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Mon Dec 30, 2013, 06:48 AM

The disillusioned generation. A rant.

Last edited Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:37 AM - Edit history (1)

Ok so I need to preface this with saying this is a rant. I've been feeling particular low recently and have been thinking about some of this for a while. There is nothing new below, and it's rather darker seeming than perhaps it should, that's just cause it mirrors my own mood.

I'm 31. I belong to what I'm going to call the generation of the disillusioned. I'm using generation rather loosely here as the concept probably covers my generation and the one before it. I spoke of this in a PM to another DUer here but thought like posting a rant about it anyway.

Historically I'm sure you could trace the problem, like so much else, back to the great wars of the previous century. WW II ending with the amazing thrust of the 50s and 60s that saw the rise of the baby boomer generation. A generation that came along just in time to take full advantage of the new post war world. A world full of technological advances, rapid globalization and seemingly unbounded promise for the future. Certainly people lived in fear of "the mighty atom" but so to would this generation be the first where every family had a house, a car or two in the garage, new kitchen applicants for mom and new toys for little Johnny under the tree year after year. Incomes were on the rise, jobs plentiful, the future bright.

And so perhaps for the first time in human history a generation, my fathers generation, was raised in an environment where not only were the basic necessities of no issue, but a 40 hour work week, lots of leisure time, and the ability to follow ones passions were seen as a birthright. And indeed for this generation they were. My father was somewhat typical of the kids of his era, he went to university full of heady ideas of literature, philosophy and the arts. The concept that he needed to get a job, to raise a family, none of this even entered his head. He studied Chinese literature and later met my mother and traveled to china. When it came time to settle down and raise me it never occurred to him that what he had studied was impractical, had shoe horned him into a life of failure. Instead he shopped around at the local colleges and universities and despite never having any teaching experience lucked into a job teaching Chinese at a local college. Perhaps this is a rather eccentric example but the idea holds for so many of his generation, when the hippie party ended and people went looking for jobs many of them lucked into good jobs. Certainly not all of them were great or in a career of their choosing but by and large they didn't have a hard time of it. In this game of musical chairs when the psychedelic music of the 60s stopped playing by and large there were enough chairs for all.

When it came time for my parents generation to raise children of their own they did so with the same positive world view they had been raised in. Why not expect the party to continue? So I like many of my generation was raised with stories of the 60s and 70s and the overriding message of "go out and be who you want to be!". Find yourself. Study Latin as your father did if that's what you want. Study astronomy, philosophy. Enrich your mind because that's what's really important, when it comes time for you to settle down and find a job you too will find there to be enough seats. Little did they know that the decades of the 80s and 90s would see so many of their own generation greedily scooping up all the available seats at fire sale prices. When the reaganization of the world kicked into high gear some time in the mid 80s through the late 90s many of those in my generation were just reaching our post secondary years. And now what?

Now the message had gone from "be what you want to be" to "you better have a fucking plan!". Even those who had a plan suddenly found themselves in a world of sky rocketing tuition, and uncertain job prospects. Of those who would graduate many more found themselves saddled with a lifetime of debt. Debt equal to the lifetime savings of their parents generation. Screw a house, a car, presents under the tree, the American dream, an ideal we were raised to believe should be easily attainable, that dream now consists of staying ahead of debt payments. The music stopped playing a decade ago and we are scrambling for the few seats left. People with 4 year degrees, single moms with little education, teens just entering the work force are all vying for the same job flipping burgers. Companies see the length of the lines and know they can be picky. There was a time when even without a degree you could somewhat reasonably expect to find a job in your career of interest, even if it was pushing the mail cart around the office. So long as you were willing to work hard there were opportunities for advancement. From your job pushing the mail cart at least you could see the desk job that awaited in due course. Now you need a degree in mail cart pushing to get that job, and forget about advancement.

Of course I speak of those who have not given up. I know many of my generation turned to alcohol and drugs. In the 60s people took drugs to connect with their fellow peers "fighting the man", these days they take them to disconnect, to numb the world. Others developed severe depression and social phobias. Of course the 80s saw the shut down of mental institutions as well. Many lauded this as a positive move and by and large it was, but like so many institutions that were shut down or gobbled up in the crazy move to privatize everything, they were replaced by nothing, or something wholly inadequate. Those with mental issues like myself are no longer thought of as crazy people to be locked away, thank goodness. But the stigma of mental illness has gone nowhere and lacking the support structures that were in place before we find ourselves an invisible people. Lumped in with the rest struggling to find jobs, and make sense of a lonely world.

Never has the world been more polarized. The 1% have more than anyone could use in ten generations the bottom 50% have less than they ever have. The left feels powerless, the right fear we are coming to take their massive collection of guns. In the span of some three decades the system of economic checks and balances put in place in the preceding decades have been systematically removed, ushering in an era where single players on the stock market can trade in nations worth of currency, where deals are counted in the trillions, where irony of ironies the insurance on these huge deals, should anything go wrong, are the lives of the 99%.

Is it any wonder my generation feels disillusioned? Where is this going? Not since the depression has youth unemployment been this high. Sure the stock market has recovered, but was there ever really any doubt that would occur? Jobs have returned, but many of them are temporary, or those at the bottom of the market. Those with jobs understandably hold onto them like the precious gold they are. In Japan, of all places, there is a youth subculture composed of the unemployed young who sleep in McDonalds and internet cafés. Europe still has youth unemployment approaching 20% or higher in many places. I don't doubt the same is true in many pockets of the US.

So what is to become of all this. What happens when a generation of people grow up terribly disillusioned. Saddled with debt working just to make ends meat, or saddled with emotional problems. Or those who have given up on life entirely. One generation begets the next, what does the future hold? I'm not one to wallow in apocalyptic scenarios of the future, nor am I a conspiracy theorist. I don't believe for a second that there is no hope. But nor am I blind, we face some very large challenges and it's been a long time since the future has seemed so uncertain. Need we be reminded that the roots of past terrible global calamities were often rooted in troubles of the generation before?

Update: As several have pointed out my generation is by no means unique in having to face looming obstacles and unfair starting conditions. The Vietnam War, WW I &II, The Depression, all generated generations of the disillusioned and depressed. Most of them went through far worse horrors than anything my own generation has seen. So please know I mean no disrespect nor hold my generation in any special light. I merely speak from my own experiences and feelings.

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Reply The disillusioned generation. A rant. (Original post)
Locut0s Dec 2013 OP
Oakenshield Dec 2013 #1
Locut0s Dec 2013 #2
Blanks Dec 2013 #32
seabeckind Dec 2013 #3
Locut0s Dec 2013 #4
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2013 #22
redstatebluegirl Dec 2013 #26
Locut0s Dec 2013 #29
laundry_queen Dec 2013 #36
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2013 #54
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2013 #53
redstatebluegirl Dec 2013 #60
Locut0s Dec 2013 #69
ScreamingMeemie Dec 2013 #63
chervilant Dec 2013 #5
jtuck004 Dec 2013 #6
snagglepuss Dec 2013 #28
philosslayer Dec 2013 #47
jtuck004 Dec 2013 #51
treestar Dec 2013 #7
Electric Monk Dec 2013 #8
Ghost Dog Dec 2013 #45
sendero Dec 2013 #9
Locut0s Dec 2013 #10
sendero Dec 2013 #17
Locut0s Dec 2013 #23
Electric Monk Dec 2013 #11
philosslayer Dec 2013 #48
raccoon Dec 2013 #46
G_j Dec 2013 #12
Electric Monk Dec 2013 #13
mountain grammy Dec 2013 #14
sendero Dec 2013 #16
TBF Dec 2013 #15
philosslayer Dec 2013 #49
TBF Dec 2013 #52
seabeckind Dec 2013 #55
randr Dec 2013 #18
Pakid Dec 2013 #19
KoKo Dec 2013 #33
JDPriestly Dec 2013 #20
KoKo Dec 2013 #34
KoKo Dec 2013 #35
Locut0s Dec 2013 #43
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2013 #21
narnian60 Dec 2013 #27
PasadenaTrudy Dec 2013 #24
Marrah_G Dec 2013 #25
Locut0s Dec 2013 #30
tabbycat31 Dec 2013 #31
LiberalEsto Dec 2013 #37
KoKo Dec 2013 #38
tabbycat31 Jan 2014 #77
Tierra_y_Libertad Dec 2013 #39
NightWatcher Dec 2013 #40
blue neen Dec 2013 #41
seabeckind Dec 2013 #57
blue neen Dec 2013 #61
steve2470 Dec 2013 #42
Archaic Dec 2013 #44
fadedrose Dec 2013 #50
Scootaloo Dec 2013 #56
Romulox Dec 2013 #58
seabeckind Dec 2013 #64
hughee99 Dec 2013 #70
seabeckind Jan 2014 #71
hughee99 Jan 2014 #72
seabeckind Jan 2014 #74
hughee99 Jan 2014 #75
seabeckind Jan 2014 #76
hughee99 Jan 2014 #79
seabeckind Jan 2014 #78
bonzaga Jan 2014 #73
Locut0s Dec 2013 #66
ananda Dec 2013 #59
woo me with science Dec 2013 #62
trof Dec 2013 #65
seabeckind Dec 2013 #67
Iris Dec 2013 #68

Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:14 AM

1. Enjoyed the read.

Pretty much summed up my own sentiments too. The future is a dim thing. More and more I'm beginning to think George Carlin was less a cynical person as he was a realist. Hope and change? I'm having a hard time seeing it. Healthcare has improved, we've managed to save some jobs. But the big issues? A shrinking middle class hasn't received the attention it deserves. College tuition is still going up. The war on terror is still going with no end in sight. I just don't see the sense in trying to build a future here.

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Response to Oakenshield (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:25 AM

2. Thanks. The house of cards keeps getting taller while...

The house of cards keeps getting taller while the base shrinks. Doesn't take a genius to see this is a bottleneck. One of many sadly. I didn't even touch on the environmental fuckup we are left with. Course in hindsight that was easy to foresee too. The unfettered boom of the 50s and 60s right through to the tech boom of the 90s and 2000s was all based on the obvious illogical concept that nature is an infinite sink. Economists are used to dealing with finite numbers and resources, except when it comes to the the environment. Here they just draw a big circle and resort to grade 3 logic, labelling this as "garbage goes here, forever".

Oops turns out it doesn't work that way.

Luckily there are some very very bright minds working on these issues. Too late? We will see.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:51 PM

32. Don't underestimate nature's ability to heal itself...

It isn't going to be able to heal itself until we stop abusing it, but once we set environmental health as the number one priority (I believe it will happen) repairing a lot of the environmental damage will happen quickly.

I graduated from college with a civil engineering degree when I was 38 years old (14 years ago), you are right about the ridiculous debt that goes along with education, but the tea party take over by the House of Representatives set back the progress that was being made by the democrats in congress.

Don't let all the doomsayers get you down. It will look a lot different this time next year if we throw the bums out.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:39 AM

3. Growing up in that generation

the difference is that we believed we could change what we couldn't accept.

If we couldn't do it alone, we got help.

And then we changed it.

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:44 AM

4. Agreed. But there's very little if any feeling solidarity in my generation...

Those who have lost hope don't see any possibility for change. Those who are struggling to pay the bills don't want to rock the boat too much. Those that have managed to succeed are too busy hoarding all the scraps they can find while there's still time.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 11:17 AM

22. Great and righteous rant ...

 

I think where my "generation" (born at the tail end of the 'Boomer' generation ... 1961) failed our children in two major ways: we stopped teaching our children about our struggles, which were addressed through collective action. Maybe I'm unique in that I was a late in life child (for the times) ... my parents were born in the early 20s, and were involved in the civil rights struggle ... I grew up in that and saw and was taught the value of collective action; however, the vast majority of my Black college freshman peers' parents were born in the early to mid-40s, and arrived to college with the mentality that "my parent's struggle got me here; but that's old hat, I'm here for me."

This resulted in the Civil Rights Movement grinding to a near halt ... and in the broader context, the union movement grinding to a near halt, as like with the Civil Rights movement, too many of my college peers (Black and white) took the hard fought for union gains for granted ... "My union parents' struggle got me here; but that's old hat, I'm here for me."

We, also, took to the notion of "hard work be damned!" As an anecdotal example:

I was raised in an environment where all winter I worked to prepare for spring little league baseball try-outs; if I was good enough, I got picked for a team, if not, I knew that if I wanted to make a team, I'd have to work on my skills so I could try again next season. But it didn't stop there ... I knew that even if I made the team, I only played if I was good enough, if not, I worked to improve so that next season I could play. And at the end of the season, the players on the Championship team and the MVP of each team got a trophy ... the rest of us worked and tried harder for next season.

Fast-forward to my experience with my own kid ... One Saturday, my wife announced that "We" were going to coach our daughter's AYSO soccer team (meaning: I was going to organize and run the practices ... I was going to manage and coach the team, and she was going to wear an Asst Coach tee shirt ... LOL). I was fine with that since I love my daughter and had been involved in youth mentorship ... Plus, I knew a little something about soccer.

So I went to the Coach's meeting with my youth baseball experience as my template. I got the time mixed up and arrived just as the meeting was breaking up ... so I went to the league superintendent and asked, "So when are try-outs?" I noticed some looks from some of the other coaches, and the superintendent told me, "everyone makes the team ... here is your roster" and handed me the "coaches' Coaching Guide" to read ... and then she walked away. I walked to my car thinking, "That was weird. No try-outs? ... Okay, maybe they're short on players and are just trying to fill the teams."

I got home and read the "Guide" to discover that not only was everyone placed on a team, everyone was to play ... the same amount of time, regardless of skill, effort or practice attendance. And (IMO) it got worse ... and THEY DID NOT KEEP SCORE (how the hell do you determine who won) and AT THE END OF THE SEASON, EVERYONE GOT A TROPHY because it "built the self-esteem of the youthful players."

Okay ... I'm skeptical; but committed ... At my first team meeting (parent attendance mandatory) I established the team (including parents) rules: 1) Our roles are simple ... the Kids play, I coach, the parents parent and cheer ... if parents wish to coach, I had some extra Asst. Coach tee shirts. 2) Practice is every Wednesday at 4:00p.m., Player attendance is mandatory (if a parent couldn't get their kid to practice, they could arrange for another parent or me to get the kid there) and parental attendance is preferred (There is always a need for folks to pitch in with drills). 3) I would be keeping score ... (While I recognize this is a skill-building league, Sportsmanship IS a vital skill and Winning is more fun than losing).

I can't tell you how many calls the superintendent got; but she felt the need to set me straight ... the first practice, 8 kids (out of 14)showed up, 2 parents stayed, 1 parent actually got out of the car. The first game, all 14 kids showed up; but not their parents ... I routinely had to wait with kids after the games and practices, waiting for their parents to pick them up.

Now fast forward to what I am witnessing of my daughter's generation (Of course, this is a generalization; but ...) they seem to only want praise, even for admittedly poor effort; they refuse to acknowledge that anyone is "better than anyone else", even in specific tasks; they expect to be rewarded just for showing up.

This is what we taught them.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #22)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 12:54 PM

26. Thank you for saying what I was thinking.

I quit working with young people a few years ago. Their sense of entitlement, as well as their parents constant intervention (I was a college advisor)pushed me over the edge. They want everything NOW, if you cannot push the right buttons to make it happen they will come unglued.

We have failed this group because we did not teach them to cope with adversity. It is NOT their fault but society will deal with this for a long time to come. LIFE IS NOT FAIR folks. Everybody DOES NOT get a trophy, or the job, or the house etc. It takes tenacity to make it in this world. Is it tough now, yes, but my feeling is we did not prepare this generation properly. Our fault, no doubt.

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Response to redstatebluegirl (Reply #26)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 06:32 PM

29. I'm not sure if you two are referring to my generation or not...

Personally I experienced very little to none of what 1strongblackman posted of. I've heard of such stories later in my 20s but didn't personally experience anything like that. I agree that kind of thing is absurd. Perhaps it's something more common to the generation that followed me, or perhaps it's a geographic or demographic thing, I live in Canada.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #29)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:24 PM

36. I live in Canada too

and while there are some soccer leagues like that around, most are not.

