Sightings, as its readers know, peers through the lens of contemporary media and culture in order to reflect on public perceptions of and approaches to religion. In the increasingly secular West, religious impulses often are found in the form of personalized spirituality, and yet the relocation of the spiritual impulse has done perhaps little to reduce the search for personal immortality. The media lately has brimmed with illustrations of the personal pursuit of immortality, which is being developed into a high art form by the Baby Boom generation.
A case in point: On September 9 of last year, “A Very Brady Renovation” debuted on HGTV. In this seven-episode series, all six surviving members of the original cast of the 1970s show “The Brady Bunch” help recreate the interior spaces of the Brady family’s fictional home—inside the real-life Studio City, California house that was used for exterior shots of the family home in the original series, which ran on ABC from 1968-74. “A Very Brady Renovation” is a perfect metaphor for my generation’s near-mastery of the art of never going away—not to mention its lust for boosting property values.
The blossoming of the “OK Boomer” meme ran almost concurrently with “A Very Brady Renovation.” The meme captured the disgust and anger felt by cohorts of the still young at a generation broadly (and sometimes accurately) characterized as insensitive, inflexible, entitled, and all too influential. Writing for the Atlantic, Andrew Ferguson noted that the meme “undammed vast, transgenerational reservoirs of grievance and self-pity, running in every direction.” Lyman Stone, also in the Atlantic, had already made a case for the assertion that “Boomers Ruined Everything,” opining that, in areas as diverse as “housing, work rules, higher education, law enforcement, and public budgeting,” “the Baby Boom generation created, advanced, or preserved policies that made American institutions less dynamic.”
“Memory Full: Boomers and the Art of Never Going Away”
— Sightings: Religion in Public Life (@DivSightings) January 20, 2020