REILLY: Don’t bury us just yet | Columns


Listen up people.

We are the baby boomers and we are not happy.

About what? you may ask. (And speak up! Why does everybody mumble?)

About a lot of things: the state of our 401Ks, our national political ennui, our hip replacements.

But mostly about the fact that it’s not all about us anymore.

Basically, since the end of the 1940s, we have been used to the world revolving around us – our needs, our political views, our musical tastes. It didn’t matter if these were good or bad (lest we forget, “My Sharona” was a boomer anthem of a sort), they were ours and that made them important.

Television and movies sought us as audiences, lawmakers pandered to us and businesses craved our cash.

And “the Greatest Generation” was great because they had produced us. (And that whole surviving the Depression and winning World War II thing, too)

But now, as Marilyn Suzanne Miller, an original writer on “Saturday Night Live,” notes, the world has done something we thought it would never do: It has moved on without us.

In a recent New York Times essay, she pointed out: “The fact is, the culture ignores us. Baby boomers — a “niche” group of 74.9 million — are snubbed by the movie industry, TV, jeans designers, the music business, everything, in favor of Gen X, Gen Y and the millennials (who sound like a sad, droopy human bouquet).”

Think about it. TV used to feature shows like “Thirtysomething,” which was about the angst of characters who would be entering their 60s about now. There is not a series called “Sixtysomething.”

Instead, there are shows for 18-34 demographic like, well, even millennials are not sure since, a recent survey shows, many of them are not certain where the content they are streaming comes from.

Well, world, as one of our boomer cultural icons, Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” reminds Michael Douglas: We are not going to be ignored!

We may be old, we may be shaky about embracing new technology, we may even be turning into our own parents (“Hey you kids, get off our lawn.”) But here are a few facts to consider, from the U.S. Census Bureau about the baby boomers:

• They have $3.4 trillion in buying power.

• They control 70 percent of U.S. disposable income as of 2017.

Are you really all that sure you want to take us for granted?

How about some products that cater to us? Really cool, skinny jeans with elastic waistbands, gourmet artisanal coffees that don’t keep you up at night, or trendy running shoes that still look good if you’re just walking. And don’t forget “Sixtysomething.”

Think about it corporate America.

You don’t really want us angry.

TOM REILLY is a Sun Chronicle news editor. He’s be perfectly happy to come up with a treatment for “Sixtysomething.” He can be reached at 508-236-0332 or at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Tomreillynews.

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