Saturday, May 24, 2008

Reflections: Boomer Gold


I went to the public library this morning to return a book (Cion) and came home with Annie Leibovitz’s coffee table book, American Music. In addition to the expected genius photography of many of the icons of blues, gospel, bluegrass, country, rock, hip-hop and jazz, this book also contains short essays on the music and its cyclical inspiration written by the musicians themselves. The first such mini-essay is by Patti Smith, a singer-songwriter of my generation whose music never fails to totally eviscerate me when I can muster the guts to listen to it.

I am going to quote below one paragraph from Patti’s essay. This paragraph provides a snapshot, as if made with a pin-hole camera, of the shared experience of every post-WWII kid who came to self-consciousness in the 1950s:

It was difficult reconciling the images of Hiroshima with the image I had of our country. When I questioned my father, he would say, “I did my duty, but the rest is man’s inhumanity to man.” He seldom talked about the war, but on Memorial Day he served in the color guard, and after the parade and a prayer for fallen soldiers we would celebrate in the field surrounding the Veterans Hall. Our mothers served hot dogs and potato salad. Our father played horseshoes. When the sun went down, we gathered around a bonfire, roasting marshmallows and singing. We sang of the railroad, the Dust Bowl, and the Erie Canal. We sang “Heart of My Heart” and “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?” We sang about Jesus and Davy Crockett. It was the end of the fifties and everyone seemed happy.

Just in time for Memorial Day. Dig it.

9 comments:

William R. Barker said...

Thanks for the post, Rob. It made me smile!

BILL

P.S. - Also got me thinking about hot dogs and potato salad! (*GRIN*) Yum!

Rodak said...

The kid in the picture looks a bit like I did, but it's not moi.

Anonymous said...

The latest from that other blog, which seems to be aimed at you:

It all follows: The baby boomers -- the most sefl-indulgent [sic] generation in history --

I started to respond, but then I remembered your mantra, F- politics.

---MS

Rodak said...

The latest from that other blog, which seems to be aimed at you:

Yeah. First Ed writes about those who use religion to justify their socialism, and then this.
I'm not rising to the bait.

An Interested Party said...

You have been quiet on Robert's blog of late and Ed apparently is making himself more of a presence there...these two things combining to make RT seem quite batshit insane recently...

Rodak said...

AIP--
Yeah, I had gone batshit just a tad before Ed's ascendancy. I just needed a break from politics-as-usual, I guess...
Hey, thanks for dropping by.

Robert A. George said...

Rob: Forgive me for double-posting a comment over here, but since Madscribe is hanging out here these days, I wanted to make sure he saw this message:

MS: There was a problem with Haloscan last week where comments disappeared and reappeared. It was most obvious in the Open Thread that hit 200 comments. In the three years, I've been running RT, I've only removed a comment three times (not counting obvious spam comments). Only one person has ever been banned (temporarily, as it turned out) -- and the reasons for that were known to all. If you said something that ticked me off, I would have said it both in the comment thread and via e-mail. I certainly would never ban you without warning.

I didn't even realize there was a problem until Bill e-mailed to get me to "reinstate" you (honorably returning the favor you extended to him some months back).

You know, for all the accusations that I'm thin-skinned, I hardly "suffer in silence" when I'm upset over something. I usually let people know directly instead of exerting some power anonymously from on high.

An Interested Party said...

You're welcome, Rob, and I look forward to your (hopefully) eventual return to RT...the ballast over there would definitely be improved by your presence...

Rodak said...

AIP--
I'll be back at RT if and when I get over my current disgust with politics. Right now I just pretty much have nothing to say about any of it. (I've also been down with some kind of weird virus all week and haven't had the energy.
I'm feeling better as of yesterday.)