Monday, February 11, 2008

Brokaw's "BUST!"

I didn't read The Greatest Generation, so maybe it will come as no surprise to those who did read it that BOOM!, Tom Brokaw's take on the Sixties, is just about the shallowest, most cliche-ridden, controversy-avoiding, centrism-worshipping waste of good trees I've ever read.

618 pages on the Sixties and its aftermath and not one single word about gay liberation.

Interviews with 95 separate people, not one of whom is poor, homeless, in prison, a current substance abuser, suffering from mental illness, bankrupted by a callous health care system, working three minimum-wage jobs, an atheist, a Muslim, an immigrant, a woman who is happily child-free, or a veteran of any military conflict later than Vietnam.

Discussion of environmentalism is confined to the tree-hugging ramblings of Carl Pope, head of the Sierra Club, for pity's sake. Not a peep about Love Canal, Cancer Alley, global warming.

Dolores Huerta on the good old days of the grape boycott with the Farm Workers, but nothing on how repugs have made it impossible for American workers to organize and bargain for decent pay and conditions.

One light-weight page and a half on how the social liberation of the Sixties politicized religious fundamentalists, but nothing on the horrifically catastrophic results.

(More after the jump.)

Plenty on the Voting Rights Act and the political power it brought to African-Americans, but nothing on how republican lies about "voter fraud" have disenfranchised tens of millions of minorities and cleared the way for blatant republican election fraud.

A nice profile of a Vietnam-era resister who went to Canada and stayed, but nothing about the Iraq veterans imprisoned for refusing third and fourth deployments or committing suicide because of untreated PTSD.

Lots of his own journalistic war stories, but no analysis of how the degradation of network news has helped destroy rational political discussion.

Time after time, he lets his wealthy, well-known, comfortable interviewees get away unchallenged with the most outrageous evasions and lies.

A cute "separated at birth" comparison of Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich that completely avoids any discussion of the extreme damage Gingrich's scorched-earth tactics have done to the country.

No questioning of the Cato Institute founder's claim that all we need to create strong third political parties is to eliminate all restrictions on campaign contributions.

No slapdown of the mogul of superstore chain bookstores who claims he didn't kill independent booksellers; they committed suicide.

And I can't bear to write about Brokaw's sickening love notes to Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

It's probably not fair to expect anyone to completely cover the Sixties and its aftermath in 618 pages - or 618,000 pages for that matter.

But how about a more honest subtitle than "Personal Reflections on the Sixties and Today?"

How about "A politically-neutered, substance-free summary of what my privileged friends and I think about the Sixties."

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.