generations is plain silly. I'm a member of the Gen X, born in '65. The rest of my siblings are Baby Boomers. Do you really believe that we're so different?

Anonymous said...

It's the Gen X'rs that hate and despise the boomers. Wake up. Check out just one of their web sites:

Wishing for a whole generation to die and be killed off is no different than Hitler wanting to extinguish the Jews, in my opinion. There is a brew of boomer haters stirring. They are blaming the baby boomers for everything that is wrong in the world today.
My article is to remind everyone it is not the boomers fault for their own problems. It's just the 'system'.
We can't buck the 'system'. There is an invisible, underlying current, called 'the status quo', the 'establishment' that no one can seem to buck, try as we might.

I am NOT romancing anything. I am just looking at the visable facts as they appear today. There is a growing concern that an entire Generation X is pointing their woes at another generation, the boomers. Very dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Of course you can change the system -- that's exactly what the Civil Rights and Feminist movements did. The opportunities and that girls and women enjoy today in sports, higher education, and careers are due to hard-working feminists changing the system and balance of power in this country.

boomie, I didn't say the boomers in the late 1960s were a small group of people, just that the hippies were a small group of the baby boomers. Not all of us see ourselves portrayed in the movie "Easy Rider."


Anonymous said...

Whoops -- that should have said "opportunities and rights."


jaye said...

I looked at the website and yes, it's scary. But it's also insane. These are the types of people who hate blacks, immigrants, other religions. Do you truly think that is what me and my fellow Gen X-rs think?

You said that Gen X is, "approximately 51 million people, most of whom are hell bent on blaming my generation for their woes." Don't you think that might be a bit of an overstatement? Don't you think if that were true, we'd see more out there in the press? I tried to do some research...I checked the NY Times and couldn't find a word about this.

I looked on line and found many websites that threaten and disparage Gen X. In fact, you can buy an "I Hate Gen X" T-shirt, if you want. Does that mean that everyone in your generation hates mine? Again, I think you're giving too much credence to websites created by crazy people with too much time on their hands.

Who are these "Boomer Haters"? Why do they only exist on the internet? Why is it that I've lived for 4+ decades and this is the first I've heard of it? Most of us think of the Boomers as our friends or (gasp!) parents.

As for the Nazi connection; I do think that wishing and doing are vastly different. Hitler didn't just want to kill the Jews. He did it. He put them in trains and murdered 6 million of them.

I don't disagree that the government is screwed up. But, hey, we voted for (or against) these morons.

Anyway, I think you could talk about the 'system', and all of its' problems without trashing (intentionally or unintentionally) generation X. Though if you're looking for a place to do it, you could join the people over at:

Anonymous said...

All of this Baby Boomer bashing is new. It's new to me and it's new to everyone else. I was shocked to even think that such generation bashing was even being thought of, least of all the generation of peace and love (Baby Boomers).
Easy Rider doesn't represent the hippies, but it does represent what the Baby Boomer generation was hoping to accomplish. We were the first generation to question authority and stand up for our rights, so yes, that has passed down to the woman's movement and civil rights.
I do not hate or dislike ANY generation. I just think we should all get along and try to figure this all out together.
If there is, however, a generation to emulate, it is the generation that survived the Great Depression: Live below your means, buy only what you can afford, do not ever go into debt, work hard and save, save, save. It has proven to be the only outlet that works.

The mass media and marketing gurus have spent lifetimes thinking and conjuring up schemes to separate folks from their money. The Baby Boomers have been their constant target. Easy credit, loans and the commercialization of wants vs. needs has placed most of all of us in financial slavery. Every time I see a Dennis Hopper ad through Ameriprise, or Fidelity or Vanguard playing 60's music while attempting to pick the few remaining financial bones off the Baby Boomers before they die, I cringe. It's disgusting!

jaye said...

Okay, Boomie, now I mostly agree with you.

