Friday, June 04, 2004


A Letter to "The Greatest Generation"

Dear Moms & Dads,

Sorry we haven't written in a long time, but you know we Boomers have
an enormous amount of focus on ourselves, and we have been so busy leading fulfilling lives, or on meaninful journeys seeking fulfilling lives. We wanted to pass on some exciting news about us that we know you'll be thrilled about. But first, with "D-Day" celebrations going on (seems like ancient history!), it seems only polite that we say "thanks" for defending us from the Nazis. So be sure to see all of the TV specials and movies that we've made depicting your lives. We're sorry we haven't had a chance to talk to you about your own personal story of those times, but we've just been so busy.

We know that most of you probably enlisted only because you didn't want to be ostricized from mid-twentieth century society, and the Army was the only way you could make your life better (clearly American capitalism had failed in providing jobs and it took a war to revive the economy). It just seems ironic that the Bush Administration is now plotting to turn America into such a fascist state, what with John Ashcroft, the Patriot Act, and a right-wing Supreme Court. We also forgive you for some of the terrible atrocities that you committed during WWII, like incarcaration of Japanese-Americans and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, but we hadn't enlightened you about civil rights yet. You'll be happy to know that we have reconciled with our deluded contemporaries who actually went to Vietnam and did all similar sorts things like My Lai. By the way, about Vietnam, remember that was different than WWII: it was OUR lives and futures that were going to be risked, not yours. Too bad you could have signed up again for that one, eh? But then if you had been killed who would have paid for our tuition? (ha ha!). We haven't seen any TV specials on the Korean War yet but we promise we will when we have time. But we did watch MASH every week!

It's still puzzling to us as to why after saving civilization from facism, you then came home and created the 1950s! What a socially, sexually, culturally, and intellectually repressive time! All your cookie cutter jobs and cookie cutter suburban homes, and empty lives. The only thing of any worth that came out of the '50s was
Allen Ginsberg, Jack Keroack, Hugh Hefner, the Kinsey Report, and folk music. It seemed that you were compensating for your lack of food, clothing and shelter during the Depression by indulging yourself with things like ranch houses and TV dinners. But thanks for the toys, the Davy Crockett coonskin cap, the bicycles, the hula-hoops, the '45s, the car, and the tuition. If Bush and his cronies would spend more on education maybe we could send our kids to Harvard, too.

But remember, we were soldiers, too, in a way: fighting an unjust war, (we did organize a bake sale last week for the "Peace and Justice in Iraq Committee" last week, and if there is one more Abu Graib only our enlightened committment to nonviolent resistance will keep us from spitting on the next soldier we see!) and rebelling against a repressive society ('68 was hell, but thanks for wiring that money after those jerks that ran the ashram took all our stuff, as part of our "spriritual awakening"). Here were some of victories: guilt-free sexual expression and more open relationships (by the way, we'll tell the grandkids that we actually wrote you a letter during our next visitation weekend), conciousness expansion (thanks for being at Tom's funeral for us back in '72. We just got so busy. We knew he would buy some bad junk one day; he should have used our dealer), a more economically just society (those food stamps really came in handy...we had to really BS that social worker to get them. That damn Newt Gingrich and the Republicans tricked Clinton into taking away assistance from people whose only crime was they didn't win life's lottery. We are so committed to social justice that we became life members of Oxfam after we took profits on the junk bonds in '84), repressive social and religious institutions (oh, yeah the grandkids really like the private academy, but man is the tuition steep, and we tell the kids to ignore the God crap that the nuns spew during class), and did we mention guilt-free sexual expression?

Well, enough about our past, let us tell you about our future! Here's the great news, and we know you are so happy for us: we are about to retire! Sadly, you'll not be able spend more time with us; we won't be able to get the nursing home much since we're going to move closer to our spiritual mentor in Sedona. But we know you're thrilled for us, what with all of the miracles of modern medicine - Viagra, botox, plastic surgery, hip replacements, fetal stem cell research, and maybe even organ harvesting - we'll live forever and be able to achieve complete fulfillment! Those grandkids better starting working harder so that we can take out several times more than we ever put into Social Security and Medicare!

Later, Mom and Dad - our reading group starts the Noam Chomsky '9/11' book in a few minutes.

- your kids, The Worst Generation