“Are you OK, Boomer?” Countering The Chronophobic Malaise That’s Grown Up Around Covid-19

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This is rather important.

I’ve been pretty disquieted about some of the rhetoric that’s been going around the place along with Covid-19. Yes, we know that the health impacts are disproportionately severe for people over sixty. Yes, we know that in many Anglosphere countries, there is an occasionally pretty understandable annoyance on the part of younger people against the regrettably not-always-that-imaginary stereotype of Der Boomer.

And yes, there is an ongoing politico-economic reshaping that has already begun, both of the world that the generation of our parents is bequeathing to us – and, in some areas, being actively pushed back against by some persons including those of a similar age range to them [c.f current debates in the US Democratic Primary around public healthcare – wherein, as somebody put it, the preponderance of boomer-aged voters *against* public reform, versus the preponderance of millennial aged voters *for* such reform, may look like the latter desperately endeavouring to hold back the former from jumping headlong over a cliff of its own ultimate devising through its previous several decades of political choices … insofar as you actually have “choice” in a system as hidebound by health-insurance money as the US Political one].

But frankly, eagerly cheering on, or being amusedly indifferent to the plight of anybody retirement-aged and up during these present circumstances is reprehensible.

Being over a certain age doesn’t automatically make you a villain outside of the circumstances of Logan’s Run. Being under a certain age, and/or finding yourself lucky and well-placed enough to avoid the virus’s ravages … does not axiomatically render one a saint, either. [although being a saint, may for obvious reasons, help in such circumstances as we currently find ourselves embroiled in]

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It must be scary as hell being an older person in Italy right now – a fear that can only escalate as you move up the age-brackets, past the “Boomer” generation and into the Greatest. Even if you’ve got some sort of semi-justified ill-feeling toward your parents’ generation in abstract (if not necessarily, or perhaps necessarily, your specific parents themselves) … have a thought for Grandma.

I’m a little biased about this, perhaps – my parents are older than many others of my generation, and seemingly quite different to the stereotypes that often seem to accrue for persons across the Anglosphere of their age. I also spent the formative years of my adulthood working with quite a number of older citizens, who were militantly in favour of the kind of economically just policies that are quite popular with many young voters today – not through a hopeful idealism, so much as having the actual, tangible recollection of them being in force some decades before.

… although the instances I ran into of older New Zealanders opposed to animal testing of synthetic cannabinoids and other party drugs, and instead volunteering themselves for it, was … a little unexpected, to say the least.

These days, in my theological line of life, many of the people I engage with are also older. In no small part because they’re the ones who can *remember* old ways, who have the wisdom of grandparents and are so eager to see it passed on – even if it has to skip their own children’s generation through lack of interest, to be passed on more directly to their grandkids.

To be sure, I *do* think that an array of the stopping and tacking stock of our politico-economic situation as a result of what’s going on with the Corona virus, is a necessary thing, and something that’s been quite a long while coming. I have reasonable hope that the world we wind up with as a result of some of this, some three to five years down the track (after which, if history has proven to be a guide, we’ll probably have started forgetting the lessons again, in earnest) shall be a more resilient and rational(ized) one in some ways, also, as a result. Paying more attention to looking after people and less to just-in-time buckled bottom lines and empty, pointless, performative “work”; for a start.

But I don’t think that means we start celebrating a human cost to changing direction like this. I think it means, more than anything, that we are to be motivated to make damn sure that obvious problems with obvious solutions are *sorted* so that unnecessary deaths, weeks of worry, and lifetimes of lingering impairment *don’t take place* in the first place.

So that the grief of a preventable and systemically avoidable spate of familial bereavements, as this virus and the milieu which has supported and enabled its promulgation and spread … is spared as far as possible not only to us – but also to the generations that come after us, and which will, most certainly and without a doubt, be thinking of us “millennials” or “zoomers” or whatever it is that we are these days, in similar terms to how many seem to think of “Boomers” and the Greatest Generation today.

Now is not, for obvious reasons, the time to hug your parents, your grandparents, physically closer for fear of losing them prematurely.

Yet metaphorically, I think that’s *exactly* what is required – closer mental and emotional engagement, mutual support .. from a physical distance .. and ensuring that contra to the memery flying around the place at the moment, that they are not only not forgotten, but not painfully, shamefully derided into the bargain as well.

“As you are, we once were. As we are, you shall be”, indeed.

Perhaps, instead of the “Ok, Boomer” that has become such popular (and occasionally quite apt) parlance these days, “Are you OK [boomer]?” might be the better ethos du jour.

14 COMMENTS

  1. who were militantly in favour of the kind of economically just policies that are quite popular with many young voters today – not through a hopeful idealism, so much as having the actual, tangible recollection of them being in force some decades before.

    Yes. It was the reality that my mother lived. It’s just how it was.

    “Are you OK [boomer]?” might be the better ethos du jour.

