Those Were the Days... All of Them

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

My favorite mini-milestone -- Hair takes Broadway.

My favorite mini-milestone -- Hair takes Broadway. Source: Larry Ellis/Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Source: Larry Ellis/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

If you've been avoiding the news, chances are you've missed the continuing — or at least continuouscoverage of the myriad of 1968 anniversaries. Obviously, there are some milestones that are heavier than others. But it's been hard for the media to avoid marking each and every anniversary, no matter how small. LA Times columnist Meghan Daum has a bone to pick with that boomer nostalgia, in her own characteristically acid way. She calls out public radio specifically in her piece — which of course made her perfect for public radio to call on. We'll talk to her today, and to you — what are the '68 commemorative moments you could do without? (I for one, cannot do without mention of Hair's Broadway debut. But then, I'm a sucker for all things Aquarian.)



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I was 13 in 1968. My son is 13 now. While it is interesting and illuminating to share the wonder and horror of my experience of that time, it is healthy to allow him (and his generation) to be themselves with their experiences right now.

Sent by Mari Draeger | 2:52 PM | 6-2-2008

What is important about 1968 has nothing to do with Boomer-centrism. The events of that year still resonate today -- just look at the uproar of a week ago when Hilary Clinton referenced the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. In an age when younger people like your guest have little appreciation of history, thank goodness for the media hype around anniversaries.

Sent by Dona Vitale | 2:52 PM | 6-2-2008

It's worth noting that it's not the Boomers who are responsible for the Baby Boom but their parents. The Boomers slowed down the birth rate.

Sent by Rob Bird | 2:52 PM | 6-2-2008

the consciousness movement in this country was absolutely affected and opend up by all the lsd that was taken..and yes..this does include yoga

Sent by gordon metzger | 2:53 PM | 6-2-2008

OMG! I am so, like, about how bad it is that Megan is tired of us boomers. Shame on us for raising a generation of spoiled whiners like her!

Sent by Leo | 2:53 PM | 6-2-2008

OMG - gag me with a spoon!!!

Isn't this a case of THE most self obsessed generation - Gen-X, to which Ms. Daum belongs, taking shots because the statistical majority of this country is taking the focus away from her culturally dominant gen.

Sent by Kate | 2:54 PM | 6-2-2008

One of the most important influences on the "Boomer" generation is that the federal government passed the National Defense Education Act. This allowed many lower-to-middle class students to be educated at federal expense if they promised to be teachers for a certain amount of years; their federal loans were forgiven if they taught.

The children of families who had never considered college to be within reach were able to enter a new intellectual cohort through this opportunity to enter the ranks of teachers.

In return, the ranks of teachers were influenced by these children of the 60s, whose radicalism radicalized public school teaching permanently.

Sent by Linda Louise Bryan | 2:54 PM | 6-2-2008

I want to thank the Boomers for the personal hair dryer. I love the tribute to the hair dryer at the beginning of "The Big Chill" as each guest unpacks their suitcase.

Sent by Charlie Nash | 2:54 PM | 6-2-2008

I think your guest really overestimates her understanding of the 60's and the boomer generation in general. For those in subsequent generations who feel the boomers have dominated there lives, they should have grown up children of the WWII or depression era generations. The gen-xers to their detriment haven't had to fight for much in their sheltered lives and I'd like to listen to them but I rarely hear anything for my effort.

Democracy Now has run a really informative series on 68 for the past while. Anyone interested should check it out.

Sent by Mark | 2:55 PM | 6-2-2008

Being on the leading edge of the boomers is wonderful because if I can guess what the next boomer trend is I can get out in front of it and take advantage of the two years I have before they overwhelm it.

Sent by Karen Lane | 2:55 PM | 6-2-2008

I was born in late 1959, the youngest of 5, and am sick of hearing about my older siblings the boomers. I was thrilled to find out there is a generation Jones that I fit into. I no longer have to be a boomer.

Sent by Anne Thom | 2:55 PM | 6-2-2008

I was born in 1967, a "gen xer" and I am reaalllllly exhausted by the boomer's self worship I enjoy the idea of being born during "the summer of love" but its over 40yrs now you are smothering us and the millenials its time to let it go already!!

Sent by Donna Yavorski | 2:57 PM | 6-2-2008

I love reading about the times that influenced who I became as an adult and revisiting the time through historical references can only help us understand who we are. I'm just finishing a fabulous book about Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon called GIRLS LIKE US and the journey of a generation by Sheila Weller...I can't put it down.

Sent by Mary Russell | 2:57 PM | 6-2-2008

Re: Kumbaya. I was born in '61 and spent years rolling my eyes at Kumbaya. Boy, were my ears opened when I heard Sweet Honey in the Rock's version!

