Jun
30

Metro Times makes its own reality, or requiem for a useless generation

By

God bless the gray hairs at the Metro Times. If it wasn’t for the sex trade ads paying their freight, we’d have another half-dozen baby boomers suckling at the Social Security teet. The once alternative rag says the emerging demographics shifts will one day prove the Social Fourm relevant. Aging white person Curt Guyette even quoted aging white person Shea Howell to prove that aging white person Nolan Finley is, well, an aging white person.

As America becomes less white, Guyette claims, leaders like Maureen Taylor will emerge as potent change agents. Except, as Guyette willfully fails to note, Detroit’s majority black electorate overwhelmingly rejected Taylor’s City Council bid in 2005. Why does actual democracy have this awful habit of thwarting utopian people’s democratic movements?

Things have changed since then, right? Sure. In 2009, Detroit voters radically transformed City Council. For the first time in history, the body entirely is African-American. It is also led by Vital Center pragmatists more interested in paying for streetlights than abstract ideological constructs. While Guyette, Howell, Taylor, and company fiddled at the Social Forum, City Council’s young turks are fighting the good fight against Dave Bing and Norm White’s fictional budget. It’s not an easy battle, but an important one. Detroit’s future generations shouldn’t be saddled with debts caused a feckless generation’s mismanagement.

Demographic shifts are changing the body politic, but not in ways Guyette dreams about while tossing off to the Port Huron Statement. Despite the noisy malcontents, left and right, Americans are discovering, or will soon quickly discover, there is no shining path. Society is, and always will be, a messy construct. No, you can’t have your country back. Nor can you have a revolution.

The lesson of the Social Forum, as with its semi-literate right-wing cousin The Tea Party, is this: any political movement fueled by baby boomer discontent is mercifully doomed to fail. Theirs is a generation of irrelevant, emotional narcissists unable to let go of the failed misadventures of their youth. Sorry Glenn Close, but it was all fashion. (Metro Times)

Categories : Jackals & Jackasses

21 Comments

1

“Despite the noisy malcontents, left and right, Americans are discovering, or will soon quickly discover, there is no shining path. Society is, and always will be, a messy construct. No, you can’t have your country back. Nor can you have a revolution.”

Just thought this was worth being on the page twice.

2
de.construct.ion
June 30th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I would like to “thumbs up” this 1000 times. I would also like to meet some of my peers who feel the same way and derive another plan that may actually work…

3

Wow, gray ‘n and pale Curt really served it up on a Day-Glo poster, didn’t he?

Almost seems as though he was daring you to swing: “Of course, it is easy to make fun of people who are earnest.”

Yes Curt, it is. And your point would be . . .

. . . to restrain ourselves? Or, failing that, to show how easy it truly is?

4

after reading an article in the free press, i think thats where it was, about the US social forum and how this lady who was 43 biked from wisconsin to michigan was upset because the kids “just didn’t get it”, i realized how pointless the entire thing was. plus, her non stop bragging about being an anarchist just made me want to go downtown and vomit on her tent and explain that anarchy is not a valid belief since anarchy usually leads to a form of totalitarianism. once someone gets all the firepower, they will want to have the power. its bound to happen, old lady.

5

also, fucking fantastic write up, WF. Even had to put the quote that Doc posted again on Facebook.

6

“…any political movement fueled by baby boomer discontent is mercifully doomed to fail. Theirs is a generation of irrelevant, emotional narcissists unable to let go of the failed misadventures of their youth.”

These words are like balm to my tired, baby-boomer-hating eyes. I think I cried a little bit when I read this. From happiness.

7

“Vital center” refers to the contest between democracy and totalitarianism, not to contests within democracy between liberalism and conservatism, not at all to the so-called “middle of the road” preferred by cautious politicians of our own time. The middle of the road is definitely not the vital center: it is the dead center. Within democracy the argument adheres to FDR’s injunction to move always “a little to the left of center.” – Arthur Schlesinger

8

We’re not getting Michigan back from the boomers until we pry it from their cold, dead hands.

I did want to point out that the Slimes is actually no longer dependent exclusively on sex trade ads, if you pick up a copy, clearly the medical marijuana/hydroponics industry is financing the weekly rag.

