Can the poetry, mates. It’s ass-kicking time. *

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Tom Brokaw wrote a book about the sixties.  How precious is that?  Having never read a book by him, knowing only (from watching his moderation of the candidate’s debate) that he can suck the air out of a room, I still have something to say.  Tom Broke-jaw, you are not my representative, and I question whether you personally know anything about the ’60’s at all.

From an article by Bob Minzesheimer in USA TODAY

The book is a disappointment, an overstuffed grab bag better at describing than analyzing what it terms “cosmic developments.”

“Cosmic elements”?  Watch out, Tom.  You could put your eye out with one of those.  Let’s get cosmic.  You were born a son of Hugenots and Irishmen in South Dakota under an Aquarius sun.  The positives of that sun sign are “original, independent, progressive, pioneering, intellectual, compassionate, eccentric”.  Well, I’ll give you eccentric.  The negative qualities–dogmatic, stubborn, rigid, remote, detached, isolated are dominant–sound familiar?  Maybe there’s something to this astrology stuff after all.

South Dakoka is rife with fossil fields and cowboy legends.  I see the influence of the fossilized, legendary cowboy on your natural eccentricity.  Elastic you are not.

I’m going to leave Hugenots and the Irish out of this.  Some of my best friends…

more from Minzesheimer:

The former NBC anchor mixes glimpses of his own life and career (starting in Omaha in 1962) with about 100 interviews in a “virtual reunion.”

Brokaw often belabors the obvious: “Vietnam was the war that deeply divided a generation.”

Are you dropping names again, Tom?  Consider this definition of a name-dropper from

Noun  1. name dropper – someone who pretends that famous people are his/her friends

2. faker, imposter, impostor, pseud, pseudo, role player, sham, shammer, pretender, fraud, fake – a person who makes deceitful pretenses


As for your obvious observation on Vietnam, all I can say is that you’re no Gertrude Stein. This has got to be one exciting and revelationary book. Not!

And more:

Brokaw’s book has bigger problems: He takes pains to be evenhanded politically but harbors a more subtle form of clubby bias toward the famous and successful in the mainstream.

It’s a conventional, bland, safe and predictable book about a decade that was none of the above.

Who the hell are you, Tom, to define a generation?  Where were you, Tom, in the early ’60’s when the students at Berkeley were braving the military hoodlums to wave their signs?  Why, you were in Sioux City IA building a career on your bachelor’s degree in political science (minoring in “beer and coeds”, in your own words according to Wikipedia.)  Then, in 1966, you joined NBC and reported the rest of the decade from California where you got a really good look at what was going on around you, I’m sure, from the bar in your penthouse.

Now, from Tom’s introduction to Boom!

I assured my boomer buddies that I don’t think they represent

the worst-far from it-but I also teased that I didn’t think many of

them were as great as they thought they were.

Them’s fighting words.  Pistols at dawn.

More from the introduction to Boom!

In fact, here we are, nearing the end of the first decade of the

twenty-first century, and as you will discover in this book, many of

the debates about the political, cultural, and socioeconomic meaning

of the Sixties are still as lively and passionate and unresolved as

they ever were.

All right, then.  Maybe we have been asleep at the wheel, and maybe we have grown a little complacent with age, but the conversation is still going on.  And now, there is economic turmoil that is tearing the nation apart.

It’s ass-kicking time!

*From The Simpsons episode “Viva Ned Flanders”, first broadcast 1/10/99


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  1. Perhaps now, dear diary, it is time to propose a little subversion I’ve been working on.  A subversion deserving of the efforts of the best of my generation, a subversion that will still live on when Tom Brokaw’s book is dust.  But it must be in secret, so we’ll wait until next Thursday, mid-morning, when everyone else is asleep or at work or both. and then we’ll

    spring it on the world!  Nya-ha-ha-ha.


  2. The promotion is too flattering.  I feel six feet tall!

    • dkmich on October 17, 2008 at 19:21

    doesn’t that make him qualified to define the 60s?  If Palin is an expert on Russia, this must make Brokaw a DFH.

  3. and probably won’t.  I would imagine Brokaw had an upbringing similar to my Midwestern parents, who I would describe with that old line “they didn’t experience the ’60’s – they had two ’50’s and then moved on to the ’70’s.”

    My parents fully expected young men to dutifully go to Vietnam when drafted, because our “Midwestern values” required loyalty to the government and we were “patriotic.”  I remember a lot of “tsk, tsk’s” from my parents as they watched the protests on the news.  But there was no discussion about whether we should be in the war.  

    The civil rights battles were another example.  “Look at those awful things happening in Birmingham,” while never discussing the same pervasive racism in the Midwest.

    There is something of a Midwestern arrogance about these issues.  That somehow our common sense values put us above many of society’s darker problems, where in reality there is a denial that we have the same problems as everyone else and a reluctance for talking about their root causes.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Brokaw’s book is a product of these attitudes.  

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