Now, I have a unique perspective as an almost-40 year old returning to school with young 20 year olds, as well as the parent of 4 children, 2 of which are teens. Plus, in school I have studied the differences in the generations in the workplace. While there are a few young people who are entitled, the vast, vast majority are not at all. There are slightly different values in general, but overall, when I hear these stories about 'entitled' youth, without fail it's the usual 'kids these days' ranting from older people. The program I'm in requires a lot of group work and projects and I've been in many groups with 18, 19 and 20 year old kids and they work every bit as hard as the 30 and 40 year olds. I think generalizing all young adults and children as spoiled, lazy and entitled is simply a generational divide that will always persist in humankind so long as there are humans. I'm sure the cave people thought the youngsters then were lazy and spoiled as well, lol.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #36)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:34 AM

54. You have a point ...

 

I'm pretty sure my dad (R.I.P.) thought I was a lazy, entitled little snot! I didn't get my first job until I was 13! LOL.

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Response to redstatebluegirl (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:26 AM

53. Ohhh ...

 

Working in HR, I can tell you stories about entitled young folks and their enabling parents!

I once had a young woman starting her first job out of college. She was to work under me (I hired her and was really looking forward to it because I recruited her and she killed in the interviews - all 6 of them). Well, on her start date, I(and a majority of the executive staff) was called away to deal with a major crisis; but before I left ... I greeted and welcomed her, told her as much about the crisis as I could and asked that she familiarize herself with the organization's structure (who is who and does what) and the organizations policies and procedures, and I would check on her through out the day.

Her response: a smile and a "I think I would rather go with you to deal with the crisis."

My response: a smile and a "Yeah, I'll bet; but we don't want to give you the wrong impression on your first day." With that I left think, "Wow ... She's got jokes. We're gonna get along fine!" As I was headed out of the suite, I asked my assistant to look in on her.

Well ... turns out I was out most of the day and could only call into the office twice. When the meeting broke (at 4:45), I call and I got her voice mail. I then called my assistant to tell her I'd be back to the office by 5:15p.m. When I got back to the office, my new hire was gone. I spoke with my assistant and he told me that my new hire had spent the morning on the phone and had left about 3:00p.m. and didn't return.

But that's not the eye opening part ... at 9:00a.m. the next morning, I got a call from the new hire's mother, who yelled at me and told me how horrible a boss I was for ignoring her little precious!

I waited for her to pause, then responded: "Thank you for the feedback. And, please pass on to your daughter that I accept her resignation and, FWIW, I think she has made the best decision for both herself and the organization."

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:34 AM

60. The final straw for me was the kid

who had not attended a class all semester. I contacted him doing a wellness check and he yelled t me for waking him up at 11 am. His mother called to report me at the end of is 1.0 semester because I did not "motivate him to perform"....go figure. It happened way too much for my taste. This is not generational bias, until 5 years ago I thought the kids were great! The five years leading up to my early retirement I only agreed to write 5 reference letters. I used to write tons of them for former students.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #53)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:59 PM

69. I'm sure you have quite a few such examples. But...

They hardly represent my generation or those that follow me. They are a small but annoying minority. Don't get me wrong I do know where you are coming from, but I also feel you are painting my generation with a broad brush, perhaps I'm just being sensitive?

If you want to know hard working just take a look at the thousands of 30 something's willing to work min wage jobs for who knows how many years to make ends meat. The single mothers and fathers who thought they would have a career but ended up working 60 hour weeks at the local restaurant instead. And at the other end of the spectrum take a look at the face books, the instagrams, the twitters, and thousands of other start ups of the tech world. Most spearheaded by young passionate entrepreneurs willing to work insane 80 hour work weeks. These companies are filled with thousands of like minded passionate youth working crazy hours. I don't necessarily agree with or like the philosophies of many of these companies but I use them as a valid example of hard work. And as pointed out above go to any college or other serious post secondary school and you will have no trouble finding youth willing to put in the hours and much much more. When I was going to school I met many a classmate with work ethics you would not believe. If anything I find it rather insulting to think that the reason our generation is where it is is cause of a lack of work ethics. It matters little how hard you are willing to work if the job you seek simply isn't available or no matter how hard you work at it the promotion is never offered to you. Or worse your job is simply off shored.

Again perhaps I'm being too sensitive but are you perhaps meaning to speak more directly to me myself? I posted further down in this thread about emotional problems I've had and guilt I feel for my own actions in life. If you wish to direct the conversation specifically at me or accuse me of being similar to the examples you post, please do so directly. Again I apologize if I'm reading between the lines too much.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #22)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:50 PM

63. AYSO is a product of the baby boomer generation, just for clarification.

It was founded in the early 60s with the "everyone plays" mentality in place as a way to introduce soccer to children. I have no problem with that structure. It was, as a Texas high school football mom looking back, the best experience we have ever had with a youth sporting program.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:57 AM

5. "Never has the world been more polarized."

I keep hoping for the next paradigm shift. I doubt I'll see it before I'm gone from this planet.

I'll be 58 in eight days. I have witnessed the best and the worst of homo sapien sapien (at least, thus far). Now, I think we're witnessing our extinction event unfolding.

Some folks get upset at that observation, and assert that we're technologically able to survive. That's hope for you -- bound to blossom in the rockiest soil.

I have returned to the environment in which I feel happiest. I'm putting in an organic garden (it was puny my first year here). I live just above a big creek, and a mile from a beautiful river. I'll be able to feed myself for a little while after the big crash.

You strike me as a contemplative and erudite individual. I hope you find a way to survive while still finding joy in life.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 08:14 AM

6. What happens when a generation of people grow up terribly disillusioned.> They make really good

 

slaves, to support the lifestyles of people with better minds than they have. Or at least freer ones, who can think past being told what to do by others.

Trying to think back to some parallel in history, and that is the closest I can think of, people whose minds have been taken over by their masters, who seem unwilling to realize that violence on their part...real violence, not the video game variety, but with real pain, and real sacrifice by people who won't get to enjoy the benefits they are creating for others, may well be their only salvation.

Been thinking about this for a while now, and it sure seems a lot of people are being very civilized about their neighbors being picked off a few at a time around them. Saw at least a couple posts here just in the past week about DU folk becoming homeless, while our party is paying banks $85 billion a month to profit from our misery.

And, of course, they tell them to go vote, which, of course, keeps the people employed that are making all this possible...


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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 03:44 PM

28. Your observations that the disillusioned make good slaves and that their minds

have been constricted are jaw-dropping in the sense they are bang on. Your reply should definitely be its own thread

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Response to jtuck004 (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:58 AM

47. "Slaves"? really?

 

You sure you want to go there? Given what slavery, true slavery, was really like, your comparison is very offensive.

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Response to philosslayer (Reply #47)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 08:19 AM

51. I heard a joke once...

 

Last edited Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:23 AM - Edit history (1)



It was "There is no such thing as a stupid question".

Wait right here...





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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 08:21 AM

7. I'm sure we could find plenty in your generation who are hopeful

I hate generation vs. generation pitting.

Baby boomers were subject to the draft and sent to fight a useless war, involuntarily.

One generation had young kids to feed during the depression of the 30s, far more severe unemployment than there is now.

Another fought in WWII.

Some people lived under Jim Crow laws and were black. Others were gay at a time when you could not dare mention it.


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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 08:36 AM

8. Generation Why

 

The successor to Generation Ex.

It's only 6:30 in the morning, but I really want a drink of vodka. I want to drink the whole bottle. I'm running out of reasons why not to. The biggest one I have left is that you can never have enough of something that you didn't really need. So, there is that. Maybe if I put chocolate milk and blueberries in my cereal it will cheer me up some.

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 02:09 AM

45. That is very good: generations ex- and why?

The best reason why not to hit the bottle in the mornings is that it doesn't mix very well with the marijuana, and you know you'll only get more depressed. Good food helps. And work, having a project to work on, like, oh, something, anything for the revolution, to bring about the necessary changes, for example. Music is good, any art, too.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:02 AM

9. A well considered..

..... and well written post, I'd hardly call it a rant because I don't think there is much in the way of exaggeration in your words.

Things are bad, and sometimes I think a lot of Americans have taken to "whistling past the graveyard" lest it happen to them also.

I have been preparing for a possible serious breakdown in what we consider to be our inviolable right, normality, with food on the shelves, gas at the station and water from the tap, for many years. I do not talk to many friends/acquaintances about it because in the real world, just like on DU, most people believe everything will just limp along for a while and then improve.

I'm not so sure.

What is SUPPOSED to happen in America when thing go off the rails? Well, we are supposed to vote in better leaders who will right the ship. But IMHO that is no longer working for various reasons. We voted for the "progressive" president but he really isn't. We have a serious and pervasive system of gerrymandering (I thought that was illegal , "illegal", another quaint term) that gives one party an near impossible to shake chunk of the House. We have "voting rights" laws springing up everywhere whose sole purpose is to prevent the wrong people from having a vote at all. We have pervasive "surveillance" (possibly the most pernicious abuse of govt power possible) and police trained to ignore quaint notions like the Constitution when it comes to things like protests or civil disobedience of any kind.

