Friday, November 22, 2002

Boomers' Parents Hipper

JFK was sick, but he was also hip. So says Peggy Noonan today.

According to Noonan: 1. The recent revelations of Kennedy's illnesses should have been divulged to the American people before they voted in 1960. 2. The pharmacology utilized to alleviate the illnesses was innappropriate for a sitting president. 3. The rules governing presidential libraries which are funded by taxpayers' money and which, in this case, kept these secrets for so long ought to be reviewed.

But Noonan also observes that JFK "didn't feel your pain; he felt his, and kept it to himself." JFK was gallant in his tolerance for his pain; despite his ills, he was a wit, an activist, a rake. JFK was of the Sinatra generation which endured the depression, fought the war, and came back much hipper than they were when they left. Baby Boomers only think that they discovered the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that their parents, already leaving their parents' religion, were experimenting with. A dash of Marx, a pinch of Freud, some Vat 69 (whatever that is), and some pills complete the cocktail of the "greatest generation on Saturday night."

Noonan's piece is by no means all nostalgia, and she intimates that she views that generation as being far from perfect. She also complains justifiably about the media's complicity in the Kennedy family's effort to create a "still-weird dynastic myth that continues in the Democratic party: Kennedys are gods." But she makes you want to sip some scotch and not admit even to knowing anyone who's ever lit an aromatherapy candle. Swinging with the rat pack must have been better than having a latte with some Bobos.


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