A chill froze my marrow many moons ago in the 1980’s, when Toys ‘R’ Us produced a commercial with an adult male singing what could be construed as a funeral dirge for America’s future:
I don’t want to grow up. I’m a Toy’s R US kid.There’s a million things at Toy’s R US that I can play with.From trains to planes and video games,it’s the biggest toy store there is.
I don’t want to grow up, cause baby if I did
I wouldn’t be a Toy’s R US kid.
The “baby” referred to in the second-last line refers to the Baby Boomers, the generation born after World War II, a generation already infamous for its self-centered self-righteousness and a generally “spoiled” nature, who were the target of this advertisement. The ad is brilliant of course, and has stayed around for years, because too many members of that and subsequent generations agree with the sentiment.
Symbolically the song joined other similar Peter-Pan paeans to perpetual puberty, e.g. the Tom Waits song (also pushed by The Ramones) called I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.
(Tom Waits/K. Brennan)
I don’t wanna grow up/Open up the medicine chest/And I don’t wanna grow up/I don’t wanna have to shout it out
I don’t want my hair to fall out/I don’t wanna be filled with doubt/I don’t wanna be a good boy scout/I don’t wanna have to learn to count
I don’t wanna have the biggest amount/I don’t wanna grow up
Well when I see my parents fight/I don’t wanna grow up/They all go out and drinking all night/And I don’t wanna grow up
I’d rather stay here in my room/Nothin’ out there but sad and gloom
I don’t wanna live in a big old Tomb/On Grand Street
When I see the 5 o’clock news/I don’t wanna grow up
Comb their hair and shine their shoes/I don’t wanna grow up
Stay around in my old hometown/I don’t wanna put no money down
I don’t wanna get me a big old loan/Work them fingers to the bone
Fall in love and get married then boom/How the hell did I get here so soon
I don’t wanna grow up
Culture, or in this case kulcher, can reflect not only the person producing it, but also the society surrounding the producer. Successful “kulcheral” products are successful precisely because the society agrees with, or at least recognizes, the ideas in the works.
Throughout the following, please be aware that I am generalizing, and that I am speaking of the Baby Boomers who will turn into the future Bill Clintons, Al Frankens, Al Gores, Michael Moores, and Obamas. Specific counter-examples can always be found, of course, but I intend on painting broadly.
The parents of the Baby Boomers, in an effort to spare their children the experiences of the Great Depression and World War II, unwittingly and with the best intentions sowed the winds of change. A rather protected and indulged group of young Americans grew up in the post-WWII era, and took some clues from their immediate predecessors, i.e. the so-called Silent Generation of Marlon Brando and James Dean, of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, on how to differentiate themselves from the adults who had suffered through nearly 20 years of economic depression, warfare, and rebuilding.
And how do you show you are different to people who sacrificed so much and metaphorically scaled the highest mountains in History?
You deny that the mountains were worth climbing!
Like Brando and Dean and Mick Jagger, you perpetually mock and sneer at everything around you!
Working for a living and saving money to avoid economic downturns? How droll! Working implies contributing to an immoral society where people are poor and starving and oppressed! “Workin’ for The Man every night ‘n’ day!” Why would you do that? NOT working for a living is the way to differentiate yourself! Living off the land in harmony with nature in a commune, or earning coins by singing on street-corners in San Francisco, will give you a Jesus-like dominance to repudiate the hypocritical Pharisees around you who are destroying the planet with atomic capitalism!
“Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.” Harvard Professor Timothy Leary in 1966.
Winning a war? Winning wars is immoral, because all warfare is immoral! The higher, steeper mountain is pacifism! NOT fighting for freedom shows true courage: “Freedom’s just another word for/nothin’ left to lose.” Stopping warfare at any price is a higher calling than fighting for the freedom of others or for your own. Freedom was an illusion anyway: Janis Joplin’s sentiment was being propounded by the Skinnerian Psychology dominant in the universities back then. Humans were not much above the rats in mazes, whose actions could be controlled and predicted by white-coated scientists handing out rewards and punishments for correct decisions.