IOW, the usual remedies for our situation have been systematically dismantled. Not by accident. So since where we are is no accident, one can reasonably assume that the train we are on has not yet reached its destination, and it is unlikely that it is going to reverse course on its own.

Is there any possible way to turn it around? There are signs that people are finally, in the wake of its abject failure to deliver, giving up on "trickle down"/deregulation, etc. But this is a very slow process with maybe only a few percent of the population catching on. Will enough catch on in time for the damage to be rolled back? I really don't know.

I wish I could offer a more optimistic assessment but it is what it is. You did not ask for advice and I hope you will not be offended if I offer some. Yes, your generation got a raw deal. It's not fair but to be fair there is a lot of unfairness going around right now, not all directed at your generation. Folks younger than you are getting screwed and so are many older boomers.

All that said all you can do is keep your head. Try to understand what is really happening and where we really are and what opportunities (there are always opportunities of some kind) are available and realistic for you to pursue.

If you do all that one could reasonably do, at least if things do not turn out as well as you'd hoped you will not have to blame yourself.

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Response to sendero (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:19 AM

10. Thanks sendero...

Honestly I feel pretty damned ashamed of where I am personally. Rack it up to my depression or social anxiety but I've never held down a job for a year or more or finished more than a semester or two of university in 10+ years. I've instead lived off my parents who have enabled me, often as a shut in. I've made some small strides here and there but I keep having emotional breakdowns. I wrote this more out of feeling connected emotionally with those who are struggling than feeling I really belong with them. So many of my own problems are of my own design and I don't feel I have many good excuses.

As for what has happened to America indeed the world I'd say what has happened is that the economy has come unmoored from the government. Like you said this is no mistake, Reagan and his ilk saw to that. In our capitalist world it's the economy that makes the world go round, but hopefully in a liberal society it does so with some modicum of oversight from the government. That really is no longer the case. It doesn't really mater as much anymore who you vote into office as that's no longer where the real power lies. Which is not to say there is no hope or that a republican government is the same as a democratic one. I'd much rather see a democrat government. But what I'd most like to see is a democrat government with the balls to seriously reign in Wall Street.

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Response to Locut0s (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:56 AM

17. I hope..

.... you have access to good medical care for your issues. I struggled with a "mental illness" for 20 years before being diagnosed and given meds that really help without negative effects.

Of course, my "illness" probably actually helped me in the workplace as hypomanic people are very energetic! But it was not fun for me or those around me so I am grateful to have a remedy.

Not being able to be a superman is not making an excuse. Only you know if you are doing the best you can, and if you are why be hard on yourself? Your best is your best.

As for your second paragraph, I agree 100%.

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Response to sendero (Reply #17)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 12:29 PM

23. Thank you...

Not to pry but you mention hypomania specifically does this mean you have Bipolar II?

Healthcare cost is thankfully not a big issue as I live in Canada. Quality is another mater, I've seen several psychiatrists and may have found one that is, ok. I've been on the med roulette wheel and none of them has done more than flatten out my affect. They removed the top and bottom range of my emotional spectrum but did little to lift or motivate me. That said I have personal experience of others in whom meds have made all the difference! Time will tell, and yes I have a habit of being excruciatingly hard on myself no mater where the fault lies.

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Response to sendero (Reply #9)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:25 AM

11. "I could offer a more optimistic assessment but it is what it is." That's about where I'm at.

 

Gee Duhbya Bush really did crash the real estate market in 2008 for the sake of some stock brokers on Wall Street, and he let 9/11 happen too to justify foreign wars to manage the price for oil, and now we have to deal with the consequences. This is the world we're living in, where it has been run by fools thinking only in the short term, and now we have their fallout.

Fuck, do I ever want to drink my face off, but that would not help anything.

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Response to Electric Monk (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 08:01 AM

48. Yes, and yes.

 

n/t

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Response to sendero (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:21 AM

46. Great post, especially this paragraph:

"What is SUPPOSED to happen in America when thing go off the rails? Well, we are supposed to vote in better leaders who will right the ship. But IMHO that is no longer working for various reasons. We voted for the "progressive" president but he really isn't. We have a serious and pervasive system of gerrymandering (I thought that was illegal , "illegal", another quaint term) that gives one party an near impossible to shake chunk of the House. We have "voting rights" laws springing up everywhere whose sole purpose is to prevent the wrong people from having a vote at all. We have pervasive "surveillance" (possibly the most pernicious abuse of govt power possible) and police trained to ignore quaint notions like the Constitution when it comes to things like protests or civil disobedience of any kind. "

Ain't it the truth?

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:32 AM

12. Disillusionment is important

there is no sense in sugar coating reality. Once we are brave enough to look directly at the unvarnished truth of the situation, it becomes our own challenge not to be spiritually crushed by it. I'll leave a quote from Howard Zinn, which has been helpful for me.


“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”


― Howard Zinn

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Response to G_j (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:41 AM

13. If Venice is sinking, I'm going under

 



It always leaves me laughing, but of course

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Response to G_j (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:43 AM

14. Thank you! After reading this all too true thread,

I needed a little Howard Zinn.

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Response to G_j (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:49 AM

16. I like..

.... Howard Zinn and his words are always worth thinking about.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:45 AM

15. Capital vs. the rest of us is not new -

this has been a historical battle.

What we had in this country from basically 1930-1980 is what I would call a respite.

Now we are back to war. It is more clear to those of who grew up outside of suburbia I think. We were never pampered. Growing up in the 70s with family members in unions - we knew we were always negotiating with capital. When negotiations broke down there were strikes (and where I lived the unions were strong - north of Chicago - scabs were not appreciated and folks took their union membership seriously).

For you I would recommend getting involved in Occupy to the degree that you can given whatever issues you are struggling with. While largely a bourgeoisie movement they have at least re-introduced the terms "class" and "income inequality" back into the lexicon. They are doing some pragmatic, productive things by supplying the tiny houses to homeless and buying student loans. That is just a starting point - as this movement solidifies and becomes more experienced it will also necessarily become more militant (which it needs).

You're obviously very bright but didn't grow up in an environment where you were exposed to this earlier. You were lucky in a way. But we need you and you sound far more sane than many around me (especially here in Texas).

Take care and hold on.

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Response to TBF (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 08:03 AM

49. Ahhh....1935...

 

Part of the respite between 1930 and 1980. The good ol' days.....

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Response to philosslayer (Reply #49)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:00 AM

52. If you have anything of substance to add

please proceed ...

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Response to TBF (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:37 AM

55. Exactly. n/t

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 09:58 AM

18. The struggle to live long and prosper relies on constant vigilance

The Republicans began the slow destruction of the middle class in America with the election of Reagan. Using their "southern strategy" to win over enough frightened white voters to swing the political pendulum in their favor. The results of which we are just coming to terms with. These major changes to our national identity have come about by the slimmest of election results.
We live in a country with the worst election participation in the free world. A minority of voters have been able to move the country far to the right while an even larger segment of the population has moved in the opposite direction.
It is voter apathy that has brought us to this point and it will be voter participation that changes the direction we have been moving. The most important thing your parents' generation achieved was passage of the voters rights act. Use it or lose it.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:03 AM

19. There is a lot of truth in what you said

Being a baby boomer myself the world I grew up in was far different from the world today. It was a much better place for the working men or women than todays world is. What changed was in a word GREED. Today greed is the driving force behind everything and the end result has been the steady worsening of the job market. There was a time when big business was happy with making 10%-40%( during WW2 big business had government contract that where cost plus 2%to about 7% profit) not today . Today their rich investors demand an ever increasing profit and business like Walmart demand ever lower prices from there suppliers. The end result has been the destruction of good paying job and the current drive to end the safety net.There is nothing like the sheer stupidity of the rich the Koch's boys are a prime example of this. The day will come when we can no longer afford to buy the goods that they produces when that happens all hell will break lose. Hopefully we as a people will wake up before that happens and demand the changes necessity in both our government and big business to prevent it. The best first step is to end big money ability to buy government. How to do it's simple but yet very hard to do . Put in place a law with a strict limit of $10.00 campaign donation per person per politician then the politicians have to work for all the people if they want money instead of for just a few. A law like this would put every one on the same playing field the rich will scream but to hell with them in the long run it's for there own good to even if they are to stupid to see it. Just think what happened to the rich during the French Revolution this is far less painful to them.

