Paul du Quenoy says his (pierced and tattooed) generation is conservative, because it remembers growing up under Reagan. (!)
What makes X-ers like me (born in 1977) so damn conservative? In the context of 2022, there is no great mystery. We grew up in the 1980s, a blessedly simpler time when life was fun and carefree, when the USA was cruising toward Cold War triumph, and when truth, justice, and the American way were both time-tested certainties and the unstoppable wave of the future. As far as we knew, we were living in the best of all possible worlds, riding our bikes without helmets, going to raves without social media tracking our every move and pill, knowing our moms and dads couldn’t be helicopter parents if they had the whole Army Air Cavalry Brigade at their disposal. Every problem had a solution. Every feeling found a form. Every dream became a reality.
Moronic boomers took our complacency for laziness. We were derided as “slackers,” dismissed as the first generation who would live worse than our parents. We were chided for our cynicism toward the Sixties ideals that our elders still mouthed but had abandoned so hypocritically that for us they were little more than a good laugh when the adults left the room.
For a brief moment, we were the Brat Pack ready to take the reins in a Pax Americana. Then, as the college students and young professionals of the 1990s, we watched the boomers piss it all away. Scandal followed scandal. Power grab followed power grab. One institution after the next was corroded by corruption and greed. By the end of the decade, the first boomer commander-in-chief left us wondering what the definition of “is” was as he testified in the first presidential impeachment trial in 130 years. The boomers knew they had failed. But rather than admit it, they retreated into Bob Dylan’s tedious word salads and hid behind corporatized Beatles lyrics.
Of course their values struck us as hollow and empty. The much promised better world — and the opportunities we were meant to have so long as we jumped through their achievement hoops — never materialized alongside all the wars and recessions. Like the latch-key kids we’d once been, we found our own solutions. We became self-reliant, self-directed, and self-assured. Our medium was sarcasm because nothing left to us was sacred or even authentic. More of us believed we would live to see UFOs than Social Security checks. To the mass irritation of our parents and teachers, we tuned in religiously to the satire of South Park before it got preachy, The Simpsons before it got zany, and Saturday Night Live before it sucked.
We watched with bemusement as the younger generation born after 1980 — the millennials now poised to vote Democratic despite it all — grew up coddled and medicated, enslaved by technology, unable to solve basic problems without turning to parental helicopters. Their entitled ways became even less intelligible as they spouted identity politics and grievance tropes gleaned from our failing schools and universities, using them to whine, shame, and scold their way into the lower echelons of the workplace while taking gruesome bites of avocado toast to help the overprescribed Xanax and Adderall go down. The irony with which they expressed their discontent seemed pointless and sad.
To our immense frustration, the boomers cultivated millennial dependency and helplessness, all while keeping real power, success, and independence out of their emotionally impaired reach. “You will own nothing and you will be happy,” an arch boomer recently told them without discernible objection. Is it any surprise that more American millennials view socialism more favorably than capitalism and vote that way? For both sides of this codependent intergenerational alliance, the ideology of the left offers to provide for their ever greater needs while absolving them of all responsibility. There’s an app for that. It is called the Democratic Party.
Generation X-ers are caught in the precarious middle. Our financial fortunes have been broadly held back by Boomers unwilling to pass the torch, and are coveted by millennials. The freedoms we knew and cherished through our young adulthoods are now ever more forfeit to the nihilistic abstractions of “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” which are demanded by our insecure juniors and mandated by our browbeaten seniors. The uplifting unity we felt when the Berlin Wall fell has yielded the crude, hackneyed divisions of identity politics and a digital age atomization so thorough that 65 percent of young Americans do not feel comfortable having a face-to-face conversation. Our natural esteem for success and prosperity is locked in mortal combat with the crippling self-doubt, poisonous envy, and consequent ill will of the generations surrounding us.
For the X-er, the choice is clear. One party, whatever its faults, vibes morally and ethically with the spreading of human happiness and success tempered by traditional values. The other party tries to enforce alien moral and ethical vibes as a precondition of human happiness and success at the expense of traditional values, especially if they get in the way of its peculiar vision of “social justice.” Nearly six out of ten X-ers are drawing on their halcyon childhoods to find the right way forward.
Long-time underground comix stars The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers are about to emerge into the light with an eight-episode animated series, with help from key creative talent behind Rick & Morty, Silicon Valley and Workaholics, among others.
Gilbert Shelton, the Freak Brothersâ€™ creator, will be an executive producer on the animated project. The show will be built around his comicâ€™s original story lines, which follow the misadventures of three pharmacologically impaired non-siblings (and their cat) as they try to find more drugs, It is both celebration and satire of alternative culture, and remains a cult favorite. Freak Brothers comics have been translated into 14 languages with more than 40 million copies sold.