Victor Davis Hanson and others have noted the arrogant attitude of MAObama and his minions as stemming from Plato’s philosopher-kings, but I suspect that B.F. Skinner and his deterministic world-view are the real background. In either case, the result is the same: the leftists believe that they are the ones ordained to pull your strings for your own good.
For nearly 50 years, Baby Boomer leftists – a minority, but a well-organized and vocal minority – have been convinced of their moral superiority, a superiority raging against the basic nature of what they view as a corrupt America, when in fact their arrested adolescence has now led us to the brink of disaster in MAObama.
We have had 3 Boomer presidents, beginning with Billy Jeff “I can’t keep my barn-door closed” Clinton. The Cheeseburger President gave us the first attempt at Hell-th Care, along with the Lewinsky affair, and many others which were whispered about. “If it feels good, do it,” proclaimed the 1960’s, as if the idea were brand new.
This Idiot in Chief gave no thought about the possibility of being blackmailed, if anyone hostile to the U.S. found out about his extramarital affair(s). His own narcissism and hedonism came first. Self-centeredness wagged Clinton to the brink of impeachment.
Certainly G.W. Bush, the second Boomer president, was a step up from Clinton, in that any faults he had previously indulged were attacked and reformed. W. Bush, however, is not a leftist. Or at least not completely. He may not be a Conservative, and had been scarred by dallying with the nonsense of the 1960’s, but he was obviously better in character. One of his main failings, however, because of the general nature of Baby Boomers, came through in his (in)famous statement that Americans needed to keep on going to Disney World and not let terrorists disrupt their lives. The average person would not need to sacrifice.
The avoidance of sacrifice is the hallmark of the Boomer leftists: unions, Hispanics, Afro-Americans, women, “the poor,” etc. etc. etc. should never have to sacrifice. Only the rich should be forced to do without…because they are rich!
And so we come to BIG BRObama, whose Skinnerian yearning for control and an egalitarian utopia has plugged into every discredited radical tenet from the 1960’s. He is the ultimate Peter Pan, leading Leftist Lost Boys on a crusade against the Captain Hooks of Capitalism and National Defense. His smoking and general slacker persona – please name a real job in his resume’ – plug right into the tattooed lives of too many 20-and-30-something males, themselves partially employed and angry at society for not making them successes after graduating with degrees in the History of Rock Music.
In the movie About Schmidt Jack Nicholson’s character visits the bedroom of the 30-something loser who is about to become his son-in-law. In horror he notices, proudly taped to a mirror, various Certificates of Participation from grade school, and realizes that the loser is another victim of the Everyone’s A Winner (even if they aren’t) atmosphere of American education.
Whom would such people vote for? Whom would they identify with? A white-haired grandfatherly war hero, or somebody similar to themselves? As in 1992 and 1996, Republican candidates were doomed to lose on generational aspects alone: and recall that in 2000 the “fortunate son” Al Gore technically was more popular than Texas National Guard fortunate son G.W. Bush.
And so we begin to understand the leftist wave which is still washing through America: a sneering adolescent rage against the real accomplishments of the previous generations of the Great Depression and World War II, a disparaging of success, an egalitarian resentment of ability and achievement, all of which need to be smoothed out by government bureaucrats, and a belief that victimhood trumps classic American rugged individualism.
I believe that in spite of their “kulcheral dominance” the Leftist Lost Boys remain a minority, that the “Silent Majority” of the 1960’s can reclaim the White House and the Congress, but only by ending their silence.
The Tea Parties and the rise of sites like RedState on the Internet may allow polite, hard-working Conservatives to end their frustration and to shrug off the leftist shackles now being forged in Washington D.C. by the radicals placed in charge of our country by a Confederacy of Dunces.
We need to explain how human self-respect comes from work and accomplishment and proper behavior toward others: it is not something granted by a piece of paper from a government bureaucrat.