Sent by susan | 2:57 PM | 6-2-2008

Meagan Daum should study her history. I was born in 1952. I didn't ask to be born, I just was. Some important things were worked through and still haven't been settled by my generation and a large amount of fear and hatred was experienced. We're still living in the sixties, sister. You better knuckle down and study your history because you're on the road laid down in 1968.

Sent by Tom Owens | 2:58 PM | 6-2-2008

I'm gen x and I, too, am sick of the Boomers. One interesting thing they may do is, just as they were instrumental in discrediting, unfairly in my opinion, older people of being capable of beauty, wisdom, or even authenticity, now they seem desperately to be undoing that work, and I hope they succeed.

Sent by William Sidney Parker | 2:59 PM | 6-2-2008

Why was this Gen x-er on the show today? She had nothing whatever of interest to say--like most Gen X-ers most of the time--and she said it badly. Her generation of entitled, thoughtless, materialistic, uninvolved , undereducated lamebrains has produced little of interest or value to the world. So naturally she's annoyed at a generation that did.

No more of this, please!

Sent by Pamela Erbe | 2:59 PM | 6-2-2008

Although Megan's "tyrade" may be "tounge-in-cheek", the idea that any of us should not reflect or remember significant occasions in our history is rather self-centered and short-sighted. Because the boomers did make such a large impression on the world, we are not mindless, we continue to care, create and, yes, remember.

Sent by Ellen Baird | 3:00 PM | 6-2-2008

I would be a Gen-Yer (oh, do I hate that!), so you might say that my gripe with the Boomers have more to do with bedtime, etc. Honestly, though, are we stunted that we are still debating issues that consumed a preoccupied my parents in their teens and twenties? Can't we move on? I'll gladly let that Gen-Xers have their day if the Boomers will just fade into the background like their predecessors.

And what other decade do we celebrate in its entirety with anniversaries? The whole phenomenon is like the overweight ex-star who comes back to every high school football game to relive his glory days instead of recognizing his time has past and it is time for someone else to have their moment.

Sent by Kathleen | 3:01 PM | 6-2-2008

I was born in 67 and while I understand the feeling of the little sister, annoyed with all the attention the older sibling is getting, I also believe that America's short term memory and disregard for history is a problem. I teach at a University and I constantly have young women fiercely stating "I'm NOT a feminist" as they take classes, wear what they want and work towards high, equally paying jobs. I think it's important to know there would be no "Sex in the City" without Gloria Steinem.

Sent by Amy Vogel | 3:01 PM | 6-2-2008

Methinks she whines a bit much. She really needs to get over herself. For the record, I am at the tail end of the Baby Boom, all of these wonderful milestones happened when I was the ripe old age of 8.

Sent by Thomas Swanson | 3:02 PM | 6-2-2008

The guest today does not lack an appreciation of history, as an earlier poster suggested. Instead, she asks we stop treating the boomers' history like it is the only history that matters. As a 35-year old woman, I like the Beatles, the Doors and tie-dye as much as the next person, and I definitely appreciate the cultural shifts of the 1960s, but I resent individual boomers' taking credit for bringing about those changes. Paul McCartney can feel proud of his oeuvre. The boomer who called in claiming the Beatles as "hers" cannot. I enjoy watching VH1's best songs of the '90s and it's tempting to feel pride when I hear the great songs which were a big part of my youth, but I must remind myself that I was a consumer and not a producer of that music.

Sent by Maura in Reno, NV | 3:04 PM | 6-2-2008

While a sense of humor is essential these days, I hope Ms. Daum will spend some energy now making a contribution to this her generational challenges, of which there are many. One thing I find very disappointing is her generation's interest in entertainment and celebrity.

Sent by Aaron Johnson | 3:04 PM | 6-2-2008

Megan's comment "my parents hate the Boomers even more than I do" says it all---why give attention to people like this who are so polarizing and just trying to market something cute. If you want a serious discussion of the pros and cons of the era, fine. Baby Boomers are a diverse group and yes, we did change the world, enabling young women like Megan an easier time getting her voice onto the radio.

Sent by Betty Doo | 3:06 PM | 6-2-2008

Hey Meghan throw us boomers a bone here. We had to listen to our parents go on, and on, about the depression and WWll, We whined just about as loud as you. You will have to listen to your kids whine, and roll their eyes, when you talk about your youth. So suck it up and find something else to whine about.

Sent by Karen Maher | 3:07 PM | 6-2-2008

The Baby Boomer generation has proven to be the most consumptive, most selfish and narcissitic generation ever to walk the planet. They developed false and superficial "political correctness" but do not pursue real action (anymore) because this would threaten how comfortable they are. The developed the SUV aka Hummer. They consume more material items more than any other generation, they developed the "New Age" which is basically celebrated narcissism and worst of all, the gave us George Bush and Dick Cheney. I seriously doubt you will read this on the air (they also lack guts).

