(Anti-Boomer Propaganda, Update)

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

If you don’t think there’s a highly-organized propaganda campaign being waged against Baby Boomers, perhaps they’ve already messed with your mind and spirit. The fact that it’s bad politics doesn’t seem to deter our detractors. Maybe ridicule will help.

Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge how pervasive, malicious – and essentially silly – the determined propaganda effort against the Baby Boom generation has become needs to look at the popular and by now infamous Mashable story on Boomers and Technology that came out a few weeks ago. (I’m not going to link it, because they don’t deserve it. But the title is “Users Over 55 Quitting Facebook: The Baby Boom Times Over?”)

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Boomers turn 46-63 in 2009. So if you’re talking about Boomers 55-63 only, you’re leaving out exactly half of our generation. Moreover, grouping the half you’re leaving in – Boomers 55-63 – with the fairly vast population over age 63, including Boomers’ parents and, in the case of some younger Boomers, grandparents, is, to say the very least, extremely poor logic. A 55-year-old Boomer, in fact, is as close in age to a Millennial of 25 as (s)he is to a Greatest Generation American of 85.

Even worse, propaganda-wise, than the implication that every American over 55 is part of the Baby Boom, is the downright frightening photo Mashable, in all its wisdom – NOT! – has used to illustrate this purported article about Boomers. It’s a stock photo of a fellow in a plaid shirt, with a baffled expression, looking at a laptop computer.

I’m sure the model who posed for this shot is a very nice elderly gentleman. But he’s as much a Baby Boomer as the Jonas Brothers are! I won’t just guess the man is over 80. I’d say he’s over 90, unless that’s too young. In fact, he looks a lot like the average Centenarian I’ve interviewed for stories on extreme old age.

“Oh, Ellen,” you may say. “It’s truly funny, but why should we care?” We should care, Dearest Reader, because there seems to be a fairly significant slice of the younger population, some of them even part of the media, the business world, or – Goddess help us! – government, who have now been brainwashed into identifying Boomers as frail, decrepit, and over-the-hill, when we are, of course, mostly vigorous, fit, in the prime of our lives and at what are normally considered the peak ages for productivity, creativity, and earnings.

While it’s clear this photo upsets me more than the story’s theme, I’m not too happy with the premise of this oft-quoted Mashable article, either. In the guise of talking about a supposed drop-off in the use of Facebook – and presumably other social networking sites – by mature customers, the 20-something author boldly states that the reason older users log into such sites is different from why people his age log in. His generation, says the self-appointed guru, use social networking “as a means of daily communication,” seemingly about important things that need their and the world’s immediate attention. Meanwhile, we poor older folks see social sites “as a replacement for email to keep in touch with family and old friends.”

Actually, if you think about it, there is precisely zero difference between “a means of daily communication” and “a replacement for email,” anyway, since most people who use E-mail, whatever their age, tend to check it not only daily, but every few hours, if not every few minutes.

The more subtle reading of the Millennial writer’s argument, though, is that the very young have seamlessly integrated computer technology into their worklives and social lives, while other generations, particularly those Luddite Boomers, have not. If you’re reading this story, you know that’s ludicrous.

The whole concept of a “digital divide,” as anyone up on recent history knows, was coined to promote computer usage in Third World countries, if such exist anymore, positing the theory that the inexorable spread of computers would also spread literacy and general knowledge and help lift the poorest of the world up to the standard of the Western democracies. Which is undoubtedly true.

But in the last – oh, I dunno, six months? – we suddenly see the term “digital divide” used to promote a far different theory, if one can dignify it as such: That today’s teens and new college grads use computer technology more, better, and smarter than Those Who Aren’t Them, therefore making them better prepared to do this, that, and the other great enterprise than all those Old Fogies and Fogiesses, especially the Evil Boomers.

To me, this is such a lame and ludicrous theory, it makes me want to scream. I’m not particularly techie myself. But I still have my TRS-80 Model One, which I use as a paperweight. Not only has every single Boomer of my acquaintance used computers as long, essentially, as there have been computers on the mass consumer market, which is – what? – 35 years? but so have we Boomers’ elderly parents, if those elderly parents were professionals in a very wide range of jobs, from physicians, engineers, attorneys, and accountants to teachers, salespeople, retail managers, and small business owners.

As for the social networking sites, it’s clear there is no essential difference in the way any age group uses them from the way any other age group uses them. In fact, if we’re talking about using social networking effectively as a business tool, the Mashable guru should note that Linked In, the large site considered most helpful in a purely business sense, now skews very significantly towards members over 40, with Baby Boomers possibly the single largest generation of Linked In users.

Twitter Thugs and Other Charming Crazies

The Mashable article well illustrates one kind of lately prevalent Anti-Boomer propaganda: Boomers are behind the times technologically, no longer capable of being in charge of our complex world. A couple of illustrations from social networking sites themselves highlight other themes.

On Twitter, pure know-nothing thuggery has been quite popular. Perhaps the most-Tweeted – reiterated, for non-Twitter members – posts is the elegantly-worded “Yikes!!! Baby Boomer nearly craps his pants as his secure financial nest egg is cracked!!!” Actually, there are variations of this post. Sometimes, the Yikes is replaced by a Wow or even a Zowie. And the number of exclamation points varies from three to ten.

I don’t go to Twitter very often, but I’ve seen this post at least a zillion and a half times. I have never clicked on the accompanying link, nor do I want to. And lately, there are two other reiterated-to-death thug posts: “Are Baby Boomers Ultimately Doomed?” – which I guess could come from a strange religious cult, although somehow I doubt it – and “Laid-Off Baby Boomers Seek Entry-Level Jobs.”

In fact, Baby Boomers are forming the majority of new entrepreneurial ventures in the US and Canada right now, meaning we are the ones creating entry-level jobs for others. But all three of these “popular” Twitter posts are, in fact, meant to intimidate readers, not inform them, along with the stray Tweet from disgruntled individual users, virtually all of whom seem to be males in their early 20s, often with photos wearing watch caps, who say delightful things like “Boomers – Retire Now or Else” or “Don’t You Wish the Boomers Would Just Die?”

I’ve been specifically singled out as the recipient of sentiments like these even before introducing my Angriest Generation series. My favorite social networking site is Linked In, where I have a large and superb network of Connections, mostly over 40 and all extremely interesting people. My pet peeve at Linked In is the sheer number of obviously planted discussion posts from obviously planted Left-leaning operatives, doggedly glomming onto – and into – every discussion lending itself to their favorite theme, which is “Boomers Must Get Out of the Work Force Now and Hand Over All Remaining Paying Jobs to Obama Election Workers – Excuse Me, Younger People.”

Foolish Rabble-Rouser that I am, I have cheerfully waded into far too many of these “debates” in the past four or five months. But one was so incredibly striking, I saved excerpts from it for my files and am pasting some of them here.

The discussion started with a topic broached by a man identifying himself as a journalist asking: “As Boomer management consultants move towards retirement, will that open up new opportunities for younger business experts to move into the field?” This was a possibly loaded question to begin with, but the initiator dropped out of the discussion at this point.

A management consultant, now in my network, said he thought the opposite was true, that with the recession, Boomers were moving into consulting in greater numbers than ever before. And I chimed in with what is now my mantra: “Boomers turn 46-63 in 2009, and we are not retiring anytime soon.”

Another fellow agreed with me, saying “Boomers who have lost . . . their retirement funds must continue to work to rebuild the losses,” while the first consultant came back in to talk about “financial dislocation” for Boomers creating “major structural change.”

In other words, this little discussion was suddenly heading in a direction the Boomers-Retire-Now bunch wouldn’t care for. You would think – and hope – that every little topic discussion at a Linked In Group wouldn’t be of much interest to Propagandists Who Watch Over Us Constantly. But it seems to have come to somebody-or-other’s attention, because what happened next was truly extraordinary. And No, I don’t think I’m being paranoid, because several members of the Group sent messages to one another after this incident, basically saying, “What the Hey?”

