Bill Clinton Accuses Greatest Generation of Being Bad Parents

  senior citizen cat fight

Don’t worry, in another forty or fifty years, all the Baby Boomers and “The Greatest Generation” will be gone. Meanwhile, this, from a new interview with Bill Clinton:

I mean, all of this “the greatest generation is World War II?” — it just happens that they’re the most horrible parents in human history, right?

If all of us baby boomers were so bad, then our parents were terrible; they failed. And if we were so bad, how come our kids are so great? We were hellaciously good parents.

I think it’s phony as a $3 bill. I think they had a chance to win World War II and it was clear. These are much more complex things [now]. We have no idea if the World War II generation would have made the decisions they should make on climate change if they thought doing so would bring an end to their economic prosperity.

Grandpa and Great-Grandpa are fighting again! [The Atlantic via The Awl]

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136 comments

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      "Beating the Nazis was pretty cool. What have you done for me *lately,* Grandpa?"

  1. PabaBritannica

    Post here if your "Greatest Generation" grandparents/parents made you eat some horrible food that is objectively bad for you and will kill you some day, that they claimed was the height of health.

    In our family, that was pure fucking buttermilk. MMMM!

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      My mom, when I was six: "Whaddaya mean, you won't eat the skin of the fried chicken? It's the best part!"

      My mom, when I was 14 (after her mother died of cancer and she had read David Reuben's 'Save Your Life Diet'): "Don't eat the skin on that fried chicken!! It's the worst part!"

    2. PsycWench

      My husband is still convinced that you should have meat at every meal, but is willing to settle for cereal on weekday mornings.
      Remember when cereal was bad, a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast was so much better?

      1. V572..whatever

        As a native carnivore who lost the cholesterol lottery, I've learned that tuna is the best available meat-like substitute, as the mercury won't kill you as fast as the animal fat.

        However, your post is making me so hungry that I may have to go home at lunch and μwave up two strips of peppered bacon and scramble a couple of jumbos.

    3. elviouslyqueer

      Both sets of grandparents routinely cooked with lard. No, not "shortening," and certainly not that heart healthy canola/vegetable oil shit.

    4. PsycWench

      Buttermilk makes great biscuits. Making someone drink it straight up is child abuse.

      1. PabaBritannica

        It was like a torture session. My grandad, a WWII vet, former college football player who gave it up to go into the Army, who worked in the Empire State Building when the place was hit by a plane in the 1940s and taught economics at a college alongside my grandmother, a math prof., drank 2 glasses a day. He would sit all of us down and bring us up one-by-one to choke down a glass of that shit while he watched to make sure we were getting our "vitamins and minerals" or whatever.

        Is it too sad for me to say he died of a heart attack? What about if I mention he was eating sausage when he died?

    5. BlueStateLibel

      My Mom (the Frenchie side of me) would try to get us to eat cow's tongue. And seriously, she also recommended eating the fatty part of steaks. Needless to say, I've been a vegetarian for years.

      1. Lascauxcaveman

        We ate tongue a lot when I was a kid; it was cheap and when you're feeding a family of nine, cheap counts. I liked it well enough, with plenty of mustard, and liked it sliced thin in sandwiches the next day for lunch, ditto the mustard.

        But we do have a pretty cute home movie of my mom basking in the sun in a lawn chair, drinking a beer and smoking a cig, patting her tummy, seven months pregnant with me.

    6. BaldarTFlagass

      When I had an upset stomach, my ma thought that drinking flat Coca-Cola would help me get better. I can't imagine where the fuck she came up with that. I'll have to ask her, but she'll probably deny ever doing it.

      1. karen

        We drink ginger-ale with all the bubbles stirred out of it. It tastes like sugar death, but the ginger is magical. Oh, also, CANADA FUCKING DRY, not Seagram's.

      2. ShaveTheWhales

        Happily, my mom had the same stomach-settling opinion about blackberry brandy. Roughly until I was in junior high.

    7. freakishlywrong

      Mine cooked with fatback. In everything. Everything had fatback. It was fucking delicious.

        1. freakishlywrong

          There really is just nothing wrong with bacon. Though, I've not eaten it in ages…

        2. horsedreamer_1

          Baconz Unwrapped?

          Sounds like somebody's pitching Ken on Wonkette… After Dark.

        1. freakishlywrong

          My greatest generation parts were in Richmond Va. Mom was panhandle of Florida. I'm a freak of nature, I know.