Sent by Matilida McKillicutty | 3:07 PM | 6-2-2008

Amy, you are SO RIGHT! Young women now routinely take their husbands' names when they marry, allow themselves to be referred to as "Mrs. John Shmo," and blithely dismiss the hard work that was done to allow them to have control over their bodies, control over their jobs, and choices supported by legal standards.

Cosmos and Manolos are not what female freedom is all about, regardless of what these ill-informed and self-centered young women think.

Sent by Pamela Erbe | 3:09 PM | 6-2-2008

The worst thing about being a Baby Boomer was being raised by a generation whose mantra was, "I lived through the Depression and won World War II and you want a ride to school?"

If the guest thinks it's tough dealing with all the Boomers' tributes to themselves, she should consider what it was like to be raised by people who considered themselves the Greatest Generation long before Brokaw wrote a book about them.

Sent by Bobbie Gosnell | 3:09 PM | 6-2-2008

I don't understand why the Gen X'ers constantly take aim at the Baby Boomer generation for its supposed cultural hegemony... I was part of the generation that was sandwiched right between the Baby Boomers and the Gen X'ers, and believe me, the Gen X'ers have NO IDEA what it's like to be part of an invisible demographic!!! People in my age group don't even have a trendy nickname for ourselves-- not that we ever really needed or wanted one. For some reason my generation never really felt threatened by the Boomers or oppressed by the events of the 1960's, even though we were a MUCH smaller age demographic than either the Boomers or the X'ers!!! Whenever I hear the X'ers complaining about the irrelevance of things that happened before I was born, and insisting upon the relevance of things which happened long after I reached adulthood, I can't help but wonder why they seem so driven to validate their own experiences.

Sent by Jeff from Tulsa | 3:12 PM | 6-2-2008

What a load of crap!! Every time Meghan Daum was asked to give an example of her complaints, she gave an imaginary one, I am NOT kidding. Her specific complaint about NPR (on this subject) was that NPR is the kind of radio that would be particularly vulnerable to this kind of nostalgia. What does this mean? and how did you become a journalist. She is railing against Giant Coffee Table Books about Jackie O's Wedding and Andy Warhol death, (these books don't exist). 2008 is half over and she is bemoaning what yet might done to celebrate the 40th anniversary of '68. She uses a right wing technique: The Staw Man Argument. Shame on TOTN for not re-asking the question when she did not answer them.

Sent by William Somerville | 3:14 PM | 6-2-2008

I really think you missed the major "event" that we "baby-boomers" enjoyed....quality public education! After we graduated I watched California go from most spent per student to 48th spent on education. To my dismay our children were learning as sophomores in college what we learned in high school.

Sent by James Pease | 3:19 PM | 6-2-2008

While Mari, Dona and Linda all make strong points that cannot be denied, the rest of these dismissive comments sound a lot like what the WWII generation of parents might have said about their own seemingly sheltered children.

Mark, I'm in my mid-20s and I wrote my first letter to a soldier in Iraq when I was in the fifth grade. Next weekend I'll be at a high school graduation party for my cousin, who was only about three years old at that time. He's scheduled to ship out to boot camp two days after his grad party (Semper Fi!) and he very well may be the next American soldier I know in Iraq. Plus, all the news I read points to a recession, and even you don't agree with that term, the young family next door to me just lost their home to foreclosure. Our quality of life is declining, and the infrastructure that was built by your forbearers is crumbling. What exactly have I and the rest of my generation been sheltered from?

One thing that I guess we haven't been sheltered from is black music and culture, to the point that we didn't need the Beatles to Anglicize it for us (although we still have our elders condemning our music as worthless noise). They had long hair and they played great music. Get over it.

And, yes, after living in the shadow of both "The Greatest Generation" and a generation that claims to be responsible creating some sort of newfound peace (which, by the way, appears allusive at best), we are understandably cynical and sometimes self-defeating. By all means, tear us down, retire, and then blame us when we repeat the same chorus of mistakes we've seen applauded throughout our entire lives. I just hope our arms are long enough to give ourselves the same big pat on the back when we rewrite our own history.

Oh, and I tried LSD. It's just chemicals in your brain, people, get over it -- even Ken Kesey did eventually.

Sent by Jeff | 3:23 PM | 6-2-2008

I was born in 1947 and didn't really care for rock and roll until I was about 30, so I am not defending myself as a kid when I say that it is the Gen-Xers contempt for 60's culture that strikes me as self indulgent. When I was young, popular music on mainstream media was primarily that of my parents' generation--Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Dinah Shore, etc. (Many of us remain fond of our parents'--and grandparents'--music as well as that produced by our generation.) Even as the boomer generation had its own experiences and produced its own popular culture, we did not tell our parents that they had no right to broadcast the music of their youth or talk (or produce documentaries)about World War II or the depression. In the 60s my brothers and I watched scores of 30s and 40s movies, glad of a glimse in to the past that our parents had been a part of, and I did not think that my dad was self-indulgent when he watched documentaries like "Victory at Sea" or that its makers were self indulgent in producing it. If Ms. Rahm does not like 1968 nostalgia, no one is forcing her to read about it or listen to the music. I'm afraid that her attitude reflects a lack of interest in the past common but by no means universal among Gen-Xers.

