The other day I was reading something on a local news blog I follow about what a mess we’re in, and someone commented that America would not be able to move forward, or solve even one problem, until the last baby-boomer was dead. I was really taken aback by this, as I could not recollect a single thing I had done to impede our progress as a nation. And yet here was someone asserting, earnestly and without irony, that I had to die before things would get better.
I figured, OK, there’s always one idiot who needs to stand out with an inflammatory remark. I know there’s a lot of boomer-hate out there, but this guy is clearly a troll. People will put him in his place with their replies, I thought. But I soon realized that everyone who reads this blog thought exactly the same thing, and they were all “liking” the boomers-must-die comment. One or two brave souls piped up to put in a good word for my generation and cite an accomplishment or two, but they were quickly and loudly shouted down.
It made me realize, yet again, that everyone always thinks the older generation caused all their problems and the younger generation is a bunch of spoiled brats who don’t know what they’re talking about. Unless you’re a pandering crypto-douchebag, like, say, a Noam Chomsky, once you reach a certain age you’re pretty much useless and/or invisible to everyone who comes behind.
Which brings me to the subject of popular music. Remember how you thought your parents’ taste in music was so awful? I’m not just talking about the obvious “Doggie-in-the-window” kind of awful, but everything they listened to, even the stuff that you now realize was pretty damn good – from Benny Goodman to Miles Davis. Or Les Paul, who, it turns out after all, was a God.
Everyone loves the music that was in the air when they came of age. And everyone holds on to that peculiar love as they get older, insisting that their music is the only really great music. It’s painful to hear the generation after us dismiss or make fun of our music. How can they not see the brilliance?
Chuck Berry died yesterday.
You can go swimming in an ocean of words about him on the internet today, so I’m not going to write about why he was so important to us, except to say that he was.
You can read about how weird it was that a black kid from St. Louis became an important icon for white teenagers, while black kids weren’t much interested in him at all.
Or you can read about how eccentric and difficult he was to work with, how he wanted to control all aspects of his “product” and the revenue stream it produced, and how this ultimately hurt and diminished him.
Or you can read about his brushes with the law, including some things he shouldn’t have been doing with underage girls. ZOMG! Monster! I can hear all you Millennials and gen-whatevers screaming, “His music must be banned!”
Do as you like. Think what you will. It doesn’t matter to me, just as my ramblings will likely not matter to you. Chuck Berry was and is a lot more important to me and many others like me than you young geniuses can ever understand.