Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stop Calling Me Names

Sunday's Times Styles section contained yet another article about Baby Boomers, and once again I got thrown into that mix because I was born in 1963. Boomers are defined as being born between 1946 and 1964. I don't know why 1964 or how that started, but I can say this: it's wrong. I'm not a Boomer, I have little in common with Boomers. Someone born in 1946 could well have been my parent. Stop categorizing me that way.

Baby Boomers grew up on Howdy Doody and the Mickey Mouse Club. I didn't. I watched Match Game. Baby Boomers were inspired by JFK. He died a month after I was born. Remember that famous picture of Bill Clinton shaking Kennedy's hand? I wasn't alive when that was taken. How does that have anything to do with me? Boomers grew up on the Beatles. When the Beatles broke up, I was listening to Disney soundtracks. My childhood lacked Beatles. Jackson 5 yes, Beatles no.

Boomers remember Vietnam, Woodstock, Kent State. These were defining events for Boomers. I remember none of that. I do remember Watergate, but that was only because of my father's obsession. I was too young to understand it or really care about it in any personal way. The defining political event of my younger years was probably the hostage crisis and then Iran Contra. Whatever that makes me, it's not a Boomer.

I was too young to be a hippie, or even a post-hippie. People my age became yuppies, if they became anything at all. More people my age grew up into political conservatism than grew up into dissent or liberalism. The civil rights and anti-war movements were things we studied. The 1960s was a thing we studied - I'm young enough to have taken a course on the 60s in college - not something we participated in. I am neither culturally nor politically a Boomer.

Later "generations" - X, Y, Millennials, whatever you want to call them - have tended to be thrown together in 10-year chunks. Why does the Boomer "generation" span nearly 20 years? It shouldn't. It's wrong. I'm tired of it. I simply am not of the same generation as someone born in the late 40s. We grew up in different cultures, different societies. Some commentators try to acknowlege this by calling my and my peers "late Boomers." If you have to separate us from the pack like that, maybe we don't belong in the pack to begin with.

When did the baby boom end, then? Maybe it was 1964 when the number of births per year decreased, but in terms of generational groupings, I think 1961 is the cut-off for Boomers. Anyone born after Kennedy's inaugural is something else. I don't know what we are, but we're. not. Baby. Boomers.


J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

I think the "AP Source book" lists "Baby Boomers" as 1945-1955

I have to locate my copy and double check.

Then again the Times had someone making up, facts from his apartment.

And using "Curve Ball" as a heavy source.

So facts have little meaning at the Times these days.

Sadly, it is NEWSDAY that may be the New York City markets BEST daily paper.

A Long Island paper no less.

The part of New York that has produced Bill O'Reilly, Howard Stern, Sean Hannity, and Joey Butafuco to name maybe the most infamous,

There also was Andy Kauffman, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Attell as well.

S said...

According to Wikipedia, your birth age is more aptly described as one that fits into "Generation Jones". Mine does too, even though it was 7 years earlier. Since I'm from a small town and we experienced everything that was considered "popular culture" 5 years late (if at all), I do consider myself a Boomer.