There are two distinct types of Baby Boomers: those who have become eligible to attend a 40th high school reunion and those who have not. As a member of the leading-edge of Leading-Edge Boomers, my summer of 2007 has been punctuated by memories of the summer of 1967 ... The Summer of Love ... the year I graduated from high school.
Some Boomer marketing experts have criticized the use of nostalgia in contemporary marketing messages. For one, they argue that nostalgia can be viewed by Boomers as mere pandering. Since I've personally produced a number of successful marketing campaigns using Boomer nostalgia as the central creative strategy, I beg to differ.
But few would argue that nostalgic memories are a BIG part of the reunion experience. Whether you attend your 40th reunion or not (and your time will come), the idea of 40 years passing comes with bittersweet remembrances. I wrote the following musings about an earlier reunion experience, inspired by Tim O'Brien's reunion novel, July July:
Memories rise into awareness triggered by ancient unrequited love, a crass dismissal, a flippant comment, or a hormone hurried glance. Freed from cobwebs, they sail into the present as gossamer, uninvited and unaided. A class reunion is a precisely hewed manifestation, chipped from formless flint, utilitarian in purpose, an artifact representing another time, another culture. Like an arrowhead, it can inflict pain or cause wonderment.
Anyway, I received an email from Poops (the nickname of an affable former classmate), cajoling me to write copy for a summons to our reunion event -- something interesting, not as cosmic as the above thoughts. That's a bit of a challenge, but one that got me thinking about how far we've come in four decades.
Most months this blog deals with sober matters and erudite exposes, but this month, and in honor of the Class of '67, wherever its disparate members may be, I'm posting here what I consider to be some of the more ironic comparisons between two years, separated by 38 years. Here's how I put things into perspective for my classmates.
1967: Secretary of State Dean Rusk announces that peace negotiations with Vietnam are futile because of North Vietnam's opposition.
2007: With a U.S. blessing and a personal visit by President George W. Bush, Vietnam joins the World Trade Organization.
1967: The Beatles release the most critically acclaimed rock album of all time, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
2007: The two surviving Beatles, Paul and Ringo, celebrate the one-year anniversary of their Cirque du Soleil hit Las Vegas show, LOVE.
1967: Mobile cell phone technology first becomes available but the clunky bricks only work in one cell zone.
2007: Apple introduces the multimedia iPhone, combining telephone, email and internet browsing technologies.
It is noteworthy to point out that I gathered these factoids in about 30 minutes by searching the internet with Google and Wikipedia. In 1967, a similar chore would have taken me at least three days of hard time in the high school library.