Stand up, Boomers! No more guilt about those non-fat lattes and BlackBerries. You’ve made America a better country.
Steinhorn (Communications/American Univ.) has had enough. All that romantic braying about “the greatest generation” annoys him, and he replies with a sturdy, often convincing defense of his own Boomer generation. He points out that the WWII generation, having defeated fascism and imperialism, returned to the United States eager to maintain the pre-war status quo, the one of racial segregation, sexism, closed political institutions and white-bread values. It was the Boomers, Steinhorn argues, who changed all that, who’ve made America a more open, diverse, environmentally aware, egalitarian society. And they get only disrespect and sarcasm from the media and, especially, from conservative critics. Steinhorn’s great accomplishment is to show how Boomer values have indeed permeated the culture. Although political positions may seem polarized in the country today, he says, there are few who really wish to return to 1950s sorts of social arrangements. Most people want a cleaner environment, more transparency in government, a friendlier workplace, a more skeptical press, respect for minority rights—things that the Boomers began insisting upon when they came of age in the ’60s. After exploring the Boomer influence on various aspects of the culture (women’s rights, diversity, religion, environment, higher education), he ends by offering some challenges to the Boomers as they enter their twilight years. In his enthusiasm, he occasionally looks foolish—as when he blames the Boomer love-affair with SUVs on . . . their parents.
A well-sung paean to the generation that took to the streets and demanded a different definition of truth, justice and the American way.