Back by request…My Baby Boomer Bible. Think Howard Zinn with a sense of humor and a few conspiracy theories. Learn all about America from the early 1950s on this page and then hit “older posts” (bottom left) to read the second half (up to 1976). “As we know there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns… the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”-Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld
“It depends what the definition of the word ‘is’ is.”
-President Bill Clinton
THE ONLY WRITTEN HISTORY RELEVANT TO BABY BOOMERS—4,000,000 B.C. to 1964 A.D. (Printed here in its entirety.) Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, and millions of America’s heroes returned home to end World War II. Exactly nine months later (May 15, 1946) the Baby Boom began. The birth rate shot up 20% from the previous year, passing the three million mark for the first time in our history, and then exploded to nearly four million new babies in 1947. The United States passed that high-water mark in 1948 and remained above that alarming level for nearly two decades. This insane pace finally slowed down abruptly to a normal level of 2 million per year in 1964… exactly nine months after the assassination of JFK. Other countries on the winning side also experienced a sharp increase in births, but their rash celebrations ended by 1950.America’s bliss continued for eighteen years. Ours was a special case. After 170 years as a New World Nothing, we had finally earned the status of World Class Power. WW II saw Europe and Japan bombed to hell, while America (except Pearl Harbor) remained untouched, and at the same time our factories were all geared up to produce the tools of war. Big Business then made a smooth transition over to peacetime merchandise such as televisions, cars and refrigerators and the world begged for our manufactured goods. Young American adults believed that the good times would last forever, and that the world would be forever grateful if they produced as many products and babies as possible. The average American family suddenly boasted four kids instead of the usual two. The vast number of Baby Boomers gave society indigestion, later described as the “Pig in the Python” problem. From Day One of the Boom, America lacked a sufficient amount of delivery rooms, and once we arrived, pediatricians. Millions of young, new mothers turned to Dr. Benjamin Spock’s The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care for help and support. The first edition, published just a few weeks after the birth of the first Boomer, soon became one of the best-selling paperbacks of all time. For a mere 35 cents, the book gave inexperienced young parents a false sense of security in guarding what was then considered as “the National Treasure.” A tsunami of national treasure hit the schools in 1952, 38% larger than the 1951 first grade class, and caught the educational system completely by surprise. The same group of kids continued to catch the system unprepared every fall all the way through college. There were never enough classrooms, textbooks, desks or teachers for that first wave of Boomer students. A lack of housing for so many large, young urban families caused the cities that could (mostly in the Southern and Western States), to spread outward in the ‘50s. 83% of the total population growth in the United States during the decade spilled into the suburbs. Because of the vast number of new kids, American industry had no choice but to mass produce basic goods and services… diapers, baby food, toys, and even our entertainment. The Baby Boom Generation forced the most powerful society in the history of the world to bend their way and to cater to their wants and needs… and we continue to do so well into the 21st Century. THE REFLECTED HISTORY OF BABY BOOMERS Each of us has only a vague idea of how we look in the eyes of a stranger. We rely on reflections… in mirrors, photographs, videotapes and other distortable, unreliable images as we grasp for a clear self-concept. As a generation, Boomers love to gaze at their reflections from the three most significant mass-media mirrors: 1: MOVIES have been a constant reflection OF THE BOOMERS ever since we were old enough to buy a ticket at the box office. 