For into our peaceful and happy little conclave waltzed someone who was not only a brand-new Group member, but – as of that moment – a brand-new Linked In member. I kid you not! This identity – female, although it could actually be male, beast, or political collective – was attached to a name, but had no details whatsoever in its profile, no Connections, no other Groups, no anything. The identity was apparently formed just for the purpose of coming to this Group and participating in this particular discussion.

Ms. Nutty Operative – let’s call her Nonie – at first said she was “close to 40″ but quickly scotched that and identified herself as “part of the younger generation.” Her first major argument was that it was “a waste of time and money” to train anyone over age 35 on unspecified “software packages,” because only the younger generation “has lived with e-mail and text messaging prior to joining the professional world” and “new business models are just being created for the younger generation’s opportunity.”

Besides the unforgivably stilted and barely literate phrasing, this “argument” is almost breathtakingly silly. As we’ve already said, Boomers have been using computers for business as long as there have been computers for business. And if you use computers for business, you certainly know all about E-mail. As for “text messaging” being either difficult to use or the primary basis for “new business models” – Goddess help us!

But at this point in the discussion, Nonie really dives off the deep end. She claims that “leaders’ inability to adapt to changing times” have caused the declines in “countless numbers of businesses . . . over the past two decades, starting with the Big 5 accounting firms, along with the nation’s car manufacturers” and that “the older generation” – which she identifies as Baby Boomers – have spurned “new technology,” embraced “negativity,” and stifled “innovation.”

Does one know where to start refuting this nonsense? First of all, Dear Nonie, there were originally the Big Eight accounting firms, not the Big Five, and they, along with the auto manufacturers and numerous other declining sectors, were run during these long declines primarily by the Baby Boomers’ parents’ generation, not by Boomers themselves.

These are mere quibbles, however. Because very few would say that it was refusal to embrace “new technology” – let alone E-mail and text messaging, which is Nonie’s singular definition of such technology – which was responsible for structural sector declines. Apparently Nonie hasn’t heard about things like outsourcing or immigration flows or misallocation of capital. Surely, she hasn’t heard of the accelerating scramble for rare resources, the “hollowing out” of the US manufacturing base, or the number one reason for sector dislocations: the relentless rise of immense, often centralized, formerly Third World economies, hell-bent on catching up to the West.

As for Boomers “embracing negativity” and “stifling innovation” – does that really deserve an answer, other than “Are you crazy, lady?”

Well, the others on the Group discussion board plowed into Nonie and pointed out some of her errors. Undaunted, she changed tack and started accusing us dastardly Boomers of betraying our 60’s ideals – by refusing to get out of the way and handing the country over to Millennials:

“What happened to your peace, love, and civil rights attitude?” she wrote. “President Obama is a ‘flower child’ in every sense of the definition. . . It is everyone’s job to recognize everyone’s potential. . . And being from the peace, not war, generation of the 1960’s, I would hope you would not prevent our nation’s youth from realizing their potential.”

Well, Kumbaya, and I am glad that Mr. Obama likes flowers – after all, he is from Hawaii. But are we to understand, Dear Nonie, that if we Boomers do not retire immediately, despite none of us actually being at the typical retirement age and, more importantly, despite the fact that by some estimates, 3/4 or more of us have had our retirement savings completely wiped out over the past few years, we are not only “preventing youth from realizing their potential,” but are also acting in a non-peaceful way?

Well, Yes, that is exactly what Ms. Nonie – and by extension, those who think like her, are saying! We Boomers “have focused on the negative of the younger generation,” Nonie continues. We have “made the business world more discriminatory than it should be.” And we have “created war” – yes, she actually said this! – by “segmenting the population.” Therefore, “it is time to retire (those) who ignore an entire group of people.”

Do you understand the progression this rhetoric has taken? You should, because silly as it is, the Anti-Boomers think it sounds good, and to them, sounds good seems to equal the truth.

I’m getting sick of Ms. Nonie even as I write this, so let me dismiss her last astounding wrap-up “argument” as quickly as I can: Who, precisely, is being “discriminatory” and discriminated against these days? Are Millennials – any Millennials – being refused jobs because they lack experience, or is the discrimination overwhelmingly aimed at older workers, who have been laid off and “downsized” in droves?

Or have Boomers, the generation that pioneered moving women and minorities and Vietnam vets and the disabled into managerial positions, been “discriminatory” in that regard compared to younger workers? Certainly not! And we have “focused on the negative” of younger workers how? – and when? Personally, I haven’t heard a peep from Boomers saying nasty things about Millennials, other than a few managers griping that they’re a tad opportunistic. It is younger workers who are overwhelmingly complaining about us – not us complaining about them.

Mommy, Mommy, An Operative Is Attacking Me!

I’ve used Ms. Nonie and the Linked In discussion thread she dominated as an example of the propaganda blitz Boomers are reeling from now. But such attacks are occurring regularly not only at social networking sites, but also in articles, blogs, and virtually everywhere else one turns.

If you’re faced with an Anti-Boomer barrage, how should you handle it? Here are some of the most common kinds of attacks I’ve encountered and how I think it is best to respond to them:

Baby Boomers are elderly, unfit, and over-the-hill.

The basic question of exactly who is a member of our generation keeps coming up, even among some in the media, who certainly should know better.

Whenever Boomers are “innocently confused” with those in our parents’ – or in the case of some younger Boomers, grandparents’ – generation, as with the infamous Mashable Boomer-as-Centenarian photo, be sure to speak up and knock the propagandist off his heels!

Baby Boomers turn only 46-63 in 2009. We are not remotely “elderly.” We tend to be extremely healthy and fit. And we are in what are commonly thought of as peak years for intellectual performance, productivity, creativity, and earnings power.

Baby Boomers are technological Neanderthals, out-of-touch with evolving technology.

As we’ve already pointed out, this is the canard to end all canards! Unless you fall back on Ms. Nonie’s “argument” that skill in text-messaging – at a party? in traffic? walking down the street and bumping into people? – is the “technology” which global business revolves around, Boomers are generally as adept using computers and computer technology as the generations behind them. And we have been at the forefront developing and/or managing every other “forward-looking” technology one can think of, including the “green” technologies Millennials seem to think is their special province.

As high or higher percentages of Boomers have science, engineering, or advanced business degrees as younger generations. And Boomers have had an exceptionally keen appreciation for entrepreneurship, still forming new small businesses at record rates.

Since the two most recent former presidents – Clinton and Bush – were Boomers, the Boomer generation is to “blame” for our nation’s current problems.

At any time, in terms of any generation, less than one-tenth of one percent of individuals within that generation are in positions of such power – whether in government, finance, media, or business – that they can actively make policy or directly influence historical circumstances.

To “blame” the 99.9 percent of all Boomers who have not had such power for the policies or actions of either the Clinton or Bush – or for that matter, the new Obama – administration is incredibly unfair and incredibly unhelpful. And I have never heard this kind of generational “blame” applied to any other generation except Boomers, literally proving it is a form of propaganda.

Moreover, there is always the tacit corollary to assigning “blame,” i.e. “You are to blame, and therefore you deserve to be punished.”

Baby Boomers are only in financial trouble now because they have spent so extravagantly the past several decades.

Once again, an attempt to place “blame” and to tar the many with the actions – in this case, the habits – of the few.

As even those with limited economic sensitivity can guess – purely by following popular culture – the gap between the Richest of the Rich and what I like to call “The Rest of Us” has widened substantially in this country the past few decades. Some of these Richest have been Baby Boomers, while others have been members of generations older or younger than Baby Boomers.

If you remove the inflationary effect, which distorts every generation’s spending habits more or less equally, there is little evidence that the average Baby Boomer has been more extravagant in his/her spending habits than previous or younger generations. In fact, many, if not most, Boomer-led households have managed to amass a smaller total of non-financial assets than their parents amassed – although some of this is due to the continued trend towards smaller family size.

Baby Boomers are only in financial trouble now because they haven’t saved enough.