    8. SorosBot

      My grandparents are really weird about food, and I wonder if it comes from growing up in part during the Great Depression. When I was a kid, they always insisted that everyone had to finish everything on their plate, as if throwing out food was some great crime. Now, they're in their mid-90s with little appetite and both complain that the cafeteria at their assisted living facility serves them too much, no matter how many times everyone tells them that that's a stupid complaint as they don't have to try to eat the whole thing.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        My parents were born at the tail end of the depression and that shit was passed along to them by my grandparents. I can still remember not being able to leave the dinner table till the plate was "clean," one time my cousin still brings up I had to sit there for about three hours playing with the peas that I would not eat. So of course every time I visit her she puts a serving of peas on my plate as a joke. She's got a weird sense of humor, but then she's a lawyer, so go figure.

        1. DaRooster

          My Mom STILL insists that I don't lick or write on her Birthday Card envelopes… so they can be reused… as if when you buy a card you don't get an envelope with it… It is definitely the times she grew up in.

        2. PabaBritannica

          My parents adopted every Depression Era behavior my grandparents had. I think it's because my Grandmother, who's the dominant force in the family and always has been, worked on some WPA projects and was head of the Crop Corps (basically roving gangs of girls sent to farms to help out when help was needed since farm labor was low) for Eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Then, you couldn't leave a damn thing in the field because one hungry soldier=one more Nazi curbstomping a child.

          1. BaldarTFlagass

            My mom tells me that my granddad (95 next month) insisted when they were growing up that they only use 2 squares of toilet paper per wipe. Otherwise, WASTING MONEY! He lived with me for 14 years up till last summer and he was just the same. I'd go on a business trip for a week or two and come home and he hadn't run the AC the whole time I was gone to save on the light bill and it would be 95 fucking degrees in the house. Puritan pinch-penny throw-nickels-around-like-manhole-covers New England Yankee ethic, FTW!

          2. Bonzos_Bed_Time

            Isn't that pretty much what killed off all the French geriatrics few years ago. Oh no, I'm fine, I'll just sit here and die…

    9. Mumbletypeg

      If blandness could kill you, that would be boiled rice water for anything from an upset stomach, aching muscles, to what we now call Irritable Bowels.
      That might've been their inner Christain Scientist talking — 'them' being my grandparents' — more than any great-generation chops.

    10. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      My grandmother used to serve us tongue. Never liked eating something that was tasting you back.

    11. AJW@[redacted]

      Army surplus ftw. Dehydrated potatoes, white margarine (with a little pack of yellow dye), 5 lb cans of peanut butter with the oil floating on top, beans, rice and glorious government cheese!
      And liver. Fuck, I hate liver.

    12. zhubajie

      Boiled garbage and fried crap and a beating if we couldn't eat as much of it as an adult farmer with a hollow leg. At least the old man didn't drink.

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Yeah, pretty clunky and somewhat vindictive way of saying parents are responsible for how their kids turn out. But his dad was an absentee deadbeat, his stepdad an alkie, so he's got some scars.

    1. GhostBuggy

      You seem to be implying this is a bad thing, somehow. I apologize if I misunderstand your intent.

    2. Fuck Toad

      Well, the children of Bill's cohort are all long since grown up. Bill's about the age of my parents, my parents had me extremely late in life (40s) and I'm 24. So most children of early boomers have families of their own now, and it's their kids who are blowjobbing each other in the bathroom.

      Of course, every parental generation seems convinced that the current generation is at risk of spontaneously sucking cock in the nursery. It doesn't seem to be that bad to me.

  2. SorosBot

    The Baby Boomers and "Greatest Generation" are grandpa and great-grandpa, not dad and grandpa? I think our Jr. must be 10 years old.

    1. Fuck Toad

      Uh, yeah. Bill was born in '46. People of that cohort were breeding by the mid-60s. Which means they could have had grandchildren by the '80s, and great-grandchildren today.

      My grandparents were all (young) WW2 generation and I'm 24, but both I and my parents were born very late in generational terms — I have friends whose parents now aren't much older than my parents were when they had me.

      1. SorosBot

        Considering how most of them seem to not let their kids do anything on their own unsupervised, probably unable to deal with life without mommy or daddy holding their hands; in fact, there's stories about current college students whose parents will come in to complain to their professors and still help them with papers.

        1. PsycWench

          Those stories are true. Add to them stories about parents who want to plan their child's course schedule and parents who want to set up their chid's internships.
          True story: I am on the board that hears academic integrity cases. A plagiarism case involved extensive copying from a "paper mill" website. The student's defense was that her mother wrote that part.

          1. SorosBot

            I remember being a kid in the 80s, and just going out, meeting up with other kids and running around the neighborhood; none of that play-date bullshit. The amount of over-parenting done by today's parents, mostly my generation and the one before, is ridiculous. I blame McRuff, the Crime Dog (seriously, I do).