2: The need for TELEVISION in every home was created BY THE BOOMERS when we forced our young parents to stay home. 3: ROCK & ROLL was resurrected (like Lazarus) as the official language FOR THE BOOMERS when words alone were insufficient to express our angst and other inarticulate feelings. How could a bunch of Baby Boomer kids seize and dominate these three powerful mass-media giants? The answer is simple… Boomers are, were and will be (for another quarter century or so) the largest potential market that any sponsor or producer can aim at. Mass-media cannot survive without big money from advertisers, and Baby Boomers, from 1946 to present, have always been the largest target group of consumers. Thank goodness for Capitalism. In a Communist or Socialist country, our generation would have been considered as a pain in the butt, but here in America, mass-media is our slave. As children in the ‘50s, Boomers caused the Golden Age of TV kid shows like the Mickey Mouse Club, novelty records and live-action Disney flicks. As adolescents (late 50’s, early 60’s), we forced the Age of Teen Idols records, Bandstand on TV, and suddenly Annette wore a bikini, with boobs, in Beach Party this-and-that movies. As teenagers… well, you get the picture. American media catered to Baby Boomers the vast majority of the time for more than half a century, and if you are not one of us, you are probably bitter and jealous. You should be. Belonging to any other American generation is like growing up as the second son of a King… so close, but you’ll never reach the top… because we stand in your way. Boomers recognize your pain, but frankly speaking, we really don’t care. THE ONLY MASS-MEDIA REFLECTIONS RELEVANT TO BABY BOOMERS FROM THE FIRST 2,000,000 YEARS OF HUMAN HISTORY (Prior to 1950): Rock & Roll Don’t let those of lesser birth blame it entirely on the Baby Boomers. The roots of Rock & Roll can be traced to the work songs and gospel music of African-Americans in early slave days. The sound became even closer to modern Rock in the 1920’s, when rural blues men moved to urban centers and the rhythms became heavier, more insistent, and the tempo, faster… conforming to the pace of city living. Two-man guitar teams became popular, with one man playing bass notes and chords, while the other played the lead or melody line. In 1929 the Graves Brothers of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, recorded some spirituals for Paramount, which critics described as “rocking and reeling.” The music aimed exclusively at the “race music” market, but in 1932 two white folklorists, John Lomax and his son, Alan, turned on to the sound. They recorded Afro-American folk, blues and gospel at Black churches, revival meetings, bars and out in the fields. “The hard-driving beat, the bluesy melody, the rhythmic singing which contained improvised and stream-of-consciousness type lyrics,” thrilled the Lomax’s. The roots of Rock & Roll dug deep into the heart of American music well before the birth of the first Baby Boomer. Our generation can’t even take credit (or blame) for the first electric guitar. Eddie Durham strummed one for The Kansas City Five in 1938. For mainstream WASP audiences, Charlie Christian began playing electric with the Benny Goodman Band in 1939. By the early 1940’s, a slightly watered-down version of the Black backbeat reached White ears with cover versions like Boogie Woogie (Tommy Dorsey) and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (The Andrews Sisters). Television The Movie Industry hit its peak about the same time.Hollywood cranked out more films and sold more tickets than at any other time in its history in 1946. Twenty-somethings (our parents) stepped out on the town for their last big fling, but by the end of the year, newborns forced more and more young couples to stay home. During the next few years, movie attendance and production decreased sharply and television spread like wildfire. Our parents believed that Television had been created for them… as a gift for all their hard work in WW II, or some such nonsense. Little did they suspect that they were simply acting as trustees for a short while, holding our inheritance until Baby Boomers grew of an age to seize control. Our parents perceived TV as a toy, an evening of free entertainment, and a reliable babysitter. Boomers naturally accepted television as an adopted, but equal sibling. Television is a Baby Boomer. Before we came along, there were very few sets and only a handful of stations, broadcasting silly game shows like Amateur Hour and It Pays to be Ignorant, nature films like The Nesting Habits of the Migratory Goose, public service shows like The Right Way to Reshingle Your Roof and lots of wrestling and old Westerns. The generations prior to our parents considered the concept of television as a curiosity for eccentrics… sort of like an elephant, fun to look at, but who the hell would want to own one? But in the end it didn’t matter what the old folks thought. Baby Boomers quickly became a vast market, and that created the Television Industry. (I Know It’s True ‘Cause) I Saw it On TV YouTube <http://youtu.be/YwhxeaVfk3s> Media reflections are the only source of history that Baby Boomers trust and understand. As infants, we exerted little influence on the content of the mass-mediums before 1950, thus Boomers believe that nothing of much importance happened before that date.