Savings rates for the Boomer generation are not appreciably different than those of other generations.

Overall savings rates appear – and I stress appear – to have been declining the past couple of decades. But many believe this is a structural change reflecting where actual savings have gone and which kinds of savings show up in statistics.

For instance, with the low interest rates banks and savings and loan institutions have been granting recently, even on once-popular certificates of deposit, Boomers, along with everybody else, have placed less of their savings with such institutions.

At the same time, Boomers – again along with other generations – have been urged to put more and more of traditional savings into home ownership, a strategy that seemed sensible and prudent up until quite recently. This form of “savings” does not show up as such in government statistics.

Nor do many forms of “investment” that Boomers – along with everybody else – have been fervently urged to make during the past few decades. Various forms of derivative investments, for instance, do not get into the “savings” statistics categories, nor do many kinds of currency, commodity, or margin-based investments.

Some of these investments have been extremely hard-hit by recent events, of course, wiping out the true “savings” of an extremely large proportion of Boomers. To deny that such investments were ever “savings” to begin with is to add (great) insult to the (great) injury a large proportion of Boomers have experienced.

Literally the classic “kick a man when he’s down” ploy.

Baby Boomers have hoarded their wealth and are reluctant to share it with younger generations.

Amazing! At the same time some are accusing Boomers of not having saved enough or of squandering our life’s earnings on extravagant spending sprees, others are accusing us of holding on to vast hoards of wealth in Evil-Bond-Villain fashion – undoubtedly in undersea vaults guarded by private security forces adept in the martial arts. Selfish and self-centered as we Boomers are, we are preventing this wealth from being “shared” with kind and deserving humanitarians from the younger generations.

Those who spout this particular form of Anti-Boomer propaganda are basically playing with statistics. On a collective basis, Boomer wealth still looks impressive, simply because there are so many of us .

Factor out the few mega-rich Boomers and look at average assets, and our “hoarding” looks very much like “surviving.” And so much of our accumulated wealth consists of real estate – i.e. the homes we live in – viewing it as a “hoard” now seems a very cruel joke, indeed.

Baby Boomers have simply been running things too long. They need to retire gracefully.

Again, 99.9 percent – conservatively – of all Baby Boomers have been “running” nothing other than their own lives, their households, and their families.

Not a single Boomer has reached the “old-style” retirement age of 65, let alone the “new-style” retirement age of 70 or 72.

The youngest Boomers turn only 46 this year, and the majority of Boomers are in their 40s and 50s.

Those “theorists” who had hoped extraordinarily large numbers of Boomers would retire early should have theorized instead how to prevent the vast majority of us from losing all or most of our life’s savings in the events of the past few years.

Any (wealthy) Boomer capable of retiring early and “gracefully” has my blessing and that of his/her fellow Boomers, I’m sure. The rest of us (non-wealthy, and now possibly downright poor) Boomers may not have the luxury of retiring ever, the way things look right now!

We may see some light at the end of the tunnel when we’re 95 – or maybe 105.

Boomers voted for the Obama administration. If the Obama-ites are attempting to sweep you offstage now, you’re just getting what you voted for.

First of all, I sincerely hope the rash of Anti-Boomer propaganda is not coming directly from the Obama administration. I prefer to think it’s a rogue effort perpetrated by those who are so hell-bent on getting jobs for the very young election workers who helped Obama to victory, they don’t care whom they stomp on to get them – and the main Stomp-ees seem to be we Baby Boomers.

Moreover, while much Anti-Boomer sentiment is coming from the Far Left, I’ve heard some of it from those in other parts of the political spectrum, too, as well as from media mavens who are either prejudiced, uninformed, or both.

The last election turned out the way it did for numerous reasons, most having nothing whatsoever to do with sentiment favorable or unfavorable to Boomers. And I don’t think a single Baby Boomer would have voted – or will vote in the future – for any political party or group which comes out openly against our generation’s interests.

Which, of course, is exactly the point. Anti-Boomer propaganda is not only distasteful and unfair, it’s horrendously bad politics.

Boomers make up about one-third of the US population. Many of us feel we’ve been hurt. We’re mad about being hurt. And we’re not going to sit around and let ourselves be dissed on top of it!

Our hearts and souls and spirits are up for grabs now, emotionally and politically. Gurus, mavens, and politicians of all stripes would do well to keep that in mind.

For the Intro to the Baby Boomers-The Angriest Generation series, please go to: http://wp.me/pxD3J-2V

For the next story in this series, “Will Boomers Return Full Circle to Sophisticated Communes?” http://wp.me/pxD3J-x

For Ellen’s popular “serious humor” piece about Malice on the Internet, see: http://wp.me/pycK6-5

Update to Intro

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

Turning 46-63 in 2009 and making up about one-third of the US population, America’s vast Baby Boom generation may now be the angriest cohort in recent US history.

If Demographics is Destiny, that fate seems to have turned violently against us recently, as our generation has collectively borne the brunt of a seemingly unending series of social and economic events, from outsourcing and the hollowing out of America’s manufacturing base to the collapse of home equity financing and the recent drop in home prices to last year’s stock market crash and its demolition of a lifetime of hard-earned savings.

Now, a well-organized – and often heavy-handed – propaganda campaign seeks to push Boomers off center stage in our nation’s political, economic, and cultural life, while we are still very much in our prime and in the age range normally considered the peak of one’s capacity for achievement, productivity, and earnings.

Nearly every Boomer I know is angry about this state of affairs – angry at our government, at both major political parties, at the economic and media Establishments which are trying so desperately to marginalize us at the very moment our problems and concerns need to be taken more seriously, if this nation is to regain its footing as the Land of Promise and Plenty it used to be.

This series, Baby Boomers-The Angriest Generation, will attempt to make sense of what our still powerful and influential, but deeply troubled and perplexed generation is feeling right now.

We will seek to hear from, talk to, and present the stories of Baby Boomers from every region and from a range of educational, professional, and political backgrounds – those who believe they’re doing well and those who think they’ve hit a brick wall; those who think things are getting better and those who think they’re getting worse; those who are hopeful and those whose hope has fled.

Some stories in the series will be humorous, others dead serious. We’ll hear from experts and pundits of various kinds. But we’ll also hear from your neighbors, your friends, your colleagues, your brothers and sisters – and maybe from you.

If you’re a Baby Boomer living in the US or Canada, I’d love to talk with you. I’ve set up a new Internet E-mail address just for this series: angrygeneration at optonline.net.

We can correspond by E-mail only, or we can talk over the phone. And while I must be able to confirm your identity and that you’re a Baby Boomer, I will identify you by name in future articles only if you give me your permission. If you care to comment anonymously, I will honor your request to the letter.

I’d be especially interested in talking with people with these specific backgrounds:

**Engineers and others whose jobs and/or manufacturing companies were lost or destroyed because of the “hollowing out” of the US manufacturing base the past couple of decades.

**IT professionals and others whose jobs and/or small to midsize companies were lost or destroyed, as large parts of their sectors were “outsourced” to other countries, either earlier in this decade or within the past few years.

**Anyone believing their jobs or small to midsize businesses have been either hurt or helped by the influx in immigration within the past decade.

**Those whose professional lives and/or life’s savings have been badly impacted by the recent market crash. I’d like to hear from both “passive” investors and from active traders or managers of small funds which have been hurt.

**Financial sector professionals, including attorneys and bankers, whose careers have come to a temporary grinding halt.

**Anyone hurt by the housing debacle, including employees in the real estate, mortgage, or construction sectors.

**People coping with rising college costs, medical emergencies, or the contingencies of aiding aging parents.

**Nonprofit managers, social workers, and local political leaders, coping with the effects of economic distress in their own communities.

If you belong to none of the above categories, but would like to have your voice heard, you are very welcome!

As this series develops, I hope that we will begin to hear The Voice of a Generation, telling politicians and others in positions of influence that far from being willing to settle for less than is our due, Baby Boomers are already fighting back hard to regain our prominent position in national affairs.

