Preliminary Color Pencil sketch and Final Cover by Norman Mingo for Mad Magazine #89, September 1964

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Preliminary color pencil sketch and final cover by Norman Mingo from Mad magazine #89, published by EC Comics, September 1964.

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[VIDEO] Battle of Generations: ‘Bitter Boomer vs Millennial’ FBN’s Charlie Gasparino and National Review Reporter Jillian Melchior

FBN’s Charlie Gasparino and National Review Reporter Jillian Melchior battle it out over the millennial and boomer generations.

Watch Charlie Gasparino and Neil Cavuto talk about Lifestyle Budget on Cavuto.

 


[VIDEO] REASON: Nick Gillespie & Todd Krainin’s Epic Interview with Camille Paglia

Everything’s Awesome and Camille Paglia is Unhappy!

editor-commen-deskI nearly bypassed this interview, having enjoyed Paglia’s memorable social and cultural critiques over the last 15 years or so, I expected it to be good, but easy to put off for later viewing. Boy was I wrong. A potent, and revealing conversation. Free Range Big Thinkers like Paglia, in culture paglia-faceand media — especially ones who identify as Democrats but talk like libertarians — are few and far between. It makes the rare good ones even more valuable. We’ve not seen Camille’s familiar Madonna-loving, pop-culture-riddled smart commentary as much as we did in the 1990s, at the now-diminished pioneering Salon magazine, where she was a regular. Fast-forward to 2015: Paglia represents a senior figure, as a public intellectual. A long way from those early days at Yale in the 1960s. She’s older, crankier, controversial, and impossible to categorize, but that’s how we like it.

I’d seen other references and links to this new Paglia interview, but it was the Twitter feed of noted media critic Mollie Z. Hemingway than finally got my attention. Yesterday, she’d collected a string of individual excerpts (well chosen clips, too, a few samples below) Thanks to MZH, otherwise I might have missed this. Included here is the hour-long video, and just a fraction of the transcript. If you don’t see anything else this weekend — or this year — don’t miss this. Brilliant work by REASON‘s  & . Go get the whole transcript. And tune into Mollie Z. Hemingway’s articles here, and tweets here.

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: This is a rush transcript. Check against video for accuracy.

reason: Let’s talk about the state of contemporary feminism. You have been in a public life or in an intellectual life since the late 1960s, a proud feminist, often reviled by other feminists. Gloria Steinem most famously said you were an anti-feminist and that when you denied that, she said that would be like a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic. You’re mixing it up. What is going on with the state of “professional feminism” in this country. It seems if you look at from, say, the early ’70s, things have gotten better for women. Men are less uptight about gender roles. Women are more in the workforce, they get paid equally, sexual assaults and sexual violence are down. In so many ways, things are going pagliabetter than ever, and yet from sites like Jezebel or Feministing, all you hear is that things have never been worse.

[Check out the books and essays of Camille Paglia at Amazon.com]

Paglia: Feminism has gone through many phases. Obviously the woman’s suffrage movement of the 19th century fizzled after women gained the right to vote through the Constitutional amendment in 1920. Then the movement revived in the late 1960s through Betty Freidan co-founding NOW in 1967. Now, I preceded all that. I’m on record with a letter in Newsweek, I was in high school in 1963, where I called for equal rights for American women and so on. I began thinking about gender, researching it, I loved the generation of Amelia Earhart and all those emancipated women of the ’20s and ’30s, and because I had started my process of thought about gender so much earlier, I was out of sync with the women’s movement when it suddenly burst forth.

[Read the full text here, at REASON]

reason: It became a huge kind of cultural moment in the late 60s—it had been percolating before…

Paglia: It was literally nothing. There was no political activism of any kind from women getting the right to vote in 1920… when Simone de Beauvoir wrote her great magnum opus, The Second Sex, published in the early 1950s, she was thought to be hopelessly retrograde. Nobody could possibly be interested again in gender issues.

reason: You were living in upstate New York. Did you already know what your sexuality was? What was it like to be a woman, a lesbian, in 1963?

Paglia: Well, the 1950s were a highly conformist period. Gender had repolarized after really great gains it seems to me in the ’20s and ’30s, and one must be more sympathetic to the situation of my parents’ generation. They had known nothing but depression and war throughout their entire lives. My father was a paratrooper, when he got out of the army, everyone married, and I’m the baby boom. They wanted normality. They just wanted to live like real people, man and wife in a home. I found the 1950s utterly suffocating. I was a gender nonconforming entity, and I was signaling my rebellion by these transgender Halloween costumes that were absolutely Neil Daviesunheard of. I was five, six, seven, eight years old. My parents allowed me to do it because I was so intent on it.

reason: What were you dressing up as?

