1st March 2001

Marilu Henner, Elton John, & other RABID GRANNIES!

posted in `Roids |

Lloyd Kaufman’s essay on how the Baby Boomers have refused to share the cultural, political and economic spotlight!

By Lloyd Kaufman with Adam Jahnke & Patrick G.

There’s a scourge on society, an oil-spill in the ocean of our existence, a toxic cloud hanging over the head of modern history. This plague is the baby boomers that have kept the spotlight of public attention on themselves in an amoral drive for power and control since the sixties. They steered society through the self-indulgent seventies, the atrocious eighties and have somehow stayed at the helm during the nineties and into the new millennium. As the world changes, the baby boomers have adjusted the terms to suit their supremacy. In one decade they were swapping body fluids and in another they were trading stocks. By sheer numbers they have overwhelmed the landscape like locusts sucking down every obtainable resource in their passage through history.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials, editorials, and other mass media effluvia trumpeting the virtues of growing old. “It’s a great time to be 50!” they’re shouting. This new “up-with-the-aged” panegyric agenda is the latest ploy by the baby boomers to maintain their stranglehold on American culture and, therefore, the world’s economy.

Middle-aged has-been celebrities are tripping over each other to get on Entertainment Tonight to insist that they feel sexier, more vibrant and alive now that they’re 50 than they ever did when they were 20…and, incidentally, to sell their new workout tape/frozen vegetarian dinner/airbrushed nude layout in Playboy. I have only one response to this: bullshit! It is impossible for anyone to be sexier or more creative or more physically active at age fifty than at age twenty. It’s simply a law of science, like gravity or photosynthesis. Call it oldfartocology.

Seasoned oldfartocologists, like myself, will tell you that growing older does not result in a blossoming libido, a sunny outlook on life, or a body that looks and performs better than one thirty years its junior. Marilu Henner made a recent appearance on Larry King in an obscene effort to brainwash the masses into believing she is sexier now than in her Taxi days. Suzanne Somers is all over late night cable[1] hollering about feeling younger than ever while promoting the latest thigh preserving apparatus.

A snapshot from
Liz Taylor’s latest wedding.

Yet contrary to Suzanne and Marilu, the aging person can in fact look forward to pinched nerves, dysfunctional internal organs, and malignant cancers that, if you’re lucky, can be removed in a painful, risky, and costly procedure. I’m willing to concede that it may be argued that those of the gyno persuasion do receive a post-menopausal spurt of energy, creativity or some heightened mental facility[2]. However, they most certainly do NOT receive a post-menopausal spurt of seductive beauty. And men, after a certain age, are simply finished. They’re past their sexual, creative, and intellectual prime. Once we hit, say 55 or so, we’d might just as well suck down a bullet and spare the world our pathetic, lingering attempts at usefulness[3].

It’s better to be young:
can anyone argue with this photograph?

For thirty years now, we’ve had the economic and personal agendas of the baby boomer generation stuffed down our collective throat. This age bracket has been a bulge in history’s pants. As a tremendous a population burst, it gave them the numbers to shanghai the currency of future political and social debate. Look at the last American election. The issues that were constantly put forth by Al Gore and G.W. Bush were Social Security, Medicare and healthcare[4]. After all, now that the Height-Ashbury crowd is all grown up we must be sure that they have some extra cash with which to pay their maids[5].

Say nothing of the fact that over 70 million American youth live in poverty and that a decent college education has exceeded 30 thousand dollars a year. After all, they’ve already gone to college (courtesy of now extinct foundations and grants). The baby boomers wouldn’t give the youth a trapped fart from their colostomy bags.

Our last President is a fine example of the boomer affliction. A product of the sixties, young people put their faith in Slick Willy because he had a background they had been programmed to trust: he dodged the draft, he smoked pot and he was born after World War II. However, Bill Clinton, like many of his contemporaries, was bought and sold and in the end he used his influence to pardon bandits and drug dealers in exchange for furniture! Now out of public office he’s tried to get the taxpayers to put him up in a $700,000 office!

Beyond the political horizon, the boomers have also hijacked the nation’s cultural dialectic. Watch them shamelessly resurrect the Eagles for the Night of the Singing Dead concert on MTV Unplugged instead of passing the mic to deserving, younger successors like Jane Jensen and the Dolls. How many more reunion tours must we endure[6]? Why won’t Rod Stewart, Elton John and Eric Clapton go away? Every time I see Mick Jagger shaking his crusty prostate to songs written 35 years ago I want to punch myself in the scrotum! Rod Stewart’s 80th birthday album is getting more attention than a boy scout in Michael Jackson’s house! What’s worse is that there are young people in the audience who don’t even realize that they are being sucked into an egocentric festival dedicated to someone else’s nostalgia!

Could there be a more ethically impaired image, than Elton John, the queen of pop, on stage with the vociferously homophobic Eminem? Clearly Eminem has a stake in changing his image from a loud-mouthed bigot to bespectacled gay-friendly humanist. With an upcoming trial on gun charges Eminem’s sweet ass hangs the balance. But what on earth would inspire Elton John to collaborate with Eminem? Twenty years ago at the height of his career, would he have performed such a vehement bigot? Absolutely not! In his prime Elton John actually challenged the establishment with his homocentric flamboyance. It’s sickening to see him invert his life’s work just to stay on stage. The same morbid paradox was seen during the 2001 Super Bowl Halftime Show when Aerosmith leapt onto the narrow backs of N’Sync (now that would have been more in character with Elton John).