We already make up the greatest proportion of US small business owners, and a new burst of entrepreneurial spirit among Boomers is now at hand.

Far from playing second fiddle to younger Americans in technological matters, Baby Boomers are in the forefront establishing companies based on new technologies.

We still dominate managerial positions in sectors crucial to America’s future, from environmental protection and urban planning to senior services and education.

And Boomer politicians hold the majority of legislative and executive positions at the national, state, and local levels.

This last statistic makes the anti-Boomer propaganda push the last several months particularly surprising. For Boomer legislators, Boomer corporate executives, or Boomer media pundits to push for their peers, their brethren, and possibly their former colleagues to retreat to low-paying “encore careers,” so that what they fear is a shrinking economic pie can be served up to the clamoring younger generations behind the Boomer mass . . . Well, to say this is a misguided and cynical effort is a vast understatement.

We cannot and should not accept an intragenerational split between a very few Haves and many Have Nots, particularly if the instigators of this split are working against their own generational peers for what seem to be purely political motives.

Moreover, perhaps it is the very idea of a shrinking economic pie that needs to be turned on its head. Perhaps it is time to embrace a new optimism about this country’s possibilities. And perhaps the best way to do this is by allowing the Generation in its true prime of life – the Baby Boomers – to regain its footing and its prominence as quickly as possible.

Start letting your voices be heard!

For the second article in this series, which focuses on Anti-Boomer propaganda, please go to: http://wp.me/pxD3J-31

For a story on the co-housing movement, which may return Boomers to “Sophisticated Communes,” see: http://wp.me/pxD3J-x

For a story on how Financial Re-Engineering is Turning Erstwhile Corporate Kings into Pawns: http://wp.me/pxD3J-B

Baby Boomers-The Angriest Generation

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

Introduction: We’re Here. We’re Angry. And It’s About Time Someone Listened To Us

Turning 46-63 in 2009 and making up about one-third of the US population, America’s vast Baby Boom generation may now be the angriest cohort in recent US history.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-3

You’re Decrepit, Greedy, Narcissistic Luddites – Plus You Have Cooties! Play Golf, Bake Cookies, and Turn Over the Country to Us

If you don’t think there’s a highly-organized propaganda campaign being waged against Baby Boomers, perhaps they’ve already messed with your mind and spirit. The fact that it’s bad politics doesn’t seem to deter our detractors. Maybe ridicule will help.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-8

Back To Sophisticated Communes – Will Baby Boomers Come Full Circle? Scott’s Story

After lifetimes of aggressive independence, Boomers may seek a sense of community as we age. The co-housing movement looks back to the free-spirited hippie communes of our youth but forward to a Utopia of health, learning, and productive work – without skimping on material comfort.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-x

Re-Engineered to Smithereens – Art’s Story

Once upon a time, when Baby Boomers ventured into the business world, those who could manage operations were Kings. But the ascendancy of financial re-engineering changed all that. Along with product lines and business units, even the most talented individuals turned into Pawns – and thereby became expendable.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-B

Will Boomers – and the GOP – Save Twitter?

The twin forces which could destroy Twitter are immature game-playing and political correctness, both taken to unreasonable – and sometimes illegal – extremes. The antidotes? Maturity and a renewed sense of inclusiveness.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-K

No Gold Watch – Nor Golden Parachute – When You Work For Pariah Corporation: The Story of Melissa and Phil

With close to 65 years of big-company experience between them, this perfect corporate couple kept their noses to the grindstone and their feet on the ground – until they lost a million dollars one very bad afternoon.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-N

A Chance For Romance – Annie’s Story

The Good News: More than half of all Baby Boomers are single. The Bad News: Hey! there isn’t any! If you’re a Baby Boomer, and you want to find new love or companionship, you can do it. And the current sea change in our national and personal value systems makes it easier.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-R

A Daughter Among Daughters Reaps Scorn – Suellen’s Story

When her elderly parents became ill, she gave up her job, her security, and her comfortable middle-class existence. If something isn’t done soon, she says, Baby Boomers will become the New Poor.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-1M

Who’s A Boomer? (And Who’s Not?)

Many people from other age groups – and even some members of the media – seem to have a rather fuzzy idea about who is and is not a bona fide member of the Baby Boom generation. Here’s the beginning of a helpful guide to some prominent Boomers among us.

http://wp.me/pxD3J-1Q

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

1. John McCain, most recent GOP candidate for President, is not a Boomer. He’s about ten years older than the eldest Boomer, in fact, aged 73, born August, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone. But wife Cindy, nee Cindy Lou Hensley, is a Boomer, at age 55.

2. Sarah Palin, most recent GOP candidate for Vice-President, isn’t a Boomer, either – though she’s close. She’s 45, born February, 1964, in Idaho. Neither is Todd Palin, born in Alaska in September, 1964, making him seven months younger than his wife.

3. Glenn Beck, political pundit and possible future candidate, isn’t a Boomer. He’s exactly one day older than Palin, also born February, 1964, in the state of Washington.

Some commentators have classed people born throughout 1964 as Boomers. Officially, though, the generation ends on the first of January of that year. We are willing to welcome 1964 babies as honorary Boomers, if they so choose, because we Boomers are magnanimous!

4. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 69, born March, 1940, in Maryland. All five of Pelosi’s children are members of Gen-X, ranging in age from 38-44.

5. Harry Reid, Senator from Nevada and US Senate Majority Leader, isn’t a Boomer. He’s also 69, born December, 1939, in Nevada. The eldest of Reid’s five children, Rory Reid, a Clark County, Nevada, Commissioner, is a Boomer, at age 46.

6. Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, isn’t a Boomer. He, too, is 69, born March, 1940, in New Jersey. Frank’s long-time former boyfriend, Sergio Pombo, 45, a bureaucrat at the World Bank, and current boyfriend Jim Ready, 39, a shopkeeper, are both Gen-X’ers. So Frank seems to have skipped the Baby Boom generation completely.

There must be some significance to the fact that the Democrats’ Holy or Unholy Trinity, depending on your viewpoint – Pelosi, Reid, and Frank – are all the same age, but I have no idea what it is it.

7. Joe Biden, Vice-President of the United States, isn’t a Boomer. He’s 66, born November, 1942, in Pennsylvania. But wife Jill, nee Jill Jacobs, is a Boomer, at age 58.

8. Ron Paul, member of the US House of Representatives and doyen of Libertarians, isn’t a Boomer. He’s 74, born August, 1935, in Pennsylvania. But the three eldest of Paul’s five children, Ron, Jr., 50, Lori, 48, and Randal, 46, are all Boomers. Randal, an opthamologist, has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for the Senate seat of Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning, who is retiring next year.

9. Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana and a rising Republican star, isn’t a Boomer. The youngest US governor is 38, born June, 1971, in Louisiana. But his Dad, Amar, a civil engineer, and Mom, Raj, a computer scientist, are Boomers.

10. Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor of Pittsburgh, and a rising Democratic star, isn’t a Boomer. The youngest mayor of a major US city is just 29, born February, 1980, in Pennsylvania. His Dad, Robert, Jr., a judge, and Mom, Cynthia, are both Boomers.

11. Tom Brokaw, former NBC anchor and ubiquitous media personality, isn’t a Boomer, although many think he is. At 69, he’s actually six years older than the eldest Boomer, born February, 1940, in South Dakota. Brokaw’s three daughters are all Gen-X’ers.

12. Bret Baier, Fox News host, isn’t a Boomer. He’s 39, born August, 1970, in New Jersey. Baier’s predecessor at Fox’s Special Report, isn’t a Boomer, either. Brit Hume is 66, three years older than the oldest Boomer.

13. Martha Stewart, ex-convict and media mogul, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 68, born August, 1941, in New Jersey. Only daughter Alexis, who hosts both radio and cable television shows, is just shy of being a Boomer, at age 44. Stewart’s Mom, also named Martha, lived to be 93.

