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Quackcast 634 - Boomer-myth

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, May 9, 2023

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Generational tensions are a cultural constant. It's popular to pick on the young and say they're lazy, irresponsible, stupid, changing things in silly ways etc, but it's also just as popular too defend them and debunk myths associated with younger people, we don't have that with older people and I find that a bit sad and disturbing. This cast tackles the myths associated with “boomers”.

The idea is that “boomers” are all wealthy, they're out of touch, they ruined the environment, they own everything, they're homophobic, transphobic, racist, conservative, they own their own homes (which they bought cheap), They were all hedonists in the 1970s and 80s and splurged on expensive drugs, they own EVERYTHING, they all had it easy with no issues in their lives like younger generations, their parents were a generation of heroes that fought in WW2 and they were losers, they're in all the senior positions, they all went to university for free and so on.

Like everything there are seeds of truth from which the myths grow. As you get older you have a tendency to accumulate and you usually want to keep what you have, you acquire more responsibilities, you rise to more senior positions if you hang around long enough, you have more time and seniority so you CAN go into things like politics. This is why politicians and CEOS often tend to be older- a simple demographic tendency. Though those people make up a tiny, infinitesimal portion of Baby-boomers and you'll probably find that more and more of those are in reality Gen-X anyway now.

They often had jobs for life because the culture and the economy supported that back then but it also kept them in those jobs and gave them very little mobility or creativity. They bought houses and started families because that was the path that most of them were utterly locked into, their jobs were their whole lives. Most of them never went to university at all, it was only a comparatively tiny elite, this is why university was cheap- because it kept most of the baby-boomers OUT. There was no reason for big student debt because there were so many less students so there was more public money to spend on the lucky few.

Lest we forget that the Baby Boomer generation suffered many issues- unlike Iraq 2 and Afghanistan which were very short wars with 100% volunteers and mainly hostile occupations, Vietnam was a hot war where many unwilling conscripts were forced to fight and die for many years. The terrorism that Babyboomers had during their lives was terrifying- with passenger planes regularly being hijacked and blown up, car bombings all the time, mass shootings, ships and buses regularly hijacked, mass-kidnappings and so on. Not to mention the constant threat of total nuclear annihilation. Many grew up with almost nothing and very little food during and after WW2 as rationing still continued many years after in a lot of countries. There were huge economic downturns in the 1970s and many were forced out of work. The oil crisis in the 1970s made driving almost untenable for a while and started the development of electric cars.

The Boomer generation were the first to seriously tackle sexism in the workplace in a big way, fighting for equal pay and conditions. They were the first to successfully fight homophobia and make sure we had gay rights. They tackled the nuclear issue and instituted the non-proliferation treaties, test ban treaties, and disarmament treaties, they fought for animal rights, they got whaling banned and fur hunting of seals, they fought for the rights of indigenous peoples, they gave us De-segragation, they fought apartheid, They tried to save the environment, they saved the freakin' ozone layer, they gave us safer cars, they gave us environmental protection and pollution laws and controls, and so much more!
Ironically with ALL that we blame the Baby-boomers for, they tend to be responsible for most of the good stuff that younger generations wrongly take credit for.

Of course not every baby-boomer was behind all those things but enough of them were that it created real and massive change in the world, so much that we're still all benefiting. And remember too that not all the the people in the younger generations are involved in good, positive measures today either.
No, the “boomers” did NOT ruin all the stuff.

As a Gen-Xer myself I just know they we ride on their coattails. ;)

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to The Ballad of Bill - Awesome, jazzy, gloriously meandering rock tune! The bass guitar opens the door, followed by cymbals, violin and an almost Arabic sounding distorted electric guitar!

Topics and shownotes


- Future topic: War-cast?

Thread on the topic of the Boomer-myth -

Featured comic:
Mirage -

Featured music:
The Ballad of Bill - - by TheBalladofBill, rated E

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Kawaiidaigakusei -
Banes -
Tantz Aerine -

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Ozoneocean at 1:55AM, May 18, 2023

@acricket -I think the wealth calculation might be skewed in some ways. For one the babyboomer generation represented a much greater number of people so that just created a bigger economy for them all.But after their heyday most of the wealth is concentrated with a relatively small group of baby-boomers... those ultra rich ones.

acricket at 8:03AM, May 11, 2023

Ha, I guess I've got a stereotypical boomer in my comic. I think we blame boomers, but a lot of the issues we younger generations suffer has to do with the change in wealth distribution. A lot of it is thanks to Boomers, but at the same time, I find my generation seems to financially support an ever increasing wealth disparity, and they don't live in a way that considers pollution and emissions, either. Boomers were 90% more likely to do better financially than their parents. This number is 50% for my generation, and it continues to shrink significantly. The wealth distribution is highly concentrated at the Bezos Musk end of the ladder now, but it wasn't this heavily tilted when Boomers were young. Everything now just feels... tight. I think a big part is the difference now in CEO pay. CEO pay used to be a few times regular worker salary, but now it's hundreds of times more.

Ozoneocean at 1:05AM, May 11, 2023

Hahahaha! Thankyou Scarf! Kind of you to say XD I tried and tried to make something passable with the only thing I could work out on the guitar at that short time while I was editing. Funny enough those that was the first take. All the other takes and edits with separated tracks afterwards didn't go as well, while that was all in one go.

Ironscarf at 8:19PM, May 10, 2023

You definitely captured the spirit (and the tuning) of John Lee Hooker in the intro.

Ozoneocean at 8:56AM, May 10, 2023

There are a lot of complex factors and we tend to simplify things too much when we talk about this stuff. I think that's the issue.

davidxolukoga at 1:29PM, May 9, 2023

Well as a gen z kid I think without a doubt I can say that we were born into the most awesome era the earth has ever seen. Rampant CGI, which lead to mass adaptations of comic books, bad ass video games, cooler animated projects, and a time when comics were beginning to be accepted as cool.

Unka John at 10:41AM, May 9, 2023

I remember having difficulty finding work in High School. There were just so many of us competing for jobs. Many veterans of WW2 went to University under the G.I. bill, filling up upper level positions. Between 1977 and 1986 the closure of steel mills started what we now call "The Rust Belt". Of course the sheer numbers of the Boomer generation meant more customers, therefore increased demand for goods and services. Something that is declining as they age. Protesting social inequality, or a war could lead to beatings and/or death. See May 4th 1970 for one example. My wife and I spent many years paying off student loans and we're Boomers. We do not own a home.

PaulEberhardt at 7:56AM, May 9, 2023

The day when all generations get along perfectly fine will be the day I start worrying. Also, even if X is of course the coolest letter in the alphabet, I don't like being labelled with a letter - real generation X never likes anything. ;)

Ironscarf at 6:26AM, May 9, 2023

Worth pointing out that the almost Arabic sounding distorted electric guitar was also a boomer invention.

marcorossi at 1:53AM, May 9, 2023

The "they own EVERYTHING" is partially true, but it is true due to the economic cycle. I'm not sure they can be blamed for a long economic cycle. Here in Italy (and certainly in many other places) rhe boomers were born during the post-WW2 reconstruction years. They were much poorer than I (gen X) was as a kid, but they had much more economic prospects as a whole because the reconstruction years were also economic boom years; the two things are the two faces of the same coin. We could have a more equitable economy but only through a very strong redistribution of wealth, that is difficult and painful to do, but the war and the interwar crisis did this and this is the reason the boomers had, after the catastrophe, a good economy.

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