Thursday, 14 October 2010

Kill the old

Interesting new mood developing and have heard two hints at it already on BBC of all places. The earlier hint might have been late night on Radio 5Live, I can't quite remember.

The thesis is that our generation has stolen the wealth and prospects of our children's generation and that the children will want revenge. The interviewer of Radio 5Live was encouraging the young to be angry and he did get one young man to suggest that the best thing would be to kill the old. It was quickly hushed by passing on to another question.

This morning on Radio 4, another presenter goes at the same subject, and with a certain glee he encourages the same hatred.

Interesting. We - I mean those now about sixty - are also the generation who saved and find our savings worth little, almost as little as our pensions. We never lived on credit cards in our youth and had no debts. We never bought into competitive consumer culture either: never bought a designer label item or indeed a new car. I think we have been on three actual holidays in about forty years.

It's fun for sadly deprived radio presenters to encourage drama, but this one I have already sorted out.

It's like this. I have seen the deterioration of two sets of parents. Deterioration and degredation. C's poor mother is in that vortex now. What I think is: Don't go there. They themselves did, after all, warn us often enough. Maybe ten more years, maybe fifteen, tops. If earlier then earlier, depending on circumstances.

My previously stated desire is to die on stage, to blow up and vanish in an insignificant puff of cosmic smoke, and I am perfectly consciously going the right way about it. If that does not happen, and if I am to be murdered by a younger person, stabbed with a sharpened credit card or bludgeoned to death with a designer-label hammer, or indeed in any other appropriately cool fashion , frankly I don't mind. I am only expressing a preference when I say I'd sooner do it myself, if that's OK with you. In the meantime, put your name down on the list of candidates. There seems to be a queue forming.


Alfred Corn said...

I've heard the rhetoric against the selfish Baby Boomers. It ignores the high taxes of the postwar period, accepted as part of building a state that incorporated Socialist programmes. It's the workforce of the present that will do anything to avoid taxation. Thats said, I have no ambition to be ancient. Over and out as soon as I become a burden on society.

George S said...

It is generally safer to blame the past. After all they didn't think like us. They must have been a bad lot!

My own generation thought much like that. Those terrible Victorians with their hypocrisies about sex! So much worse than hypocrisies about death. Then all those fathers doing dull jobs! It must have been because they were dull! All those mimsy, weak mothers staying at home out of sheer cowardice, not having the guts to go out and have some fun!'

What goes around comes around in different forms each time. Now it's: Those terrible baby boomers with their hypocrisies about death! (Let them die.) So much worse than hypocrisies about money! (Where is it then?) Then all those feckless fathers with no sense of responsibility to their children (us!). All those must-have-everything mothers of the ME generation, having no real time for us (ME). etc.

All or some of which is justified some of the time.

Our own children seem eminently sane and kind. What have we done wrong?

James Hamilton said...

(1) I'm not sure how far this meme goes (thank goodness). Whenever I've spoken at schools/HE/FE places, I've been impressed by how much more sane, unresentful and mature the kids of today seem compared to my generation at school 1974-1987.
(2) The meme is a left-meets-right one primarily, isn't it? articulated both by conspiracy-left types and soft Tories, and something to do with the idea that boomers all voted Thatcher in 79/83/87 in order to pull the ropeladder up after them. Sloganeering, not history.
(3) What a narrow idea of human happiness is here. And what forgetting, too. Yes, free universities, final-salary pensions, 5-bed houses in NW3 for reviewer's wages (the last was always a myth). And let's all agree that we must kill ourselves, or someone else, if we don't have them. But how many people really had these things? In particular, how many women? And doesn't this tie into the Telegraph meme that says grammar schools helicoptered out bright working-class kids (veil drawn over the situation in Secondary Moderns, but let's not spoil a nice nostalgic story)
(4) Just to note that the current football good-old-days are now the 70s, and we read claims that this was a time of (the usual bores-fantasy list) loyal local players, passion, riding the bus with the fans.. I think the blame-the-boomers is at this kind of level i.e. not deserving of serious consideration.

George S said...

I agree, James, but if people at BBC are fomenting this hatred for a lark I beg to suggest it is a dangerous lark. We are living longer, we are more of a drag on the economy. Pressures do build. I think of Clarissa's state of mind in considering her mother. The condition of her mother takes up most of the space. It is months since she has had time for art, which is her other, quite real life.

Now what the next generation is being encouraged to do is not only to resent doing what C is doing (and she both loves her mother and resents the anxiety of doing what she has to do), but to resent their elders not for becoming a burden but for having been burdens.

It is not the schoolkids I am talking about now - they have yet to be hit by reality - but the twenty-pluses now heading off into unemployment, who have my full sympathy. It is also for the BBC journalists looking for a dramatic story.

The dramatic stories might just come in the next ten years.

James Hamilton said...

And, huh! that's no way to die. I'm going to perish in my boots, on a staircase, enemy above and below, wrapped in the flag, whilst watching cricket in my deckchair asleep surrounded by my grandchildren's children, to the sound of Nimrod, behind the wheel of my TR6. That's what you want!

Mind you, to the few people who've gathered meanwhile inside the curtains of my hospital bed, it'll come as a mercy after all those years of distress, confusion, incontinence, arthritis and trollies and orderlies and nightshifts in striplit corridors.

George S said...

I'm going to perish in my boots, on a staircase, enemy above and below, wrapped in the flag, whilst watching cricket in my deckchair asleep surrounded by my grandchildren's children, to the sound of Nimrod, behind the wheel of my TR6. That's what you want!

Beware irony, James. Best laid on thin. For me, I just mean overwork. I think I understand what that means.

James Hamilton said...

Touch wood that it goes no further than that bloody show on R5 (I've a good idea which one you mean, but only because R4 is even worse at that time in the evening).

Is this a reflection of the passion for (dreams of)political violence that well-off lefties in safe countries seem to go in for? Killing Bush in edgy docu-dramas: blowing up climate deniers etc. Like so many distorted updated Daltreys hoping they kill the old before they get old (well, they've no Bush or Blair to, er, kick around any more, so there's a vacancy..)

I can't see it going much further (isolated, distressing cases I can see) but expression of the idea, and its encouragement by a national broadcaster, is too much already.

George S said...

As baby-boomers used to say: 'It's just a bad vibe, man.'

Will said...
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Anonymous said...

Kill the old? When the 'young' are so much more tender? A quick canter past a candle flame rather than a day in the slow-cooker - gotta think aboit my carbon footprint.


Will said...
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George S said...

We play by my rules here. Anyone can be angry with me and I might well tolerate it. But no abuse of other commenters. Address arguments with arguments. If there is another argument.

As for generations, I am addressing an argument as put by others. If people think I am addressing it inadequately or that I should be addressing some argument underlying the overt argument, that's fine.