14. Rachael Ray, whom many call the mini-Martha, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 41, born August, 1968, in New York. Neither Ray’s parents, Elsa and James, nor her husband, John, are Boomers. But her culinary protegee, Daisy Martinez, whose Food Network show she produces, is a Boomer, at age 51.

15. Angelina Jolie, acclaimed actress and mother of many, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 34, born June, 1975, in California. Jolie’s father, actor Jon Voight, is five years older than the oldest Boomer, at age 68. But her late mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, was a Boomer, born in 1950. Two of Jolie’s three husbands, actor Billy Bob Thornton, 54, and actor Brad Pitt, 46 in two months, are also Boomers.

16. Jennifer Lopez, actress, singer, and producer, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 40, born July, 1969, in New York. Lopez is the middle of three sisters, all Gen-X’ers, as are all three of Lopez’s husbands, Ojani Noa, 35, Cris Judd, 40, and Marc Anthony,41.

17. Tyler Perry, comedian, writer, and media phenomenon, isn’t a Boomer. He’s 40, born September, 1969, in Louisiana. It is likely that his most famous character, Mabel “Madea” Simmons, is also not a Boomer.

18. George Lucas, director and producer whose films are often associated with Boomers, isn’t a Boomer himself. He’s 65, born May, 1944, in California. Lucas’s film American Graffiti, 1973, was widely seen as being a group coming-of-age portrait of the Baby Boom generation, and most of its stars were, indeed, Boomers, including Richard Dreyfuss, 61, Ron Howard, 55, Paul Le Mat, 63, Cindy Williams, 62, and Candy Clark, 62.

19. Martin Scorsese, director and screenwriter, isn’t a Boomer. He’s about to turn 67, born November, 1942, in New York. Friends and fellow wunderkind directors of the 1970’s Brian De Palma and Francis Ford Coppola are also pre-Boomers. De Palma is 69, Coppola 70.

20. Queen Latifah, singer, composer, actress and model, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 39, born March, 1970, in New Jersey. Latifah recently appeared as a spokesperson for the Jenny Craig diet program, saying she’s lost 35 lbs. on the plan. Weight-loss mogul Craig, you may be surpised to hear, just turned 77 – 14 years older than the oldest Boomer.

21. Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Computer, isn’t a Boomer. He’s 44, born February, 1965, in Texas. But Dell Computer’s former CEO, Kevin Rollins, whom Michael Dell replaced as CEO in 2007, is a Boomer. He’s 56, born July, 1953, and is now Chairman of the American Enterprise Institute.

22. Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, isn’t a Boomer. He’s 36, born August, 1973, in Moscow, Russia. But both of Brin’s parents, Michael, a math professor, and Eugenia, literally a rocket scientist at NASA, are Boomers.

23. Larry Page, the other Google co-founder, also isn’t a Boomer. He, too, is 36, born March, 1973, in Michigan. Neither Page’s Mom Gloria nor his late father, Steven, both computer science professors, were Boomers, both being a few years older.

24. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, isn’t a Boomer. Amazingly, he’s only 25, born August, 1984, in Texas. Mullenweg is theoretically young enough to be the grandchild of Boomers! But both his parents, Kathleen and Chuck, are Boomers. His somewhat unusual surname, by the way, is Swedish.

25. Paris Hilton, famous for being herself, isn’t a Boomer. She’s 28, born February, 1981, in New York. Both of Paris’s parents, Richard, 54, a real estate developer, and Kathy, 50, a Home Shopping Network host, are Boomers.

And 26. Tinkerbell Hilton, Paris’s teacup chihuahua, born 2001 in California, while 8 in human years, is 56 in dog years, making her a sorta kinda Boomer.

For the beginning of this story, please click here: http://wp.me/pxD3J-1Q

For the Intro to Baby Boomers-The Angriest Generation, see: http://wp.me/pxD3J-2V

For Ellen’s hard-hitting story on Anti-Boomer propaganda: http://wp.me/pxD3J-31

Who’s A Boomer? Part 3

October 14, 2009

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

51. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay and current candidate for Governor of California, is a Boomer. She’s 53, born August,1956, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Whitman’s last corporate job before joining eBay was overseeing the Playskool and Mister Potato Head brands for toymaker Hasbro. When she joined eBay as CEO in 1998, it had only 30 employees. It now has over 15,000.

52. Jim McNerney, CEO of the Boeing Company, is a Boomer. He’s 60, born August, 1949, in Rhode Island. Biographical Tidbit: Raised in suburban Chicago, McNerney honed his leadership skills as president of his high school’s boys’ service club, called Tri-Ship. One of the club’s coups was getting Jerry Lee Lewis to perform at their annual dance.

53. Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, is a Boomer. He’s 54, born April, 1955, in Washington, D.C. Biographical Tidbit: A Ph.D. and accomplished hands-on engineer, while at UC-Berkeley, Schmidt designed and implemented a network linking the campus computer center to the computer sciences and engineering departments. He’s also been a professor at Stanford.

54. Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, is a Boomer. He’s 55, born September, 1954, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Blankfein comes from a modest family background. Son of a postal worker and a housewife, he was born in the Bronx and raised in a publically-subsidized apartment complex in Brooklyn, New York. Valedictorian of his high school class, he won a scholarship to Harvard, where one of his housemates was Ben Bernanke.

55. Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase, is a Boomer. He’s 53, born March, 1956, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Dimon was fortunate to have been born into the money business. His grandfather, an immigrant of Greek origin born in Turkey, became a stockbroker in New York and passed the business on to Dimon’s father, Theodore. Dimon worked summer vacations alongside his Dad and Granddad.

56. Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of Alcoa Inc. and former CEO of Siemens AG, is a Boomer. He’s 52, born November, 1957, in Bremen, Germany. Biographical Tidbit: A former marketing man, Kleinfeld is said to be more energetic than anyone has a right to be. He has finished the New York Marathon several times, once running in the race the morning after a transatlantic flight. He courted his wife, Birgit, after losing to her in a high-school election.

57. Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam, the Russell Simmons Music Group, and clothing line Phat Farm, is a Boomer. He just turned 52, born October, 1957, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Simmons’s two daughters, Ming, 9, and Aoki, 7, are frequent models for his Baby Phat Kids clothing collection. Enthusiastic about Transcendental Meditation, he helps fund a foundation that provides financial assistance for any child in the US who wants to learn the technique.

58. Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of A T & T, is a Boomer. He’s 49, born April, 1960, in Oklahoma. Biographical Tidbit: Even top executives can be victims of malicious Script Kiddies. A couple of months ago, a fake press release popped up all over the Web, saying that Stephenson had succumbed to a drug overdose in his “multimillion dollar beachfront mansion” after a night cavorting with male strippers. The attack was said to have been revenge for A T & T’s decision to deny access to a controversial website that hosts raucous discussions about Japanese anime and manga comic books.

59. Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel Corporation, is a Boomer. He turns 59 in a few days, born October, 1950, in California. Biographical Tidbit: Otellini’s brother, Steven, has had success in a far different field. He’s a Monsignor in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Menlo Park.

60. Ellen Kullman, President and CEO of DuPont, is a Boomer. She’s 53, born January, 1956, in Delaware. Biographical Tidbit: Kullman was center and captain of her high school basketball team and has encouraged her own three kids to participate in athletics. She told an interviewer that team sports is excellent preparation for corporate life, where you can’t choose whom you work with, but you can choose how you interact with them.

Music, Sports, Miscellaneous

61. Madonna, singer and trendsetter, is a Boomer. She’s 51, born August, 1958, in Michigan. Biographical Tidbit: Call it foolhardy or very brave, but Madonna came to New York as a 19-year-old college dropout with only $35 in her pocket. She immediately got a job at Dunkin Donuts and started trying for jobs with dance troupes. She later became part of two bands, Breakfast Club and Emmy, before starting to make it as a solo performer.

