One of the Post War generation’s greatest achievements has been the creation and maintenance of a generational mythos that venerates the MOST iconic personalities, events and ideas of its time.
Because we all live within this generation’s culture distorting force field, it is easy to forget just how big a part sadness, uncertainty and ineffectual bluster have played in the lives of the Boomers. We have all been steeped in the archetypal stories of the generation and those stories obscure the truth as it was lived by most of the Boomers most of the time. Consider the following archival video footage of “Boomer” men in the 1980’s making use of the then new technology of video dating.
Take a look.
Although it is obviously a compilation that has been edited (effectively) for comic effect, this video also, and quite inadvertently, offers us a chance to see Boomers standing alone, cut off from the solace offered by their generational mythology. Even from the distance of three decades, the loneliness, the self-absorption and the yearning for connection that these men feel remains palpable. This deep unhappines (mostly disguised with grim smiles) is so overwhelming that we sometimes feel we must look away. They come before us purely and solely as INDIVIDUALS whose lived experience has almost nothing in common with the heroic dimension of their generation’s self created story.
These men are in their 50’s and 60’s now. Some of them have, undoutedly, found happiness and fulfillment, many others did not. Although few of these men are likely to rcognize it, a new struggle looms before them. They are approaching the end of adulthood and must now, somehow, make their way into elderhood. This journey will be vastly more difficult and perilous than “dating in the 80’s.”
This “time capsule” video exposes the crucial divide that separates the public from the private, the generational from the personal. Aging is a team sport and these men are going to need all the help they can get as they enter their generation’s Second Crucible.