Hearne: Generations X, Y & Z Brush Aside Boomers, Rescue Joplin

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."

Through indeed.

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.

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22 Responses to Hearne: Generations X, Y & Z Brush Aside Boomers, Rescue Joplin

  1. smartman says:

    What Lefsetz
    Thanks for the intellectual diaspora of an irrelevant hippie and some kids tweaked on MS-DOS for idiots. It’s always been about the POWER and the MONEY. Back in the hippie days you didn’t need to have money to have POWER. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! Remember that? Today if you don’t have MONEY you don’t have POWER, at least the “earthly” kind. Hence the necessity of George Soros and his never ending source of funds for all things “hippie”.

    Springsteen has been in an intellectual vacuum for ages. He’s been awash in confusion ever since he married and divorced Julianne Phillips. He went too mainstream and had to start banging his backup singer to get his bona fides back. It’s been ages since he’s created any new UNFORGETABLE HITS. Like he hasn’t cranked out enough already? If REO, Styx, Journey and Frampton can tour on their legacy no reason why Bruce shouldn’t get on that train too. Problem is he still thinks he matters. He does, but more so to 1%er douchebags that summer in the Hamptons then rank and file blue collar types from Asbury Park. To wit, Bruce went out for a ride and he never came back.

    Checked out the new Camaro’s, Charger’s and Mustang’s lately? They suck in the same way Springsteen does. They try to rap too. Fuck that, buy a Nissan GTR and get on with your life. C’mon, back in the day we all got huge boners looking at those big hairy bushes. Today we’ve all come, no pun intended, to appreciate a smoother patch of flesh.

    Times change and people do too. Or at least we should. Nothing wrong with keeping a foot in the past as long as the other one is at least pointed towards the future. The problem with our culture is that the past is worshipped and idealized as some state of never to be attained again perfection. What the past should be is a reminder of what is possible when the collective power of the human spirit is harnessed for the benefit of mankind first and profit second.

  2. mark smith says:

    maybe you can get one of those genius tech nerds
    To show you how to fix your site so it doesn’t slow a smart phone to the speed of corky running the 440 @ the special Olympics.
    I’d also wager the working class people you seem to have so much disdain for, might argue that they need saving . Joplin isn’t being rebuilt by a bunch of clueless tech nerds. Blue collar, working class people are putting Joplin back together, it requires actual labor, something a trust find hipster and most young tech nerds have not a clue of.

  3. Cliffy says:

    Sorry, Hearne. You’re out of your league on this one. In terms of up to date technology, your site sucks. You’ve even fallen behind Landsberg. I didn’t think that was possible.

  4. chuck says:

    This guy here is my favorited Baby Boomer.

  5. PB says:

    Is there a more obvious misnomer on the worldwide web? Springsteen is a fucking artist and his real fans not only understand but embrace his efforts to stay relevant and provide us with a soundtrack to our middle-aged years as well as one for our younger days. Wrecking Ball, like Working On a Dream, Magic and The Rising before it, is a stellar album and a worthy addition to his exceptional catalog. During his near 3-hour shows, he gives his fans everything and then some…his sweat, his iconic tunes as well as newer stuff that comes alive in concert. Each Springsteen concert is different from the one before and that’s why he continues to sellout arenas and stadiums worldwide as opposed to being forced to resort to cut-rate Groupon deals in order to half-fill some suburban bandshell like those other acts you mentioned.

    Keep your Journeys, Kansas and Night Rangers, there’s a place for those bands who’s fans only want to look back to their acid-washed jeans-wearing days, thankfully, there are still a few vintage acts (Neil Young, Paul Simon, Robert Plant) like Springsteen, who aren’t afraid to look forward and are still willing to push themselves artistically. These acts realize their music is timeless and they trust their fans intelligence and willingness to take and enjoy the ride into the future with them. Now if only “smart”man and the other idiots who scream out BORN IN THE USA!!!! will just stay away from the next Springsteen gig I attend, my world will be a better place and I won’t need some faux sense of nostalgia to make it so.

  6. smartman says:

    I’ve abandoned the Boss in favor of the preaching of Little Steven in the Underground Garage. Bruce thinks he’s Dylan or Guthrie. Some of his fans do too. I don’t. I see the influence but that’s where it stops for me. At best he’s a rock and roll troubadour like John “Cougar” Mellencamp…….but better.