The Freak Brothers debuted in 1968 in The Rag, an Austin, Texas, alternative paper. Three years later, the first stand-alone Freak Brothers comics were published, with new issues from Shelton and eventual collaborators David Sheridan and Paul Mavrides arriving through1992, including runs in publications such as High Times and Playboy. Compilations of the work have been in print in one form or another ever since.
The eight 22-minute episodes of adult-oriented animation are expected to be ready by early next year. The project has not lined up distribution yet, but has enlisted a lengthy list of Hollywood veterans of notable TV and film projects.
Gerard van der Leun is fed up with our generation’s, his and mine, members of the elite community of fashion.
In the past few decades, self-loathing has drenched many Americans of the Left. …. A self-loathing that has reached its apotheosis in those â€œAmericansâ€ that love the hallucinogenic fantasy of an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, a sanctuary California, a Hillary forcefully installed as Big Granny President for Life, and Donald Trumpâ€™s head on a stake over the main gate to DC. All so they can get back to sitting in their dark cave and watch their dream-world socialist vision screened on the back wall.
After the rise of Obama, the most anti-American American president in history, the vision became joyfully anti-American. It is now self-evident what their â€œpath to successâ€ is in the minds of those who have embraced and live the progressive vision. It is a vision very much alive, kicking and in residence in the DNC, the Obama mansions, the Clinton Crew, the Groves of Academe, and the dark, Satanic propaganda mills of the media, news as well as advertisements and â€œentertainmentâ€.
Millions of Americans, unknowing, uncaring, or ungulled by the Left cannot see this vision. This vision, as far as the masses are concerned, is unknown and unknowable. It is very much a secret.
It is â€œthe vision that dare not speak its name.â€
What is no secret is that classical liberalism, in the mold of FDR, JFK, and LBJ that reached its apotheosis in Hubert Humphrey, has long been consigned to the bone-yard. What has taken its place hates to be tarred with the brush of liberalism because, frankly, it isnâ€™t. It prefers to be called â€œprogressivismâ€ even though â€œa sociopathic political and social recidivismâ€ more accurately describes it.
What now stands in the place one occupied by classical liberalism is a kind of perverted one-world idealism in which â€œthe world as it isâ€ is constantly measured against â€œthe world as it should be.â€ Classic liberalism at least had the argument that it was being done for the greater good. The new perverted progressive liberalism variant is one in which policy and plans are made because it makes the initiators yearn to â€œfeel goodâ€ in the manner that compulsive masturbators obsess over fantasies implanted before puberty. Those that make and support these measures hold themselves in high regard, seeing each other as, in the French phrase popular when many of them were young, citoyens du monde.
The donations come in the front door and the Creches go out the back. All done with a nudge and a wink to â€œthe protection of liberty and diversityâ€
Typically these are people who have â€œgone beyondâ€ nation-states in their own minds and, if they can afford it (and many can), in their personal lives as well. These are people with access to enough money to afford private jets or enough money to pay the premium prices of a hybrid car. They do not dwell in the same nation as their fellow, less-fortunate citizens. Instead, they can afford to spend their time spreading a gospel whose high costs and marginal benefits are always carefully hidden from the middle middle class and those below. But this is never seen by those spreading the gospel as a kind of noblesse oblige, only as something that is â€œgood for them.â€ …
[W]e see thousands of continuing efforts to spread â€œcorrect thinking and correct behavior and correct beliefâ€ in the endless bullying of small organizations by larger â€œclear headedâ€ organizations such as the ACLU. It is all their way or the lawsuit highway; a kind of fiscal extortion racket. The donations come in the front door and the Creches go out the back. All done with a nudge and a wink to â€œthe protection of liberty and diversityâ€ at the same time that diversity of the â€œbadâ€ kind is reduced. Like latter-day Leona Helmsleys, these visionaries are always at pains to â€œthank the little peopleâ€ for letting them have it their way.
These erstwhile American citizens do not think of themselves as actual Americans (although they play them easily and glibly on TV), but as a new and better breed that only retain their â€œAmericanâ€ status for the clear and present benefits. Instead, they prefer to think of themselves as inhabiting a rarer, more personally fragrant realm of ideals that the rest of us do not see and cannot aspire to.
I have loads of Yale classmates (all white, mind you) eagerly looking forward to the elimination of the white American majority and the country’s transformation into a more-northerly Brazil. They manage to ignore the differences in economic productivity, cultural and technological creativity, and political order and stability between the United States and Brazil. And they are, alas! completely ignorant of the overwhelmingly social importance of differing shades of color in Brazil. But, if you disagree with them, you are a racist and doomed reactionary.
