As a leading-edge baby boomer, BoomerCafé executive editor and co-founder Greg Dobbs admits that his musical tastes run to the old-fashioned. He’ll still happily listen to the likes of Sinatra and Streisand over Taylor Swift or Britney Spears. Miley Cyrus … probably not. But at least he knows who Swift and Spears are. Which is an exception to the rule in Greg’s life, as you’ll see when he shares a little secret about how he reacts to most modern celebrities today!
One day last week I was ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic. When I opened my daily copy of The Denver Post and came to the page where each day they herald the birthdays of celebrities, I knew every one of the names! It’s a rare day anymore that this happens.
It doesn’t mean I could pick them all out of a police lineup; I know that rock singer Axl Rose, for example, who turned 52 that day (and that’s no misspelling of Axel), is the guru of the group Guns N’ Roses, although if I tripped over him on the sidewalk, I wouldn’t know it.
But did you know that Zsa Zsa Gabor — just “Zsa Zsa,” of course, to us baby boomers who knew her when that luminous hair really might have been blonde — just turned 97? For that matter, did you even know that Zsa Zsa is still alive? Neither did I. And Fabian? Fabian, for heaven’s sake. He’s still alive too, and although he had his time in the sun way back in the 1950s and 60s, he’s only a few years too old to be a baby boomer himself; Fabian (for the record, born Fabiano Anthony Forte) just turned 71.
So I was pretty proud of myself, recognizing the names of every celebrity that day in the Post’s little black birthday box. Proud, because most days I don’t know who most of the birthday celebs are and some days … true confessions here … I know none.
For example, in the same week as the day of Zsa Zsa’s birthday, and Fabian’s, (and also now-75-year-old MASH star Mike Farrell’s and 74-year-old NBC newsman Tom Brokaw’s, even 64-year-old singer Natalie Cole’s. Hey, wasn’t her father a big singing star when we were growing up?) … in that same week the Post also proclaimed the birthdays of such luminaries as rock singer Gavin DeGraw (37), actress Rebel Wilson (28), and rapper Sean Kingston, who made the list of Big Names With Birthdays at the advanced arthritic age of 24. Never seen any of their work. Or heard it either.
So what’s going on here? Not only was I unable to actually picture these and the many other celebrities celebrated that week, I’m quite sure that I never even heard their names before in all my life! Granted, I’m not hip to the popular culture of our kids (and by using “hip” I’m probably sealing the verdict), but what does this say about me? (This, by the way, is what’s known as a “rhetorical question;” it is not a question I actually want you to answer!)
Well, at least I’m not alone. Jay Leno has just walked away from one of the great runs in show business because he’s in the same fix. As he told 60 Minutes about leaving the Tonight Show, “I think after a while, you know, I’m not gonna be that up on the latest Justin Bieber record when you’re 64.” Correspondent Steve Kroft asked him if he even knew what that latest song is? “No. I don’t.” If Kroft did — he’s an old colleague of mine and about the same age — it’s probably only because he looked it up.
But Jay doesn’t know. And neither do I. And I don’t care. Nor do I know the latest song from Bruno Mars, who’s apparently such a big star that he had top billing during halftime at the Super Bowl.
I never heard of the guy before the game … and couldn’t care less if I ever hear of him (or even more so, hear him) again! I’d much rather listen to the lasting legacies of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper … although alas, I was also reminded in one of last week’s little black boxes that they died on February 3rd 54 years ago in that plane crash in Iowa. Or the Beatles, who were already singing on Ed Sullivan when the youngest baby boomer was born.
Of course maybe you don’t need to know all this about me and my tastes, because after you read at the top of this treatise that it’s about the daily delight this leading-edge baby boomer gets by holding a newspaper in his hand and reading it, you learned all you need to know.