I, too am shocked to think that generation bashing exists...but why should we be? Really, I know you read the paper. Aren't you more jaded/cynical/pessimistic than that? Hatred is the staff of life for many. Unfortunately, the internet highlights that for me on a daily basis. I am nearly always shocked by the comments left by commenters at the end of articles I read. It seems amazing that I could live amongst so many people that are racist, misogynist, sexist, gay-hating, misguided, uneducated,'s hard to be proud of our country. Though it also makes me understand why such terrible things happen daily.

Needless to say, peace and love represent an easy target. Just please don't assume that yours is the only generation that values and aspires to those ideals.

As for being the first generation that questioned authority, perhaps you were, but where would your generation have been without the leadership of people like Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Gloria Steinem, et al? They were the leaders, they provided the inspiration for your generation, yet they weren't Boomers. Perhaps your generation will do the same for ours.

I agree with you about the generation to emulate. If only I had learned that lesson earlier in life.

Unfortunately, we're all targets of the media. Even my 6 year old has received credit card offers!

Anonymous said...

We DO have great boomers in charge today who are making wonderful, astounding innovations. The person that I most admire today is Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer Inc. Steve Jobs has globally revolutionized the technology age and has brought to the masses an amazing array of digital advances.
There is one political person, also a boomer who has been able to stand up to the
establishment' and media masses. But this is not the platform to discuss this person on. I don't want to make a political statement.
We should just be aware that there is an undercurrent of hatred brewing against the Baby Boomer generation and hatred should never be taken lightly. People smirked at the lunatic rantings of Hitler and didn't pay too much attention to him. How did that work out for all of us?
Martin L. King, JFK and RFK were all assassinated. Where or where would be be today if they had lived? The 'establishment' killed them, so we will never know. People today think 2X and 3X before they even think of entering the arena for fear of being killed off or having their lives destroyed.
It's a sad thing. But at least those Baby Boomers tried.
We tried.

Mike, Nicki, and Josh said...

Quoted: "If there is, however, a generation to emulate, it is the generation that survived the Great Depression: Live below your means, buy only what you can afford, do not ever go into debt, work hard and save, save, save. It has proven to be the only outlet that works."

Sorry I showed up late to this party, but what a great dialogue to read between Boomer and Jaye.

The quote from Boomer caught my attention. As an X-er, I think this pretty much sums up the frustration that my generation exhibits in response to the boomers.

I was raised by boomers who preached that quote, so I was fortunate enough to begin my career by immediately saving for the future. Then, I found out that my parents weren't practicing what they preached. My hard working parents will be working well into their retirement years and will likely need major support from my siblings and myself to get by when they are incapable of working regular hours anymore.

And from what we read in the press, it appears that my folks aren't too different from other boomers. All kinds of nice new cars, houses, vacations, etc, but where's the money for retirement??? Many X-ers want reform because we're facing ZERO social security for ourselves, yet we're paying into it now; we're facing aging parents who didn't save enough, which will likely affect our financial futures; we're facing future high inflation and continued government debts; worse public education for our children; and a myriad other obstacles that we'll inherit when our generation takes over.

Does that merit the hatred that some gen-x'ers are showing? No. Does it indicate why they're frustrated? Definitely.

But I can agree with most posters here that both generations are unfairly stereotyped. We all grew up in different times with different social structures, so it's only obvious that we'd represent different personal and political ideals. The key, as indicated previously, is to embrace the differences and compromise.

Living Almost Large said...

I sort of agree with Mike. Because my parents are the same way. Preaching saving for retirement, but at the same time I have been worrying about them.

Sigh, all the preaching but no understanding. Mostly because they seem to think it's so easy to make a living, but I really wonder what their financial circumstances are. They haven't ever been honest. I can guess, but it's worse than I could have hoped for sadly.

jac said...

Boomie, I don't understand how you can think that it's perfectly rational to idolise an entire generation the way you do, but irrational for someone else to hate it. If you can feel strongly one way about 'boomers', then of course other people can feel strongly the other way! Personally, I think that talking about 'what a generation is like' is a ridiculous way to approach the world, and you're both being just as narrowminded as each other.