Tag Archives: Pete Seeger

“Booming” officially bust

Well, that didn’t take long. The New York Times has announced that its online Booming section, which I wrote about when it first sprouted, is going away.

Say it isn’t so. Can’t you just hear the anguish from the aging multitudes, suddenly and forever deprived of a defining voice, a place to call home in this wild new world?

Me neither. If this was such a hot idea, why not a “Gen X” or “Millennial” site, to say nothing of a “Greatest Generation” site? The closest thing to an explanation from the Times is “While the blog has been popular, eliminating it as a daily report will allow The New York Times to free up resources for other new ventures.” Translation: “Our page views are lower than Congress’s approval ratings. Thank God we still have jobs.”

I hope this doesn’t sound egotistic, but I really think the site fell victim to what I described in my original post: A lot of us are already tired of being “Boomers” and had no use for yet another entity that just reinforced the stereotypes. The whole point of the 60s was to reject the old rules, be our own selves, and not be defined by what others see.

In fairness, some of the site’s features had merit. Joyce Wadler’s columns are usually a real hoot and always worth reading, and the stories about divorce could help those of us who are trying to stay spliced. But the Music Matches, which tried to pair up the classics with like-sounding contemporary artists, exemplified the whole problem with “Booming”: it was a buzzword in search of a rationale. If our music is so special, why must we listen to what are usually pale imitations in order to stay relevant, cool, and young?

A lot of great songs are older than any boomer and will be touching people’s hearts long after we’re all gone. Right now, when the haters and goons are attacking a Coke commercial in which people sing “America the Beautiful” in their own languages, there’s one song that sounds every bit as true, real, brave, and full of love as ever. Maybe you can get through it without crying. I couldn’t.