    🙂
    Some will remember this from when it first came out

    • Kheala: “who were militantly in favour of the kind of economically just policies that are quite popular with many young voters today…”

      Indeed. And people need to remember that the architects of Rogernomics were for the most part not Boomers. We Boomers were every bit as whacked about the ears by neoliberalism’s consequences as were other sectors of society. Many of us desire a return to the policies that were in force here before Rogernomics.

      With regard to the bloody coronavirus thing, it’s worth noting that the death toll is highest in that generation which preceded that of the Boomers. See the graphic in this piece: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120368742/coronavirus-has-an-achilles-heel-and-we-can-exploit-it

      And: given what’s being reported out of Italy at present, the younger generations would be ill-advised to indulge in schadenfreude. Scoff not, lest ye be scoffed at in thy turn – to misquote some text or other. Possibly the Bible?

      Oh, and thanks for the YouTube clip: such memories!

  2. Yeah whatever, Curwen…

    How long has it been since 1984?

    36 years.

    Nothings been done.

    And now a new strain of virus has laid the world low.

    It didn’t take political activism or all the vainglorious words and speeches of politicians to lay the globe low, – just a simple microorganism,- which may or may not have been developed in international laboratory’s as a plaything for the globalists designs of a world population of 500, 000,000.

    And to date ?

    We’ve had the woke left, and the neo liberals ALL singing from the same song sheet.

    I don’t see a hell of a lot of difference between modern politicians and those politicians who sentenced millions to death in the trenches of World War One.

    All I see is a suspiciously inconspicuous virus that’s created a global pandemic.

    You guys better get you’re shit together.

    We are losing patience with you all.

    Yáll better remember what the French guillotine was all about and who that was directed against.

    • Your comment on the French Revolution is apt . It started taking the heads of the elite but it was not long before they turned it on their own that did not fit the mold . The same happened in Russia after the revolution and now a hudred years on they have completed the circle with Putin there until 2035 with the control that the czars of old had.
      It will be interesting over the next few months if the Left can all keep singing from the same song sheet as the government will have to pick winners that they help and losers that go under.
      To my mind they have made a good start and they made the right move to increase benefits as many more will be relying on them. For many who have never been on a benefit it will be a shock how little it is and how hard it is to live on. I hope the government have stepped up staff at WINZ as they will be under great stress both at work and home.

      • To my mind they have made a good start and they made the right move

        Strongly agree.

        For many who have never been on a benefit it will be a shock how little it is

        Yes.

        I hope the government have stepped up staff at WINZ as they will be under great stress both at work and home.

        True. I really hope that this time, Sepuloni is onto it…

    • Your comment on the French Revolution is apt . It started taking the heads of the elite but it was not long before they turned it on their own that did not fit the mold . The same happened in Russia after the revolution and now a hudred years on they have completed the circle with Putin there until 2035 with the control that the czars of old had.
      It will be interesting over the next few months if the Left can all keep singing from the same song sheet as the government will have to pick winners that they help and losers that go under.
      To my mind they have made a good start and they made the right move to increase benefits as many more will be relying on them. For many who have never been on a benefit it will be a shock how little it is and how hard it is to live on. I hope the government have stepped up staff at WINZ as they will be under great stress both at work and home.

    • The French revolution changed things and ushered in capitalism which filled the gap for opportunists to exploit.
      A system of control has to have an overall consensus of community and local control using democracy in the workplace, democracy in local affairs and national affairs. The all have to be tied in with each other.
      Banks must be state or / and community owned.

  3. From babyhood to twenty has many changes over that twenty years. From 64 to 84 a person is aalso changing, geing seriously. So when is it reasonable, (applying reason) for an old person to prepare to die? It is a vital question to ask when it is obvious that the planet is overcrowded, and money is inequitably available.

    It has been reported regularly that children are not receiving the medical help they need to enable them to go through their developmental stages during their first twenty years. Why should old people have their lives extended by twenty years with all the costs involved and be given priority over young children? I think we elders should give up our twenty years and offer it to the children and their parents! Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of the party! And the parties are those young kids that need free doctor’s visits and prescriptions and priority treatment, not waiting for months and years for it.

    And there are other priorities amongst the older ages. Those in pain with sore joints, hips, whatever. People in their 60’s and 70’s not able to move without pain, and then there are the eyes (my concern), and the gout and the incontinence etc. That last twenty years – say from 80 to 100 needs to have a low-level medical help available, no surgery, adequate hospice places where people can fade away after having had such long lives, unprecedented in history. And they should have the right to register for euthanasia, which can be called Managed Demise, and go through the steps set in law, which will have been established by people who have knowledge of this matter.

    I see in the paper that Italy, in its extreme situation, is saying it will not keep 80 year olds and over alive. They have been forced to this by their extremity, but I hope there will be care and kind faces around those elderly. Before they pass away if they are still able, I hope they talk about their lives, and tell their children things about the family, recall the highs and lows. Behind most old people is a fascinating story that can vividly bring them to life in others’ minds realising what wonderful people they have been. This may not happen when we don’t face our end of life squarely, and with increasing age bringing more alzheimers we are cruelly robbed of all coherent memory and even of recognition as well as remembrance.