Paglia: A Roman solider, the matador from Carmen. My best was Napoleon. I was Hamlet from the Classics Comics book. Absolutely no one was doing stuff like this, and I’m happy that this talk about medical sex changes was not in the air, because I would have become obsessed with that and assumed that that was my entire identity and problem, so this is why I’m very concerned about the rush to surgical interventions today. At any rate, I was attracted to men—I dated men—but I just fell in love with women and always have. Yes, there’s absolutely no doubt. I was on the forefront of gay identification. When I arrived at graduate school at Yale 1968-1972, I was the only openly gay person, and I didn’t even have a sex life. To me, it was a badge of militance. And I was the only person doing a dissertation on a sexual topic. It’s hard to believe this now.

[Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson]

reason: What was the topic?

Paglia: Sexual Personae, which was the book finally published in 1990 after being rejected by seven publishers and five agents, and that was unheard of again. I’m delighted I had the sponsorship of Harold Bloom that pushed the topic through the English department, I think possibly that they allowed me to do such a thing on sex was actually kind of amazing.

My clashes with other feminists began immediately. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo of the Day: Obama Sniffs a Cuban Cigar

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Barack Obama’s historic peace-deal with Cuba after 50 years of cold war hostility was a breakthrough not to be sniffed at.

But that didn’t stop the US president having a try, when he got close and personal to a Cuban on Wednesday … not a citizen, but a cigar.

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Significantly, it was the first time in 52 years that a US president has officially savoured the Cuban delicacy since John F. Kennedy stockpiled a secret stash of his favourite Havanas in the hours before he imposed a trade embargo on the Communist state in 1962.

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Obama was attending one of two White House receptions to welcome the start of Hanukkah when a guest handed him a large stogie.

He took it in his hand and waved it in the air before running it under his nose for a whiff.

The room fell near-silent as he paused to take in its aroma, before declaring it ‘pretty good’ to everyone’s relief. Read the rest of this entry »


P.J.O’Rourke On Rights & Duties

Lunch with PJ O'Rourke

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.” 

— P. J. O’Rourke

 

Diary Of A Radical Conformist


Pew: Democrats Losing Millennials

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Breitbart.com reports:  Barack Obama may be the Republicans’ best friend when it comes to educating 18-33-year olds of the Millennial Generation about the downside of voting for the Democrats’ economic policies. According to a report from the Pew Research Center for Social and Demographic Trends, the 73.7 million Millennialsare “unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future.”

This growing rejection of the Democrat Party will undoubtedly have consequences in the coming mid-term and presidential elections.

Millennials in 2008 were all about the Democratic Party, with only 38% identifying themselves as political independents. Millennials associated Republicans with “a wave of disappointments and embarrassments: Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, congressional corruption scandals, the mortgage crisis.” Millennials were extraordinarily motivated to turn out and vote in 2008 and even more motivated in 2012.

But 50% of Millennials now describe themselves as political independents, “near the highest levels of political disaffiliation recorded for any generation in the quarter-century,” according to the latest Pew Research poll. This comes despite 43% of Millennials and about half of their newborns being Hispanic, Asian, and black, ethnic groups that have strongly favored Democrats in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


The Most Cynical Generation

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Note: I like how Jonah cautions about the limits of generational stereotyping, while having some fun with…generational stereotyping. There is fun to be had.

Polling: the scourge of journalism these days. The media’s increasing dependence on polling data contributes to the echo chamber. A poll is taken in America every ten seconds, it seems. Wait, I have an idea. I propose we take a poll on how Americans feel about polls! Look below for our poll, and cast your vote. But first, here’s an intro to Jonah’s article:

Jonah Goldberg writes:  In case you hadn’t heard, young people these days — a.k.a “the Millennials” — are the most cynical and distrusting generation ever recorded. Only 19 percent think most people can be trusted. According to a big study from the Pew Research Center, they are less attached to marriage, religion, and political institutions than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and the other demographic flavors journalists love to use. They like their friends, their digital “social networks,” and their toys, and that’s about it. Not even a majority will call themselves “patriotic.” Probably more dismaying for liberals: Of any living generation, they are the least likely to call themselves environmentalists.

“Honor, glory, and respect are earned individually, not collectively.”

Now, I should say that I often find generational stereotyping pretty annoying. For instance, there was no “greatest generation.” Sure, there were a bunch of great Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy. But is some guy who was in jail in 1943 for petty larceny deserving of special respect because he was born around the same time as a guy who won the Medal of Honor during WWII?

