Social media, sports and politics

The Democrats took for granted two aspects of American life in 2010 for granted this week — sports and social media.

As I wrote 11 months ago, beyond President Obama, the Democrats have a short bench — no up-and-comers that can excite The Base and also offer anything appealing to Independents, no Rock Stars.

But, as the results of last week’s Senate election in Massachusetts showed us, most of them are also living in an old world of campaigning. Meanwhile, conservative Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers alike used Social Media to their full advantage in resoundingly beating the Democratic candidate in perhaps the most Democratic state in the union.

True, there’s only so much you can do against the forces of the more-Patriotic-than-thou bullies that have shouted their way to the top of the news hour since the day after President Obama took office a year ago.

But we’ve also seen centrist voters coming to their side since the summer. And actually, they’ve been slowly losing this battle since Nixon’s Silent Majority and Lee Atwater’s gutter-bottom tactics in 1988. While President Clinton brought in the blue-collar voters in 1992 and 1996, it’s been hard to bring these voters back since. As Jon Stewart noted, it sure didn’t happen this week, especially if you didn’t know what team Curt Schilling played for in your home state.

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On Safire, Obama and naming the Joshua Generation

William Safire takes his unique lexical look at the ongoing generation-naming debate, sparked by the election of our first Generation X President (more here and here, too). (And I love the lede of Safire’s column: “Welcome to the socio-literary parlor game of ‘Name That Generation.'” Of course, I am a fan of most things Safire writes. But I digress.)

Safire begins with the Gertrude Stein-coined, Hemingway-cited “Lost Generation,” which appears as one of the two epigraphs that opens “The Sun Also Rises.” Safire also quotes Neil Howe, of Strauss & Howe fame and co-author of the groundbreaking book Generations, and whose work obviously heavily influences this blog.

Safire reminds us of a couple of once heavily used generational names that look a little hazy in the distance, but at the time, were quite popular in their usage: the Beat Generation and the Me Generation. Best as I can rationalize, those names now appear to be better suited to the period they were used in, or at least appearing to be a subset of the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers, respectively.

Where Safire really hits home is his use of the term “Joshua Generation” to apply specifically to African-Americans like President-elect Obama — those who came of age after the great Civil Rights battles of the last century, and are now reaping the rewards of the work of those in the time of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and later (actually, Safire cites Obama citing the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. who reminded the president-elect to “look at the story of Joshua because you’re part of the Joshua generation.”
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