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Balsamic Dreams: A Short But Self-Important History of the Baby Boomer Generation (2002)

av Joe Queenan

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1976139,517 (3.33)3
The author of the bestselling Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon takes aim at the boomer generation in a hilarious work of social commentary. It's become fashionable to vilify baby boomers. Professional iconoclast and baby boomer Joe Queenan, however, takes a somewhat more benign position: Yes, the baby boomers are venal, self-obsessed egomaniacs blighted by an insalubrious interest in things like the provenance of their neighbors' balsamic vinegar. But this does not make them the "worst generation" -- it just makes them the most annoying. In Balsamic Dreams, Queenan chronicles the evolution of his generation and critiques its current condition in chapters such as: --J'Accuse: a bold indictment of the boomers' greatest transgressions, past and present --Ten Days That Rocked the World: in which Queenan identifies the precise moments things went awry (#1: the release of Carole King's Tapestry) --Careful, the Staff Might Hear You: an examination of the unspoken, nefarious alliance between baby boomers and Generation X --American History: The B-Sides: an alternative version of the Republic as played out with baby boomers in the starring roles A measured (if a tad cranky) assessment of a generation whose greatest sin lies in confusing lifestyle for life and pop culture for culture, Balsamic Dreams is fresh, funny, and irresistible.… (mer)
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This book sounded like a funny read; I’m used to seeing Boomers (yes, I was born in 1954, so that’s me, too) slagged on the internet but usually not in a humorous way, so I thought this would make a nice change.

I was disappointed. Yes, some of it is funny- very much so. But he repeats himself from chapter to chapter. And, while he’s funny, he’s mean spirited. He may be a Boomer himself, but it’s obvious he despises a lot of his fellow cohort. He seems to think that being ‘cool’ is all that most of us think about, but we are hardly the only generation to do so. Witness man buns, midnight bike rides, young folks who are every bit as organic and holistic as the original hippies, the reverence for Mid-Century Modern, and a renewal of thrifting for style, not just for economics. The trends for growing one’s own fruit and vegetables (something almost mandatory for the Greatest Generation), as has macrame, crafting your own possessions, and vegetarianism. And the majority of the truly toxic (as opposed to just stereotypical) Boomers are in the upper-middle class; those of us in the lower economic levels didn’t go into arbitrage, turn into stock manipulators, or develop companies that destroyed the environment. We didn’t go from driving a VW to driving a giant SUV, we just changed to driving an old Subaru when the VW parts dried up. Yes, there are those of us at all economic (and toxicity levels) who liked Tapestry and CSN&Y. But despite his sneering at ‘cool’, he himself seems to have never done anything just for fun- heaven forbid he should listen to music that isn’t cool, or wear a T-shirt just because he still likes Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. He’s like the bully in high school who never actually hit anyone, but just threw barbed witticisms at his victims.

Even though he’s a Boomer, he wants all of us Boomers to get off of his lawn. Two stars. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Jul 3, 2022 |
I found Joe Queenan funny when he was taking the piss out of actors. Any book where he doesn’t partake in piss taking wanes in comparison. And as Queenan has aged, his rants have become longer, less directed and less, well, funny.

“Balsamic Dreams” is Queenan’s book-long rant against baby boomers, the generation he blames for just about everything. I’m not a Baby Boomer so no skin off my nose but I was looking forward to the end of chapters far more often than one should.

I would love to see the return of the acerbic, hilarious Queenan but I fear that age has enraged him too much. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Jan 30, 2017 |
Dead-on skewering of the Baby Boomers is mostly hilarious, though a few chapters near the end seem to be filler. There are many evilly accurate bits to read aloud to the Boomer in one's life, just to watch him get all defensive and huffy. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
This is a pretty scathing indictment of the Baby Boomer generation – all the more scathing, and all the more funny, because it seems totally true. Sure, Queenan is a bit obsessed with the devolution of ‘60s rock into “soft” rock, but when he tells the story about the SUV-driving, cell phone-talking guy who takes his purebred dog to another neighborhood to poop on other people’s lawns while he follows behind in his gas-guzzling monstrosity, you can’t help but think, “I know that guy! And he sucks.”

Yes, Baby Boomers collectively suck, and it’s nice to hear a fellow Boomer stand up and declare it. They’re bankrupting future generations, destroying the environment and displaying an unprecedented amount of selfishness and self-absorption. Worse yet, they totally sold out, yet they won’t admit it! Who can respect that? (The only part of Queenan’s book I don’t totally agree with is his diatribe against Gen X’ers – after all, as a teeny generation sandwiched between Baby Boomers and their obnoxious children, Generation Y-ine, what chance did we have?) ( )
1 rösta sturlington | Oct 27, 2011 |
Queenan is really good at giving our Baby Boomer generation the scathing but funny treatment they deserve. As Dave Lowery sang at one time, 'I Hate My Generation.' ( )
  nog | Sep 27, 2010 |
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Several years ago, I asked my mother, born in 1920, when she realized that the world she knew was slipping away from her.
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...Baby Boomers make up the largest generation in American history, and are unarguably the most self-absorbed, the most avaricious, the most deeply entrenched, and the most annoying.
One reason they are so annoying is because they have never grown up...
Boomers persist in the belief that they are the most resourceful, most ingenious, most sophisticated, and most important in the history of mankind.
Rejecting the verdict of society at large - let's face it, everybody else hates them - the 75 million Americans born between 1944 and 1960 persist in the delusion that they are really smart, really good, really cool people...
Tragically, self-immolation is the only completely egocentric activity that Baby Boomers scrupulously avoid.
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The author of the bestselling Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon takes aim at the boomer generation in a hilarious work of social commentary. It's become fashionable to vilify baby boomers. Professional iconoclast and baby boomer Joe Queenan, however, takes a somewhat more benign position: Yes, the baby boomers are venal, self-obsessed egomaniacs blighted by an insalubrious interest in things like the provenance of their neighbors' balsamic vinegar. But this does not make them the "worst generation" -- it just makes them the most annoying. In Balsamic Dreams, Queenan chronicles the evolution of his generation and critiques its current condition in chapters such as: --J'Accuse: a bold indictment of the boomers' greatest transgressions, past and present --Ten Days That Rocked the World: in which Queenan identifies the precise moments things went awry (#1: the release of Carole King's Tapestry) --Careful, the Staff Might Hear You: an examination of the unspoken, nefarious alliance between baby boomers and Generation X --American History: The B-Sides: an alternative version of the Republic as played out with baby boomers in the starring roles A measured (if a tad cranky) assessment of a generation whose greatest sin lies in confusing lifestyle for life and pop culture for culture, Balsamic Dreams is fresh, funny, and irresistible.

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