Sunday, June 5, 2011

Elvis is dead

I believe as we grow older, we revert slowly back to those things and ways of thinking that remind us of our childhood. Many of these memories we tend to idealize and think to ourselves "those were the good old days". I see this a whole lot with Baby Boomers and there is certainly a market and media geared towards exploiting that tendency for idealization for profit. This is also exploited heavily by the politicians and their handlers who work hand in hand with those media interests, namely Fox News and the likes of Beck and Hannity. There is money to be made and votes to be obtained from those retirees who are constantly told that things were so wonderful back in the 50's and early 60's, before the Beatles stopped cutting their hair and the hippies came along.

I always find it interesting that when you ask these people when they think things started going downhill, they usually say "around 1964 or 1965". I pin this to a couple of events. First, 1964 was the year LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and 1965 was when US combat units were first officially deployed in Vietnam. A third contender was the 1963 assassination of JFK, which was the first time a president had been killed since McKinley and this was on film.

I don't want to lump all Baby Boomers together as prejudiced because that is a blanket statement that doesn't apply to them all and it is just part of the answer. You have to remember though, many of these people grew up in a time when white people ran almost everything. Blacks attended separate schools, shined your shoes and maybe washed the dishes in the drive-in restaurant you hung out at on weekends. It was definitely a W.A.S.P. dominated society, especially in the southern states.

Media was different then too. You had the cowboy films with a good guy vs. a bad guy, there were few anti-heroes or gray areas in these movies. It was John Wayne and Elvis. Elvis was controversial but still clean cut, and white. Times have changed, John Wayne is long gone and Elvis died on the toilet. Yet, just as there are some people still want to believe he is still alive, there are many more that refuse to accept that they have grown older, society has changed. In the greater scheme of things, not only are they refusing to accept the changes in this world, they are also dodging the acknowledgement of their own mortality. By denying change, it also makes it easier to try to deny the fact you will one day dance with The Reaper, especially if you can afford Botox.

Having grown up in a generation that mostly accepts gay and inter-racial relationships, that thinks not in black and white but in various shades of gray, I wonder what it will be like when we hit that same age? It will be here eventually, whether we want to accept it or not.

1 comment:

  1. Husband and I are both boomers. Although we grew up in segregated times, somehow we escaped them. Both of us had serious words with right wing zealots at our local farmers market. Maryland passed a law allowing children of illegals to pay instate tuition. They MUST go to community college first. It's not a free ride. Yet, there is a petition to take that away. I'm told that this is rewarding bad behavior. I see it as helping kids who were taken here as children and have grown up as Americans. Why deny an education to ANYONE. Also, I am concerned about the US losing it's competitive edge because of immigration restrictions. I am NOT pro illegal immigration. I just want there to be a decent middle ground. I want us to be a welcoming country. If illegals were from Northern Europe or Canada, they would be welcome with open arms.