Diminution is the process of diminishment, “a reduction in the size, extent, or importance of something,” in this case applied to my own, failed Baby Boomer generation, fading from relevance and dominion at last.
Diminution happens to be the last of many words my Dad taught me. He was, with typical courage, facing the reality of his impending death from brain cancer. He explained that he was facing the diminution of his cognitive abilities and wanted to plan his funeral while he still could. I poured myself a big glass of his bourbon and that’s what we did – a member of the Greatest Generation giving a final lesson to a member of the generation that will likely be deserving of the title of the Greatest Disappointment.
This is an elegy for the Boomers, particularly those of us who were sons and daughters of returning WWII service men and women who literally saved the world from evil. While they built a suburban middle class, we who enjoyed the privilege, education and security they provided had a unique opportunity to shape a society that would make those things possible for all. We had the numbers, the influence, the economic power, and the ideas to radically change the world if we were willing to hold fast to our idealism and put in the long years of grueling work necessary. Instead, the shiny objects of success and excess distracted and defeated us.
“They thought their music and their two-fingered sign would change the world in just a moment of time / but deflated, they became what they hated.”
I don’t exclude myself from this failure, I just liked the way the third person voice worked with the song. History is already judging us and ultimately will find us wanting, a cautionary tale. Hopefully following generations won’t repeat our mistakes.
"... a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -- William Shakespeare, "Macbeth."
Thanks to Mike Gentry, Mallory Wayt, Rod Johnson, Donn Deniston and Dave Roof for the great California-psychedelic sound of this track. They didn’t just play and sing with mastery, they meant every word and every note.