So Dean Barnett is speaking in tongues again:
In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn’t answer the phone.
Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers–those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation–took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers’ response to their moment of challenge. War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.
Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, military service didn’t occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.
I’ve highlighted the key phrase here, the one that essentially announces that ungrounded, ahistorical fantasy is about to spring forth, like the Kool-Aid guy, from the skull of Dean Barnett.
Where to begin? For starters, the fact that there is a type of boomer who became generationally “emblematic” owes a lot to the efforts of right wingers — ancestors of Barnett’s — who developed a pernicious, cynical, and enduring narrative to discredit domestic opposition to the American war in Vietnam. (The most obvious political manifestation of this narrative can be seen in Nixon’s “Silent Majority” speech; culturally, Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee” works as an analogue to Nixon’s speech.) Regardless of the relevant historical and sociological facts — all of which are easily retrieved from one’s local library — conservatives pretended that opposition to the war was a simple function of youth, drugs, and cowardice, the last of which was supposed to be an unintended and unfortunate side-effect of post-WWII affluence, which boomers allegedly took for granted. It’s horseshit mythology that takes about five minutes of actual inquiry to discredit, but when you’d rather spend those five minutes re-telling the same fables about hippie draft-dodgers and cracking wise about the moral depravities of Woodstock, I suppose we’re not talking about people who genuinely care to get their facts in order.
The rest of this passage lands even farther beyond the frozen side of stupid. As Roy Edroso points out, during the 1960s the “call of history” for hundreds of thousands of Americans came in the form of a draft notice, made necessary by the horrendous decisions of their elders, whose “leading lights” made the epic mistake of believing that every skirmish of the cold war was a replay of World War II. If military service failed to impress “most young people as an option, let alone a duty,” perhaps the relevant lesson is that ill-conceived, wasteful conflicts are not the best recruiting advertisement for military service.
. . . link to Roy is fixed . . . (new tag: “d’s butchery of HTML”)