I was appalled by the concert yesterday, which I was fortunate enough not to experience in person—my boss called me back inside to type up posts from Jule Banville, who was in the thick of things by one of the Jumbotrons. So I listened on NPR. The lineup was so boomer-oriented! It was creepy, like your parents offering to try pot with you your first time, because they’d been through the Summer of Love and could be good spirit guides. Gens X and Y may have been the engine of the Obama campaign, but it didn’t take long for the People Who Remember Vietnam to remind us this was their dream first, even to the point of hauling out poor old Pete Seeger for one more round of “This Land Is Your Land.”
I don’t mind hearing about art from Ashley Judd or sacrifice from Jack Black or citizenship from Marisa Tomei. You take Hollywood money, that’s the price I guess, and it’s relatively innocuous. But when Bono gave a shoutout Joe Biden it was almost too perfect—a boomer rock star calling out an archetypical boomer politician. This dream, Bono announced, was the American dream. But it was also the Irish dream. And the Israeli dream. And the Palestinian dream. And so on, till the dream’s significance had become so diffuse it was really more a notion, a goal, or a New Year’s resolution.
After the third or fourth old white rich singer performed with gospel singers—a slam-dunk signifier of soul to boomers, who gave us gospel brunches in addition to herpes, Billy Joel, and all-star jams at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—I just had to wonder how the music would have been different had Hillary Clinton been elected instead. Maybe Fleetwood Mac, I guess. But really the only thing missing was Sting and his fucking lute.