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Response to Pakid (Reply #19)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 08:36 PM

33. +1,000 What you say is what a big part of it is!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:17 AM

20. Thank you for your very insightful "rant." Here is an even longer one. I hope you don't mind.

It is no wonder that you feel your generation is particularly bitter and without hope. This is a tough time. But, I am 70, and I assure you that we have known very tough times before.

This time is, of course, different. Technology and "free" trade are eliminating jobs and opportunities. The disparity in wealth makes it much harder than maybe since the 1890s or early 1900s for anyone to move up economically. And what is even worse, it isn't just us humans who are under extreme stress due to our inability to adapt to new technological and economic realities, but our very environment. The earth beneath our feet and the air we breathe and the water we drink are endangered.

But the thing about life that is always constant is change. We can make our own change. I think the key to your OP, the key to overcoming the problems that you and your generation face are the same as the keys the baby boomers faced when they entered life as part of a huge generation for whom there was no housing, whose unhappy parents had undergone terrible stress during the Depression and WWII and were often very difficult and for whom there was really lots of material wealth but not always the love at home that they needed. That key is that you need to create social networks and social movements that demand not hope but real change.

The income and wealth disparity in our country is increasingly oppressive. This is not just the problem for your generation, but for all of us. I know so many people in their 50s who have lost their jobs in the past 6 or so years and are having great difficulty finding decent-paying new ones that are appropriate for their skill sets. Those who have savings are living off them. The homeless are very visible in my neighborhood. This was not the case ten years ago.

Please note that we had quite a recession in the 1980s during the Reagan era, As someone else mentioned, the baby boomers faced the draft and an absurd and pointless war in Viet Nam that went on and on only to save the face of our military and national leaders. Talk about distressing and soul-destroying. Talk about disillusionment. And now young people look at that generation and view it as having had it "easy."

Always, the solutions are in finding people who are going through the same problems you are and confronting your problems together. I have been wondering why people are not joining unions and forming unions. There could be a union of the unemployed. In fact, I think there should be a union of the unemployed.

In spite of the seemingly insurmountable problems you face, you have assets and opportunities that no generation before you could have imagined. The internet is one. The experience of a lot of people who are older and recognize and respect your distress at the current situation is also an asset if you and others whose views are similar to yours can join together to learn from that experience and plot a strategy for improving not just your own situation but that of all generations.

Those who benefit from the rise in stock prices are really very few. It may appear that seniors are more comfortable economically than your generation. But one of the big dangers today is that we live longer and as we age we have increasingly severe health problems and debilitation. Many of today's healthy seniors will, in a few years be forced to live in assisted living. That is because their children, like you, will most likely be working at low-paying jobs and in no position to care for their aging parents. Thus, the savings of the parents will pass to the hands of again, the financial sector that profits from homes for the aging. And so, we return to the issue that we must work on: we must change our society so that we have less disparity in wealth and income. That is the big challenge for your generation. The generation of FDR, of the Depression faced that same challenge and was able to correct an economy that had deteriorated to the point that people did not have enough to eat.

That is why your generation which is the generation at the age in which people have energy and physical strength needs to draw on history, to learn not just how mistakes were made in the past, but how societies recovered from their mistakes. And then you must organize for the good of the whole country, for the good of all generations in the country. You are in charge now. And someone from your generation will be sitting in the positions of power and managing the world within the next 20-30 years. So you need to organize yourselves and work with all generations to improve not just your own situation but that of everyone in the country. The wealthy are investing money overseas, not here. That is a huge problem.

When we feel depressed, we need to rethink our expectations. Your generation cannot expect to live as your parents lived. They had advantages you do not have. But, you have advantages and opportunities they lacked. So you need to think about your expectations. They may be too low considering the opportunities that the internet and the opportunity to form social networks from the distance provide to organize and work together with others. They may be too high in other respects. But they probably need to be reviewed if you feel depressed from time to time.

Also, a good way to deal with depression is to think less about one's own problems and more about those of others.

If you have an opportunity to talk to someone, ask the person about his or her life. Then go home and write down notes about what you learned from the conversation. If you aren't working, try to meet a new person every day and just chat briefly with that person about his or her situation. You don't have to pry. It goes like this. In the grocery store at the check out, if the cashier is not too busy, just ask "Busy today?" and smile. Or just say "Happy New Year." If the store is not busy, you may get a response. Work at making other people happy in very small ways, and you will begin to connect and life will seem better. That is how you overcome shyness as well as depression.

I wish you luck, and I appreciate all the time and effort you put into your post. It is very moving. Thanks.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 08:50 PM

34. An Incredible Post! A Word from the Older to the Younger who are discouraged!

Recommend for all of us "across the spectrum" Age-Wise and elsewhere.

We NEED TO COME TOGETHER!

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 08:58 PM

35. If you would do it ...Please Post this out on DU...GD

You have really captured the situation of our Generation...with Headline that Reflects the Importance of your Post!

So many here on DU think it's all about the OLD disenfranchising the Young (the Pete Petersen Foundation's RW Ravings and the other RW Think Tanks trying to pit the Old vs. the Young as if they have NOTHING IN COMMON)..but...it's still "Disinfo" and when honest young folks protest...they are often trashed and your reply shows that there are so many of us who have been through "hard times" as what's known as "Boomer Generation" (even though that's an over 20 year span) ...it's still important to "clue the young in" that we didn't have it good all the time...and that it's still about an AMERICA THAT HAS GONE ROTTEN for most of us.

Anyway...I can't find a way to "PM" you...but your reply deserves a separate post!

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:27 AM

43. Thanks for the great reply JDPriestly!

I agree with just about everything you have said. The reason I titled my post a rant was that I knew when writing it that it might sound somewhat self serving. But I agree 100% that my generation is far from unique in having to face seemingly insurmountable odds.

I agree with the need to form social networks and movements. And I agree that the internet is a tool that no other generation has had in history. A powerful tool we should look to leverage for all it's worth. It's now known that the uprising in Egypt was largely twitter and other social media driven. It seems much of the Arab spring movement has been likewise. The occupy wall street movement is a prime example of the kind of global organized protest we should expect to see more of. And yet as someone else has pointed out here the internet has also created in our generation a very different form of socializing and interacting. Many of us now interact and express ourselves online better than we do in person. We were raised on TVs, computers, games, and the internet this is how we think first and foremost. And perhaps this is part of the reason you have not seen the rise of some of the unions you mentioned. Because that kind of more local one on one networking, the more intimate exchange has been relegated more to the back burner in my generation.

Indeed I'm keen to see who will emerge in the coming years from my generation to take the reigns of power. I desperately hope that we will continue to see the reversal of the hatred and distrust of intelligence in our leaders that has held away for the past decade or more. Obama seems to be bucking that trend and it MUST continue. For if there is anything that can destroy us it's the continuation in the glorification of ignorance. I don't want a leader who I feel I can sit down and have a beer with, specifically because that speaks to his intelligence level, I want one who bowls me over with his brilliance. Cause we are going to need brilliant minds in position of power. Like you said we have tools and resources no other generation has had! Put to proper use there's no telling the advances we could make, the problems we can solve. But it will take a visionary or two with the courage to use said tools and to unite the people.

No need to thank me, I'm the one thanking you.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:47 AM

21. K&R& with few exceptions, an excellent thread. n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #21)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 01:13 PM

27. +1000 nt

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 12:37 PM

24. Late Boomer here

I majored in art and chose not to conform. No 9-5 job, no house in the burbs, no kids. I've done quite well for myself. Have a partner, a dog, nice apt, money in the bank. It's all about not believing the hype of the American Dream (RIP).

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 12:37 PM

25. Because for our generation there is no light at the end of the tunnel

We don't have retirement to look forward to...shit, a huge number of us don't even have vacation time (let alone the funds to take a vacation). Buy a house? with what?

We work to survive, we spend our days treading water, making no forward progress. The rich get richer...we see them on TV. But that's a fantasy life, not a reality for any of us. It's like watching a movie.

We can't get anything to change because the congress is owned by the wealthy. Elections are owned by the wealthy. The people needed to make the changes never will...they will not bite the hand that feeds them.

