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Doonesbury, 8/4/04

Baby boomers! Who doesn’t love ’em? Well, their parents probably didn’t like it when they rose up and rejected age-old values like unquestioning patriotism, tie-wearing, and regular baths. And we who are their kids got pretty annoyed by their endless nattering on about how they changed the world and invented free love and took drugs and blah blah blah and, oh yeah, you shouldn’t be doing any of that stuff, so go do your homework.

Maybe their grandkids will have a little distance from the whole thing.

But boy howdy, baby boomers sure do love baby boomers. When you read the boomer-drawn Doonesbury, especially in the long term, you’ll notice that it’s the boomers who are inevitably the viewpoint characters. Now, I’ve always loved this strip; I’ve used old anthologies as my primary source about what young people thought about politics and popular culture during the Nixon administration. But future generations will use today’s strips to find out what middle-aged people think about the Iraq war, which, if you’ll forgive me for saying so, is a wee bit less exciting.

Today’s strip is a good example. In both 1974 and 2004, you have parent-child arguments in Doonesbury. But back then it was the parents who were old, out of touch, reactionary, unable to appreciate good music, and hostile towards issues that really mattered; now, it’s the kids who are young, ignorant, unable to appreciate good music, and willfully apathetic towards issues that really matter.

Payback’s a bitch, ain’t it, Gary?