Hello, patrons! It's the time of the year where we start tabulating our most-read articles of the past year. We'll countdown the full list on the Tendency between Xmas and New Year's. Until then, we're offering a Patreon-exclusive peek at some of the pieces that have made our "Top 19 of '19", along with micro-interviews with their authors.
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by Bob Vulfov
Published November 2019
“Boomer” is not just a word, it’s a genuine expression of hate. When I express a horrific opinion on climate change, one thousand comments calling me a “boomer” hold within them unspeakable bigotry and dehumanization. I don’t want to live in a country where words such as “boomer” or “white” or “man” or “upper-middle-class” can be weaponized against me. I don’t deserve to have my generation’s negative impact on the planet plainly laid out in front of me. I shudder just thinking of what might happen to me if I have to read a single other internet comment calling me a “boomer.” My life is the hardest life of all.
No other demographic could possibly understand what it’s like to be called a slur that harks you back to a time of great oppression and hardship. My generation is suffering a unique plight that outweighs any previous suffering by any minority group in history. We are occasionally made fun of for having antiquated outlooks on tax policy and healthcare. Our suffering at the hands of bigotry is profound and deep. Yet, where are our reparations? Where is our museum? Where is our history month?
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On the inspiration for the piece...
The idea itself was born of my deep-seated frustration with the boomer generation and all of the lasting damage they've done to our economy, climate, and political system. The specific angle of the piece came from a conservative radio host who claimed that the word "boomer" is the n-word of ageism, which I think we can all agree is a compelling and sturdy claim to make. I figured his tremendous idea needed to be explored and expanded on a bit, so that's what I did with the piece.
On the writing/editing process...
As with most of the timely pieces that I write, the process is a maniacal sprint from the moment I see a piece of timely news to the moment I submit the piece. I don't think I press backspace once while writing timely pieces. If imagery would help, it's just me sitting there in the dark, sweating, and bashing my keyboard until something relatively coherent comes out. Aesthetically speaking, my writing process for timely pieces isn't dissimilar from the scene in heist movies where the hacker is desperately trying to shut down the security system.
On the audience reaction...
I received SO many hateful emails, tweets, messages, etc. from folks who did not understand that it was a piece of satire. A flood of people went out of their way to contact me and call me a dumb boomer, which I'm not, because I believe in climate change and I eat dinner after 4:30 pm. I also did a live reading of this piece at a comedy show and could feel about a quarter of the audience groaning at the particularly boomer-y parts of the piece because they also didn't understand it was satire. The sad part is that my photo is available widely on the Internet (and the people at the live show could see my face as I was reading the piece), so maybe I look like someone born between 1946 and 1964. Woof.
A couple of Bob's favorite humor pieces of 2019:
One of my favorites was "Recent Articles of Mine" by some rookie comedy writer named Jack Handey. Whoever he is, I think he has a bright future of comedy writing ahead of him, I wish him all the luck in the world.
I also loved "I Believe that Marriage Should Be Between A Man, A Woman, and His Mentally Ill Wife Who Lives in The Attic" by Liz Galvao.