The Golden Age fallacy.
I've been arguing with idiots again. I'd really cut down on this, since I gave up reading the Hendon Mob and Gutshot forums a couple of years ago, but I got drawn in again on the AOL comments section today. If you think that the people who write on the BBC's 'Have your say' page are morons (and I do) then wait until you've read the comments on AOL stories. On a recent piece about immigration, someone actually wrote 'Bring back Enoch Powell'. I kid you not. This sort of thing is so commonly parodied that you forget that such idiocy still exists.
I got involved on AOL today after reading a story about rural house prices and seeing some old git giving it the 'In my day blah blah blah' crap. Apparently in the past people saved for housing. Well I never. Anyway, after reading how young people are supposed to 'SACRIFICE!' I said:
"I love it when people who bought houses when they were at low multiples of average earnings start lecturing those of us born later to 'sacrifice'."
I went on to say that I wasn't wanting anything to be given to the young, just a more liberal planning regime. I won't bore regular readers of this site with any more detail; you know the score. Anyway, at the end I said: "The baby-boomer generation is perhaps the most selfish in history". There are clearly a lot of people around who don't know what the term 'baby-boomer' means because the next comment I got back from Mr "SACRIFICE!" was to tell me that I should be grateful to them for winning two world wars. LOL. Anyway, when I went on to explain what I was really addressing the generation born after that, I got taken to task by someone called 'Baby Boomer' who said, among other things:
"WE Sir, are the children of heroes. When we were at school in the 50's and 60's we were taught by heroes (in my case by a decorated ex-RAF officer with a DSO and DFC and two bars from The Battle of Britain in 1940) We looked up to these people because they had something to say...and we listened . In fact we we are the last generation that got told to "sit down shut up and listen" and (without wailing or making a complaint) and we got a stiff belt around the ear if we didn't. We actually went to school in school uniform because that was just the way it was. We also went there to LEARN and NOT to " take on" the system like some barrack room lawyer or to "know our rights" over the wearing of inappropriate clothes, religious head dresses, make up and jewellery."
I don't know when kids stopped wearing school uniforms. They still do where I live, but it's the stuff about respecting the older people that sounds false to me. I'd love to think it was true but I suspect there's a huge element of selective memory here and to present my rebuttal, I'd like to call four witnesses to the court. Their names are John, Paul, George and Ringo. A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964)
Watch how these four young men, born between 1940 and 1943 (slightly older than the textbook boomers) treat Paul's grandfather; not a lot of respect for the older generation there. Later there's this classic exchange with a war veteran at around 4 mins 50 seconds into the clip:
Johnson: 'I fought the war for your sort.'
Ringo: 'Bet you're sorry you won.'
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
UPDATE: Note that John Lennon clearly 'snorts coke' at 2 mins 26 seconds. Later we see Paul and John, then in their twenties, harassing teenage schoolgirls. Ringo is shown smoking. Fat chance you'd see any of that in an S Club 7 film today.
at 8:08 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 13 September 2008 8:32 PM BST