Plumb idea: Two generations, same influences?Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2010
Additional evidence, perhaps, that the Millennials and the Baby Boomers have more in common with each other — at least, in whom they look to for inspiration — than with my fellow Gen Xer’s.
From Saturday’s New York Times, writing about the gonzo-conservative, Eighties-born Watergate Jr. quartet accused of intending to interfere with Democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s office phones while entering a federal building under false pretenses:
But that approach was precisely the kind that he and others have been perfecting for years, a kind of gonzo journalism or a conservative version of “Candid Camera.”
Those methods took root on college campuses in the latter half of George W. Bush’s presidency, fostered by a group of men and women in their late teens and early 20s with a taste for showmanship and a shared sense of political alienation — a sort of political reverse image of the left-wing Yippies of the 1960s. They studied leftist activism of years past as their prototype, looking to the tactics of Saul Alinsky, the Chicago community organizer who laid the framework for grass-roots activism in the ’60s, as well as those of gay rights and even Communist groups.
While Nixon’s Silent Majority is rising again (and ain’t being so silent), and while not commenting on the political leanings of any of the generations, it’s interesting to see these Millennial men, ages 24 and 25, looking to the twenty-something years of Baby Boomers for inspiration.
Of course, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and Abbie Hoffman were from the Silent Generation, and Saul Alinsky was even earlier, from the G.I./Greatest Generation. And one could quite easily say that the arrested Millennial quartet has more in common with the merry band of plumbers led by the Silent’s G. Gordon Liddy (born 1930) and the G.I./Greatest’s E. Howard Hunt (born 1918), neither of whom were anything close to Baby Boomers, but I’ll digress on that point.
Because, according to the Times article, it’s not so much that they tried to emulate Thompson, Hoffman and Alinsky, per se, but, as I read it, these earlier writers and organizers influenced the Watergate Junior Four in largely the same way as they did the college radicals of the Sixties, only on the opposite political side and taken to a Nixonian extreme.
On the other hand, my own fellow Generation Xer’s couldn’t be bothered to (allegedly) try to wiretap phones. No, our own embarrassing bad boys just made shit up (figure I’d get that in there before some else did — touché).