9

Just to be clear, 43-year olds are not, and will never be “baby boomers”. The United States Census Bureau considers a baby boomer to be someone born during the demographic birth boom between 1946 and 1964. Landon Jones, who coined the term “baby boomer” in his book Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, defined the span of the baby-boom generation as extending from 1946 to 1964. Others label American Baby Boomers as those born 1943 to 1960. That doesn’t mean we don’t have anarchists, malcontents and the terminally under-employed in our midst. Other than that, the post and comments are spot on.

10
Nicole Rupersburg
June 30th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

WF: Ever read Boomsday? It’s fiction but the farcical premise of encouraging Boomers to “transition” (voluntarily commit suicide so as to be less of a burden on current wage-earners) a la “A Modest Proposal” would probably appeal to you.

11

When are these gray hairs going to realize that the youth don’t share their absurd and unrealistic aspirations?

I’m 26, and I don’t know anyone who would subscribe to even 10% of what these people at the Social Forum are trying to sell. Conservative, liberal, black, white, brown, gay or straight, we’re all too pragmatic to buy into this nonsense.

I’m not saying that the societal ills they fight against aren’t real. But my generation has no interest in a revolution. We’re not going to create a utopia. We’re educated enough to realize it’s not possible. As best I can tell, what we want is a strong economy, a decent standard of living, a cleaner environment and a government that isn’t totally bankrupted from supporting the greed of all these old hippies.

So no, it doesn’t matter how much browner our population is getting. There’s not going to be a time when my generation has any interest in anarchy, biking from Madison to Detroit as anything other than a bike race, Marxism, or marching through the streets. It’s just not in anyone’s blood.

I mean, this chump is actually citing Hugo Chavez like his existence is a good thing. What world do these people live in?

Just as our formerly hippie parents got haircuts, jobs and bought minivans while making sure we studied hard enough to become doctors and lawyers, the 50 or so people under the age of 30 that showed up to this thing will do the same.

12

Boomsday was a great read. Bring on the death panels!

13

“The lesson of the Social Forum, as with its semi-literate right-wing cousin The Tea Party, is this: any political movement fueled by baby boomer discontent is mercifully doomed to fail.”

Um, most of the attendees of the forum are children of baby boomers.

Your posts constantly de-legitimatize new ideas, and any kind of grassroots cooperation.

What good does it do to shit talk an event that yielded this comment, “As a grandmother, I am tired of seeing people in Detroit lose their jobs and homes,. Not because they are lazy & shftless as Nolan Finley would like peple to believe , but because of circumstances beyond their control. I just want to help. The forum gave me a chance to interact and meet with various groups so that I can lend a helping hand. I know I cannot join all of the groups, but I had the chance to find the ones I can participate with. Detroit is MY city & I do not wish to see it fall totally into the garbage bin. Too bad the media only gave the forum 50 seconds air time on each station….I wonder why ?”

You’re not a pragmatist, you’re bitter.

14

You have some demographic data to back that up? The aging anarchist complained about shiftless young people charging their cell phones in an alternative fuel van, Shea Howell talking about the same stuff she talked about in 1965, some grandmother in the Metro Times, etc. You can get a nice mess of college-age kids at a Republican rally, but that doesn’t mean the Tea Party speaks for the youth of America.

As for new ideas, I saw nothing in their literature or heard anything from their proponents suggesting new ideas. It’s all the same old shit, and none of it will fix the myriad of problems your grandmother so succinctly lays out.

You know what I like: the new leadership on City Council. A new urbanist master plan, done properly and transparently, for Detroit. Barack Obama’s health care reform, outstanding. Vaclav Havel and the Velvet Revolution were masterful. Working within Arthur Schlesinger’s Vital Center is also good. That stuff is as foreign to the Social Forum as it is to Nolan Finley’s editorial page. It’s like Sinclair Lewis wrote:

The Communists have a patent Solution they know will work. So have the Fascists, and the rigid American Constitutionalists–who call themselves advocates of Democracy, without any notion what the word ought to mean; and the Monarchists–who are certain that if we could just resurrect the Kaiser and the Czar and King Alfonso, everybody would be loyal and happy again, and the banks would simply force credit on small businessmen at 2 per cent. And all the preachers–they tell you that they alone have the inspired Solution.

“Well, gentlemen, I have listened to all your Solutions, and I now inform you that I, and I alone, except perhaps for Walt Trowbridge and the ghost of Pareto, have the perfect, the inevitable, the only Solution, and that is: There is no Solution! There will never be a state of society anything like perfect!

