CSotD: Pigeonholes and disillusion

David Horsey does a nice job of addressing the way things boiled down for young voters without whining or pointing too many fingers.

In fact, in his accompanying remarks, he even concedes that Biden and Sanders are not Boomers but part of the Silent Generation that came earlier.

The cartoon hits me while I’m still processing a conversation I heard on NPR Sunday in which Michelle Martin talked to 17 and 18 year olds about why young people don’t vote. (Here’s both the transcript and the original 12-minute streamer and it’s worth the click.)

One of the youngsters said

I think in order to involve young people in, like, voting and to get them to vote, you have to involve them in the conversation. Because whenever I try to talk politics with older people, they shut me down because I’m young, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. And then they’ll go on to complain how I never involve myself in politics. So if you want me involved in politics, you need to welcome me into the conversation rather than saying that my opinions don’t matter because I’m young.

My initial reaction was very much Get-Off-My-Lawn, but as the conversation went on, I began to move beyond that and try to figure out why her experience was different from mine.

We certainly had plenty of those conversations, to the point where the media created the term “Generation Gap.”

And there’s a difference: Later on, the advertisers began to divide us all into marketing categories of Boomers and GenX and so forth.

At this point, it was the news media that declared a Generation Gap.

And the Generation Gap was real: “It’s always the old to lead us to the wars, Always the young to die,” Phil Ochs sang.

However, maybe because we didn’t sit in marketing pigeonholes, we didn’t think all old people were literally trying to kill us, and we also knew that plenty of people our own age were enlisting rather than waiting to be drafted.

Jack Weinberg joked to a reporter that we didn’t trust anyone over 30 and the guy took him seriously. The joke became a maxim, but if you look at who we listened to and trusted, there was a lot of gray hair: Benjamin Spock and Mitch Goodman and Buckminster Fuller and more.

We even had teach-ins so we could hear and benefit from the wisdom of others, and it wasn’t all old people but it often was.

But that’s not the whole thing, by far.

When we argued with our parents, we were arguing with them, personally, not with their whole generation. That made it a lot easier to stomp out of the room, because we knew that we’d find a better spot somewhere else.

All of which is to say that I don’t understand the despair of young people, but I know it’s there and I know they live in a different world than we did.

And I truly believe that the more we prattle on about Boomers and Millennials and Gen Xers, the deeper we dig ourselves into those artificial pigeonholes and stifle conversations that need to be happening.


And on a related note

Damien Glez takes on the cancellation of Woody Allen’s autobiography by Hachette, after a strong pushback by staff members there.

PEN has issued an objection, and I’m torn between uplifting the First Amendment and attacking Cancel Culture or conceding that Woody can self-publish the thing himself.

And nobody forced him to shoot “Manhattan,” though I suppose it was better than keeping the portrait up in the attic like Dorian Gray.

As Glez’s cartoon suggests, he created the resulting image, and, if he’d been more discreet in exposing his personal life on the screen, if he’d only shot silly films like “Bananas” and brilliant films like “Annie Hall,” we might be able to view his art over here and his personal life over there.

Maybe it was intentional, the way someone will drive into a bridge abutment rather than put a gun in his mouth: Everybody knows it’s suicide, but the insurance company still has to pay off.

“Manhattan” is a stunning visual film, while “Husbands and Wives” is full of wit and insight, but you can’t possibly watch either without being distracted and repelled by the obvious backstory.

It’s as plain as the nose on his face.


For further reading

Click for the rest of the story: Ward Sutton offers a delightful tour of the abattoir, either at his own page or, if you can get past the paywall, at the Boston Globe. (The latter would give him a more useful click.)


And here’s another fragment of a longer piece: Existential Comics lets John Searle take on the Matrix, which is almost too easy to be sporting.

There are certain films that provide a “Wait A Minute” moment, and, in the case of “The Sixth Sense,” it’s excellent and intentional and makes you go back and rethink the entire film, knowing what you now know.

Others ruin the whole thing. I wasn’t all the way back to the car after seeing “The Big Chill” when I thought, if they were such sold-out former freaks, how come — after burying their friend with a Stones song — they played jock music through the rest of the movie?

Where were the Doors and JA and Spirit and Big Brother and Traffic and Cream?

Kasdan obviously got a better licensing deal from Barry Gordy.

So they really were sellouts after all. How meta!

Anyway, if you haven’t seen the Matrix yet and want to enjoy it, you should probably avoid this cartoon.

Disillusion is, almost by definition, a drag.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Pigeonholes and disillusion

  1. Jack Weinberg also said, in a private conversation, that when he cut his hair and shaved his beard he’d really be dangerous.

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