I'm 43...and I know most of my peers have given up any hope for the future besides just keeping a roof over their heads.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #25)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 06:40 PM

30. I wouldn't put the blame solely on your generations shoulders...

And certainly NOT your entire generation.

As I explained in my OP I think it's a multigenerational failing. We got to thinking in the 50s that progress could be unbounded, that the environment was an endless sink. Silly concepts looking back on it but I'm sure it all looked very reasonable during those heady days. Those I DO blame very harshly are the small number, both in your generation and mine, that saw a once in a century opportunity to rob the world blind and said, fuck yeah let me at it!

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 07:09 PM

31. I am two years older than you

And could have written your post.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:01 PM

37. Great post AND wonderful replies on this thread

 

And it is a subject that we need to keep talking about, because that's the best way to come up with solutions to the mess we're all in.

If anyone wants to read a sci-fi novel that is eerily prescient about our situation today, please check out Kurt Vonnegut's "Player Piano." It was published in 1952, the year I was born.

And if you'd like doses of practical inspiration and ideas being put into action, read Yes! magazine. It is amazing.

I think one way to deal with the problems we are facing is to band together in mutual help groups and/or communal living situations. In the past 50 years we have become isolated through television, video games, the internet. We have lost our sense of community.

When I was a kid in the early 60s, every kid in the neighborhood played out on the street, and we learned to interact through trial and error, plus the boundaries set by our parents and teachers.

Too many parents don't bother to parent these days, from what I see. You never see kids playing outside any more. Kids are becoming increasingly clueless about how to interact with other people, and this is reflected in our polarized politics.

DU is one of the rare places where we've managed to create a community. We need to find more ways to create the communities that will make it possible to have a better future for the 99%.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #37)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:17 PM

38. Thanks for this reply...it's a good read for compassion..and "reach out."

I worry that a generation that knew RURAL..In Touch with Raking Leaves and doing Community Stuff has no contact any more with the REAL WORLD...in an Environmental Sense that many of us before had. It leads to Alienation from one's Natural Surroundings and Disenfranchisement..with anything outside of our TV/Cable/Internet/FaceBook, etc./Dominated world.

As you say: (although..CAVEAT...so many parents these days have NO TIME working TWO ...TREE JOBS...or dealing with "Lay Offs and Slow Downs" where one Parent has work the other is "out of job" and vice versa. These are times that are so hard for hope with folks struggling that PARENTS THESE DAYS...have so few ops to deal that it's truly a new phenomenon. So I could understand the angst of kids growing up these days in this kind of world...and wish it wasn't so for them. And I don't think we can blame "Parents" who don't have time...because WHERE CAN THEY FIND THE TIME!" ...but, agree with you that those who DO HAVE THE TIME are not MENTORING as they SHOULD...Taking Responsibility. (I think of those Multi-Billionaire Wall St. "POS/Opportunists" as Prime Example of folks who let their kids RUN WILD given their PARENT's EXAMPLE! (Sorry for the "shout out for emphasis"

SNIP FROM YOUR POST:

[/i[Too many parents don't bother to parent these days, from what I see. You never see kids playing outside any more. Kids are becoming increasingly clueless about how to interact with other people, and this is reflected in our polarized politics.

DU is one of the rare places where we've managed to create a community. We need to find more ways to create the communities that will make it possible to have a better future for the 99%.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #37)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:12 PM

77. When I was in elementary school (1985-1991)

The police came into our school at least twice a year for assemblies and showed us videos about 'stranger danger." We were taught that if we talked to a stranger, we were going to be abducted (of course as an adult I know that most child abductions are from someone that the child knows, ie a non custodial parent).

Playing with friends was not something that was spontaneous, it was a scheduled and organized 'playdate.' Sports were not a game of pick up baseball, it was Little League, etc.

I don't fault the children for this, blame it on the parents who wanted their precious little snowflakes to be sheltered from the world and arranged this.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:23 PM

39. "Young wolves, show us your teeth." John Steinbeck

 

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:24 PM

40. Nice rant. I'm right there with ya.

I'm in the same "generation" as you (38). We've become aware during a dangerous and extraordinary time. The future has yet to be written. We can take some guesses based on the past but those are only guesses. We can hope things will get better, we can fear they'll get worse, or we can worry about surviving day to day. I was hit with a glorious sickness that made me welcome every day as a gift. My only job is to enjoy my family and prepare my daughter (3 in April) for the future by raising her right and teaching her to think critically.

Here's to 2014 and what ever it holds for us all.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 10:39 PM

41. The Sandwich Generation

That's what the baby boomers are known as now. We're taking care of elderly parents and sometimes working two jobs to help out our children. It's a tough place to be, trust me.

I grew up in your parents' generation but not in the conditions you describe. My father worked 6 days a week, as did many fathers. There was one car, without a radio, that was parked on the street on the one day Dad was home. Families didn't have one or two children...this was the baby boom, so there were 5 and 6 kids in many households. Those poor mothers did not get much of a break from child rearing. Christmas presents? The only reason we got more than one present was because of our grandparents, bless their souls.

We grew up with horrible racism and sexism. Watch a few episodes of Mad Men. That show hits the nail on the head. As young girls with athletic potential, there were no sports for us. Title IX didn't come along until 1972. Can you imagine being a girl in those days, doing the President's Council for Physical Fitness tests in a dress (because wearing pants was forbidden)---running the Mile in penny loafers, a dress and full slip and still beating the guys? So what though, there was no use for a girl who could run fast.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that every generation has it's own challenges. I think the biggest challenge for your generation is the lack of jobs that pay a living wage. Also, the cost of higher education escalated far beyond many peoples' reach---that wasn't the case for me and your dad.

I don't believe it's a generational issue. It's more of a class warfare type of problem. The corporations have shipped our good jobs overseas. It affects your generation ($$$$ spent on education and no jobs available) and mine (forced to retire early with no health care, retirement funds decimated, and no jobs available).

We can use the disillusionment and work together to try to improve conditions for all of us.

Good luck.

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Response to blue neen (Reply #41)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:44 AM

57. Aren't many people who understand

Recently I mentioned to my BIL that I didn't have indoor sanitary until I was 10. He was amazed.

In my home the memory of the company store was very fresh -- as was the loss of a couple of uncles to WW2.

I think it's experiencing the dark that makes you value the light so much more.

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #57)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 11:46 AM

61. I hear ya!

In our childhood, both of our sets of grandparents lived in places without indoor sanitary. In rural areas that went on well into the 60's.

I love how you said this: "I think it's experiencing the dark that makes you value the light so much more."

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2013, 11:10 PM

42. What you say about your generation reminds me of the one after WW1...

From what I've read, the horrors of the First World War were so mind-boggling to people at the time (for good reason) that, supposedly, WW1 was the war to end all wars and the generation that grew up during WW1 were known as the Lost Generation .

You might want to do further reading about that generation. I know exactly what you're speaking of, because my son, who turns 18 next month, is facing the same challenges your generation is. He will undoubtedly have it rougher than me in many respects.

Take care of yourself in all ways, Locut0s.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:47 AM

44. I totally understand.

I slipped into decent work when the dotcom was launching, and companies would hire and overpay people with a pulse.

Moved up, at the expense of a social life. So I have what most techie people would consider a fantastic job, but put in too many hours without OT pay. Too many hours means what's left is spent sleeping. I have to take a day off of work to get a haircut since they're not open at 9PM or 2AM. Hard to meet folks when you're recovering at home.

I was raised on the same diet of "you can do it!" and got incredibly lucky to be able to find work in the industry that matched my interests. I had to drop out of college to jump on it while I could get in without a degree. Then 12 years later when the big company had decided they didn't want US Citizens doing work at US sites supporting US customers, my job was sent to India by some manager 8 levels up that I'd never met. Once again, lucked out that I got a severance to use to finish my degree. Which got me bupkus for job offers that first two years. Ended up having to move hundreds of miles away from everyone I knew to get a job title that I could use to get a job back home a year and a half later. Being single can have its advantages as I was able to uproot without wrecking my wife or kids' life to find work.