Sent by Susan | 3:25 PM | 6-2-2008

It seems we're far enough removed from the '60s that smug X-gen columnists like Meghan Daum can discount the fact that countless boomers were beaten, arrested, and ridiculed as they fought to put an end to a senseless war that took the lives of over 50,000 young Americans. Where is that passion from today's young generation now that we are in the middle of another senseless war? My guess is that 40 years from now, someone like Ms. Daum will recall this generation as the one that did nothing.

Sent by Evan R. | 3:25 PM | 6-2-2008

I applaud the Boomers, myself among them, for pioneering feminist thought and behavior. Although Gen-Xers and Millenials may not appreciate or understand it, their freedom to attend college, work outside the home, express their sexuality with relative safety (however ill-advised their expressions) and earn respect (and scholarships) for playing sports: These are all things that we fought for. I suffered a great deal during high school and college (Class of 1973) because I had feelings and an identity that just didn't jibe with 50's sensibilities and the cultural teachings of my parents' otherwise progressive ideas of what was appropriate behavior for young girls.

Sent by Carol Brydolf | 3:28 PM | 6-2-2008

Meghan Daum's reference, on Talk of the Nation today, to events at Kent State, missed its mark. Kent State illustrates, in her view, that the "boomer" generation was not monolithic; some boomers protested, she observed, other boomers in the Ohio national Guard shot them. By her comment, however, Ms. Daum illustrated that she does not understand Kent State: the students shot that day were young people going about their business, going to their classes; they weren't protesters. Ohio authorities shot down their own, such was their fear of change, of the war ending, of social justice, of peace. The powers that were did not care if you were a protester, or if you weren't; it was enough that they felt threatened and you were young.

Sent by William | 3:33 PM | 6-2-2008

Pamela, Pamela, Pamela...

"She had nothing whatever of interest to say--like most Gen X-ers most of the time."

Nothing like bitter yet bland generalizations to prove how free you've made all of our minds.

"Her generation of entitled, thoughtless, materialistic, uninvolved , undereducated lamebrains has produced little of interest or value to the world."

Wow. We're all like that? Must've been some stellar parenting in your generation, eh? I'll tell you what, retire already, get out of the way, and watch what we can do if given the chance. How about some specific examples of what your generation accomplished and how you played a direct role in those accomplishments. Did you end racism? Did you achieve peace? Did you end poverty? Or did you just drop acid and promote the flagrant spread of STDs?

Sent by Jeff...again... | 3:38 PM | 6-2-2008

SO where are you all now, those of you who fought so hard THEN? Look at the state of our nation NOW? WHERE ARE YOU NOW? Your generation is in power right now. Where are you? In front of your big screen T.V's?


Sent by Matilda McKillicutty | 3:39 PM | 6-2-2008

Oh, and Bobbie, you forget that for perhaps the first time in history, we were raised by both generations - "The Greatest" and the alleged founders of peace and self-discovery. In fact, many young people were raised directly by their grandparents 'cause their boomer parents were too busy chasing their own five senses.

Sent by Jeff...again... | 3:41 PM | 6-2-2008

to bad you could not have had a conversation, instead... just another witless wonder sniffing her bellybutton juice. I do like the way you paired it with the GITMO goings. There is this comedian who always makes fun of Larry King, "Coming up... a frank discussion with OBL, and in the 2nd half, Vic Namone (sp)!

Sent by wilbur | 3:41 PM | 6-2-2008

"I applaud...myself."

-Carol Brydolf

('nuff said)

Sent by Jeff...again... | 3:46 PM | 6-2-2008

Yikes. Think she hit a nerve here.

Seriously folks, ya'll might need to check some history yourself:

Gloria Marie Steinem, b 1934; Martin Luther King, Jr., b 1929; Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr., b 1938; Phyllis Schlafly, b 1924, Bella Savitsky Abzug b 1920; Timothy Francis Lear, b 1920; John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, b 1917

My memory of the ERA was my mother, born 1935, and her colleagues, also born decade(s) before the Boom, lobbying, day after day, to no avail. Then they spent the next two and a half decades (at least one of which was still occupied with raising children and doing laundry) listening with bitterly bitten lips as most Boomers disavowed, and still do, feminism, while enjoying its merits. The only Boomers I remember in the Georgia capital wore STOP ERA buttons, as did their infants in the strollers.

