Boomer Self-Love Knows No Bounds

Watched, for some reason, the Kennedy Center Awards show on the TV after Christmas. I don’t know what it is, but Baby Boomers love Baby Boomers soooo much; this was much in evidence. They did what they do best: celebrate themselves.

I really don’t mean to denigrate the Botox Generation’s artists (well, OK). They honored Scorsese, after all. Can’t argue this, even if, in The Departed, he ripped off both himself and Japanese crime flicks. I still loved The Departed, despite the rat final shot and even though Goodfellas was 1,000 times better.

See, I can give credit (grudgingly) where credit is due. Good things the Boomers gave us: Scorsese, Coppola (for I & II), Spielberg (batting about .800), Lucas (pre-1982), The Stones, Dr. Thompson (for the most part), and the ’70s Yankees. Probably have to give them credit for The Ramones, too, though I feel like they belong to a later generation. That’s about it.

OK, Back to the award show. They honored Leon Fleischer. I don’t know anything about him, but prodigees with a tragic story and a touch of a comeback work for me. And classical piano virtuosos seem to be exactly what this type of award show should honor (rather than the MTV-style preality awards and how-much-crap-can-we-stuff-in-someone’s-cunt-vagina show typically splattered on the TV these days).

They honored Diana Ross. Well, OK I guess. Never saw Lady Sings the Blues, but The Wiz rocked and gave us hints of Michael’s, well, changes, to come.

Then we got iffy. Steve Martin? I know he’s done a lot of stuff since he had that ole arrow-through-the-head bit on SNL and The Jerk, but he’s up there with a piano virtuoso and Scorsese.

But wait. Brian Wilson? From the Beach Boys? Um. For me, it was just a little too sad watching the decked out Botoxers in the audience rocking out and trying to avoid a few broken hips as Hootie & the Blowfish (perfect) played “California Girls.” That was just before Lyle Lovett actually did a nice, bittersweet cover of “God Only Knows” — it was almost better than the original. (By the way, the original version is forever embedded in my mind as the song played near the end of Boogie Nights, when we catch up to all the characters, and Robert Ridgley is taking a beating in his prison cell from his roommate shouting “Shut Up, Colonel!” Good stuff.)

(And while we’re digressing — What was better than the original was David Lee Roth’s cover of “California Girls,” though that’s probably because I watched the video about 5,000 times as a 14-year-old.)

OK, back on topic. Even Pops was shocked that Brian Wilson was up in the balcony with Scorsese and the piano guy. Diana Ross kinda surprised him too. I think he missed Steve Martin entirely, but Pops was soon back to thinking about bowling.

The story of Wilson’s later years, when he apparently battled depression, proved to be the most compelling part of his vignette. But that was hard to compete with the boomer-perfect child-of-the-suburbs backstory with Art Garfunkel droning on about Wilson as a young Church choir soprano merging his talents with Chuck Berry rock-n-roll — another thing the Boomers were happy to take credit for. And, of course, cash in.


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