I see your problem first hand at work every day. I work with 60-70 year olds that actually have amazing pensions, and they won't leave because they're afraid of not having more income to live on. So the high end jobs stay blocked, so the middle jobs stay blocked, so we can't bring in entry folks. I'd kill for an apprentice. Somebody that could learn what I do, handle the menial crap which is how you learn what breaks, how to find out and how to fix it. Then in a few years I could move on out of the way, and they'd be set. But no, I work with a guy who just lost his 50 year old son. How f'ing horrible is that? Every part of that sentence breaks my heart. To have a 50 year old son, you are probably at least 64, but probably 67+. The last thing you should have to deal with at that age is corporate bullshit. But there he was on Thursday asking me to help with something. His son died 3 days earlier, and he came in to fix some f'ing data problem because HE can't have an apprentice.

So I wish you luck, and you're definitely not alone. You should not have job prospects just because you graduate from high school in the right year. How many kids graduated from college in 2000 and jumped right in, and how many graduated in 2005-2010 and can't find shit?

It sucks. Massively.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 08:09 AM

50. Your rant shows what a great success government has achieved

It started, I think, with Nixon. We had high hopes with Kennedy, Johnson gave up because he couldn't handle the war he got us into, and Nixon became a friend of business. But, he didn't mention ending SS, at least.

Reagan and the Bushes completed the job. Obama can't reverse all the harm done to so many in such a short time.

You feel the way they want you to feel. Helpless.

I feel that way for you, and am glad I'm old and don't mind leaving the planet, the sooner the better. Too much greed.

While you had your dreams destroyed at an early age, so were ours of my generation, but not till we were in our 40's, I'd estimate....had some good years where people had good jobs, good pay, hopes for the future, and then laws started to protect banks, businesses and good old NAFTA came along.

Your rant is right on the mark. They did it.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #50)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:39 AM

56. I don't feel helpless

 

Resigned perhaps. Like Locut0s, I'm 31 (As of just a few days ago, in fact) and I look forward with the realization that pretty much everything is a steady downhill drop.

Once you come to understand this, that really, no matter what anyone does right now, we're in for a century of being beaten in the face with axe handles, it stops being a huge worry. Of course still strive for the best you can, just with the knowledge that your best isn't going to get the boulder back up the hill.

- Our political system is fucked. And the problem is, it was designed that way. Whether an unintended consequence (how our election system creates two big parties by default) or fully intentional (the glacial, almost reactionary pace of advancing change through constitutional channels) the whole thing was set up with the inevitibility that it would be what it is today. Which when you consider that it was penned by wealthy white slave-owners who were staging a bloody rebellion with consripts recruited under threat of arms in order to evade their taxes, makes a lot of sense.

- The culture itself is coming unglued. I'm not talking "culture war" bullshit, but the very concept of culture itself. Where everyone is a "self-centered self-made individual," there can be no community. Where 80% of media is consolidated into the hands of fifty people, there can be no free thought. we've had our attention spans whittled down to practically nothing, and our ideas of philosophy, humor, politics, irony, tragedy, are all basically encapsulated in a 22-minute episode of "Family Guy." Education is going down, with basic science and history constantly being beaten to death with hammers because two states full of dumbfucks control the book markets. And the internet, for all its potential and amazing content? For every would-be Carl Sagan posting material online, there's five hundred motherfuckers making deepak Chopra look legitimate. Our culture frowns on thought and dismisses community, we are essentially a tribe of apes united only by sniggering at cartoon dick jokes.

- if politics and culture are arid wastelands, well, maybe I shouldn't talk about the environment. When I was little, I saved a portion of my allowance to donate to the World Wide Fund for Nature. Every year for about five years, I'd pop a money order into the mail, because I thought it would help save tigers or something. And you know, maybe it did help. Do you know why there's not bigger news about the western black rhinoceros going extinct? I mean it really should be a big deal right, a seven-ton mammal just died out because a bunch of ignorant fucks think snorting the fingernail shit its horn is made of will give their peckers a boost. Bu it's not. Why? Because it doesn't fucking matter that this thing went extinct. The rhino is gone, so it certainly doesn't care, but what I mean is... it's just one species in a panoply of others just like it that are going to die out, because of what has been done to the environment. In the 70's and 80's, ecologists were concerned about the barred owl or the snail darter. In the 90's, they were worried about entire ecosystems. By 2005, they were worried about the planet being habitable, and now on the eve of 2014, it looks like they've pretty much just given the fuck up. Game over. I don't try to save tigers anymore because tigers don't fucking float.

This is my world, and I think I always knew this is what it was going to be.

Unlike locut0s, I absolutely blame previous generations. While perhaps some aspects of this shithole were unavoidable and others were just mistaken... Nobody alive today is ignorant. Nobody alive in 1974 was ignorant, it had all been laid out back then. And still the waste continued. Still the pillaging continued. Because, eh, fuck it, our kids will pick up the tab. Had no problem at all gutting everything between the cradle and retirement, but HOLY SHIT don't touch social security!

Okay. Maybe a little helpless. And certainly a little angry. What I'm saying though is that once you understand that you will be inheriting a wasteland, no matter what, even if right now, everyone hit the brakes and started backpedaling as hard as they could... you come to accept it. A realization that hey, you'll figure out a way to make it work. Humanity goes on, even in the coming dark age.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:57 AM

58. The baby boomer generation used up America like an old tissue. And they feel no shame.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #58)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 06:53 PM

64. What?

Last edited Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:32 PM - Edit history (1)

So tell me...

who built the technology age?

who put a man on the moon?

Polio? Smallpox? DNA?

And so on. The boomer generation is in fact the LAST generation that showed an advancement within this country. The LAST!

Now tell me exactly how many achievements there have been since 1980. Oh and don't even think about the internet...it was in 1980. The web came from someplace else.

Take your time.

<added on edit>

Please make sure when you identify an achievement you include the person's age and nationality. Particularly the age.

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #64)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 08:03 PM

70. Wow, EPIC fail!

Last edited Tue Dec 31, 2013, 08:42 PM - Edit history (1)

As far as I can tell, Boomers weren't responsible for a SINGLE thing you gave them credit for. Perhaps "built the technology age" but that is pretty generic and surely you can point to boomers who partly responsible for this. I would think you maybe mistook things that occurred during the boomer generation with actual boomer accomplishments, but since you specifically ask the person you're discussing the issue with to name the AGE of the person that made a discovery or created something, you should have done you're own homework first.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #70)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:26 AM

71. I didn't see any examples.

I meant exactly what I said. The problem is trying to define the attitudes of an era in terms of generations. That's a mistake. The 50s, 60s, and 70s were the years we saw the greatest achievements in this country since the industrial era.

The 80s ushered in the MBA age, the one that looked at people like they were resources. That put those people into little boxes and then treated the box like it was a commodity. Corporations took over and became mindless...truly mindless. Everything was a simple spreadsheet with a number that added up to a profit on the bottom line. The accountant became the controlling influence over the direction of companies. Somebody along the way defined entrepenuer as investor. Do you think DARPA built the internet as an investment? Do you think Wozniak did what he did with the idea of a investment?

This generation is the whiniest bunch of ... When my generation was faced with a war we couldn't accept we stood in front of loaded weapons and said no. And the ones behind those weapons were forced to the reality of being on the wrong side of history. The civil rights movement was the same. How long has Afghan been goin on?

Passion. That's what's missing.

As I said in my first post, the generation immediately after WW2 felt if there was something they couldn't accept, they changed it. When I wanted to build something, my father had the empathy to see that there was something I needed to do -- for my own reasons -- and helped me do it. His belief, a man who dropped out of the 9th grade to work in the mines, was that if a man put something together he could figure out how it worked and fix it when it broke.

So I go back to my challenge: what major social, cultural or tecnological achievements have there been since the 80s. In the computer systems world can the current crop of IT people build the replacement for those "legacy" systems? The ones I built from scratch...literally from scratch. They haven't shown it so far.

Boy but they sure can make up some great excuses and find blame.

</rant>

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #71)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 02:02 PM

72. You named a whole bunch of innovations and said the last innovative generation was the boomers.

So you're looking for advances since 1980 and are having a hard time coming up with any? The OLDEST of the boomers in 1980 was 34, the youngest under 18. The period after 1980 is the period of time you'd EXPECT boomers to make their contributions. If there have been none, I'm not sure you can really lump them in as "innovators".

I would suggest that if you work in the IT industry and don't see a difference between technology in 1980 and current technology, there's nothing I'm going to write here that makes you "see the light". The mere fact that we've gone from a computer in 1980 that would cost a few month's salary, weigh as much as 30 lbs, and only a relatively small number of people could operate, to one magnitudes more powerful that you by for a relatively low cost that a 3 year old can carry around in the palm of his hand and operate shows some innovation.

