Younger people are fed up with Baby Boomers…
Can you blame them? Boomers are spoiled, always want their way and think the world owes them. Doubters need look no further than the mirror.
Take it from one of Baby Boomdom‘s most celebrated, underground pop culture icons, Bob Lefsetz…
Two years ago the Huffington Post described the 58 year-old Lefsetz as "the most influential man you’ve never heard of," further describing him as "a reclusive, sardonic writer who has the ear of every exec in the (music) industry."
One national blogger went as far as to suggest` Lefsetz was so cranky he might be auditioning for deceased 60 Minutes crankpot Andy Rooney‘s job.
I offer up Lefsetz as proof that Boomers are a pain in the butt, as anyone under the age of 40 (47 technically) generally knows.
I’ll contrast Boomers with the cutting edge, young computer geeks I met in Joplin this weekend in a minute. Meanwhile, back to Lefsetz…
Lefsetz’ recent newsletter about attending a Bruce Springsteen show explores one of Baby Boomer’s favorite philosophies, Narcissism.
"What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where the highlight of a Bruce Springsteen show is not only a new song, but one that features rapping?" Lefsetz begins. "We don’t go to the Springsteen show to look forward, but back. To when we were thin, our skin was smooth and our hopes and dreams exceeded our losses, when we still had our optimism."
Please, read on.
"But decades have taken their toll," Lefsetz says. "It’s not that we don’t smile, it’s just that it didn’t work out how we planned. So we go to the Springsteen show to remember, who we were, when music was the most powerful medium, when we felt we could change the world.
"Unlike MTV, the Boss blinked. He wanted to reinvent himself, test boundaries, but the audience wouldn’t let him. MTV is all about going forward, baby boomers are about a preservation of the past. You don’t want to mess with their memories. You need to record albums, you need to play the hits, you’ve got to look thin and better than they do. Because if you got old, that means they did too. And that’s their worst nightmare. You’re their last, best hope."
Boomers are all about themselves and to anyone wants to get on their good side, I’ve got two words: Kiss up.
"Billy Joel‘s got it right," Lefsetz adds. "No one wants to hear the new material. Elton knows this too. They don’t live in fantasy land. But the Boss must. Because if he’s not the icon his fans expect, they’ll collapse, like humans deprived of oxygen on the moon.
"There’s white hair, creaky bodies. Looking for another hit of adrenaline, in a world that cares not a whit about Bruce Springsteen or them. The future has passed them by. Rock and roll does not rule the airwaves, people listen to singles, not albums. And musicians whore themselves out to corporations.
"But this is not the way it used to be. When the dinosaurs known as rock stars used to walk the earth. When politicians couldn’t hold a candle to musicians, never mind bankers. When the best way to communicate with each other was via a vinyl record spun at a radio station broadcasting its FM signal in a fifty mile radius.
"Those days are through."
Which brings us to my experiences this past weekend in the wilds of Joplin. That’s where I watched nine teams of aspiring, young computer geniuses ranging in age mostly from mere teenagers to men and women in their low 30s.
They were there to compete in something called a "Hackathon."
The object being, to help rescue the tornado-ravaged city from itself. More specifically, from a dated online presence that currently adds up to nine separate Web sites, when all the city really needs is one.
A single Web site that will allow JoMos to one-stop shop for all their worldly government needs and aspirations. To find out fast what to do before, during and after the next awful thing to befall the city and to register to get text and phone call warnings for the same.
To get fast, easy answers to every imaginable question ranging from when the next chili supper is going down to why there’s a tree blocking their cul-de-sac or a sinkhole behind Instant Karma Gourmet Hotdogs (just kidding). A place they can get the local weather as well as find out about the "whethers" involved in city government, police, fire – you name it.
A site the citizens of Joplin can interact with and that allows city officials to interact back and get important news out in a tiny fraction of the time it took them one year ago, for example, when the twister hit.
Something stylish and hip, functional and fun. Something worth upwards of $1 million that may well set the bar for cities of Joplin’s size and larger. And one that it’s getting free of charge courtesy government Web site builder CivicPlus and the efforts of college students from Baker University, Southwest Baptist University and the University of Missouri.
And something without a Baby Boomer fingerprint to be found.