62. Stevie Wonder, singer and composer, is a Boomer. He’s 59, born May, 1950, also in Michigan. Biographical Tidbit: It sounds like a fairytale, but Wonder was quite literally discovered singing on a street corner at age eleven by a relative of Ronnie White, a founding member of Motown stars The Miracles. The man introduced him to White, who in turn brought Wonder to see Motown boss Berry Gordy, Jr. By age 13, Wonder had the number one hit in the nation, “Fingertips.”

63. Amy Grant, singer and composer, is a Boomer. She is 48, born November, 1960, in Georgia. Biographical Tidbit: In 1990, Grant sued Marvel Comics to stop the use of her likeness on the cover of a comic book she claimed featured “occult subject matter.” She charged a photograph from her 1986 album, Amy Grant-The Collection, was copied for the cover of Marvel’s “Dr. Strange Sorcerer Supreme.” The case was settled out of court.

64. Jon Bon Jovi, singer, composer, and actor, is a Boomer. He’s 47, born March, 1962, in New Jersey. Biographical Tidbit: Bon Jovi inherits his good looks from his Mom, nee Carol Sharkey, who was a teenaged model and one of the first Playboy bunnies. She then joined the US Marines, where she met and married fellow Marine John Francis Bongiovi, Sr.

65. Chris Evert, former tennis champion and sportscaster, is a Boomer. She is 54, born December, 1954, in Florida. Biographical Tidbit: Early in her tennis career, Evert was signed to endorse a line of sportswear for Puritan Fashions Corporation, which did very well for the company. Puritan’s sports-loving owner Carl Rosen had purchased a promising thoroughbred filly and decided to name it “Chris Evert” in her honor. Chris Evert, the Horse, won the 1974 US Filly Triple Crown and a coveted Eclipse Award, before eventually being inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame.

66. Dorothy Hamill, ice skater, coach, and author, is a Boomer. She is 53, born July, 1956, in Illinois. Biographical Tidbit: In 1993, a study by a major marketing group named Hamill the Most Popular Athlete in America, tied with fellow Olympian Mary Lou Retton, but beating out such male superstars as Michael Jordan, Troy Aikman, Wayne Gretzky, and 800 others.

67. Glenn “Doc” Rivers, head coach of the Boston Celtics, is a Boomer. He turns 48 in a few days, born October, 1961, in Illinois. Biographical Tidbit: To say Rivers comes from an athletic family is an understatement. He’s the nephew of former NBA star Jim Brewer and cousin of ex-NBA guard Byron Irvin and ex-MLB star – and current sportscaster – Ken Singleton. Rivers’s oldest son Jeremiah played basketball for Georgetown and Indiana; daughter Callie plays varsity volleyball at the University of Florida; and son Austin, also at Florida, is considered a top future NBA prospect.

68. Jamie Moyer, pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, is a Boomer. He’s 46, born November, 1962, in Pennsylvania. Biographical Tidbit: The oldest active player in Major League Baseball, Moyer is also a noted philanthropist. He and his wife Karen, daughter of former Notre Dame basketball coach and current sportscaster Digger Phelps, are devout Catholics and have seven children, the youngest adopted from Guatemala. Their Moyer Foundation supports over 170 separate charities for children, including Camp Erin, a nationwide network of bereavement camps for children and teens.

69. Cindy Sherman, photographic artist and film director, is a Boomer. She’s 55, born January, 1954, in New Jersey. Biographical Tidbit: In response to the controversy over the National Endowment for the Arts funding works by Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano which some thought prurient, Sherman produced her “Sex” series in 1989. The photographs feature pieced-together medical dummies in risque poses.

70. Judy Pfaff, doyenne of installation art and MacArthur Foundation “genius” grantee, is a Boomer. She’s 63, born May, 1946, in London, UK. Biographical Tidbit: Pfaff’s former studio, in Kingston, New York, was located in a converted tugboat factory, with access to a canal leading into the Hudson River. In many of her works, the flow of water represents the flow of life.

71. Ken Burns, king of PBS documentaries, is a Boomer. He’s 56, born July, 1953, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Burns is sometimes chided for the pure massiveness of his projects. In a recent episode of the cartoon series Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy’s class has to sit through a “97-hour documentary on Egypt” by Burns.

72. Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer and TV host, is a Boomer. He’s about to turn 48, born October, 1961, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Although more sedate lately, Mizrahi didn’t fare too well in a one-time stint as red carpet interviewer for the Golden Globe awards in 2006. Reviewers said he ogled Teri Hatcher’s chest, groped Scarlett Johansson, and asked some celebrities whether they were wearing underwear.

73. Rick Bayless, master chef, is a Boomer. He’s 55, born November, 1953, in Oklahoma. Biographical Tidbit: Bayless was widely criticized for appearing in a 2003 commercial for Burger King’s low-fat chicken baguette sandwiches. But he’s been praised for his Frontera Farmer Foundation, which offers capital improvement grants to struggling family farms.

74. Elizabeth Strout, the most recent Pulitzer prize winner for fiction, is a Boomer. She’s 53, born January, 1956, in Maine. Biographical Tidbit: Strout is an eighth-generation daughter of Maine, and most of her novels and stories take place in the small towns and cities of that state, although she currently lives in New York. She recently told an interviewer that her Mom helped spark her life as a writer as early as age 4, giving her a series of notebooks and encouraging her to jot down her impressions of places she went and people she met, a practice she kept up throughout childhood.

75. Sara Paretsky, creator of the V.I. Warshawski mystery novels, is a Boomer. She is 62, born June, 1947, in Iowa. Biographical Tidbit: A dog lover, Paretsky takes her golden retriever, Callie, with her nearly everywhere, even to public appearances. She recently told an interviewer that Woman and Dog start their days together in their back garden and frequently go swimming together in Lake Michigan.

For the next section of this story, Who’s Not A Boomer, please click here: http://wp.me/pxD3J-1Z

To return to the beginning of this story, click here: http://wp.me/pxD3J-1Q

Who’s A Boomer? Part 2

October 14, 2009

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

26. Bonnie Hammer, president of NBC Universal Cable, which includes the USA Network and the Syfy Channel, is a Boomer. She’s 59, born January, 1950, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Credited with making Syfy – formerly called Sci Fi – appealing to adults as well as children and teens, Hammer used a series of unlikely science fiction fans for promos, including Jet Li, Venus and Serena Williams, Traci Lords, and Moby.

27. Mark Burnett, the producer who brought reality TV to the US, is a Boomer. He’s 49, born July, 1960, in London, UK. Biographical Tidbit: Burnett joined the British military at age 18 and became a skilled parachuter, serving both in Northern Ireland and in the Falklands War. Before achieving Hollywood success, he worked as a nanny for a wealthy family and sold T-shirts in Venice Beach, California.

28. Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, is a Boomer. He’s 58, born February, 1951, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Iger is that rare poster child for staying at one company and rising through the ranks. He joined ABC at the age of 22 and became president of the network twenty years later. ABC became part of Disney in 1996.

29. Brian Williams, NBC news anchor, is a Boomer. He’s 50, born May, 1959, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: While attending high school in New Jersey, Williams was a volunteer firefighter from age 16 on. His first paying job was as a busboy at a Perkins Pancake House.

30. Ellen DeGeneres, comedienne and talk-show host, is a Boomer. She is 51, born January, 1958, in Louisiana. Biographical Tidbit: An Early Bloomer, DeGeneres was already the emcee of a popular comedy club in New Orleans just five years out of high school. A year later, at age 24, she was named Showtime’s Funniest Person in America.

Hollywood

31. Pierce Brosnan, former James Bond, is a Boomer. He’s 56, born May, 1953, in County Louth, Ireland. Biographical Tidbit: In his late teens, Brosnan was a circus performer, with fire-eating part of his repertoire. He got his first acting break in a Tennessee Williams play in London’s West End.

32. Bruce Willis, action film hero, is a Boomer. He’s 54, born March, 1955, in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Biographical Tidbit: Willis’s parents met and were married in Germany, where his Dad, a soldier, was stationed. His Mom is German and was working as a bank clerk. Willis’s first post-high school job in New Jersey, where he was raised, was as a security guard at a nuclear power plant.

