Boomers, to Mortality: “Go F*@k Yourself”
As a proud Millenial, I’ve always felt a degree of antagonism towards the Baby Boomers. To be sure, there is a certain romantic reverence with which I embrace the most evocative elements of their popular culture — rock ‘n roll, the swinging sixties, the summer of love, THE MAN, et cetera — but the events of the ’60s and ’70s, to me, constitute a folklore-ish past that is difficult to eulogize because, well, it has refused to die. There is something unbelievably excruciating about the skeletal grip the Boomers maintain on popular culture. But, I have to concede, there is also something touching and tragically romantic about their refusal to go gentle into that good night. We all struggle with mortality, but the Boomers, it seems, do so particularly energetically.
Take, for example, Ruth Flowers, a 69-year-old British grandmother who started DJing at the age of 65. After stumbling upon her grandson’s birthday party, Ruth was so taken with the energy of the scene that she dedicated her time to mastering the basics of electronic music, eventually becoming so skilled at working the decks that she launched a takeover of the French club scene and even spun at the Cannes Film Festival.
Ruth is currently working on her first single.
Ruth’s success mirrors an unwillingness to fade away that other sexagenarian musical artists have exhibited. Legendary ’60s rockers The Who recently played the Superbowl half time show despite there being only two original members left in the group:
Many found the performance to be a bit rough around the edges, but I was impressed by their energy and continued devotion to an art form that they must love dearly. Pete and Roger are at an age where they could easily rest on their laurels and relax on a beach for their remaining years, but instead they’re up on stage, shredding and belting out their songs like ever before. It’s, frankly, inspirational.
The Who aren’t the only pensioners still rocking. Last fall, Mick Jagger surfaced once again to perform with U2 at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert:
The man sounds and moves like he did decades ago. Can yet another Rolling Stones tour be far around the corner?
Anyway, the point: however annoying it is that my generation’s cultural touchstones have not yet been embraced with the reverence that the Boomers’ continue to demand, it is difficult to not be impressed by the work ethic of people fast approaching, if not already in, their golden years. Forty is not the new twenty, and sixty is not the new forty, but perhaps the point is that it doesn’t have to be. Life deserves to be lived to its fullest, until it can be no longer. That’s a message I hope I can embrace when I reach that age: “hey mortality, go f–k yourself.”