This what Suzanne Somers might look
like, without make-up.

These stale pageants are reflective of a generation that simply cannot accept that its zenith has passed. They will collaborate with anybody in order to maintain center stage. (It’s no small coincidence that they just happen to be poised to make a lot of money off of remaining in charge.) This was heinous enough when they were younger and things like LSD, disco dancing and coffee shops were enough to keep them happy. Now that they’re staring down the ass-end of their lives, it’s necessary for them to convince themselves and others that aging itself is where it’s at. The tune they’re singing today is a fuck of a lot different than the one they had back in the late 60’s (“don’t trust anyone over 30!” is the mantra I remember) when they were pushing through the gentrification of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in New York City. All the old folks who were living here back then got kicked out to make way for the hip, young trendmakers. Back then, getting older was a stigma that branded you as socially retarded at best and a fossilized obstacle at worst. Today, as the hip trendmakers turn into replacement hip trendmakers, they find that they must completely change the perceived notion of what turning older entails. Either they make it seem as though aging results in a sudden infusion of wisdom, virility, strength, and sex appeal or they become exactly what they used to roll right over.

It’s better to be young:
Case #2.

Tromeo & Juliet was inspired by what I saw as young America’s response to my generation’s incessant packaging and repackaging of image over emotion. When the time came for the boomers to assume their position as the status quo, their posture became that of the elite, which elevates coolness over feeling. Every aspect of their own history has been repackaged and repeated without one iota of authentic emotion (a la Adams Family, Rolling Stones World Tour, etc.). Let’s not forget that the generation from the era of free love also happened to have spawned the most materialistic, gilded period in history – the eighties – a time that sealed the casket for authentic emotion and real love relationships. After all, the boomer divorce rate is 50% and has been since that decade. To return to my earlier example of Bill Clinton as the boomer paradigm; simply look at his marriage and its social implications. The partnership is clearly bogus and void of anything beyond mutual ambition.

For those young people whose instincts compelled them elsewhere, the response was to turn inward, transforming themselves into tattooed, body pierced strangers that their parents couldn’t begin to recognize or understand. This turning inward (i.e., away from parents phony socialization) has taken the youth through extremes from autoerotic asphyxiation to scarification. This type of expression is thoroughly distinct from the effete and frigid world of the elite. These acts, however destructive[7], ejaculate and bleed. They are risky and often fatal, but they are real!

I refuse to believe this picture
would be any prettier
with middle-aged models.

This was the new generation’s reaction to the baby boomers’ cannibalization of their own pasts and the corruption of ideals that may once have actually had some merit. I can’t begin to imagine what the reaction will be to this latest scheme, which is built on a foundation of blatant untruths and requires them to disbelieve the evidence provided by their own senses.

A few months back, I experienced an epiphany at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland[8]. A quote from New York Dolls/Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren was prominently displayed, a quote that I had encountered and misunderstood years ago: “We must first destroy in order to create.” When I first heard this quote, I took it much too literally. I thought McLaren was just talking about such time-honored punk rock traditions as smashing guitars, wrecking drum kits and trashing hotel rooms. But standing there in the Hall of Fame, surrounded by the sanitized, canonized spirit of rebellion (all circumvented by Cleveland), I finally understood that McLaren was talking about something much greater. Any great work of art, whether it’s a book, song, movie, painting or whatever, is born from a reactionary spirit, a rebellion against the status quo. That artist must, within the confines of his work, completely and utterly tear down the establishment. Shakespeare did it. Van Gogh did it. The Sex Pistols did it. Troma did it. And guess what? At the peak of their creative abilities, they were NOT middle-aged fossils-in-training.

Perhaps we are due for more than an artistic renaissance? It may be time to heed the bugle call and tear down the power elite that is sucking us dry of our creative and spiritual capital. To run out the morally bankrupt conglomerates and burn down the palace they constructed. The present is prime time for a revolution. The younger generation, who should be coming into the full flower of their creative and economic power right now, are having it stolen out from under them by the baby boomers’ omnivorous desire to stay in command. By dint of numbers the boomers kicked out their elders to seize the reins. Now is the time for the same thing to be done to them. Life does not begin at fifty. It slowly starts to creep away. The most exciting work in any field…whether it’s artistic, technological, political or whatever…is done by the young. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what you do next.

1: That should have been reserved for Troma’s Edge TV or at least porn instead.

2: See Margaret Thatcher or Queen Elizabeth.

3: Except for me, of course, who at fifty-five has attained panther-like reflexes and developed the seductive wiles of a seventeen year old geisha.

4: To be fair, Bush did pay lip service to “education”.

5: This is not to say I’m against Social Security. My point is that it should be protected for those who need it. Not to be wasted on Tofu and futons for aged hippies in 500 thousand dollar homes in Santa Fe.

6: These pitiful displays of repitition are clearly different from sequels like The Toxic Avenger parts II, III & IV and Class of Nuke ‘Em High parts II & III.

7: And I most certainly discourage autoerotic asphyxiation. If you are going to risk your life for sexual gratification then have dirty sex with prostitutes like a productive member of society does (see: businessmen, politicians, independent filmmakers, etc.)

8: Sure, I would have rather had an epiphany while in the throes of passion while fucking Fiona Apple or a mountain goat in Tibet but you take your epiphanies when and where you can.

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