          2. BaldarTFlagass

            I blame MacDuff, my dad's Scottish terrier. Fucking dog gets treated better, and with more consideration for his feelings and ego, than I ever fucking did.

          3. PsycWench

            Interestingly, a certain amount of parenting is now expected of the faculty of college students. We are expected to nurture and support and oversee them, especially the freshmen. I can see tracking down a student who hasn't been to a class in a week to make sure she's not in a suicidal depression but it's not my nature to treat an 18-year-old like an 8-year-old. I don't have an attendance policy. Does it make students more likely to skip? Yes. Is that my problem? NO. But some of my colleagues are horrified by this attitude.

        2. CrankyLttlCamperette

          One of my friends in HR told me she once had a guy's mom call her and complain that her working professional son was passed over for a promotion. Because THAT will really help his career…

        3. Fuck Toad

          Yeah, I'm glad my parents weren't like that. Otherwise I would have had a lot more trouble sneaking over to my girlfriend's house to fuck and smoke pot.

          These children today, when do they find time to fuck?

      2. hooray4anything

        We're well on our way to having the hippest children ever. Did our parents dress us up in Soundgarden diapers and feed us organic baby food? Don't think so.

      3. problemwithcaring

        My "Generation Jones" parents had me late in life, but gave me a healthy dose neurosis and ambition. As an adult who now has to date Millennials, I find them to be incompetent, inept, self-absorbed narcissists who think its someone else's job to do EVERYTHING. They respect only what they see as "innate talent" and resent hard-work and "strivers." Since most people have to work at talent, this means they usually nurse a powerful sense of self-hatred and/or self doubt. Give me a neurotic, angsty Gen Xers any day.

    1. Beowoof

      Man did my kids hate me growing up. I made them do shit like turn off the TV and do their homework. Mow the yard to make money, actually see things through to completion. They didn't like that whole being responsible for what they do thing a lot.

        1. BarryOPotter

          "Oh shit, Manchu! Hide that, hide that! Your dad's here. 'Hello, Mr. Candidate…'"

  3. PsycWench

    Every generation does what it has to do. It's just that some generations have to be brought to that point kicking and screaming before they finally do it.

  4. KeepFnThatChicken

    Bill, I don't know what kind of defiantly spree-drinking attention whores you have in your household, but if you haven't looked around lately, you may want to second-guess our parental skills.

  5. BaldarTFlagass

    We have no idea if the World War II generation would have made the decisions they should make on climate change if they thought doing so would bring an end to their economic prosperity.

    Well, we know that the current generation of legislators are sure making the decisions they should make on climate change, right?

  6. Mumbletypeg

    "Much more complex" indeed Bill! than, say, putting all one's will-to-power eggs in a blender with the relevant juice flavor of the moment for a custom-driveled smoothie-talk. Nature, nurture: it's half-&-half, a dynamic in flux… and I have no idea if my thirstiest generation, of which I am a self-appointed representative, would've made decisions they should make about accepting a pint of half-&-half if we thought doing so would bring an end to our opinions about stout having nothing to do with lager.

  7. fuflans

    bill bill bill, newt's out there again. newt's floundering. newt's a much better target than oldz on scooters.

    go for it man!

  8. fuflans

    i am a genxr therefore i hate boomers and i have no job.

    also, my greatest generation grandmother was a class A bitch and got alzheimers.

    these things are not related, but they are true.

  9. One_who_wanders

    Don’t forget the youngest boomers were born in 1964 which makes them not quite fifty yet.

    And Helicopter parents were quite common (in college) by the mid-1980’s or so, though I don’t think the term was coined until later (1990 according to Wikipedia).

    1. WABishop

      As a member of the crop of '64, I always saw myself as being in the leading edge of Gen X. Nothing in common with the flower children, Nixon was the epitome of a corrupt and cynical political class, and the people who voted for Reagan deserved what they got.

      1. jqheywood

        Same for me…tho' I was born after JFK was elected but before he was inaugurated. My older brother and sisters are baby boomers, but not me. They got the pre-AIDS free love. I got the frickin' Reagan Revolution.

  10. MissTaken

    Remember, parents are supposed to be shitty. Otherwise you would want to live at home forever, and that's just sick.

  11. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Bill obviously has forgotten that without the greatest generation, we never would have gotten Japanese porn.

  12. V572..whatever

    Clinton had better be careful what he says or a lot of Republicans are going to be mad at him.

