Stuck in the Grasp of the 20th Century

The cover of London Calling

I’m pretty sure that Joe Strummer fancied himself a revolutionary. Way back in 1979, on London Calling’s title track (lyrics), he said:

London calling, now don’t look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust

I have to take this as evidence that antipathy towards the the culture of the Baby Boomers, and to the 20th century as a whole, was alive and growing before the dawn of the new millennium.

And yet, despite the efforts of younger generations over a period of nearly 40 years, it continues to feel to me that we remain firmly in the grip of the 20th century and the Baby Boomers. And, apropos the lyrics above, this morning, I’ve been seeing videos of Paul and Ringo on my Facebook feed. Here’s an example on YouTube:

And it’s not just the continued worship of The Beatles and other Boomer cultural touchstones such as the 1960s, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones, there are many other indicators. Let’s take politics as one example. As far as I can tell, we have not yet elected a Millennial or a Generation X president. And, according the the Federation of American Scientists, the average age of a member of the 114th Congress is 57 years for The House, and 61 years for The Senate. If we define Baby Boomers as the people born between 1946 and 1964, or people aged 52 to 70 years at the time I am writing this in September 2016, the clear implication is that this generation still dominates our politics as well.

You can also see the Boomer slant in our media. Since they grew up on the traditional media of tv, newspapers, and radio, rather than Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, a strikingly unreasonable amount of advertising dollars continue to go to traditional media outlets. According to Statista, they project that for 2016, over 17 billon US dollars will have been spent on radio advertising, while 73 billion will have been spent on television. Worse still, they project growth in spending in the coming years.

I could site other things as well, such as the continued existence and growth of Nato, or our continuing conflict with Russia, but I think I’ve made my point. The only question I have is this: when do we finally put the past in the past so that we can begin authoring the 21st century?