    The only place you can find more douchebags these days than a Springsteen concert is at a Chinese whore house on cleaning day. My favorite works remain Live 75-85 and the 4 disc box set Tracks…66 songs that REALLY show his BRILLIANCE as a songwriter. Yeah, he can still crank out a hit and a decent album, but not like he used too. His live shows have become campaign stops for commie lib democrats and not the spiritual awakenings they used to be. His Glory Days are far behind him. Snooki and Sitch own Seaside Heights these days.

    PS: I’m with ya’ on BORN IN THE USA. Most people still don’t get it.

  7. paulwilsonkc says:

    Smartman – youre 99% right, BUT…..
    Wrecking Ball is worth a listen.

    On your other points, why do you thnk Gov Christie has seen him 27 times?

  8. the dude says:

    I think the boomers
    have taken the “I want it all” a little too far, the “me generation” has taken without truly giving back.
    It is evident in this generation that runs the corporations and the government where the mantra is ‘take all you can get and screw the rest’. Where has this kind of rampant consumerism and greed gotten us? What happened to take what you need, leave the rest?

    I am no treee hugging pinko commie by any means but a free market system has it’s limits.

    As to the Boss- if the music is good, then play on- fuck the old farts stuck in nostalgia mode.
    Nostalgia can be a dangerous place.

  9. Super Dave says:

    The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.

  10. Rainbow Man says:

    Generational BS
    The “Greatest Generation?” Really? I mean that it a pretty big accolade. I think a lot of generations would look great during the giant building boom and explosive economy of the 50’s and 60’s. I think any generation, faced with Hitler… would have done the same as our “Greatest” ancestors…. Am I wrong or did the “Greatest” invent “White Flight?” As for the Boomers…. not sure where I stand on them yet.

  11. randyraley says:

    Bob Lefsetz
    I’ve known Bob for years and he’s been unhappy most of time I’ve known him. He did a real nasty hack job on Dick Clark the day after he died.
    Bob’s out to get promotion for Bobby saying outrageous, stupid shit.
    He no more speaks for me than Justin Beiber does.
    No, we’re not the greatest generation but while the kids were getting Joplin back on line how many “boomers” were helping them rebuild their houses or stores? How many “boomers” donated their houses to those who didn’t have one?
    We’ve fucked up some, but this generation has given a lot back to our country starting with Vietnam. Something that the kids mostly likely will never know. It’s easy to kick us around now, we’re getting older but the fact remains, I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up in any other time at any other point in this country’s history. As a boomer, I’m just trying to live my life and contribute somehow to society in some positive way.

  12. smartman says:

    It’s a Jersey thing with Chris Christie. Gotta see the Boss, Bon Jovi and anybody that was ever in the Sopranos anytime and anywhere they perform in the tri-state area. Plus I think as governor he doesn’t have to pay at the concession stand.

    Bottom line, best fucking singer EVER from Jersey…….Jimmy Roselli. That’s all. When Junior Gotti got married, who’d the Teflon Don call to sing at the reception….Jimmy Roselli. When Jimmy played in Atlantic City every fucking made guy took his mother to see him. That’s how fucking cool Jimmy was. Your capo could have you whacked if you DIDN’T take your mother to see Jimmy. That’s all.

  13. dreamwriter326 says:

    The song remains the same
    There’s something pretty fucking cool about standing in a crowd at Starlite on a warm summer Friday night, three and a half overpriced margaritas down (and however many 13 bucks and change can afford, to go) trying not to burn your thumb halfway through Babe while struggling to keep lit a flame that’s obscured by hundreds of cell phones waving in the dark, mocking your Bic and the reason you remembered to bring it with you in the first place.

    For me, my desire to see the Doobies one last time, or screaming the lyrics to Riding the Storm out as the graying mass around me does the same, makes perfect sense. It’s a hell of a way to spend an evening, croaking in unison with thousands of others who grew up with the same tunes. We got laid to that music, soothed heartache and got pumped up before big games to that music, and by God it’s dark, so we’re going to get drunk and sing our asses off to that music, too.

    I listen to the radio on my 20 minute drive to work, and my 20 minute drive home. Slacker and Skid Roadie keep me company just fine. Otherwise, what I hear from people singing at assorted karaoke bars across the Northland is as close to new music as I get. Does that make me selfish and out of touch? No more than my distaste for foreign cars and sushi does, I suppose.