    Raymond Briggs UK graphic artist and the most good-hearted man who ever drew, did a book about his loved and devoted parents called Ethel and Ernest. Ethel is elderly, ill and confused, goes to hospital, can’t hold a conversation, upsets Dad who leaves the room, she asks her son Raymond “Who was that old man in here just now?” He tells her Dad, your husband. She looks puzzled, “Dad, Husband”? Raymond gives up and praises her flowers, she smiles “Yes lovely! Aren’t I a lucky girl,” her regular remark when flowers are mentioned. When they are phoned that she has died, go to the hospital, they find her naked body wrapped in a winding-sheet, her head and jaw enclosed in a cap, lying on a trolley in a bare utility room near to black bags of rubbish, waiting to be taken away. If we can change how we handle death, and be able to care and treat the person rightly and respectfully to and after death, including a place for family members, not just clinically and efficiently, that would be better than officiously extending years of life. The measure of a country’s standard of living should no longer count living to an ever older age to be given a positive tick.

  4. Yep WILD KATIPO

    Bring hanging and the Giotine back!!!!

    It will awaken these headheads who while there to represent our “wellbeing” and failed here.

    We will remember how long the WHO (World Health Organisation) ‘diddly dallied’ around saying it was not a pandenic; – until it was out of control.

    They must be first to get the chop.

    Then Simpla Simon Bridges, and the Minister of Health and all the heads of the Health Department next must join the que at the gallows – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallows

    EWe warned these useless chettons back in January to be careful when the Corona viraus reared it’s ugly head.

    See here; https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2001/S00041/ceac-calls-for-ministry-of-health-to-be-cautious.htm

    CEAC calls for Ministry of Health to be cautious
    Monday, 20 January 2020, 2:31 am
    Press Release: Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre
    Monday 20th January 2020

    “CEAC calls for Ministry of Health to be cautious of mystery viral pneumonia spreading from China.”

    CEAC calls for Ministry of Health to be “cautious” of mystery viral pneumonia spreading from China, of a new ‘coronavirus’ that’s in the same family as SARS, MERS and the common cold, health officials said Friday; – https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/407631/new-wuhan-virus-cases-emerge-in-china-but-no-plans-for-screening-at-new-zealand-airports-yet

    (1) https://abcnews.go.com/Health/us-airports-screen-passengers-chinese-city-virus/story?id=68358416

    Since the US (CDC) “Center for Disease Control” has just placed Three airports in the United States under screening for this new global virus.

    According to the CDC they will screen passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of an outbreak of a new coronavirus that’s in the same family as SARS, MERS and the common cold, health officials said Friday.

    Quote; (1)

    US authorities have said they would start screening at three airports to detect travellers arriving via direct or connecting flights from Wuhan who may have symptoms of the new virus.
    In Asia, authorities in Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand have stepped up monitoring of passengers from Wuhan at airports. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines say they have strengthened screening at all points of entry in response to the outbreak, as well.
    Japan screens all incoming travellers for high temperatures and started displaying notices at airports around the country asking passengers to come forward if they have travelled to Wuhan and have become sick.

    A report published by the London Imperial College’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis asserted there are likely “substantially more cases” of the new coronavirus than the 45 currently announced by Wuhan authorities.
    A summary of the report on the centre’s website says its baseline scenario estimates that there would be 1723 cases showing onset of related symptoms by 12 January. The full report was not available, however.

    Unquote;

    • NZ is a large transit point for Chinese visitors and immigrants,
    • So we are already effectively in harm’s way.
    • So we support the Otago University Health Department calling for NZ Ministry of Health to be wary of danger to the new virus that could threaten the health of NZ citizens as stated I n the report below.
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/407631/new-wuhan-virus-cases-emerge-in-china-but-no-plans-for-screening-at-new-zealand-airports-yet

    End.

    • You are good watchdogs Cleangreen and CEAC. The trouble is it was coming from China, and the discussion about immigration, and the Asia continent and our shonky, inefficient and ineffective immigration systems that are nearly out of control of the government, and in officious officials’ hands, means that we can’t get to the nub of anything about immigration. Any concerns are met by aggression, denunciation, passive-aggression, and any other negative words anyone can think of. Hence nothing can be done until one is forced to do such.
      With western countries, it seems we are all full of blather and cocksure, and if blame is apportioned about anything, it’s always someone else’s fault.

      January was too soon after Christmas to be doing anything, taking anything seriously. And a spirited opposition to any containment started fairly early with young students expressing their disappointment with us which of course we had to deny. But if we didn’t get their education money, our universities would have to close, because the official line in NZ leaders, is higher education is wasted on our young. If we want bright people we can get them from overseas, and soon technology will take over. So wot me worry, as the guy used to say on Mad magazine. Which was so subversive because it looked simple-minded but put a distorting mirror up to the passing parade who didn’t recognise the accepted normal when it was given a twist.

      • Yes Greywarbler,
        it is always aboiut the money when Politicians get involved!!!

        Especially when they get money slipped into their pockets to “go with the flow”
        Most polititions are corrupted in NZ today sadly.

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