33. Demi Moore, accomplished actress, is also a Boomer. She’s 46, born November, 1962, in New Mexico. Biographical Tidbit: Moore’s mother and stepfather changed jobs so often, the family is reported to have lived in forty different homes by the time Demi was a teenager. At age 16, her friend Nastassja Kinski persuaded her to drop out of Fairfax High School and try for a film career.

34. Cheryl Ladd, former Charlie’s Angel and frequent star of made-for-television movies, is a Boomer. She’s 58, born July, 1951, in South Dakota. Biographical Tidbit: Under her former stage name, Cherie Moor, Ladd was a member of the original Josie and the Pussycats, a three-girl “bubblegum pop” singing group of the early 1970s. More recently, enthusiastic golfer Ladd has written a golf book for women.

35. Mel Gibson, actor, director, and producer, is a Boomer. He’s 53, born January, 1956, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Mel’s first name is really Mel, not Melvin, and his extraordinary middle name is Colm-Cille. Gibson’s Mom, nee Anne Reilly, was born in Ireland, and Saint Mel was a 5th-century Irish saint and founder of her home-county diocese, Ardagh. Colm-Cille, also the name of a saint, is the parish in which Anne Reilly Gibson was born.

36. Cher, actress and singer, is a Boomer. She is 63, born May, 1946, in California. Biographical Tidbit: Cher’s first recorded song, “Ringo, I Love You,” (1964), was released under the pseudonym Bonnie Jo Mason , because its producer, current jailbird Phil Spector, thought her real name, Cherilyn Sarkisian, sounded too foreign. According to reports, one reason the song wasn’t a hit is that DJs thought the contralto might be a homosexual male gushing over Ringo Starr.

37. Danny Glover, actor and controversial political activist, is a Boomer. He, too, is 63, born July, 1946, in California. Biographical Tidbit: While a student at San Francisco State University in the late 1960s, Glover participated in a five-month-long student-led strike, on record as the longest student walkout in American history. Among its results was creation of the first Black Studies department in the US.

38. Whoopi Goldberg, comedienne, actress, and talk-show host, is a Boomer. She is 53, born November, 1955, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Extreme fear of flying has kept Goldberg off airplanes for the past decade or so. She’s traveled via a personal bus – inconvenient for someone who commutes between Los Angeles and New York. In April of this year, she flew to London for the first time, after taking a course for flight-phobics with Virgin Atlantic Airways.

39. Rene Russo, former model and leading lady, is a Boomer. She’s 55, born February, 1954, in California. Biographical Tidbit: Russo was discovered by a modeling scout while attending a Rolling Stones concert. A year later, she was on the cover of Vogue.

40. Brad Pitt, leading man, just squeaks in as a Boomer. He’s 45, born December, 1963, in Oklahoma. Biographical Tidbit: We’ve all heard of Renaissance men. Pitt was a Renaissance teenager at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri, playing for the golf, swimming, and tennis teams, standing out as a debater, and starring in school musicals. While waiting for his big break in Hollywood, he was a chauffeur and dressed up in a chicken suit for El Pollo Loco.

41. George Clooney, actor and United Nations activist, is a Boomer. He’s 48, born May, 1961, in Kentucky. Biographical Tidbit: In his early teens, Clooney developed Bell’s palsy, a medical condition which partially paralyzes the face. The malady disappeared within a year. But while suffering from it, the future matinee idol’s left eye closed completely, and taunting schoolmates called him “Frankenstein.”

42. Holly Hunter, movie and television star, is a Boomer. She’s 51, born March, 1958, in Georgia. Biographical Tidbit: When she moved to Los Angeles at age 24, Hunter shared a house with a bunch of other Hollywood hopefuls, including director Sam Raimi and future Academy Award winners Frances McDormand and Joel and Ethan Coen.

43. Quentin Tarantino, director, producer, and screenwriter, is a Boomer. He is 46, born March, 1963, in Tennessee. Biographical Tidbit: A fan of such genres as Japanese anime cartoons and Chinese Wuxia martial arts cinema, Tarantino is an extremely popular filmmaker throughout Asia. In 2007, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo presented him with a lifetime achievement award at the Malacanang Palace.

44. Tim Burton, versatile director, is a Boomer. He’s 51, born August, 1958, in California. Biographical Tidbit: A movie-crazy kid who grew up in Burbank, California, Burton’s early idol was actor Vincent Price. His first film, a six-minute short called “Vincent” is a tribute to the horror star, with Price himself providing the narration.

45. Julie Taymor, film, theater, and opera director, is a Boomer. She’s 56, born December, 1952, in Massachusetts. Biographical Tidbit: As a college student, Taymor developed an interest in classical forms of visual performance art. She studied Indonesian topeng masked dance and wayang kulit shadow puppetry, later winning a fellowship to research ancient puppetry forms in Japan.

Business

46. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, is a Boomer. He’s about to turn 54, born October, 1955, in the state of Washington. Biographical Tidbit: While Gates’s early image was more than a tad nerdy, he is said to have been girl-crazy in high school. Already a consultant for a local computer company, the administrators of his Seattle prep school asked him to write the program scheduling students for classes. Gates fixed the code so his own classes were predominantly female.

47. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc., is a Boomer. He is also 54, born February, 1955, in California. Biographical Tidbit: Jobs dropped out of Reed College in Oregon after one semester and started saving money for a trip to India, a country which still fascinates him. He made the journey shortly afterwards, telling friends he sought “spiritual enlightenment.” On his return, he adopted Indian clothing, continued to shave his head, and announced that he had converted to Buddhism, a religion he still follows.

48. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, is a Boomer. He’s 55, born December, 1953, in Georgia. Biographical Tidbit: Bernanke grew up in small-town Dillon, South Carolina, where his Mom was a schoolteacher, and his Dad and uncle managed the local pharmacy. During breaks from high school and college, Bernanke waited tables at South of the Border, a popular roadside attraction.

49. Timothy Geithner, US Secretary of the Treasury and former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is a Boomer. He is 48, born August, 1961, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Because his Dad, Peter, is an international foundation executive, Geithner spent the majority of his childhood outside of the US, living in Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, and Thailand. He speaks a number of languages, including Japanese and Mandarin.

50. Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric Company, is a Boomer. He’s 53, born February, 1956, in Ohio. Biographical Tidbit: Immelt’s Dad, Joseph, was an employee of the General Electric aircraft engines division in Cincinnati for 38 years, retiring as a middle manager. During summer breaks from Dartmouth, where he was a tackle on the football team, Immelt worked at a Ford Motor assembly plant.

For the next section of this story, Boomers 51-75, please click here: http://wp.me/pxD3J-1W

To return to the beginning of this story, click here: http://wp.me/pxD3J-1Q

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

Many people from other age groups – and even some members of the media – seem to have a rather fuzzy idea about who is and is not a bona fide member of the Baby Boom generation. Here’s the beginning of a helpful guide to some prominent Boomers among us.

We’ll probably repeat this exercise at intervals for readers’ edification and enjoyment. Consider this the first installment.

Baby Boomers were born between January 1, 1946 and January 1, 1964. They turned 46-63 in 2009 and will turn 47-64 in 2010.

Who’s a Boomer? 75 Who Are

Politics

1. Barack Obama, President of the US, is a Boomer. He is 48, born August, 1961, in Hawaii. (Some dispute the place, but not the year.) Interesting Biographical Tidbit: President Obama has six living and one deceased half-siblings from his Kenyan father’s other marriages. He has a half-sister, Maya Soetero-Ng, from his American mother’s second marriage to an Indonesian citizen.

2. George W. Bush, former President of the US, is a Boomer. He’s 63, born July, 1946, in Connecticut. Biographical Tidbit: Born in New Haven, where his Dad was a post-World War II student at Yale, President Bush later attended the school himself. He was president of his social fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and a member of the varsity rugby team.