Read the rest of this entry »


[BOOKS] P.J. O’Rourke on the Baby Boom: the Aftermath

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Here we are in the baby boom cosmos. What have we wrought?

P.J. O’Rourke writes: The Baby Boom generation spans eighteen years. Already, the earliest boomers have reached retirement age. Many are getting more conservative as they get older. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports.

We are the generation that changed everything. Of all the eras and epochs of Americans, ours is the one that made the biggest impression—on ourselves. That’s an important accomplishment, because we’re the generation that created the self, made the firmament of the self, divided the light of the self from the darkness of the self, and said, “Let there be self.” If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you may have noticed this yourself.

That’s not to say we’re a selfish generation. Selfish means “too concerned with the self,” and we’re not. Self isn’t something we’re just, you know, concerned with. We are self.

Read the rest of this entry »


JFK Mythology and Reality: Baby Boomers Remember Kennedy and Inflate his Legacy

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Christopher Harper writes:  The media coverage of the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination has overwhelmed the American public, with books, documentaries, made-for-television dramas and journalistic memorials.

“Many of these specials, and there are dozens, are as preoccupied with the images and bereavement of baby boomers as they are with the slain president,” Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote recently.

christopher-harper_s220x344I couldn’t agree more. We baby boomers like to revel in our story. Nearly all of us remember precisely where we were when we got the news. But more and more Americans — those born after 1963, which is generally considered the last birth year of the baby boomer generation — have little interest in the Kennedy legacy. Most of this exhaustive media coverage failed to note Kennedy was a mediocre president. His record of less than three years provides little support for his place in many polls as one of the best presidents in history. A recent survey ranked Kennedy as the most popular president in the past 50 years.

Within a month after Kennedy’s assassination, his widow, Jacqueline, started to sculpt the myth in cooperation with author Theodore White, who wrote a glowing article in Life magazine comparing the Kennedy administration with the Camelot of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Luckiest Generation

Why those born in the late 1930s and 1940s are richer than those who came before — or after.

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Kevin D. Williamson writes:  One of the great American assumptions — that while individuals and families may rise and fall, each generation will end up on average better off than the one that preceded it — has been the subject of much scrutiny in the past decade. Democrats and their affiliated would-be wealth redistributors have argued that the large income gains enjoyed by the highest-paid workers threaten the American dream of ever-upward generational mobility, while others have worried that the housing meltdown and the Great Recession, which inflicted serious damage on the net worths of many American families, now stand in the way of that dream. Deficit hawks, including yours truly, have long worried that the entitlement system, with its unsustainable wealth transfers from the relatively poor young to the relatively wealthy old, would eventually leave one generation — probably mine — on the hook, having paid a lifetime’s worth of payroll taxes to support a system of retirement benefits likely to fall apart before we’ve recouped what everybody keeps dishonestly insisting is an investment. It’s fashionable to hate the Baby Boomers, who are numerous and entitlement-loving, for the problem, but in fact they may be the first generation to feel the sting of the reversal.

Read the rest of this entry »


Where Are The Boomers Headed? Not Back To The City

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Joel Kotkin reports:  Perhaps no urban legend has played as long and loudly as the notion that “empty nesters” are abandoning their dull lives in the suburbs for the excitement of inner city living. This meme has been most recently celebrated in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

ARLINGTON, VA - JULY 31: Diana Sun Solymossy and her husband Robert walk around the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington, VA, on July 31, 2013. The Solymossy's are part of a trend of baby boomers and empty nesters who are moving from the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland into more urban settings. The couple go out to eat in their neighborhood at least once a week, and appreciate the convenience of the neighborhood. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, VA – JULY 31: Diana Sun Solymossy and her husband Robert walk around the Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington, VA, on July 31, 2013. The Solymossy’s are part of a trend of baby boomers and empty nesters who are moving from the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland into more urban settings. The couple go out to eat in their neighborhood at least once a week, and appreciate the convenience of the neighborhood. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Both stories, citing research by the real estate brokerage Redfin, maintained that over the last decade a net 1 million boomers (born born between 1945 and 1964) have moved into the city core from the surrounding area. “Aging boomers,” the Post gushed, now “opt for the city life.” It’s enough to warm the cockles of a downtown real-estate speculator’s heart, and perhaps nudge some subsidies from city officials anxious to secure their downtown dreams.

