Fairly interesting show on the ‘boomer’ generation tomorrow night on PBS. Among others, includes interviews with immanences including Eve Ensler and Oliver Stone — plus Tony Snow, who many might not know plays flute in a rock band. Here’s part of a review for Bloomberg, all of which can be found at
From Play-Doh to Dementia, Boomers Changed the World
By Dave Shiflett
March 27 (Bloomberg) — We are on the downhill side of the Boomer Century and early reviews are mixed. Will the boomers go down in history as a bust or as the worthy heirs to the Greatest Generation?
“The Boomer Century: 1946-2046,'’ which airs Wednesday on PBS at 9 p.m. New York time, offers a generally positive appraisal while holding out the possibility of a disastrous finish.
The two-hour special, hosted by psychologist/gerontologist Ken Dychtwald and written by Oscar-winner Mark Jonathan Harris, begins by noting this is the “largest and most closely observed generation'’ in U.S. history. That’s true on both counts, especially if navel-gazing is included.
The ball got rolling the year after World War II when the Greatest Generation came home from the front and hit the sack. Of all the women who could have children, the show says, 92 percent did. By the time the steam cleared, there were over 78 million offspring.
These kids were born into unprecedented prosperity. According to author Alvin Toffler, that was partly because their fathers had “bombed out the competition’s factories'’ in Germany while the Germans had done the same to the French.
The boomers were indulged by the child-rearing policies of Dr. Spock and enjoyed vast amusements such as Play-Doh, the Slinky, coonskin caps and television.
Science provided other diversions, including opportunities created by the birth-control pill and recreational drugs. Dad dropped bombs; junior dropped acid and perhaps his trousers in the bargain.
Of course, many boomers also marched for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. Their skepticism about the system was heavily influenced by the 1960s assassinations of the two Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, and later by Watergate.
Several boomer eminences are interviewed, including author Erica Jong, avatar of “zipless'’ sex; Eve Ensler of “The Vagina Monologues'’ fame; TV’s Rob “Meathead'’ Reiner; civil rights leader Julian Bond; and filmmaker Oliver Stone (whose cavalier interpretation of the JFK assassination brings to mind the credo of another boomer hero, Alfred E. Neuman: What, Me Worry?)
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