A Boomer’s Remorse

An occasional theme I have addressed in Growing Up Boomer—something that is a near constant theme in my mind—is the anger I harbor toward my generation (and myself) for knowing—when we were raising hellish indignities in the streets in the 1960s—how human civilization was likely to end, and then not doing a fucking thing about it as we devolved into the Me Generation.

In the 1970’s, instead of focusing our collective energy and growing political power upon what we knew was the impending existential crisis for humanity, the advantaged among us invented conspicuous consumption for the Middle Class, and our offspring—after taking our lead—did us more than one better.

In past posts in this blog, I have tried to provide solutions to challenges I have identified, but the end of human civilization as we have known it is a challenge that now has no apparent solutions. A 9/26/22 NYT headline is an exclamation point: Climate Pledges Are Falling Short, and a Chaotic Future Looks More Like Reality. The time for Humankind to right its sinking vessel has past, and my deep regret, my remorse, is caused by my generation’s failure to seriously address the challenge when we should have a half century ago.

Our collective failure to demand that actions be taken, which might have given Humankind a fighting chance, is a major reason why we are on the precipice of catastrophe. And if you are young and reading this, and are questioning whether we actually knew a half century ago about the consequences of unchecked population growth, the poisoning of earth’s air and water, and an exploding carbon footprint, all you need do is listen to the music that we listened to, music on albums that tens of thousands of us bought and to which we righteously sang along.

Three such songs follow. Listen to them and weep!Links to other Boomer protest songs from the late 1960s and early 1970s can be found below in BLOGGER’S NOTES.

Marvin Gaye’s lyrics, 1971: Mercy Mercy Me

Joni Michell performing Big Yellow Taxi in London in 1969; click the link for an excellent live performance of the song (that is followed by Both Sides Now). Big Yellow Taxi lyrics follow:

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
No, no, no
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT
I don’t care about spots on my apples
Leave me the birds and the bees
Please
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Hey now, they paved paradise to put up a parking lot

Listen, late last night, I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took my girl away
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’till it’s gone

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Hey now, now, don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise to put up a parking lot

Why not?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Hey, hey, hey
Paved paradise and put up a parking lot

I don’t wanna give it
Why you wanna give it
Why you wanna giving it all away
Hey, hey, hey
Now you wanna give it
I should wanna give it

‘Cause you’re givin it all away
I don’t wanna give it
Why you wanna give it
Why you wanna giving it all away
Givin, givin it all
Givin it all away

Neil Young’s lyrics, 1970: After the Gold Rush

BLOGGER’S NOTES:

Music from the years when we were raising hellish indignities in the streets:

Buffalo Springfield, 1967: For What It’s Worth
Crosby, Stills, and Nash, 1969: Long Time Gone The lyrics: Long Time Gone
Beach Boys, 1971: Student Demonstration Time
Crosby, Stills. Nash, and Young, 1971: Ohio
Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain, 1971, opens with a monologue by George Clinton: “Mother Earth is pregnant for the 3rd time, for y’all have knocked her up. I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe…I was not offended for I knew I had to rise above it all or drown in [your] own shit,” but the song’s emotional hook as a protest song is the next 10 minutes of Eddie Hazel’s guitar solo, considered by many to be the greatest guitar solo of all time.
Ten Years After, 1971, lyrics: I’d Love to Change the World
Hawkwind, 1972; click the link for the lyrics: We Took The Wrong Step Years Ago

The featured image of Neil Young heads a NYT guest essay entitled Call It ‘Codger Power.’ We’re Older and Fighting for a Better America. The positive thrust of the essayist, in my opinion, falls into the category: Too Little, Too Late. No copyright infringement is intended in the use of this image in this post, nor is there an intent on the part of the blogger to monetize its use.