And while we're at it: Medgar Willy Evers, b 1925, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, b 1815; Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette b 1873; or Jane Austen, b 1775

Sent by William Sidney Parker | 4:03 PM | 6-2-2008

I comiserate with the Boomer hating- I used to take my little daughter to anti-Aparthied demonstrations and tell her stories of the Viet Nam War protests. Now I understand why she still hates me after 20 years. On the other hand, 1968 when violence became the stock and trade of divided politics, shaped the thinking of people like Bush, Cheney and McCain as well as the aging Hippies. If the young lady wants to know why there is a culture war in America, she can start by looking at the real events of 1968 and ignore the pop music.

Sent by Richard Shaffer | 4:14 PM | 6-2-2008

Yes! Right on. This piece is way over due. I think there's a lot of history that's important from those days but we also need to realize. Along with rock 'n' social consciousness and free-spirited-ness came a lot of consumerism, egotism, suburban sprawl and the type of reactionist conservatism that currently runs the white house. I don't know if it's the fact that the 1960's get covered so much that irks me as much as the smugly self-congratulatory tone that the coverage strikes. So thanks so much for this piece, it would make my parents and my neighbors red in the face with anger. And the boomers need a little of that.

Sent by Vincent Caldoni | 5:53 PM | 6-2-2008

OK, well, I was born in 1968 and despite the horror of the big 4-0 this year and all the tumultuous events throughout 1968, I've always had some affection for my birth year. Personally, I think "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was the best thing to come out of 1968...excepting myself of course.

Sent by Andy | 5:53 PM | 6-2-2008

I found this segment particularly offensive. It seems that teh Baby Boomers are the generation to blame for most everything and the point of nearly every joke. I am proud of my generation and the succeeding generations have profited from our efforts - not that we get any thanks. Any more such segments and my radio dial may do some serious migrating.

Sent by James Peters | 6:24 PM | 6-2-2008

I was in the infantry in Vietnam for virtually all of 1968. Many of the 40th anniversary items on NPR are actually news to me -- We had no internet back then, our news was censured by the Army via its newspaper, The Stars and Stripes. My comrades and I missed that year as you remember it. We were having a different experience.

Tomorrow we will mark the 40th anniversary of the deaths my company suffered in a fire-fight on June 3rd, 1968. I have met the now-grown-up sons of some of those who died that particular night. 1968 does not generate the nostalgia I hear on NPR within those fatherless men, nor within those of us who survived that awful year. But we do remember it, some times all too clearly, and, in doing so, we honor those who died. Throughout the year, many such remembrances will quietly be observed by those of us who survived. But then we do that every year, not just for the 40th anniversary.

So celebrate the student riots at the Sorbonne that I learned about recently while driving somewhere here in New Hampshire. Or sign up another vacuous guest like Meghan Daum to drone on and on about the Boomers. Me, I will thank my higher power that I am still here, that I made it to be a Boomer at 62, that I have a family who loves me, and that I had the honor to know those men who didn't make it back like I did.

I am a big fan of NPR. But I think that the next time I hear another 40th anniversary news item come up, I will change the station. Those stories have little relevance for me. Or better yet, I may turn off the radio, think my own thoughts, and just celebrate being alive!

Sent by Jim McDevitt | 7:58 PM | 6-2-2008

There is an overwhelming amount of mythology surrounding the Baby Boomer generation.

Even the actual time period of their births is fudged in order for the Boomers to occupy more space.
Were they born between 1946 and 1964 as the Boomers would like us to believe, or is it 1946-1953 as it's been correctly revised?
For every Woodstock they've achieved there is always a massive amount of trash they've left behind after the party was over. Yet, the trash left behind at Woodstock is rarely spoken of - because the boomer kids weren't responsible enough to stick around to clean up their mess.

Sent by Mike | 8:17 PM | 6-2-2008

BOOMERS: thanks for the energy crisis!
Blame boomers for the energy crisis and climate change.
That's what I learned in third grade. The unsustainability of late 20th century life puzzled us. When questioned on the risk of pollution, energy, and the future, the teacher shrugged and responded, "I don't care, I won't be here."
Typical, irresponsible thought and behavior.
Who will pay for the past?

Sent by Brandon | 8:32 PM | 6-2-2008

I was brought up short by Megan's comment "my parents hate the Boomers even more than I do."

I'm sure she was just trying to be cute, but I'm disturbed that NPR/Talk of the Nation would tolerate this kind of comment or let it go unchallenged.

Can you think of any other group/situation where this kind of statement would be tolerated?

"my parents hate women even more than I do."

"my parents hate African Americans even more than I do."

"my parents hate Jews even more than I do."

Sent by Jay | 8:41 PM | 6-2-2008

Carol Brydolf stated above that:
"I applaud the Boomers, myself among them, for pioneering feminist thought and behavior. Although Gen-Xers and Millenials may not appreciate or understand it, their freedom to attend college, work outside the home, express their sexuality with relative safety (however ill-advised their expressions) and earn respect (and scholarships) for playing sports: These are all things that we fought for."

wow Carol, so the Boomer gen. stretches all the way back to 1848 and the Seneca Falls Convention? You Boomers are older than I thought!
What Boomers, such as yourself Carol, don't understand is that most of the civil rights movements were already in action before you were born.
Gen. X and others don't appreciate "everything you've done" because we see beyond just your generation.

