Today’s kids are as good as we were back in 1969
What are we gonna do with ’em?
Josh Wimmer is one of The Union’s “kids.” He’s a good kid, too, which is why I was surprised to return home from a trip to find that a few subscribers wanted to end Josh’s career before it really got off the ground. It seems they didn’t like what Josh had to say about old people or young girls in his Friday column. If you missed it, Josh essentially said it was great to walk into a Nevada City bar and see young girls instead of a bunch of guys with gray ponytails and tight jeans.
“If I had an employee who insulted 90 percent of my subscribers – he would be gone,” one person e-mailed me.
I hadn’t read in our last reader survey that 90 percent of our subscribers wore Members Only jackets and could recite the lyrics to “Brown Eyed Girl.”
“If I had an employee who came across as a potential sex offender – he would be gone,” continued the e-mail, referring, I suppose, to Josh’s uncommon desire for 21-year-old girls.
Shame on him, the little punk. When I was 26, I’d never think to go to a place where there might be 21-year-old girls. No more than I’d inhabit a bar that had live music. There were more important things to think about back then, such as … such as … okay … maybe there weren’t more important things to think about back then, but there should have been.
I was out of town when Josh’s column appeared. I was at a newspaper conference in Nevada, where a bunch of us old newspaper people went to wonder why younger people aren’t reading newspapers as much as young people once did, the little pukes.
There were no young people around at the time, so we ended up asking each other, “What’s wrong with kids today? Why won’t they read our damned newspapers?”
Then we adjourned the meeting to play a little bingo.
In reviewing Josh’s Friday opinion, I could see how it might have upset a few guys my age. It’s tough enough getting old without having some young pup who’s probably never even eaten purple pancakes remind you that “Brown Eyed Girl” is a golden oldie.
And his shot about “aging artists” voting Republican was totally uncalled for. Especially in an election year. I know lots of aging artists who vote Republican. I just can’t think of one at the moment, unless Charlton Heston qualifies.
Nor did I particularly care for his snide remarks about Eric Clapton not being God and all. Even Josh knows that’s true. He’s just trying to impress the 21-year-old girls.
The stuff about the old guys sitting around the bars in jean jackets and high-top sneakers going off on left-wing diatribes before driving home in their Beemers and Benzes was … was … well … OK … that stuff might be true. But not the stuff about the old bar musicians who have been strumming “Puff the Magic Dragon” and getting paid for 30 years. I loved that song. Poor Puff. He was a good dragon, and as far as I’m concerned, the aging musicians can play that one all night. Or at least until 9 p.m., when I have to go to bed.
“If Mr. Wimmer were my son,” the e-mailer continued, “I would be ashamed for raising a child who doesn’t respect women, grownups, business people and, evidently, the hand that feeds him.”
I don’t feed Josh, but I think the e-mailer was referring to me as being one of those on the list who ought to be ashamed of him.
I’m not ashamed of Josh. Not in the least. I’m more ashamed of my fellow “boomer,” who seems to have forgotten everything we learned in 1969. Remember what our elders said about us as we were hanging out in bars, burning bras (I use the term “we” generally, since I’ve already stated that I was home reading newspapers at the time all of that was happening, so help me God) and dancing on tables with tambourines.
But if you really want to know what to do with the kids today, just listen.
Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 477-4299,
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“There is a cult of ignorance in this country … nurtured by the false notion that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, 1980.