The elders are nervous. Robert Reich today calls for reforming capitalism. Not to worry about the socialist victory in France. Reform? Reform is white noise, that annoyingly forgettable hissing sound a word reminiscent of Charlie Brown’s teacher. Remember? (wha wha wha wha wha!)
The elders believe we can put the brakes on things. Stop and sniff the roses and other fragrances not so sweet. For the elders, they feel time’s running out. Reform. Let’s recreate the 50s and 60s like they do on Mad Men. Lots of awkward lessons on that show. Turn on the History Channel. Remember when? How’s that Leni Reifenstahl film? Looks like it was shot yesterday. All those lost opportunities: Uncle Ho, Mao, Lenin, Castro, that leader we toppled in Iran right before the Shah? Great guys who coulda woulda shoulda been our buddies. Why, an American Army Captain even helped Ho write his Independence Day speech. Yeah, they plagiarized that guy, Tom Jefferson. Uncle Ho liked Jefferson.
The elders are worried. What are these young people up to, anyway? Besides jobs, what do they want? Jobs, for one thing. But you’ll have to ask them. And when they speak, text, blog, or post, read them. Listen closely.
Yes, there’s linear feet and terra bites of reformation, restoration hardware-like writing by elder states people. There’s that latest installment, volume 4, of an epic biography of LBJ. Clinton likes it. Clinton didn’t get his boots wet in Viet Nam. Ah, a better time, we say. Could we just stop a minute and consider the past, the elders suggest? Sorry, I have a teleconference.
It’s not just us, OK? China elders are very sweaty, angsting about this younger generation. I’m not suggesting you to get a new wardrobe, kick off your slippers and act trendy. I’m just suggesting to my fellow elders that we chill out a bit. Relax. Shut up with the “wayback when lectures”. Listen to young people.
Listen. Forget reform.