Pamela Constable is a Washington Post correspondent and a typical traitor-to-her-class Baby Boomer, who grew up in WASP-y, privileged Connecticut only to rebel against her parents’ values and become a Social Justice Warrior Holier-Than-Thou. Now, rather late in the game, she is beginning to understand that her parents sacrificed and struggled without complaint to obtain for her the privileged life-style she so despised, and she is beginning to see that the old-fashioned WASP virtues of hard work, good manners, emotional restraint, and good taste have quite a lot to be said for them.
My childhood was a cocoon of tennis and piano lessons, but once I reached my teens, disturbing news began filtering in from the world beyond. An alumna of my elementary school gave an impassioned speech about her summer registering black voters in the South. At boarding school, a current-events teacher introduced me to McCarthyism and apartheid, and I watched the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. Filled with righteous indignation, I memorized Bob Dylan songs about poverty and injustice and vowed to become a crusading journalist. Above my study carrel, I taped the famous journalistic directive to â€œcomfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.â€
The most convenient target I could afflict was my parents, who seemed more worried about their daughter turning into a hippie than about a world full of rampant wrongs. I wrote them earnest letters railing against capitalism, country clubs and colonial exploitation. I accused them of being snobs and racists and scoffed at their preoccupation with appearance. If they were hurt or offended, they never let it show, in part because I kept getting Aâ€™s and dutifully stood through numerous fittings for my debutante dress.
I hardly saw my parents during my four years at Brown, a tumultuous time that included the bombing of Cambodia and the resignation of Richard Nixon. Soon after graduation I was gone, immersed in big-city newspaper work. I spent a decade writing about alcoholics and juvenile delinquents and slumlords. Eventually my reporting took me even farther afield, to impoverished or war-torn countries such as Haiti and Chile, India and Afghanistan. It was an adventuresome and stimulating career, but it was also a kind of private atonement for having grown up amid such privilege. I rarely told anyone where I was from.
Over time, my relations with my parents settled into a long-distance detente that was affectionate but formal. We sent each other thank-you notes and avoided talking about politics. Yet even though I had run as far from Connecticut as I could, every time I called from another war zone or refugee camp, they always asked eagerly, â€œWhen might we see you again?â€ The guest room was always waiting, with a few ancient stuffed animals on the pillow.
Still, it was only after witnessing the desperation and cruelty of life in much of the world that I began to reexamine my prejudices against the cloister I had fled. In some countries, I saw how powerful forces could keep people trapped in poverty for life; in others, how neighbors could slaughter each other in spasms of hate. I met child brides and torture victims, religious fanatics and armed rebels. I explored societies shattered by civil war, upended by revolution, and strangled by taboo and tradition.
Visiting home between assignments, I found myself noticing and appreciating things I had always taken for granted â€” the tamed greenery and smooth streets, the absence of fear and abundance of choice, the code of good manners and civilized discussion. I also began to learn things about my parents I had never known and to realize that I had judged them unfairly. I had confused their social discomfort with condescension and their conservatism with callousness.
Canada is slightly ahead of us in providing universal, state-funded healthcare. Of course, when the state, meaning other people, are paying for your health care, attitudes and policies toward you members of the aging Baby Boomer generation may not prove to be entirely to your liking.
Baby Boomers will increasingly find handy David Eagleman’s 2006 start-up, Deathswitch described at Wired.
â€œAt the beginning of the computer era, people died with passwords in their heads.â€
It was an administrative nightmare, with emails, photos, diaries, and financial information locked away for all eternity simply because people kept crossing into the beyond with the only set of keys. Eventually, Eagleman writes, a solution emerged: software called Death Switches that would detect a personâ€™s demise and send prewritten, postmortem emails to next of kin, sharing passwords. But it didnâ€™t take long, Eagleman goes on, for people to realize they could communicate more than passwords. They could say good-bye or get in the last word of an argument.
As it turns out, Eagleman wasnâ€™t just writing fiction. In 2006 he launched a real-life startup, Deathswitch, to provide the service. Subscribers are prompted periodically via email to make sure theyâ€™re still alive. When they fail to respond, Deathswitch starts firing off their predrafted notes to loved ones. The company now has thousands of users and effectively runs itself. Among the perks of a premium Deathswitch account is the ability to schedule emails for delivery far in the future: to wish your wife a happy 50th wedding anniversary, for example, 30 years after you left her a widow.
Death is the original other dimensionâ€”a parallel universe that, for millennia, we have anxiously tried to understand. As software, Deathswitch is relatively simple, but as a tool in that millennia-long project it can feel spine-chillingly disruptive. Eagleman has jury-rigged a way for people to speak from beyond that inviolable border andâ€”for those of us still sticking it out on this sideâ€”to feel weâ€™re being spoken to. Itâ€™s another example of technology enabling things that previously would have seemed magic.