sábado, noviembre 12, 2005

BALSAMIC DREAMS

Algunos de ustedes han reaccionado apasionadamente a los dos posts titulados “Entre la espada y la pared”, sobre mi experiencia en una charla de introducción a una red de mercadeo, dada por un tal Sr. Pérez. Creo que, con dichos posts, he tocado un tema cada vez más neurálgico para los que nacimos después de 1964, el asunto de qué vamos hacer con esa plaga conocida como los Baby Boomers.

Alguien me decía ayer que este año, el baby-boomer promedio cumple 60 años. Son ellos los que controlan la economía, el poder político y, por supuesto, los medios de comunicación. Son los que desde hace mucho tiempo están tomando las medidas necesarias para nunca morirse. Son los que se retirarán y, al hacerlo, quebrarán el seguro social. A nosotros, los de la generación X, nos tocará subvencionarles las Viagras. Y ni hablar del poder político que seguirán teniendo en virtud de lo numerosos que son.

Como dije en los comentarios a uno de los posts anteriores sobre el tema, la mejor condena de los baby-boomers que conozco es la de Joe Quenan, un baby-boomer aborchonado de su generación, que escribió el libro “Balsamic Dreams: A Short But Self-Important History of the Baby Boomer Generation”.

Lo que sigue es un extracto del primer capítulo de Balsamic Dreams, titulado “J’accuse”:

Throughout history, generations imbued with a messianic complex have inspired a wide range of powerful emotions. The Jacobins who decapitated Louis XVI inspired dread. The insurgents led by George Washington inspired admiration. The twentysomething barbarians who accompanied Genghis Khan on his pitiless campaigns through Central Asia and Eastern Europe inspired despair, the young Germans who put Hitler's name in lights inspired horror, the fresh-faced Frenchmen and Frenchwomen who built the cathedrals of Chartres and Amiens and Beauvais inspired awe.

Baby Boomers fall into a somewhat different category. As convinced of their uniqueness as the Bolsheviks, as persuaded of their genius as the Victorians, as self-absorbed as the Romantics, as prosperous as the ancient Romans, the Baby Boomers, despite a very good start (the Freedom Riders, Woodstock, Four Dead in Ohio, driving Nixon from office, Jon Voigt in Midnight Cowboy), have never put many points on the historical scoreboard. Feared and admired in their youth, today they inspire little more than irritation. Not outright revulsion, not apoplectic fury, but simple, unadorned garden-variety irritation. With a bit of contempt thrown in on the side.

The single most damning, and obvious, criticism that can be leveled at Baby Boomers is, of course, that they promised they wouldn't sell out and become fiercely materialistic like their parents, and then they did. They further complicated matters by mulishly spending their entire adult lives trying to persuade themselves and everybody else that they had not in fact sold out, that they had merely matured and grown wiser, that their values had undergone some sort of benign intellectual mutation. This only made things worse, because they had now compounded the sin of avarice with the sin of deceit. Besides, it was useless to deny their monstrous cupidity; banks keep records of this sort of thing.

They had not been the first generation to sell out, but they were the first generation to sell out and then insist that they hadn't. Here was their central tragedy, the poisoned well from which all their unhappiness flowed. They were conflicted. They were flummoxed. Their center would not hold, because they were no longer centered. They could not process the information that their guilt was misplaced, that no one in the United States of America would ever blame anyone for devoting every single moment of his life to the pursuit of filthy lucre -- as long as he didn't try pretending that he hadn't. The heartbreak of the Baby Boomer generation lay in the fact that they could not fully enjoy the wealth they had moved heaven and earth to acquire because they felt tainted by their ravenous greed. Baby Boomers would have turned out so much saner and happier if they had ripped a page from the Founding Fathers' playbook and said, "Yes, I chopped down that cherry tree. And then I securitized it into four equal tranches, with the first two splices reverting to the underwriter. You got a problem with that?"

Clearly, this refusal to own up to their own acquisitiveness is not the Baby Boomers' only broken promise. They said they wouldn't become crass and vulgar. But they are. They said they would never become horrid conformists. But they are. They said they would not be ruthless materialists. But then they embraced a complete Lifestyle Über Alles philosophy, carping and caviling at dinner parties over which local bakery sold the best sourdough boules, which kayak shop offered the most attractive warranties, which brand of grappa was most culturally authentic. It was a generation that once prided itself on questioning authority. Now its only questions were referred to authorities like Williams-Sonoma: "Is l'aceto di Modena superior to l'aceto di Reggio? Is Calasparra or arborio rice more desirable in preparing paella a la Valencia?" Their utopian visions of peace, love and understanding had been replaced by balsamic dreams.

In the end, Baby Boomers didn't deliver on any of their promises. Instead, they were a case study in false advertising. They professed to go with the flow, but it was actually the cash flow, and they most certainly did not teach their children well, as they were too busy videotaping them. Instead, they took a dive. They retreated into the deepest recesses of their surprisingly tiny inner lives. They became fakes, hypocrites, cop-outs and, in many cases, out-and-out dorks. And the worst thing was: Most of them didn't realize it.

4 Comentarios:

Blogger zaoco dijo...

cuantos conozco de estos...muy bien Hirsuto, estamos mejorando

10:09 p.m.  
Blogger PLOP dijo...

Did anyone say Florencio Merced? Anyone, anyone?

11:45 p.m.  
Blogger desentramados dijo...

Florencio notwithstanding, felicidades, ya estás a la mitad del camino para convertirte en un latter day boomer yourself. Quizás el nuevo lema de la Ínsula debería ser: más de treinta años trabajando activamente la hidalguía¨.

9:24 a.m.  
Anonymous beibibumerpelao dijo...

Papa, la vaina de ponerle nombres a las generaciones no es mas que un esfuerzo inutil de distinguir eso que en la naturaleza de las personas resulta ser repetitivo, y eso incluye a la tuya. Creernos que teniamos la verdad agarrada por el rabo, que eramos los mejores y ademas teniamos la razon, no es una caracteriastica particular nuestra, revisa la historia y en particular la de la generacion X , Y y Z. Solo las consignas cambian. Espero que no te des cuenta muy tarde, para que puedas hacer los que otros no han hecho. Digo, por aquello de evitar la recriminacion de las generaciones que les toque seguir a la tuya.

7:06 p.m.  

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