Posts Tagged ‘culture’

growing up in the ‘question’… or, cheer up P. J. O’Rourke

Posted in 7 deadlies, art, beginnings, explore, family, friends, gifts, home, journey, love, memory, notice, ponder, religion, secret suffering, technology, time, travel, UncategorizedComments Off on growing up in the ‘question’… or, cheer up P. J. O’Rourke

Wall Street Journal  – dateline Sat/Sun November 30-December 1, 2013 . REVIEW section, front page feature article , THE BOOMER BUST, by P. J. O’Rourke – essayist.

P.J. O’Rourke has a thing or two to get off his chest about  being one of and observing the 75 million odd baby boomer generation. He seems to be deeply troubled by our  existence and wallowing in baby boomer’s remorse  while he speaks for ALL of us. His musings embrace  his own self- loathing and our collective one as well. Thanks for worrying about us  P.J. O’Rourke.

The baby boomers have an exact definition. Did you know that? A precise demography we are told in his essay.

‘We are the children who were born during a period after WWII when the long-term trend in fertility among American women was exceeded.’

This definition is further broken down into the following catagories.

Seniors – those born in the late 40’s.

Juniors – those born in the early 1950’s ( your’s truly)

Sophomores – those born in the late 1950’s

Freshman – those born in the early 1960’s

This time span from the late 40’s to the early 60’s was  generally characterized by a profusion of opportunity concurrent with a collapse of traditional social standards. Mr. O’Rourke opines that this perfect storm of opportunity and social standard breakdown led us ‘en masse’ to become …” greedy for love, happiness, thrills, fame, inner peace and money.”

Furthermore, we are ‘NOT a generation who listens to anybody, including God.’

We are ‘the generation who insisted that a passion for living should replace working for one.’ All we cared about was our ‘personal universe.’

                                    Hey! Baby boomers…are you feeling BAD about yourself yet?! 

P.J. concludes his essay by pointing out that we now must come to the obvious conclusion that in our dotage, ‘everything you were told , was wrong and we must despair!’

I will hold off on the despair for just a bit while I make some of my own observations… from a Junior’s point of view.

We were most definitely born in an age of wondrous opportunity – certainly more than our parents ever could have imagined for us. We were, however, just children born into that time with no knowledge that it was a ‘golden ‘ era of prosperity or that we were destined to be the gigantic know- it -all generation of selfish leeches on society that according to P.J., we have become. Anyway… as we were growing up, mysteries did still abound. Like, why did our father’s spend hours on the couch watching old black and white movies about Hitler? Why would you watch that when the Three Stooges could entertain you so much better? Hitler was boring, and we had no way to relate any of that piece of history to our young, shiny, hopeful lives that our parents had born us into. They wanted to shield us and move us on from that dark time in both our history and the world’s. It was a new day and we were destined to move it forward with their help. We added hope to our ‘personal universe’.

Much like many of my generation and the seniors before me, our parents did not go to college. Yet they were not so uneducated that they did not see the great value it would be to us in the new world we were born into. So off to colleges we marched in great numbers, as much to get educated as to spare their young sons the horror of fighting in the Vietnam War. A war, as a generation, we questioned. We added education to our ‘personal universe’, with a healthy dose of questioning authority.

Now equipped with fine college educations, hope, and a questioning mind we went on to advance technology, medicine, religion, sexual equality, racial equality, women’s choices, career stereotypes, music, arts, literature, science , and the quality of life for 75 million people – just here in our country alone.

My goodness…what had our parents wrought? We were certainly NOT the Greatest Generation. We know who they are and what they did and sacrificed for us, and they deserve that title. The Greatest Generation gave us the age of opportunity and we embraced it whole heartedly. I’m frankly mystified by what perfect world we were obliged to create to satisfy P.J. O’Rourke’s viewpoint of our wasted lives. We have clearly been negligent to his thinking.

It is my contention that the best thing we learned and then shared as a generation was to QUESTION EVERYTHING. We questioned authority endlessly and on every front until we got answers that led us to a better understanding of our world and those on the planet that we shared it with.

                                   I believe as a generation, we learned to’ live in the question’.

And in doing so, we have kept an open and hopeful mind to the future. That is personally what I believe I have passed on to my son and his generation.

I do not share P.J. O’Rourke’s snarky, sad viewpoint on the 75 million baby boomer’s impact on society over the last 67 years. Perhaps his own personal expectations and achievements have led him to this rather dark and unfulfilled viewpoint. All I can say is, cheer up P.J., and peace out.


