Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beats and Boomers

Recent writings and readings have given me a welcome respite from constant thought about matters real estate. (I believe my brain has a Grand Canyon-size furrow in it by now full of neurons labled "real estate." I won't mind if one day those synapses deteriorate from blessed disuse.)

I've been writing about attaining young adulthood (or more properly, starting a still-unfolding post-adolescence) during the 1960s, immersing myself in those magical times, and then I encountered The Beatles song "Girl" in E's space today, which only reinforced that turn of thought. And I came up with an insight.

There is an entire cadre of artistic icons, especially musicians, associated with that '60s era whom we early Baby Boomers honor as the voices of our generation. But none of those oracles are Boomers themselves. Their years of birth range mostly from the late-1930s to the early '40s, all of them predating the post-WW II Baby Boom. (And Dr. Spock, on whom many blame the supposed self-pre-occupation of the generation, was born in 1903!)

So questions arise. What was it in the formative years of those people that caused them to question the society around them, and even more interestingly, what in their education and musical traditions led them to such a burst of creativity?

A possible theory, one I've come up with: these people were inspired in their questioning attitudes by the 50s Beats, to whom they were slightly junior, and then were able to popularize their work by hitching on to the folk revival and all that entailed--what we now call "roots" music (also an offshoot of the Beats), which inspired the R&B and Rock threads of the "new music." We were slightly junior to them, this nameless group between the Beats and the Boomers, just as they were to the Beats, and something in our own mass upbringing primed us to respond in a big way to what they had to offer. Was it Dr. Spock?

Just sayin'...........

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Was it "I wanna hold your hand" that got things started? The War? Asian weed that came back with the "Advisors"?? or Tim Leary who gave us youngins the acid test. We stopped respect for our politicians back then and that is the only thing that hasn't changed. Oh . . . and I guess "Groovy".