"express their sexuality with relative safety (however ill-advised their expressions)"

expressing sexuality goes beyond getting laid with only a 1% chance of getting pregnant (thank you "The Pill")
It's rich calling other people's "expression" ill-advised coming from the "free-love" generation that sparked a rapid rise in STDs from 1960 to 1975 because of unprotected sex (again, thank you "The Pill").

By the way, Helen Reddy isn't a Boomer. She's from the generation before yours - born 1941.

Sent by Mike | 9:31 PM | 6-2-2008

Which boomers are you talking about? If you were born in 1964, I don't think you'd care about the summer of love, Hair, or any 60's assasination. Really, the only boomers who matter are those who were old enough to comprehend so-called boomer events. And to be fair, a birth boom is not the best measure of cultural trends being understood by a whole generation. The whole generation that made of the replacement rate runs about 40-years, 1941 to 1971 - hardly cohesive enough in modern times to be considered as a group, a generation.

Sent by jordonjackson | 9:58 PM | 6-2-2008

Just when I thought it wasn't possible for NPR to get any more smug, they prop up a Gen-X'er to do some slugging of their self-congratulatory Boomer coverage. I don't care one way or the other which way the media winds blow (I was born in the black hole generation between the Boomers and Gen-Xers and have no *peeps* to call my own), but I just have this question to ask: In 2028 will Meghan be just as circumspect about her own generation's overrated influence? Methinks "not."

Sent by Nancy Edwards, Austin, TX | 10:09 PM | 6-2-2008

The boomers seem to protest too much! I am 54, and I pretty much agree with Megan. My generation, if nothing else, might be the largest repository of narcissism in recent history. C'mon, too-touchy age mates: you are bristling at this young woman who essentially challenges the "authority" of the generation who likes to think of itself as the great challenger of authority. She truly has staged a "sit-in" in the faculty lounge of the office of the chancellor of the college of boomer-friendliness (which truly IS NPR, sorry, folks); it is our duty as true free-speechers to wring our hands like WASP administrations of old and let her have her cutting-edge cultural "tantrum!" Megan, you said something in your spot today which I can't recall exactly, but it seemed to be a head-on challenge regarding the assumption, on the boomers' part, that they ultimately get to edit, interpret and censor the narrative of their era. If I got you correctly, then I agree, this is nonsense! Americans in the early twentieth century made of the founding fathers heroes which they were apparently not, and "transgressive" boomer deconstructionists made them dolts and sycophants, which they were certainly not. Personally, I am rather embarrassed by the self-absorption that the "spokespeople" for my age group can't seem to master. So, Megan, keep it up; maybe you can organize a distraction at this year's Democratic convention protesting the boomers' presumption to squatter's rights in deciding what of history is "meaningful."

Sent by Mike Myers | 10:18 PM | 6-2-2008

I am one of the first boomers, born 01-01-46. My early years were spent in the 50'. I graduated High School in
63 and Nursing school in '66.

Does Megan know that as a woman we do not have equal rights under the Constution? That birth control did not exist in the '60's, that we as women could not play sports, that we earned less than .50 on the dollar, that we could not wear slacks in public, that the only way to make it in society was through a husband.

In todays society you can do all thoes things thanks to the boomers. It was not about the music, the drugs, it was about change, and a student of history, would sit down and talk to the parents, grandparents and learn what the world was like.

We did not have TV, touch tone phones(know what that is), cell phones, cd's, blackberries, VCR's, let alone CD's, computers. By the late 60's most of us did not have color TV. No car seats for children either.

It is sad to think that we are so self absorbed that we do not look back to see how women have changed the World. I a reading Cokie Roberts book on the "Ladies of Liberty" and thank them for their contrubution to our country, I think that Megan should study a little more history and thank the previous generations.

Sent by Kay Minns | 10:25 PM | 6-2-2008

Gen Xers do have issues, mostly because they were not part of a big change, and frankly, their liberated mothers were out making sure they got a better life.

That issue aside, '68 was the year of a contentious Democratic convention, where the battle was fought in Chicago over whose liberal ideals would win out. As I watch the progress of the Democratic party. I am wondering how Denver will handle what seems inevitable to me.

Sent by Leslie | 10:27 PM | 6-2-2008

As a person born late in the Boomer period (1963), I couldn't agree more with Megan. Boomers, as a generation (as opposed to individual boomer) are best defined as the most self absorb generation of all time. The best educated, best funded, and most indulged, they've mostly used the resources of the country as if it was a birthright.

