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Une Generation Perdue …

The lost generation.

In many years hence, when the cold, unconcerned hand of historical research vivisects this period of Australian politics, not only will it detail, with wincing eye, to those researchers, the incomprehensible ineptness of this LNP government, but it will surely blink in disbelieving wonder at the complacency of a goodly proportion of the populace to tolerate such obvious interference and corruption from capital-based corporations and lobby groups.

Not since the time of Julius Caesar have such cashed-up cabals, with their “affiliates” equal in disaster, violence and intent to the rampaging days of the political gangs of Clodius and Milo had such bribery and coercive influence been used. There will surely be more than a little mirth when the portraits both pictorial and matched to the verbal utterances of persons like George Brandis or Christopher Pyne are held to the historical lens and their activities dissected and displayed. Comparisons could easily be drawn between the most comical characters of a legion of dramatists of the theatre.

But there will be another analysis, I believe, that will have heads shaking in disbelief … And that is how a society moved from a deeply caring, multicultural success story to a divisive, racist, scornful mob. Irony and satire aside, there will be confusion at the cognitive dissonance of that section of society who, refugees themselves to a colonized land, could then set upon — both those refugees that followed them to freedom and those who occupied the land before them — with all the tools of crazy outrage that such folk could have intention as to ”steal” THEIR NATION from under their very feet. There will have to be question raised about the collective sanity of the era.

But I am thinking I could save some time if I can explain here, the strange motivations of the “abandoned generation” that is currently in power in Australia. This generation of conservatives sprung, doomed, like late season fruit from the baby-boomers “Tree of Liberation” …

There are three phases to the “baby-boomer” generation: The first, from the immediate latter war years to the fifties, then the second wave from the early fifties to the middle years of the decade, and then the doomed “left-behinds” of the late fifties/early sixties. The first were subject to the hard militaristic discipline of their parents … the second were spared such severe social punishment through the “boom years” of the mid-fifties, the third were the lost-cause of child-rearing once the great social revolution of the sixties got into full swing.

The first wave of baby-boomers set a hesitant stumbling pace of radical change … a change more marked by a shift in style of fashion and music, than in social behaviour … in THAT they grudgingly stuck to the old principles … mostly … there were social radicals sure, but they quickly fled to the greener pastures of Europe.

It was left to the second wave of “boomers” to shrug off the local yoke of “work-ethic” demands and obedience to create a many-headed hydra of wild abandon to seek alternative knowledge no matter how discursive or obscure, from Kahil Gibran to Kant, from Nostradamus to Nietzsche, from The Beatles to Joni Mitchell to Leonard Cohen … we spread our “search” to the widest of wide open spaces, into the depths of confining crypts … Abandoning job security, our homes and family ties, casting aside the very cloth of our society, we threw ourselves into the teeth of a world-wide social storm and stood as children naked! To quote Milton in Aldous Huxley: “Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves” and it was this searching, the gathering together of the many threads of life’s loose tapestry that ended up giving us the nous to see back to the past behaviour of our parents and grandparents and to project forward to envision a near future that allowed us to cultivate what was beneficial to our body and soul and to cast aside that which was detrimental to the well-being of a society … but in a lot of cases, it must be admitted; it was chance washed us up Robinson Crusoe like on this Island of good fortune.

THIS, though, was our mistake; to selfishly leave the following “children of the night”, the last born of the generation in the wake of our parting ship … to wallow in little spiritual reward and gross waste of a ruined society of post-mortem Menzies, post boom years sixties, post Vietnam War and an emerging brutality of Hollywood fantasy and worse … disco music!

Can one imagine a life destitute of Frank Zappa? They were left in the rubble and we were gone.

Armed with all the historical example that our self-awakening study revealed, coupled with a self-confidence in our gained professions, did we not carve out of the remains of decrepit conservatism our own private Australias and set about securing our financial borders for the very thing we never really believed would come … old age.

And now … here we are, somewhat bent with age but still rebellious, at the mercy of a medical intervention system that we instigated for our old age protection, but sadly now beholden to a political class that both despises our past capabilities and resents our past abandonment of their persons in the post revolution hangover.

