Remember when they made you read The People’s History of the United States in high school? Depressing, wasn’t it? Everything’s wrong. It’s all our fault—every action stems from a base motive and inevitably harms someone more deserving.
What a lesson. How can anyone live, carrying a burden like that? I guarantee it was a Boomer that made you read that book.
Why? Because everything is always all about the Boomer. Gen 2.9ers want to enjoy their relatively secure and prosperous way of life and to be loved, or at least respected, for their unstained moral acuity.
Here’s how that’s done: You look at history and select every awful thing that’s happened from the Crusades to slavery to 9/11 and you blame it on western culture. Then you make up a scenario where you imagine if you had been in that time and place, you would have known better and acted…like a late-20th-century-highly-educated-and-relatively-secure-and-prosperous person. Like a Boomer!
A look at the Boomer’s antecedents will help explain how such extraordinary narcissism came to be. Take my family. On my father’s side, both the Amsterdams and the Zelkovitchs arrived from Russia around 1906, at the tail end of the deadly pogroms of 1903-06. These people needed to move, and they came to America as their best hope for security and opportunity.
The Twentieth Century was not exactly kind to them: First came World War I, then the Depression, then World War II, followed by Korea. My parents were born in the early 1920s. That means, for the first 30 years of their lives, they’d experienced nothing but scarcity and war.
By the mid-1950s, a house and a car in the suburbs with a steady job to support a growing family had to look pretty good. Wouldn’t you agree? Wouldn’t you have been craving peace, prosperity, and predictability for your kids—so they wouldn’t have to experience the same horrors—God forbid?
Thus, Boomers were spawned in unheard-of numbers. They reached puberty in the 1960s and decided, “The ‘50s were boring.” Even though they had Elvis. And Doo-wop. And pink ’57 Impalas. Or Miles Davis. And abstract expressionism. And the A Train.
They found their parents outdated, restrictive, absurd. So they invented sex and drugs and rock’n’roll. And they turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. Except they didn’t really. It was just a phase: Growing pains, which lived on in a penumbra, deep in Plato’s grotto, a mass hallucination of eternal youth and rebellion.