I believe I’ve mentioned that my husband has a new job at the paper. Alan’s the Detroit News auto editor now, which comes with new responsibilities, a laptop, a BlackBerry and the special perks an automotive journalist in Detroit enjoys, or as I’ve been putting it lately:
“When are you going to bring mama a big pimpin’ Escalade?”
The car companies keep a few sets of keys circulating through the newsrooms of the dailies and the trade papers, for reporters, critics and editors to test drive. One of our neighbors works at AutoWeek, and whenever their beige Camry is replaced in the driveway by something a little less beige and Camry-like, it’s a fair bet he’s enjoying the perks of the job. So last night I was out and about, and what do I come home to? A BIG PIMPIN’ ESCALADE. IN MY DRIVEWAY:
“You remembered my birthday!” I exclaimed, squealing over
more than $70,000 of an $85,099 luxury SUV like the Midwestern girl I am. Then I commenced worrying. It’s so big we didn’t dare risk putting it in the garage overnight and having one of the bikes scratch its Black Ice paint job on the way in or out, so Alan tucked it into the second-most-secure parking space on the property. I’m sure the reason I woke up before 6 a.m. today was a nagging worry that we’d find the thing sitting on bricks this morning, or gone entirely.
But it’s fine. Now all I have to worry about is him getting carjacked on the way to work. One of our neighbors leases an Escalade every couple years, and both of fates described above — wheel theft and carjacking — have befallen them. The wheel theft came at daybreak one morning, and was accomplished by a crew of professionals who worked so fast they could probably find gainful employment with NASCAR. The theft was by two teenagers so young she thought they were kidding, until one lifted his shirt and showed her the gun in his waistband. And yes, you saw it first on “The Wire.”
It’s too bad we can’t take this behemoth on a road trip. You should see the back-seat entertainment system. Kate and I would hang back there, watching DVDs.
This ham-fisted p.o.s. was circulating a bit yesterday, Walter Russell Mead’s j’accuse against the baby-boom generation. I expect we’ll hear about a million more iterations of this before they lay the last of us in the ground, or, more likely, sprinkle our ashes in a sylvan glade somewhere, because we’re not into having our corpses pumped full of chemicals, man. Others with more time on their hands have handily disposed of this one, but all I have to say is, whaddaya mean “we,” white man?
Boomer CEOs accelerated the trend toward unlimited greed among corporate elites, and Boomer members of corporate boards sit by and let it happen. Boomer academics created a profoundly dysfunctional system that systemically shovels resources upward from students and adjuncts to overpaid administrators and professors who by and large have not, to say the least, done an outstanding job of transmitting the cultural heritage of the past to future generations. Boomer Hollywood execs created an amoral morass of sludge — and maybe I’m missing something, but nobody spends a lot of time talking about the towering cultural accomplishments of the world historical art geniuses of the Boomer years. Boomer greens enthusiastically bet their movement on the truly idiotic drive for a global carbon treaty; they are now grieving over their failure to make any measurable progress after decades spent and hundreds of millions of dollars thrown away. On the Boomer watch the American family and the American middle class entered major crises; by the time the Boomers have finished with it the health system will be an unaffordable and dysfunctional tangle — perhaps the most complicated, expensive and poorly designed such system in the history of the world.
Oh, shut up. I guess I missed the double-secret boomer briefings at which all this was laid out, but I also expect we’ll be paying for that Who song for a long time. As far as I’m concerned, much of the model for that which he describes, the sha-na-na-na-na-let’s-live-for-today mindset, was put in place by Grampa Reagan, and he was no more a baby boomer than I am an Escalade buyer. There are many, many of us who save for what we want, raise our children right, work hard and otherwise don’t expect much in the way of handouts. Mead himself writes:
What the Boomers as a generation missed (there were, of course and thankfully, many honorable individual exceptions) was the core set of values that every generation must discover to make a successful transition to real adulthood: maturity.
“There are many honorable individual exceptions,” yes, enough that the whole essay pretty much falls apart, especially when he tries to hang Jerry Sandusky on us, considering Sandusky (d.o.b. 1944) isn’t a boomer.
Speaking of which. Can this case get any more awful? “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids,” he says now. Really? Ya think? And this lawyer of his who thought this interview was a good idea? I’m speechless. I need to stop reading about this story. It’s making me too crazy.
You’ve already read this Charles Pierce jeremiad on Penn State by now, I expect, but just in case you haven’t, you should.
And now I get to edit a bunch of city council meeting copy.