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MOTHERS DAY/ FATHERS DAY -- THE GREATEST

by Polar Levine 5/2/01 for popCULTmedia

Survivor is over. Were currently in one of our multi-day vacuums with no addictive Media-Event-Of-The-Decade to take the edge off a long day of whatever it is we ordinary Americans do. In case you were worried that wed be spending the summer watching the nuclear winter of the Cheney/Dubya agenda, fear not. Were about to be saved by the next Media-Event-Of-The-Decade soon to be in movie theaters, toy stores, magazines, talk shows near you.

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Every summer has its version of Armeggedon,/Titanic/The English Patient, etc. You know a blockbuster movie that costs a small countrys GNP to market (let alone produce). It's a love story with lots of premature death and tough guy stuff with the same recycled overly illustrative soundtrack to announce the kissing parts, the crying parts and the heroic parts. This summer we get to refight WWII the good war. Not only was the Big Red One fought by cute GIs whose wounds were administered to by babe-alicious nurses, we get to salute, once again, The Greatest Generation which, as Frank Rich noted, has evolved from an idea to a brand. We get to honor again and again the generation that brought us Viet Nam, white flight and Sing Along With Mitch; the one that saved the world. The one responsible for bringing the dreaded Baby Boomers into the world, the Me Generation, which then fucked its brains out and produced the Me Me Me Generation X; who, if they can dislodge the studs from their genitals, will deliver Generation God-Knows-What who will, in middle age, make a merchandising industry out of their parents -- the newly renamed Awesome Generation.

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Unless The Greatest in their teen years was a whole lot more politically conscious than every other generation before or since, my guess is that they went off to the good war, not because they wanted to save the Jews from the ovens or protect one part of Europe from another part of Europe. They joined up because we were attacked by the Japanese on our own turf. WIth a manly, "Oh yeah, wise guys?" They marched off to the badlands of East Asia and Normandy Beach with the same glorious cartoons in their heads as the Sumarians and the Greeks and the Japanese before them. And they returned home as dead, broken or heroically as those before and after. What makes them different from the Viet Nam vets? They won and their war was less morally embarrassing.

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Are we honoring the WWII generation because they were the Greatest? Maybe. But mainly, the Boomers are paying their parents back for all the torment they brought them with the long hair, dope, mutiple divorces and arrogance. And its so much easier to have amazon.com ship a Tom Brokow book than to go home and say, Mom & Dad, Im sorry I was such a spoiled asshole for all those years. I love you both. Youre a couple of fuck-ups -- but youre my fuck-ups and Im yours. Thanks.

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Polar Levine
Editor, popCULTmedia