3. Bill Clinton, fomer President of the US, is also a Boomer. He’s also 63, born August, 1946, in Arkansas, so our last three US presidents were all born in the summer. (I have no idea what this might portend, but it’s fascinating.) Biographical Tidbit: While a student at Yale Law School, Clinton worked on George McGovern’s presidential campaign and was assigned to its office in Texas. Among his fellow campaign workers were future Governor Ann Richards, future Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, and future superstar film director Steven Spielberg.

4. Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, is a Boomer. She is 62, born October, 1947, in Illinois. Biographical Tidbit: Between college and law school, Secretary Clinton spent an adventurous summer in Alaska, working as a restaurant dishwasher at Denali National Park and processing salmon at a cannery in Valdez.

5. Al Gore, former Vice-President of the US and global warming maven, is a Boomer. He’s 61, born March, 1948, in Washington, DC. Biographical Tidbit: Vice-President Gore spent a year at the Divinity School at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, although he says he never intended to be a clergyman. His mother, Pauline La Fon Gore, was one of the first women to graduate from the Law School at Vanderbilt.

6. John Boehner, Minority Leader and former Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives, is a Boomer. He is 59, born November, 1949, in Ohio. Biographical Tidbit: Representative Boehner has eleven siblings. He’s lived in Southwest Ohio his entire life and attended local Jesuit school Xavier University.

7. Charlie Crist, Governor of Florida, is a Boomer. He is 53, born July, 1956, in Pennsylvania. Biographical Tidbit: Governor Crist’s Dad, a physician, was of Greek Cypriot descent, and the original family name was Christodoulou. Crist was a quarterback for the Wake Forest University football team, before finishing his undergraduate degree at Florida State.

8. Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, is a Boomer. He’s 59, born March, 1950, in Texas. Biographical Tidbit: Governor Perry was an Eagle Scout, and as an adult, he’s been awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Scouting’s highest honor. At Texas A&M University, Perry was one of five male cheerleaders, called “yell” leaders.

9. Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan, is a Boomer. She is 50, born February, 1959, in British Columbia, Canada. Biographical Tidbit: Although born in Canada, Governor Granholm’s family moved to California when she was four years old. She won the Miss San Carlos Beauty Pageant and tried for a Hollywood acting career before college, supporting herself as a tour guide at Universal Studios.

10. Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont, Immediate Past Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and erstwhile Presidential candidate, is a Boomer. He is 61, born November, 1948, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Although Governor Dean never served in the Vietnam War – an unfused vertebra in his spine got him a medical deferment – he suffered a Southeast Asia tragedy. His younger brother Charlie was captured and killed by Laotian guerillas in 1974.

11. Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and former Presidential candidate, is a Boomer. He’s 62, born March, 1947, in Michigan. Biographical Tidbit: Mitt isn’t a nickname. It’s Governor Romney’s actual middle name. (His given first name is Willard.) Mitt was the nickname of Romney’s Dad’s cousin, Milton Romney, who played pro football for the Chicago Bears from 1925-1929.

12. Mike Huckabee, successful television personality and author, former Governor of Arkansas and ex-Presidential candidate, is a Boomer. He is 54, born August 1955, in Arkansas. Biographical Tidbit: Governor Huckabee’s love of the media started early. His afterschool job in junior high and high school was reading news and weather reports on-air at a local radio station. As a young pastor in Texarkana and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, he started 24-hour local TV stations and hosted a program called Positive Alternatives.

13. David Axelrod, Senior Advisor to President Obama and former newspaperman, is a Boomer. He is 54, born February, 1955, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Well before rising to national prominence on the Obama campaign, Axelrod specialized in working with black politicians. He was a key advisor on the mayoral campaigns of Harold Washington in Chicago, Dennis Archer in Detroit, Michael White in Cleveland, Anthony Williams in Washington, D.C., and John Street in Philadelphia.

14. Sonia Sotomayor, newest US Supreme Court Justice, is a Boomer. She’s 55, born June, 1954, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Justice Sotomayor’s Dad, Juan, completed only the third grade in his native Puerto Rico, was never fluent in English, and worked in a tool-and-die factory. But his daughter was valedictorian at academically-acclaimed Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, New York, and later was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Princeton.

15. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California and former movie star, is a Boomer. He’s 62, born July, 1947, in the province of Styria, Austria. Biographical Tidbit: Governor Schwarzenegger’s Dad was the police chief of Thal, Austria, a small town near the Styrian provincial capital, Graz. His Mom, a young widow, had a son, Meinhard, from her first marriage. Meinhard died in a car accident in 1971, leaving a three-year-old son, Patrick. The Governor has paid for Patrick’s education and helped him immigrate to the United States.

Media

16. Oprah Winfrey, all-media megastar, is a Boomer. She is 55, born January, 1954, in Mississippi. Biographical Tidbit: Winfrey can claim she’s a “coal miner’s daughter.” Her Dad Vernon’s original profession was mining, although he was in the Armed Forces when she was born. Her gift for entertaining people may stem from her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who raised her as a tot. Hattie May taught her to recite verses from the Bible, and little Oprah was known as “the Preacher” at her local church.

17. Jay Leno, comedian and talk-show host, is a Boomer. He’s 59, born April, 1950, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: As everyone knows, Leno loves classic cars. It’s led him to an affiliation with McPherson College in Kansas, a small religious school with an acclaimed Automobile Restoration department. Leno serves on the national advisory board for the program and helps fund their scholarships.

18. David Letterman, comedian and talk-show host, is also a Boomer. He’s 62, born April, 1947, in Indiana. Biographical Tidbit: A disk jockey for student-run radio stations at Ball State University, Letterman may have gained the first adult fans for his comedy at a local TV station in Indianapolis, where he was a weatherman. He was known for colorful descriptions like “hailstones the size of canned hams” and occasionally reported the high and low temperatures for completely fictitious cities.

19. Jon Stewart, comedian and talk-show host, is a Boomer, too. He is 46, born November, 1962, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Before earning enough to support himself from comedy, Stewart worked as a contract administrator, a puppeteer for children with disabilities, a busboy, a caterer, a retail shelf stocker, and a bartender.

20. Arianna Huffington, columnist and Internet magnate, is a Boomer. She’s 59, born July, 1950, in Athens, Greece. Biographical Tidbit: While still a student at Cambridge University in the UK, Huffington appeared frequently on a BBC political discussion show called Any Questions? She was also a very young panelist on two BBC game shows, Call My Bluff and Face the Music.

21. Christiane Amanpour, international correspondent, is a Boomer. She’s 51, born January, 1958, in London, UK. Biographical Tidbit: Among the most memorable moments in her career, Amanpour cites an on-air telephone interview with Yasser Arafat during a siege on his compound in 2002. Piqued at one of her questions, Arafat just hung up on her.

22. Wolf Blitzer, CNN newscast host, is a Boomer. He is 61, born March, 1948, in Augsburg, Germany. Biographical Tidbit: Blitzer’s career in international journalism began in the Tel Aviv bureau of the Reuters news agency. A few years later, he got a scoop as the first journalist allowed to interview convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

23. Bill O’Reilly, Fox News commentator and host, is a Boomer. He’s 60, born September, 1949, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Before becoming a journalist, O’Reilly played semi-professional baseball for a team called the New York Monarchs. He was also a high school English and history teacher at Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Florida.

24. Keith Olbermann, MSNBC commentator and host, is a Boomer. He’s 50, born January, 1959, in New York. Biographical Tidbit: Olbermann was a published author as a teenager, writing for various magazines about sports card-collecting. As a young broadcaster, he did the voice-overs for USA Network’s Cartoon Express.

25. James Cramer, CNBC financial commentator and author, is a Boomer. He is 54, born February, 1955, in Pennsylvania. Biographical Tidbit: While working as a cub newspaper reporter in Los Angeles, Cramer lost all his possessions in an apartment robbery and claims to have lived in his car for nine months.

For the next section of this story, Boomers 26-50, please click here: http://wp.me/pxD3J-1S

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