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Like A Rolling Stone

Aetius Romulous


Main Site Link: ScreamBucket.Com

In 1965, Jan Wenner was a kid who could write, and who had a love of the new Rock and Roll music that was seeping through the cracks of white bread conformity. He took the bus around his local town on the Western coast of America, checking out bands and writing about them from a hot, cramped space in San Francisco. Whether he knew it or not, Wenner was writing and grooving from the epicentre of a historic global change of unprecedented proportions. He was one of many, a tidal wave of demographics born in an explosion of relief and horror at the close of World War II.

As a newly minted member of the Baby Boom generation, Wenner and his cohort were all oblivious at the time of the stunning economic changes that had been rolled out like red carpet for the feet of the many chosen. His parents had survived a chain of human catastrophes that had enflamed every sinew of their own generation, and the best and brightest of the survivors were determined to ensure their bountiful offspring should avoid the same fate. From a world of warring empires, the great American democracy would design, build, and finance a new era in the short history of crooked civilization, one in which peace and bounty would replace aggression and autocracy. And for the crime of blasting every corner off a round earth, and snuffing out the lives of some 200 millions in the process – they were granted their wish.

America became the engine of the planet, it’s citizens enjoying exponential growth in their pursuit of happiness, launching them half way there with every unstoppable upward tick towards the American Dream. Their Children, Jan Wenner among them, rode along in the backseat, behaving as children do on a trip they don’t understand. The ride was easy and free, and when the Baby Boomers hit their teens they were determined to crank the wheel over, and step on the gas. Wenner catalogued the result.

Slowly coalescing into a viral counter culture, the carefree youth of the western world embraced change in every way they could – in clothes, hair, speech, music and militant demonstrations of their parvenu prowess.In America, San Francisco became the isolated center of the new universe, and Wenner captured its spirit and its sound in his weekly magazine. Wenner said his mag, Rolling Stone, was “not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces”. Music was the common thread, the universal binding that held the entire generation together. Music was the hook for Rolling Stone, with the content brilliantly written text, hammered out on sweating typewriters that laid the ink for the social upheaval underway. Local at first, Rolling Stone and its eclectic cast of characters captured the soul of a generation that was crashing through civilization, Wenner growing and changing with it as the bulging counter culture moved on through the snake.

Beneath their feet, the baby Boomers were riding a wave of unprecedented economic expansion. Wenner got rich. The counter culture he rode became the culture in spite of itself, and the speed and breadth of history shrank to only that which they could touch, feel, and hear. With no peripheral vision, the boomers saw a future where tomorrow was always better than today, where the past was the enemy and the future their reward. The flower children of peace, love, and rock and roll now measured everything by gain. Handed the levers of the machine, Wenner and his cohort pulled out all the stops, bending economic sanity into the headwinds of God and physics. They were bright, gifted, and rich, and their technology raced ahead of their morality, their morality measured in the portfolios of the “big swinging dicks”. They turned water into wine, bread into fishes, ether into money, and the planet into a waste dump in the process.

In their religious compulsion to consume, and their disdain for work or struggle, the boomers traded untouchable industry for class and style, Nabobs to the world. Wenner’s media empire embraced mediocrity, and cashed in on a generation who would sell their soul to Jerry Springer. Wenner got older and richer expecting no doubt, that both were mutually inclusive.

And then, just like that, it was over.

In the end, it wasn’t philosophy or hope or peace or love or rock and roll. It was the cataclysmic effect of a massive wave of human beings on a world that just wasn’t ready for the surge. All of time had been compressed into a single generation who actually believed they were the beginning, and the end, of history. In exactly the same way they wrecked havoc with their birth, the Baby Boom generation is shuffling off their mortal coil in tremors that are knocking apart all they built, leaving nothing for the black hole that’s left behind. Kicking and screaming into their golden years, the boomers are making one, last, heroic stand in a valiant – but futile – effort to hang on long enough to die out with the American Dream. After all, it was their dream, and they can do with it what they want.

As boomer leaders from across the globe gather on the bridge, the fires burn below. A new, frightened, unity of purpose is emerging amongst them, the only consideration being how to keep in place a world so top heavy it is teetering on collapse. As the boomers prepare their final exit, across the economic world they are pouring invisible money on the inferno in an all or nothing, one last shot at beating back the flames.

Jan Wenner, there at the beginning, won’t catalogue the end.

Historically, the boomers are an anomaly. An incredible cohort of demographics all entering the world at the same time and for the same reasons. They grew up as a community, seized the earth as their own, and pushed aside all laws of nature as the self styled “masters of the universe” made their way through space and time. Now, in their waning years, as the boomers leave their faux productive lives to so few others, the world will return once again to it’s useful course. As it always has.
The exit of the boomers is, and will continue to be, a crisis. While many will look, none will find salvation beyond the pure and simple fact that a very large section of the population is moving on. The highly leveraged world they built was nothing more than an eyes wide closed attempt at forestalling the approaching contraction, believing even now that it is the fundamental nature of assets that they always appreciate, despite the fact that line has long been oversold. And having grabbed the dragon by the tail, the largest cohort in history will use any economic means at its disposal to fight off the inevitable.

The results of so much cash poured into a system seized by fear and nature will have a humbling effect on the Boomers, already in full panic that their magic has all run out. The Boomers, their paper thin wealth, their pursuit of the American Dream – and their staggering numbers make it absolutely certain that a “hard rain’s a gonna fall”.

We all live in a time of great change and upheaval, in exactly the same way and exactly the same place Jan Wenner did 50 years ago. A new set of demographics is following the bulge in the snake, a new generation which will grab the wheel and step on the gas in their own way and in their own time. It will be catalogued this time by a million Jan Wenner’s, on 100 million blogs and 800 million web sites, pulsing change and counter culture across fiber optic cable from, and to, 7 billion individuals.

Change is here just as it was for another generation, the one which fought two horrific world wars, and suffered ecstasy and then indignity in between. A generation innocent of the mess they spawned, wanting only to stack their guns and wheel back their cannons, return to the ones they left behind, and make love like all of history was depending on it. Maybe Wenner was right after all, when in his youth, he believed to the depth of his soul that peace and love could change the world.

In the final irony, it wasn’t the flower generation whose love had changed the planet, but the intimate love of their parents, whose union caused the math to burst, and people the earth as it had never been peopled before.


Aetius Romulous, EzineArticles.com Basic Author



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