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Gen Xers going maudlin decide less "Heathers" and more "Forrest Gump"






Edwin Lyngar, at Salon.com, recently wrote this: 
[…]
Every generation is in revolt against their fathers. Would it have killed you to admit to some glee? -- "walked through you now didn't I asshole?!" The "not blaming your father" is the worst. Faux empathy, that many of us will collude with. In it you feel narrative guile doing the job of sidelining him in a way that leaves you feeling guilt-free, beneficent  -- even as you just really left him seeming hapless. 
Personally I wonder if you were republican and libertarian -- like your father -- when it was convenient for you. A lot of guys start that way young to put some kind of block against their mother's influence / domain -- who's the person we all spent way more time around than we did our fathers, and it can prove smothering -- and are able to drop it when they feel more established in the outside world. It can be something like joining a frat once just in college. 
"I'm overeducated in the humanities" … faux shoulder shrug everybody!
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Here's another thing it might be useful to acknowledge. The idea of the once-strong father who's lost his tethers in old age is something of a romantic trope in American culture. It suggests something of a good man, without perhaps much scope, who was only ever going to be able to understand his world one way. Too much expectation that he change or modify, and in defence he'd route even more to the familiar, become the old man on the sea, whom everyone first shrugs at and then forgets. Visually you imagine him as essentially alone and unreachable, and like in the film "Nebraska," it communicates something actually of manly resonance about him -- he stayed true to what he knew.
I'm pondering this because I don't always sense when we hoist our fathers into this trope that we're necessarily sidelining them permanently. They might be recovered yet, if we change our mood and for some reason want to champion what remains dogged and stubborn and traditional is us, about our culture. I don't know how many children of parents possessed of the emotional resonance that they could ever find Republican culture appealing, are going to be able to keep up with progressive change forever themselves. For now, they're doing so; but if for example with this writer, this PhD, if change ends up meaning de-schooling and the termination of grades and scrapping peer review, if universities and science lose their sense of authority -- not to more primitive institutions but to something more hippie spiritual, less presuming and less elitist -- would he be locking himself in a room agreeing non-stop with old folk at the Times Literary Supplement that the young have lost all respect? How dare they treat with such disconcern institutions that keep our liberal society … that keep our country strong? Anti peer review, indeed! We'll be a laughing stock, and slide to last place!
Would he call his dad over, this time to commensurate? 
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Gex Xers believed that the baby boomers would never get out the way. They were going to be a generation that was never going to get its time. Here in this article we're sensing that holes are going to start appearing in the baby boomer phalanx, for some of them not being able to -- Alec Baldwin-like -- say things that'll depose them, regardless of the status they've accrued, or even if they're adamant they're actually as liberal as you can get. If you were a gen x academic, wondering if some of the baby boomers who're hogging the best posts might be deposed early, I think you'd be guessing that they're not being entirely natural to this Obama era might have them try and affirm themselves better with you -- who definitely are /is. And this "sucking up," a sure tell that a king earns immediately being deposed, would lend you to be more aggressive in establishing that you ought to be the one taking control now. 
Gen Xers are sensing, with their baby boomer parents and baby boomer icons either going crazy or damningly, irrecoverably slipping up, that the next 30 years might be theirs to pomp themselves out and be totally alpha -- what they, again, had never suspected would accrue to them. I think part of the reason they're -- a generation that prides itself on its familiarity with all the nuances of resentment -- maintaining this inanely simple cant -- "I love my father; I bleed to make him better and I'm really sorry to pass him by" -- is because it steadies them while they take accession.  Cloaking themselves in accepted narratives -- the kind of idiotic "Forrest Gump" sap they've always despised, puked at -- will help steady them as they embrace baby boomer-like largesse, as well as all the self-condemnation that comes with that, that they've heretofore avoided by being obviously forever damned to second class.  
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Boomer here, and I'd argue that my generation was in the vanguard of warning against, then vilifying Rupert Murdoch and his media aspirations even in the mid-1970s when he first took over New York Magazine and set his eye on America's broadcast television networks.
My father, a much-loved and long-retired retired physician, is of the "Greatest" Generation, and in my experience it is HIS cohort that is glued to their sets sucking up this idiotic bile, not ours.  Do not underestimate the latent discontent of the sixties radical.  We are starting to retire now, and with all that time on our hands, all ideological hell is about to break loose.   
Cheers.












@ahansen  The sixties radical would be too white and affluent to have much influence today. Younger generations would be easily pointing out how intrinsically sexist and racist they (ostensibly) remain. Someone from the 60s would love how "Dead Poet's Society" celebrates personal authenticity -- you're take, not your approved forefather's -- foremost, while the younger gens would be occupying themselves pointing out its vile racist, sexist assumptions, as well as its loathsome bloated boomer"MEism." 
You'll be tripped up all over the place, and will soon be left simply seeking sanctuary, just as many white feminists are from feminist forums they used to be wildy active on, for not being able to disprove they don't intrinsically view black women as their lackeys. 





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