It has to be noted, that while we of the second wave boomers may not have bred these frustrated conservatives, we were remiss in not seeing that where our parents failed by clinging too tight to their last children, we did not take these waifs, these orphans of a lost conservatism regime along with us for the ride of their lives! We should have … We should have!

For now they are lost to wander in a wilderness of false materialism … They are truly; “Une Generation Perdue” … A Lost Generation.


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  1. David Stakes

    Frank Zappa, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues. Rolling Stones. Music of a generation. Still timeless.

  2. Michael Taylor

    Joe, look for George’s acoustic solo version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps on YouTube. Absoluuuuutely beautiful.

  3. DrakeN

    The concept of “generation” as an entity is fallacious.

    Social behaviour, like life itself, is a continuum, morphing gradually and unevenly in both its progression and within any given era.

    No society is ever homogenous.

  4. neil

    Born 1955. I think this is a cultural dividing line. Arrived at University in 1973. The Moratorium marches were over. Gough was in power. It was a time of optimism. The optimism was misplaced. Finished uni just in time for the end of the post-war boom years. By 1976 there was no “dropping out to get a job later”. It was get any job you could find. If you didn’t you were part of Malcolm’s army of unemployed.

  5. Jon Chesterson

    I really don’t see the link between the three baby boomer groups and current day conservatism. I do see the protectionism of property angle, but not to the extent and stupidity of electing and continuing to elect such stupid, abusive and corrupt government. Neither do I identify with the broad brush strokes of personality and political caricature described. I think this is generalisation and stereotype, it is an arbitrary classification and untested hypothesis, to me it doesn’t sound believable even at face value. Social dynamics are far more complex and these three tiers of one generation are only a portion of the players. The psychological differences are so diverse depending on equally diverse cultures, classes and upbringing for this or any other generation in play would surely defeat such an analysis.

    I think our current situation and recalcitrance is political contrived by the dominant monetarist neoliberalism, and by that I mean the accumulated power, influence, propaganda and abuse of power of the wealthy elite tiny minority, which we can see reflected in the ultimate downfall of many civilisations throughout human history. I see more the raw passage of Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’, as the justification for our selfish obsession wealth, power, self interest and narcissism. It is sadly part of the ingrained composite of human nature, and the ‘fittest’ are not the humanists or humanitarians. The ‘fittest’ are not those who rely on reason, truth, facts, ethics or morality. The ‘fittest’ are the sociopaths and narcissists who are bully their way to the top under the mantra of competition, efficiency, effectiveness, deceit and attrition. These traits have taken hold in our corporate and public sectors to bring about the downfall of democracy, and as much as there have been some great speeches, statutes and social policies in the past, great intentions worded into our constitutions, democracy or at least fair and just democracy has been as elusive a myth as the ideology of communism. Democracy has never really been effectively engaged in any sustainable way in the vast majority of countries that claim to be democracies, the Western world.

    The only hope I see on the horizon is the moral integrity and will to live from our youngest children, the current generation, who have already grasped the the threat looming on the horizon, that they may not have a tomorrow to speak of, or their children won’t, such as we have heard from Greta Thunberg. But I still don’t see how we will overcome the minority rich and powerful, for it is like the parable of the sower – he who sows his seed in ‘good’ soil, that is he who owns the ‘best’ soil (capital and power) already has an overwhelming advantage, to invest and multiply his harvest more and more at the expense of the masses who feed off the crumbs of his table. Its not generational, but it is hereditary, it is political and it is economic, and they have found a way to brutally support and justify their privilege and rank from religious texts such as the bible and Quran and lies.

    Music and the arts aside… that’s a different story altogether, I don’t think they follow the same path, whether there are causative relationships to be found or not. How can anyone not like the Beatles, Genesis and Pink Floyd, but then I don’t see how anyone cannot equally like Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

  6. helvityni

    ” How can anyone not like the Beatles, Genesis and Pink Floyd, but then I don’t see how anyone cannot equally like Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky”

    Indeed , Jon Chesterton, and how can any woman not like (love) Leonard Cohen… Howard Jacobsen reluctantly followed his wife to a Cohen concert in London, according to him: Leonard stood on a stage, still as a thought, there was no jigging about… and he too was won over ..

    Love Bach too.

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