All in all, as a generation, the Boomers are the single biggest failure of the WWII "Greatest Generation", which gave them everything they were deprived of, only to have the Boomer treat it all as if they were entitled to it as they were oh so special.

Sent by Pat | 11:25 PM | 6-2-2008

Ms. Daum is just doing what every generation does: whine about the one that came before. The funny thing will be when the generation that comes after hers whines about HER generation and all their self-indulgence, nostalgia, and how worthless they are. I wonder what Ms Daum's response will be. I can almost hear what she'll say: "You have no idea what it was like to live through 9/11." And so on. Apparently, Ms Daum hasn't lived long enough to grasp this. It takes someone of long experience to appreciate history and to be amused by the repetition of generational gaps. The only problem is with NPR giving whiners a platform. Please, we've all heard this before; Juan Williams did the same show about 7 years ago. Please, something new or different - and educational!

Sent by Sherrie | 7:29 AM | 6-3-2008

Okay, here's the deal. Its fine for Ms Daum to badmouth the '60s. She wasn't there, so who cares what she thinks. But I object - strongly - to her repeated use of the word "HATE." I lost count, but I believe she said she "hated boomers" at least three times.


And I was sorry to hear Alex chuckle each time. Hate is so funny!

Sing along with me now... "What the world needs now, is Hate, more hate... " has ring to it. no?

Perhaps her hate is rooted in jealousy. Think of the 40th anniversary of such Gen-X highlights as "Fear Factor," "Spiderman the Movie" and cultural goings on such as the "hook-up" and "Facebook." Whoopee!

Face the facts. My generation ended the war and the draft. We gave birth the the civil rights movement, environmental movement and the women's movement, without which Ms. Daum most likely would not even have a job at the L.A.Times.

Her excuse for using the word, HATE, was that it was all tongue-in-check. My advice: take your tongue out of your cheek, open your eyes and take a hard look at your generation. What will you have to look back on 40 years hence?

Sent by Steve Rockstein | 9:25 AM | 6-3-2008

What is Megan's point? My parents loved Lawrence Welk and despised the Beatles and the Stones. So what? I like the Beatles and the Stones and can't get into hip-hop. But we "Boomers" (a label imposed on us) do not whine about the newer culture's interests.

I don't like the phrase "Get over it!", but in Megan's case, it applies.

Sent by Steve Stewart | 11:24 AM | 6-3-2008

I read Megan's comments in the LA Times and I was deeply offended. her's is an attitude of age-ism at it's worst because she has decided not to learn anything from our history. I'll look forward to reading her daughter's comments on the very same pages: "Oh mom, not 9/11 again, GEEZ, that was so long ago! Who cares?"

Sent by Leah Rubin | 7:49 PM | 6-3-2008

Meghan is a smug chic grrrl, whom I trust is nicer in real life than her clueless, arch, historically vacant and ageist commentary would indicate.. How dare she take on a generation because they aren't cool anymore might wanna play golf (not me!) Babe, your gen is so much more selfish, self absorbed and inactive than the old yoga ladies on the beach. Stand in the corner and hang your head in shame, as you're Grandmother might have said. And get your facts straight.

Sent by Maggie | 1:02 AM | 6-4-2008

dear Boomer feminists - "The Pill" was invented by three men who were not Boomers

Gregory Goodwin Pincus - born in 1903
John Rock - born 1890
Min Chueh Chang - born 1908

the research that led up to the Pill was being done in the 1930s

the most vocal proponent of birth control in the US was Margaret Sanger - born in 1879

the American Birth Control League (aka Planned Parenthood) was created in 1921

February 15, 1961, the FDA approved Enovid 5 mg as a means of contraception
that would mean the oldest female Boomer, born January 01 in 1946, would have been 15 years old. How many of you that were 15 at the time were involved in the research, development, and approval of "The Pill"? My guess is none.
In 1965 it was available to all married in women in all states. That would mean the oldest Boomer female was 19. How many of you Boomer women were married in 1965 at the age of 19? Very few I would guess.

Why can't Boomers give credit where credit is due?
Yes, women did change the world, but to you Boomers, please be accurate in telling the story. Don't go about claiming for your generation the achievements made by those born decades before you.

"The Pill" came about during your era but it was because of the work done by leaders of a generation before yours.

Sent by Mike | 2:22 PM | 6-4-2008

During this conversation the term "pre-boomers" was used. I appoint myself a committee of one to broadcase as loudly as I can, that we are not, I repeat, not pre-anything. We're Depression Babies and proud of it. Furthermore, 1960 didn't happen in a vacuum. There were some of us in the fifties who formed a vanguard. Before there was Joan Baez there was the early Dylan, Burl Ives, countertenor Richard Dyer-Bennet, the Clancy Brothers and who could forget Pete Seeger. What's more there were freedom rides and sit-ins. I remember one here in Illinois that protested the "Broyles Bills." Anybody remember that one? It was a bill that allowed barbers to refuse to cut the hair of what we called then "Negroes." I was in college at the time and we protested vigorously.Come come people. The sun doesn't rise and set around the boomers.