I imagine if you ask people in the LGBT community, they're probably much better off than they were in 1980 as well.

I'm not even going to list the number of medical advancements (drugs, equipment, procedures) that have become standard use in the last 30+ years.

Are you fond of saving energy or the environment? You shouldn't have any trouble finding innovations for this over that time span either.

Remember the video game "pong" and claymation cartoons? You don't see much of those anymore. I wonder why.

They got this little car driving around on mars now, a permanent station in outer space for research.

Mapping the human genome. The large Hadron Collider.






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Response to hughee99 (Reply #72)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 06:34 PM

74. What I said was that using a generational metric

is wrong. The things we are talking about aren't determined by the age of the people involved but by the culture around them. And whether that environment is conducive to innovative solutions to the problems facing us.

As I said: The 50s, 60s, and 70s were the years we saw the greatest achievements in this country since the industrial era...The 80s ushered in the MBA age, the age when individual initiative and innovation started dying. You can't apply the blame for the loss of that dynamism on a "generation". It is caused by the environment and how the people react to that, regardless of their birthdate.

And I really hate to break it to you but there were computers long before 1980. In fact even the PC predates that. To say that making that technology smaller and more affordable is an innovation is a bit o a stretch. It's kinda like Apple saying a new color for their phone is an innovation. BTW, cell technology dates back to the 70s.

As I said, the legacy systems that are complained about, like in the ACA interface were installed long ago. They are the ones that pump out those SS checks, VA payments, etc. I don't know fo certain but I believe the whole electrical grid and control systems probably date back to that era also.

But the point I have been trying to make is this: If our country has gone to hell since 1980, maybe instead of blame you should look to cause.

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #74)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 08:11 PM

75. If you don't see any technological advances in the last 30 years,

I don't think you're going to "break" anything to me. You know what the difference between only the largest governments having computers and ANYONE being able to have one in their homes or their hands? Almost everything. Saying the difference between the pc's of 1980 and now is like the difference between is a black and white iphone might be one of the absolute WORST analogies I've ever heard. A modern child's toy is more powerful than a 1980 supercomputer, and the innovation that went into making that happen involves so much more than just adding red dye #4.

The automobile was invented long before Henry Ford, so why is he such a great innovator? He made it available to a much greater number of people. For better or worse, those "irreplaceable" SS check systems will eventually be replaced by a system that prints no check at all. Yes, perhaps some of the push behind innovation has changed but to say that there's been none is just ridiculous.

My point is this, the innovation that you say isn't there has been there all along. That's not "the problem". I believe you are mis-diagnosing the problem.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #75)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:00 PM

76. More big news

the SS check systems already don't print checks. But they still figure out how much that person is due and sends it to them on time.

Ford did some very good things. I think his innovation was more akin to standardization of parts so that each piece didn't have to be hand fit. But then that innovation had already been done years before in armaments and he just applied it to automobiles.

If all the principles behind semiconductors hadn't been developed just where would the PC have been? The PC was enabled with the development of semiconductors. Once that occurred the PC was inevitable.

BTW, the iPhone "innovation" touted last year by Apple was the color choice. It wasn't an analogy.

You still haven't identified any innovation...just enhancements of existing technology -- like the iPhone color.

Oh, and the web guy? He wasn't an American.

What do you say about my disagreeing with the idea of trying to categorize the advancement or stagnaton of our culture in terms of some "generational" people metric? As I keep saying and which you say is a misdiagnosis, the problem is the environment in which we operate today in this country. The one where innovation is stifled by entrenched corporate interests that are protecting their product using monopolistic tactics.

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #76)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:38 PM

79. And simply because Apple calls it an "innovation", doesn't make it one.

The difference between a 1980 pc and a current pc is cost, speed, and portability. People at any economic level can have the same access to most knowledge and communication. If you don't see why that's different then different iphone colors, I'm sure I'm not going to convince you it's a real innovation in a few sentences, Nor will I convince you that wireless connectivity is anything special, after all, they had radios 100 years ago, and that's pretty much the same thing as streaming the President's speech live on my telephone while I'm camping.

The medical treatments for Aids, Depression, Cystic Fibrosis, heart disease, the nicotine patch, the Jarvik-7 permanent artificial heart, surgical robots and usage of the MRI, but medicine has been around along time so it's really just an "enhancement of existing technology".

As, of course, would the international space station, since it's basically the same as going to space. Nothing special or innovative about that. Human Genome Project, the UV water purifier, the robotic vacuum cleaner, cloning sheep (and human body parts), RFID, VOIP allowing people in different countries to communicate for less than Bell's $8 a minute, GPS to the masses (yes, I know the military had this concept as early as the 1960, where it was no help to essentially anyone but them), the compact disc, DNA fingerprinting, the Large Hadron Collider,

Hell, the space shuttle wasn't launched until 1981 if you want to make the argument that it's "pretty much the same" as a the Saturn 5, but then you could probably argue the Saturn 5 was just a glorified V2 rocket, which is just a glorified bottle rocket, so it's really just an "enhancement" of an existing technology.

I honestly hadn't realized you were just limiting discoveries to Americans, though so I may have to rethink my list.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #75)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:22 PM

78. As I thought about it...

There were at least 5 different movements toward the PC in the late 70s. All looked very promising but the one that stuck involved the standardization of the backend bus by IBM. That was the innovation that made the little puppy take off. After that it was inevitable.

So I disagree that the PC was the innovation. It was just a natural progression.

But....

the innovation that I think was the absolute greatest came out of PARC and the media lab. The GUI.

That changed the whole face of computing.

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Response to seabeckind (Reply #64)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 02:35 PM

73. Um....What?

 

Polio, smallpox, DNA....All worked on at a time the baby boomers were, well, babies. Most not even born yet. A man on the moon was 1969. Most baby boomers were children then. A small number were just finishing their undergraduate degrees. I doubt they had much part in putting a man on the moon.

How many achievements since 1980? Wow, I'm glad you picked that particular year.

That was when the baby boomer generation overwhelmingly voted for Ronald Reagan. The unions were busted and the destruction of the middle class began. Deregulation allowed corporations to begin to consolidate; where there used to be 50 different banks, now there are only a few. The same thing happened to the media companies. Jobs started to ship overseas. The drug war began, when led to the private, for profit prison system. Gun violence has increased year after year after year.

Lots and lots and lots of achievements since 1980.

But the web? I'll give you that one. That was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990. He is a baby boomer.

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Response to Romulox (Reply #58)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:41 PM

66. Are you being sarcastic or what?..

Cause I never once said or self anything close to that in my OP?

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 09:58 AM

59. For various and complex reasons those younger than the baby-boomers..

.. are amazingly apathetic, unorganized, and disempowered.

The only solution is widespread organization and activism.

The boomers had it in the 60's and 70's; labor had it for a
good while; and the Civil Rights movement had it until Florida
2000.

You can only be as -illusioned- as your fellows are, together.

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 12:40 PM

62. K&R

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Response to Locut0s (Original post)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:25 PM

65. Recd by a 72 year old white male veteran.

I'm not a boomer.
I was a barely pre 'war baby' in August, 1941.
4 months before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

I too am disillusioned.
It began with the 2000 'sElection'.

I watched TV, jaw-droppingly gobsmacked, while a right-wing partisan state government and a right-wing partisan U.S. supreme court chose our next president.

This is not the country I grew up in.
Not the one I studied in history classes.
This has become a country I don't recognize any more.

I volunteered to put my life on the line for this country for seven years.
And I was subject to recall to active duty for many years after my active service was over.

I would not now.


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Response to trof (Reply #65)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:42 PM

67. I was a war baby.

What bothers me so much about what has been happening is the absolute theft of all the inherent wealth that was built into our country, from magnifcent buildings, city infrastructure, energy, communications...

all stolen in some MBAs dream of value extraction.

Like the art in the Detroit museum. Some gop thief wants to steal the people's treasure and sell it to his friends to pay off a loan to his other friends.

In the 80s I lived a mile or so frm a major rail corridor that paralleled the old National highway. We, the people, had bought all the right of ways and signed leases.

In the space of one administration Reagan gave it away. If we are to do HSR, we'd have to buy it back.

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Response to trof (Reply #65)

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 07:47 PM

68. and a 40-something white woman. and re your update

No offense taken here. You've eloquently described the plight of your generation. I nearly wept from recognition of the passion I had at 31 and still do down deep inside.

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