"Boomers" and History

I can’t tell you how tired I am of reading about baby boomers and their impending retirements. The self-indulgence of aging newspaper, magazine, and television news editors in running story after story about just how interesting and important their generation has been is very nearly unbearable. Newsweek is case in point. Its 50-something editors’ self-congratulatory “Boomer Files” series has me very close to canceling my subscription.

I did, however, notice something in a recent story from the “Boomer Files” that could be of interest to Found History readers. For Celeb Boomers: 3 Things to Do Before Death, Newsweek asked a dozen or so famous boomers for a list of three things they want to do with the rest of their lives. It turns out several of them want to spend their golden years doing something historical. Here’s a sample:

  • P. J. O’Rourke, Satirist, 59 – “It’d be nice to have more time to fool around with old cars.”
  • Mark Morris, Choreographer, 50 – “Visit New York’s Morgan Library.”
  • Camille Paglia, Intellectual, 59 – “I’d like to go on an archaeological dig in North Africa or Turkey.”
  • Cal Ripken Jr., Baseball Player, 46 – “I have a real zest to learn. I’d like to bone up on my history and business reading.”
  • Bill O’Reilly, Fox News Host, 56 – “Build a collection of American historical documents. I have a letter from George Washington. You get to know people from them.”
  • Patti Smith, Musician/Poet, 60 – “Read the Bible, Torah and Qur’an.”
  • Ted Nugent, Musician, 58 – “Make sure every American remembers the Alamo and acts accordingly.”
  • Keith Olbermann, TV Host, 47 – “I want to find the proof version of the 1967 Topps Baseball card, No. 487, Tommie Reynolds, which I did not buy at an auction in 1989 because bidding went to about a tenth of what I’d pay for it now. This seems kind of arcane, but this card has haunted me since I was eight years old—the proof version misspells his name “Tommy,” so the final version of the card reads “Tom” with two spaces after it. This design inconsistency bothered me the day I first saw it. I just blew it at that auction.”

Kind of interesting. But interesting enough to renew what started as a gift subscription? Probably not.

7 Replies to “"Boomers" and History”

  1. Interesting that two folks who hate each other and are on opposite sides of the polictical spectrum, Keith Olberman and Bill O’Reilly, both want to collect. I don’t really want to think about the docs O’Reilly’d collect either. But it will be quite difficult for him to find more letters from “founding fathers” cause these days those objects usually are tucked away in archives.

  2. To make matters worse, there’s supposed to be an upcoming PBS special I think called “The Boomer Century: 1946-2046 — GIVE ME A BREAK!! They truly are a VERY self-congratulatory group of folks, aren’t they? Just like when this term (and whoever came up with these “generational titles” should be horse-whipped because that’s when all these arguments started in the first place) became popular in the ’80’s–the “thirtysomething” generation at that time, now it’s resurfaced again last year as the supposed first boomers turned 50, and now I’m going to have to hear about this during the next several years. I was born during the Vietnam War era (1971). Just wondering if my generation is still out there anywhere. And to the few “baby boomers” (man, I hate labels) who maybe feel and relate a little of what my generation (or any other generation) does, thank you. It’s nice to know someone actually still cares.

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