Dean Clough

February 16, 2022

Portico Darwin: Boom!

There's been an interesting thread on Twitter, I believe started by my quasi-hero Joe Scarborough, regarding what years "The Baby Boom" generation were born.  More precisely, the latter years.

For certain, there can be no debate about when the Baby Boom began - it's based upon when our boys came home from World War II in 1945.  Tack on 9 months, and The Baby Boom generation started in 1946, full stop.  Next, consider a generation is typically about 15 - 20 years.  So The Baby Boom Generation ended between 1961 and 1966.  Right?

I personally have always considered myself a proud member of The Baby Boom generation, and I was born in 1963.  If you look at most of the writing, scholarly or otherwise, most peg the end as 1964, and then came Generation X, which runs until around 1980.  Fine.

But the recent Twitter thread calls this all into question, and argues that I am definitely not a Baby Boomer, but instead, a Gen Xer.   Because, some say, Gen X started earlier - maybe like 1960.  And as I've thought about it, there's something to it.   Consider some major cultural touchstones.

My first memory of anything in this realm was the 1972 presidential election landslide victory by Richard Nixon, followed by The Watergate break-in, and subsequent televised hearings.


It was not Vietnam, LBJ, or Kent State.   And I certainly don't remember the assassinations.

The fact is, The Beatles had no direct meaning to me until I was smoking pot in Boulder in the mid-1980's and someone put on "Abbey Road".  The rest is history, but until then, Rush, Styx, Journey and then R.E.M. were what mattered to me and those like me.


Released less than 10 years apart, I can illustrate this very simply.  While it is now easily one of my favorite movies is The Graduate.  But I had zero knowledge of it until the 1990's. 

But Animal House?  I saw it when it debuted, as a teenager at a theater on Route 9 in Latham, and our parents had to OK it, since it was "R" rated.  It is literally a part of my cultural DNA - and I am damn proud of it.


Although I was just wetting myself over the 1960's classic The Dick Van Dyke Show, I did not get hooked until I was a teenager and watched it on reruns on TV38 WSBK from Boston on our cable TV system in Albany.  That would be the mid-1970's.

But things like All In The Family and The Mary Tyler Moore Show?  I have vivid, and I mean f'ing vivid, memories of watching these legendary shows when they were originally broadcast.   


The Personal Angle

One of the reasons this topic is fun is because my cousin Charlie just turned 71 last week.  That means he was born in 1951 and is almost 13 years older than I.  But we're in the same generation?   We are first cousins, but he literally lived the 1960's, while I was still just a spoiled toddler.  No doubt he remembers firsthand things I only know from reading the history or watching the highlights (or going to Dead shows).

Also keep in mind my better half, Julie.  She was born in 1960 - very early 1960, at that - just 9 years later than Charlie.  But I know her memories are way more similar to mine, vs. Charlie's.

There is one last thing.   You should know that my father was, in fact, a veteran of World War II.  He married my mother in May of 1949, at a time still in the shadow of a horrific war.  Yet they all look happy here, including the best man, Uncle Sidney Clough, my father's brother and Charlie's father (also a WW II veteran).


But I wasn't born for almost another 15 years.  So I am a Baby Boomer in the sense that I am the child of a WW II veteran, which is the classic definition.   Yet I don't remember anything a real Baby Boomer does?

Am I having an identity crisis?

Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

Whatever generation I am in, nothing screams my era like Styx.  Here are their best songs, at least in my Baby Boomer/Gen X opinion.


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.