( featured image , WHAT HAVE I LEARNED? , canvas collage by Catherine Massaro)


Wish you were here…

Posted in beginnings, family, food, gifts, home, journey, love, memory, Reno, time, travel1 Comment

Today was the annual Italian Festival in downtown Reno. There are numerous ethnic festivals throughout the year here, celebrating the Hispanic culture, the Greeks,  and more, but the Italian festival is the last big street fair event of the year before the town rolls up the streets for the long winter ahead. In my 5 years here, the event has always been lucky enough to have had a simply gorgeous Fall day, and today was no exception. Before you even park the car you can smell the garlic and food preparations and hear the music. There is of course a ‘best of ‘ cook-off for sauce, and fresh pesto is being made from one end to the other with giant vats of sauce  bubbling up and down the street,  all competing for the honors.

The smells are nothing short of heaven.

My father was a first generation Italian and the Italian side of my family was how we leaned . It was large and wonderful, teeming with Aunts and Uncles and a small army of cousins. Family mattered when I was growing up  as a child and  nearly every Sunday was spent at Gramma & Grampa’s house. I have nothing but wonderful ,  sweet memories of that part of my youth. Gramma spoke hardly a word of English, though it didn’t matter to her or us. Her goal was to make sure we were fed as often as possible before we left her house in spite of my mother’s protestations of, “Ma, they just ate! ”

There was always room for another bowl of my Gramma’s pasta.

I have only two dear Aunts left now, and all but one of my cousins. Sadly, I hardly ever see any of them, and when I do it’s to hear of yet another passing of these lovely people who made up such a big part of my young life. I’m sad to have grown so distant from my cousins and regret not being in touch as we now grow older.

They say every journey begins from home. I ventured out into the world as a young adult very confident of who I was and where and who I came from. I had a  solid home base as a launching pad in life. I had a culture and a family with a history to relate to. They gave me so much by simply  being there. I’m sorry that so many are gone and I no longer have the opportunity to thank them for that. And if they were here,  I would let them all know, that  family mattered  – very much.


(featured photo , canvas collage – WISH YOU WERE HERE , by Catherine Massaro)


moving your brain around…

Posted in explore, journey, memory, ponder, time, travel, UncategorizedComments Off on moving your brain around…

Wow… I just read the most disturbing talking point article. It was about cars and the car industry.

Posing the lead – in question,” Has America passed peak driving?” Why has driving and car ownership declined so drastically for 16 – 34 year olds? The article contends that cars no longer have the magic aura of freedom and power, and that they are unnecessary in urban areas as well as too expensive. They apparently associate driving with “brain numbing ” commutes across smoggy, congested highways. Brian Merchant, in says this is not a temporary economic downturn, but rather a social revolution. He says drivers 55 and over, rooted in the  American car culture hungered to get away from their families, towns and neighborhoods. It meant getting to go where you wanted, when you wanted and meeting whom-so-ever you wanted. ( To which I said, damn straight!!)

BUT… and it’s a BIG BUT

He goes on to say, “…now you can do all that on the Internet, and for FREE! Hang out with your friends, play games, share music and photos! A new generation has found a faster and more convenient way to…

                                                                     (get ready, here it comes)

move their brains around.”

I’m still reeling from this ridiculous conclusion and observation. Seriously?! They are ‘moving their brains around’? Oh my… I weep for the future. There is nothing that replaces first hand experience. Especially when it comes to travel. The Internet, Facebook, and other social media, while they are fun and immediate, are nothing more than the illusion of moving your brain around. If we were to believe this conclusion, why ever bother getting up to do anything other than bodily functions. ( and don’t even tell me you take your phone in there…eewwww )

This was such a sad and stupid article. I pray young people have not become so lazy, uninspired and out of touch with adventure and travel that the world will extend only as far as the text at the tips of their fingers.

I refuse to accept this viewpoint of a ‘social revolution’ to come. And if it is coming, I hope to influence as many young people as I can to see beyond this limited, brain numbing, illusion of what life has to offer them.

saving ART

Posted in journey, notice, ponder, technologyComments Off on saving ART

Camille Paglia wrote the most amazing article, How Capitalism Can Save Art. Camille is a University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philidelphia.

I think I’ve read it about 10 times now, and it’s just so powerful and well written. Check this paragraph out:

…”Capitalism has it’s weaknesses. But it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.”

I love my iPhone too. And I love this lovely Mac Book I write this blog on. I love this amazing machine that allows my voice, art and website to reach out to anyone, anywhere. But thankfully I was educated in an ART school, where making something every day mattered. Looking deeply and thinking long and hard about what you saw was our everyday fare. The history of art was our timeline and connection to the past that put our history in perspective.

God, I loved art school. It taught me to think and see in a hundred different directions. It’s a sad thing to see the arts diminishing in our troubled public education system. It will make for a weak society.  Even as we advance technologically we are in fact getting less and less civilized I fear.

(featured image – DRAWING 101, canvas collage by Catherine Massaro)