But there’s a problem here: a look at Census data shows the story is based on flawed analysis, something that the Journal subsequently acknowledged. Indeed, our number-crunching shows that rather than flocking into cities, there were roughly a million fewer boomers in 2010 within a five-mile radius of the centers of the nation’s 51 largest metro areas compared to a decade earlier. Read the rest of this entry »


Why the Boomers Are the Most Hated Generation

By Edward Tenner
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Concert-goers push a stalled VW bus in Missouri, 1974 (Wikimedia Commons)

Pity the baby boomers, blamed in their youth for every ill and excess of American society and now, in their dotage, for threatening to sink the economy and perhaps Western civilization itself.

The revival of The Great Gatsby serves as a reminder that continuing to blame boomers even in their old age was not a foregone conclusion. The young people of the 1920s were as controversial to their older contemporaries as their counterparts in the 1960s and 1970s. They were called flappers (less commonly “sheiks,” in the case of men), or Bright Young Things in England. The cartoons of John Held, Jr. have memorialized their hair styles, bobbed for women, slicked back for men — the Beatles cuts and Afros of their own time. But the gilded youth of that earlier age, having enjoyed bootleg liquor and cigarettes rather than stronger substances, were allowed to make a discreet transition to middle age and then little old lady and gentleman status without the medical clucking or cultural sneers of journalists. They vanished back into the multitude while the so-called Boomers seem destined to be hounded to death. Why?

One obvious contrast is that high-flying former young people suffered with their elders and their children in the Depression, and some of them were still young enough to serve alongside teenagers in the Second World War. But the turbulent 1970s were succeeded not by a new depression but by the Reagan-era boom of the 1980s, in which the Boomers metamorphosed into new folk heroes/villains, the Yuppies. Only the prosperous ones were noted as constituting a generation; the poor melted back into their communities.

There was a second difference. Age consciousness had been growing since the late nineteenth century but was still relatively rudimentary in the 1920s; “middle age,” for example, had just been invented and was not fully part of the culture until Walter B. Pitkin’s Life Begins at Forty (1933). But it was the postwar media world that created a distinctive youth mass market and thus began the definition of a generation by its popular music and amusements. In the nineteenth century, generations referred to cohorts who shared momentous political and military events that their younger siblings didn’t: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the First World War. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a classic description of his own cohort in its historic framework:

We were born to power and intense nationalism. We did not have to stand up in a movie house and recite a child’s pledge to the flag to be aware of it. We were told, individually and as a unit, that we were a race that could potentially lick ten others of any genus. This is not a nostalgic article for it has a point to make — but we began life in post-Fauntleroy suits (often a sailor’s uniform as a taunt to Spain). Jingo was the lingo. …

That America passed away somewhere between 1910 and 1920; and the fact gives my generation its uniqueness — we are at once prewar and postwar. We were well-grown in the tense Spring of 1917, but for the most part not married and settled. The peace found us almost intact–less than five percent of my college class were killed in the war, and the colleges had a high average compared to the country as a whole. Men of our age in Europe simply do not exist. I have looked for them often, but they are twenty-five years dead.

So we inherited two worlds — the one of hope to which we had been bred; the one of disillusion which we had discovered early for ourselves. And that first world was growing as remote as another country, however close in time.

Third, there was a vast difference in the experience of world history.  Fitzgerald’s generation — at least the white upper middle class to which he belonged — shared a unifying experience of expansionist patriotism and post-World War I disillusionment. Vietnam, on the other hand, divided the young as it did the rest of the country. In fact, as the political scientist Gordon L. Bowen has written:

Contrary to the myth, when Americans were asked whether they supported or opposed the war, the youngest set of Americans were uniformly more supportive of the war than were oldest set of Americans. Moreover, 20-somethings also were almost uniformly more likely to be supportive of the war than were 30 to 49 year olds.

Bowen also shows that throughout the war, college graduates were more likely to favor it than were people whose education stopped at elementary school.

Finally, there is a fourth reason. Old age wasn’t really officially defined in America until the Social Security Act set it at 65. The youth of the 1920s began to pay into the system and benefited in the 1960s and 1970s from pensions and Medicare thanks in part to the payments of young people entering the work force then. Now that they are reaching retirement age, they are a ripe target for demonization in the interest of “entitlement reform” as their grandparents never were. There are legitimate arguments about the financing and extent of Social Security and the level of contributions by wealthier people; I don’t mean to dismiss such concerns. But Boomerphobia — with no counterpart in Fitzgerald’s time — appears to have filled the media niche left by the political incorrectness of older stereotypes. If this collective scapegoat didn’t exist, it would have to be invented.

via The Atlantic.