NEIL BOORMAN - IT'S ALL THEIR FAULT: GENERATION ME
Here we are again with another heafty chunk of Neil Boorman's new book It’s All Their Fault. If you like politics, arguing, disagreeing and above all, if you suspect your parents are to blame for everything, then this is for you. This week Neil outlines just what selfish pigs those suited 50-year-olds are. Bastards.
If there is one decade that defines the Boomers, it is, of course, the Sixties. The optimism, the individualism and the excess of the Sixties are burnt on the memory of our parents. These are the shared experiences that triggered common traits in the characters of our parents. And they are one of the reasons why the music, art and fashion are rehashed and revisited with a punishing frequency.
Indulged, protected and privileged, Boomers are prone to Pampered Child Syndrome. Children who are loved, nurtured and protected "too much", according to clinical psychologist Dr Maggie Mamen, grow up believing that "they are entitled to the same rights as adults, but … are not ready to accept grown-up responsibilities". In the rush to provide their children with the opportunities they themselves never had, the parents of Baby Boomers forgot to "strike an effective balance between caring for and nurturing children, while at the same time maintaining authority and demanding respect".
Boomers were raised by their parents to believe that they were special and conditioned by their teachers to think as individuals. Being the wealthiest generation of all time, it’s fair to say that they were special, but the endless opportunity and the constant drive to build their self-esteem went to their heads.
Personal growth and self-help were more important to them than any sense of duty to the people around them. The lyrics to Queen’s worldwide Boomer hit say it all.
Previous generations, who lived through the Great Depression and the war, consumed sparsely and managed their expectations and aspirations. But to the Boomers, driven by a sense of entitlement, personal needs are more important and they expect them delivered on a platter. The oversized homes, the piles of possessions, the extravagant vacations.
BOOMERS WANT IT ALL WHATEVER THE COST
There are hundreds of advertising manuals devoted to Boomers, but they all point to one character trait: the selfish individual. "Boomers want special treatment," according to 50 Things Every Marketer Needs to Know About Boomers Over 50, "and feel entitled to it. They want your special treatment because they think they deserve it, or have earned it." Twelve percent of teenagers surveyed in the early Fifties agreed with the statement, "I am an important person"; by the late Eighties this had risen to 80 percent. "As commendable as it is for children to have high self-esteem," says Lillian G. Katz, "many of the practices advocated in pursuit of this goal may instead inadvertently develop narcissism in the form of excessive preoccupation with oneself."
Self-loving Boomer culture is all around us. Love yourself! Be your own best friend! These are the mantras of the self-help book market, which exploded soon after Boomers learnt to read. It was all summed up by Whitney Houston, in the Boomer nirvana that was the Eighties, with her best-selling anthem "The Greatest Love of All". The greatest love, in case you hadn’t already worked it out, IS THE LOVE FOR ONESELF.