    I’m not gonna preach to others about the virtues of Stairway to Heaven, or how Come Sail Away and pretty much everything Kansas did had religious overtones (imagine that). Instead, I’ll simply suggest that a lot of Boomers like me are perfectly happy providing for our families, paying our taxes and spending our hard-earned disposable income on what pleases us the most.

    I’ll take that Styx, REO, Journey concert over whatever the new hot acts are any day.

  14. dreamwriter326 says:

    What’s the point
    of No Return? The song I meant to type instead of “Come Sail Away.” I’d blame it on autocorrect, but that would be as stupid as quoting a Styx song in a rant and calling it Kansas. Indeed.

  15. Mary says:

    “I’ll take that Styx, REO, Journey concert over whatever the new hot acts are any day.” Amen, brother! Call me old, I don’t care, but music started on a downward decline with the advent of disco, and has never been the same since. “Just take those old records off the shelf”….

  16. chuck says:

    Right on schedule,
    the string descends into elegy, introspection and forays into remembrances of things past.

    Oh well, we are old.

    Maybe when Sprinsteen plays Sun City this time, he and his band will go out into the country side and meet some of the farmers who are having such a rough time.

    I think I remember Farm AId here in America. A nice idea, timely and well intentioned. Those poor farmers were hard up for cash and were losing their farms.

    Those folks in South Africa losing their farms could use a hand too Bruce.

    It is an disaster that is mostly un reported and could use a white knight.

    Heh, heh…

  17. mike says:

    I’ll take the old music.
    At least the artists from the “boomer” generation could sing on pitch without using that autotune crap and could actually play real instruments instead of the computer generated fake instruments. I agree with Mary about the disco but think an even bigger catalyst for the decline of music was MTV. It started to become more about looks and image. Remember Milli Vanilli and the lip syncing to other singers? Nowadays, you can just sing offkey yourself and cover it up with autotune if you have the right look and attitude.

  18. Orphan of the Road says:

    @Smartman, Wilson
    Feb 5, 1975, Bruce came into the club to play a live radio concert. He had trashed what he was working on and was just beginning his suit against Mike Appell. The concert is available on line, YouTube Springsteen The Main Point. Listen to the concert and then Born to Run.

    I went with youth groups from Swarthmore, PA to rebuild homes in disaster areas. First trip was to Miami after Hurricane Andrew. Two-years after, it was still a mess. We stayed at Camp Freedom, a lil’ place near Homestead. Run by a Cuban Marine, it was not what the Main Liners were used to when traveling. There was a eight-inch lizard in the girls’ dorm and we shared space with a Bible-study group from Alabama.

    One young girl offered to put us all up at a hotel but we explained this is what some families come home to every day.

    I’m proud those kids are taking kids on work camps today.

    Oh, and just a question for Hearne. Do you take the twins on any work camps or feeding the homeless in this area? Or are you what the X’s are complaining about with the oldsters?

  19. Super Dave says:

    Hearne is an oldster who lost his 6 figure paycheck so now he picks on those who still have one.

  20. PB says:

    Fair Enough, smartman
    But aren’t our best days behind most of us? Of course Bruce isn’t what he once was, but he’s still way better than most and I’ll always be a fan. And you’re right about the douchebag “fans”, but that’s not an indictment on the performer as much as it is on the trend of douchbaggery itself. I’ll continue to stand and sing the lyrics to every song blocking the talky Cellphone Guy behind me who is wondering aloud why they haven’t played BORN IN THE USA yet. Got to at least give Bruce some credit for basically excising that song from his US shows because so many tools in attendance (as well as a former revered President) apparently can’t grasp the true message of the lyrics.

  21. Markus Aurelius says:

    Lefsetz sounds like a bitter old geezer who let life pass by
    without grabbing it by the horns and now wants to blame everyone else for his own misery.

    There’s nothing wrong with a little self pity every now and then – but don’t publish it for the world to see and expect others to consume it gladly or to affirm your pity party. The better response – the response of a friend — would be, “Suck it up, work hard and make the world, or at least your own world, the place that you want it to be.”

    Too many people would rather sit around blaming everyone else and everything else for their lack of fulfillment, lack of meaning, lack of ______ rather than get off their ass and do something about it. “Woe is me” lamenting is a waste of time and annoys the people around you that are willing to get up and DO something.

  22. expat says:

    Nobody under 45 likes Springsteen including myself. There is great music coming out these days but you geezers would have to leave your hidey holes to find it — screwing up the radio industry is something to blame on Boomers.

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