Who Are You Calling a Boomer?

There’s been this trend of late, blaming this generation or that for all the world’s problems — “Boomers destroyed the economy!””Millennials are killing [everything]!” “Gen Xers all want participation trophies!” — and that’s not what this post is about. What it is about is recognizing and appreciating the influences and factors that contribute to some of the trends and attitudes associated with certain generations, and pointing out why some of those generational groupings may be too broad and/or inaccurate.

Masculinity in the Movies

This year has seen a lot of long-overdue discussion of (and action against) sexual harassment, and with it a focus on the “toxic masculinity” that underlies it and other societal ills. In some ways, the world has almost always skewed toward the patriarchy, but there are some elements of the culture that are actually fairly recent developments, which a look back through recent history will serve to illustrate. We’ll start with my central thesis: the modern American model of masculine and feminine roles is a post-World War II invention.

Happy Harry Chapin Day!

Today would have been Harry Chapin’s 75th birthday, if his life hadn’t been tragically cut short in 1981. If you don’t know who Harry was or why you should care, well, I’m going to tell you. Of course he’s best known for the perennial favorite (of everyone except lousy dads), Cats in the Cradle, which has been covered by everyone from Judy Collins to Ugly Kid Joe, but that’s not how he left his mark on the world.