“There never will be a time when there won’t be a large proportion of people who feel poor no matter how much they have, and envy their neighbors who know how to wear cheap clothes showily, and envy neighbors who can dance or make love or digest better.”

Doremus suspected that, with the most scientific state, it would be impossible for iron deposits always to find themselves at exactly the rate decided upon two years before by the National Technocratic Minerals Commission, no matter how elevated and fraternal and Utopian the principles of the commissioners.

His Solution, Doremus pointed out, was the only one that did not flee before the thought that a thousand years from now human beings would probably continue to die of cancer and earthquake and such clownish mishaps as slipping in bathtubs. It presumed that mankind would continue to be burdened with eyes that grow weak, feet that grow tired, noses that itch, intestines vulnerable to bacilli, and generative organs that are nervous until the age of virtue and senility. It seemed to him unidealistically probable, for all the “contemporary furniture” of the 1930’s, that most people would continue, at least for a few hundred years, to sit in chairs, eat from dishes upon tables, read books–no matter how many cunning phonographic substitutes might be invented, wear shoes or sandals, sleep in beds, write with some sort of pens, and in general spend twenty or twenty-two hours a day much as they had spent them in 1930, in 1630. He suspected that tornadoes, floods, droughts, lightning, and mosquitoes would remain, along with the homicidal tendency known in the best of citizens when their sweethearts go dancing off with other men.

15

Forgive me if I couldn’t make it through more than a paragraph ot two of Guyette’s drivel, I never can, but I’m sure he doesn’t speak for the Boomers, God how I hate that term, any more than Barney the Dinosaur speaks for the rest of you.

Having said that, I found it ironic that the Socilaist People’s Campground looked like a page out of a Patagonia or Moosejaw catalogue, thousand dollar tents anybody?, until I witnessed a gaggle of anarchists walking up Cass and dragging those annoying suitcase-on-wheels things behind them.

16
Camille Desmoulins
June 30th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

J. Crew Jacobins

17

Barney the Dinosaur speaks for me.

18

@Camille D: I loves me the J Crew catalog, my favorite being the Timex military watch which should cost about fifty bucks except they beat the shit out of it first and then charge $150 for it.

19

The Baby Boomers label really only applies to members of that generation who actually believe they are special because of their birthdate. And, in fairness, the Greatest Generation is at fault. Montesquieu said it best: “It is not the young people that degenerate; they are not spoiled till those of mature age are already sunk into corruption.”

Really, we should thank the Boomers for being such awful parents. Gen X/Y doesn’t harbor any illusions of pre-destined greatness. Sure, there are a few obnoxious 20-somethings who think their shit doesn’t stink because they go to work in flip flops. That’s just ordinary 20-something hubris. After a few years of 14 hour days at the Googleplex, they’ll know better.

20
dean acheson jr, jr
July 1st, 2010 at 1:01 pm

thanks for a good read.
good government really isn’t about solving problems. the human condition will not allow for permanent utopian solutions to problems. good government is more simply about managing problems, or containing problems as best we can.
the ism-ists on the right and left believe that a one size fits all application of their particular self-contained logical/moral system will result in permanent solutions to problems. not possible.
some fundamental principles of course can be applied to good government, like “the golden rule” (sorry objectivists) and “hard work” (sorry kleptocrats) and “personal freedom” (sorry communists and theocrats) and some principles may seem to work at cross purposes at some times, but those are the times that call for calm judgment and rational analysis rather than adherence to a rigorous ideology.
“the future comes one day at a time.”

21

APM, thank you for pointing out that 43-year-olds are not baby boomers. I was more insulted by that comment of Motz’s than by hearing someone three years older than me snidely called “old lady.” Interestingly, my parents, who were born a year too early to be baby boomers and yet share all their cultural touchstones, similarly bristle at being lumped in with them.

MQT, I’m old enough to be your mother (if I had kids shamefully young, but still) and I agreed with every word.

And emotional narcissists about covers it. The day before the USSF officially kicked off, Iwas having lunch with my husban and kidsin a restaurant near Wayne State and spent the entire time eavesdropping on these two young women at a table next to us who I was pretty sure were there for it. Their conversation was breathtaking in its navelgazing ridiculousness. Victimhood was cradled and nursed like a precious baby, every interaction was processed, etc.

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