Sent by Sondra Cox | 5:41 AM | 6-5-2008

What I find to be the most interesting thing about the Boomer generation (1946-1953) is that their world views, morals, ethics, and values were unmistakably influenced and shaped by those born during the Silent Generation (the Beat Generation) and the "radicals" of the GI Generation:

Bob Dylan - born 1941
Joan Baez - b. 1941
Jim Morrison - b.1943
All of the Beatles - b. 1940 to 1943
Pete Seeger - b. 1919
Country Joe McDonald - b. 1942
Woody Guthrie - b. 1912
Ravi Shankar - b.1920
Sly Stone - b.1943
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards - b. 1943
Jerry Garcia - b. 1942
Janis Joplin - b. 1943
Martin Luther King Jr. - b. 1929
Robert F Kennedy - b. 1925
Huey P. Newton - b. 1942
Bobby Seale - b. 1936
Albert Hoffman (invented LSD) - b. 1906
Bayard Rustin (Freedom Rider) - b. 1912
George M. Houser (Freedom Rider) - b.1916 (by the way, the Freedom Rides were inspired by the Journey of Reconciliation in 1947)
Abbie Hoffman - b. 1936
Jerry Rubin - b. 1938
Timothy Leary - b. 1920
Alfred Kinsey - b. 1894
Henry Miller - b. 1891
D. H. Lawrence - b.1885
Margaret Mead - b. 1901
Helen Gurley Brown (author of "Sex and the Single Girl" - b. 1922
Alex Comfort ("The Joy of Sex") - b. 1920
Vilgot Sj??man - (director "I Am Curious [Yellow]") - b. 1924
Hugh Hefner - b. 1926
Betty Friedan (NOW founder) - b.1921
Rev. Dr. Anna Pauli Murray (NOW founder) - b. 1910
Linda Coffee (lawyer in Roe v Wade)- b. 1942
Sarah Weddington (lawyer in Roe v Wade)- b. 1945
Gloria Steinem - b. 1934
Robert Crumb - b. 1943
Harvey Kurtzman (MAD magazine founder) - b. 1924 (where would National Lampoon be with out MAD?)
William Gaines (publisher of MAD mag.) - b. 1922
Gilbert Shelton (creator of "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" and "Fat Freddy's Cat" comics) - b. 1940
Arthur Penn (director "Bonnie & Clyde") - b. 1922
Stanley Kubrick - b. 1928
Dennis Hopper - b. 1936
Peter Fonda - b. 1940
Jack Nicholson - b. 1936
Dustin Hoffman - b. 1937
Jon Voight - b. 1938
George A. Romero - b. 1940
Rachel Carson (author "Silent Spring" which sparked the modern environmental movement) - b. 1907
Arne N??ss (founded deep ecology movement) - b. 1912
Edward Abbey (writer and environmentalist) - b.1927 (inspired former "Yippie", Dave Foreman, to create Earth First!)
Gaylord Nelson (founder of Earth Day in 1970) - b. 1916
Allen Ginsberg - b. 1926
William S. Burroughs - b. 1914
Jack Kerouac - b. 1922 (who actually thought the Baby Boomers were destroying American culture)
Ken Kesey - b. 1935
Gary Snyder (poet/environmentalist) - b. 1930
Tom Robbins (writer) - b. 1936
Lou Reed - b. 1942
Andy Warhol - b. 1928
Stokely Carmichael - b. 1941
Mario Savio (Free Speech movement) - b. 1942
Wavy Gravy - b.1936
Grace Slick - b.1936

The Boomers expanded on the ideas and values put forth by the previous generations but they certainly did not start feminism, non-violent protests, drug culture, anti-war movements, free speech movements, civil rights movements, psychedelic arts, rock and roll, nor did you finish them

Sent by Mike | 12:04 PM | 6-5-2008

the 60's gen contributed ugly music, wretched clothes, an abundance of veneral disease and the stifling air of political correctness all wrapped up in a big fat burrito of selfishness and loose morals. get over yourselves already, there were plenty of great generations before you and after;sadly those of us after you are forced to live with your crappy legacies. except for environmental awareness (which would have occurred anyway)you highly overestimate your value in history.

Sent by al | 11:44 AM | 6-6-2008

First of all each generation is not monolithic. Secondly 1968 is arguably the most eventful single year in American history. I am almost 40 so I am gen x but I do not begrudge the boomers their nostalgia. The seismic year of my life was 1989 buts its importance was more global than 68 was. Next year is the 20th anniversary and I am sure there will be documentaries and news stories galore.

Sent by Chris | 5:05 AM | 6-14-2008

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from