  13. JustPixelz

    People — especially conservative Tea Party types it seems — like to talk about the great sacrifices they're willing to make for their children. They'll do anything to insure them a better future. Well, anything except pay-up in taxes to reduce the deficit and the debt. Anything except invest in schools and teachers. Anything except take the smallest step to slow climate change.

    1. PsycWench

      Don't forget paying taxes for transportation and infrastructure, and developing alternative fuel sources so that we aren't dependent on foreign countries that we secretly kinda dislike.

    2. Beowoof

      Well that only applies to their kids. Fuck the rest of those bastards; who cares if your kid has to deal with a poor uneducated mass of people who are looking at your kids and trying to figure out how to take their shit.

  14. DustBowlBlues

    One night, my husband and I were standing at the departure area of Tulsa airport. There were some flight delays. There were a lot of blue hairs there. An announcement was made about the gate change for the flight to Branson and asked no one to go to that gate yet, because it would slow down the crew, or something.

    Yeah. Every fucking member of the Greatest Generation went directly to that gate. Fuck everything and everyone but them. They wouldn't recycle if all they had to do was throw drop shit out the window and wait for the recycle people to gather it up.

    This isn't everyone, of course, but by and large, they'd sell out the future tomorrow, as long as it was a future they were in, if it meant enough spare change to pay for the charter bus to Branson's gospel shows.

    And someday ask your Baby Boomer parents or grandparents what it was like to live with parents who answered every damn request you made with a story about what they lived through during the Depression. And who didn't want to praise their kid much because, you know, you wouldn't want them to get a swelled head and stop working hard.

    1. freakishlywrong

      And now these assholes are the first generation to pull up the ladder of safety nets on the rest of us. Or vote in assholes to do it for them.

  15. tcaalaw

    You know who else disparaged the Americans who fought in the Second World War? (Really, 70+ comments and no one had taken that one yet?)

    1. zhubajie

      The WW I generation. The Spanish-American War generation. The Civil War generation.

  16. DustBowlBlues

    And there's the Baby Boomers, the Giant Generation, in more ways that one. The people who took all the drugs, had all the sex, spent all the money and are sitting in front of the teevee waiting for the winner of American Idol to be announced.

    BTW–When does Wonkette Junior get something better than a green cyclops for his/her/its photo? Talk about self-esteem issues. Poor kid.

    1. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      I told my parents that I went to law school so I could sue them for all they did to me. Damn Statute of Limitations.

        1. Beowoof

          I went to law school to get one of those cushy jobs where I could post on Wonkette all day. People want shit done and it is pissing me off.

  17. BaldarTFlagass

    The other day I pulled up next to some 20 year old kid jamming AC/DC's "Back in Black" real loud on his car stereo. If I had been listening to 30-year-old music when I was 20 years old, I'd have been cranking "How Much Is That Doggy in the Window." Say what you will, our generation did make some good music.

  18. Beowoof

    These were the same guys that ran a 40 year untreated syphillis test on black men and gave acid to unsuspecting soliders to test its effects on people. It seems they were really great at being dicks. And they raised a generation of selfish bastards. George Carlin had my favorite baby boomer quote, "its mine, gimme that". Sums up the kids fairly accurately I would say.
    And as boomer myself I can't say that at times I have not been guilty of that selfishness.

  19. BarackMyWorld

    I don't know, Bill…growing up during the Great Depression and winning World War II only to have your kids turn on you despite providing for them greater access to education then any generation before vs. the boomer legacy of sexual irresponsibility and drug use…that's a tough call…

  20. mariser

    the concept of a "Greatest Generation" is idiotic. Bill's got that right
    using that as a prop to defend the boomers? not so much

  21. problemwithcaring

    What Bill is doing is conflating "Greatest Generation" with "greatest at everything."

    Every "generation" will suck at parenting, because we Americans subvert our influence as parents to capitalistic interests – and have since before the industrial revolution. That Greatest Generation is called great DESPITE the fact they bred and raised such selfish, destructoBots as Baby Boomers, is a testament to that fact.

  22. KenLayIsAlive

    What a jackoff.

    Sure, I guess passing job destroying NAFTA, getting a blow-job, and raising a generation of sad nincompoops isn't exactly like leading the country out of the Great Depression and saving the world from Nazis, but it's close, right?

    Let's see, first lets compare FDR and Eisenhower vs GWB and that fat head Bill Clinton on the scales of history and see how that weighs out.

    What a dope. Go blow some saxophone tunes out your ass Bill.

  23. AJW@[redacted]

    Oh gawd that was awful. Who started this thread, anyway? Repressed memories should stay repressed.

  24. lochnessmonster

    I blame the Greatest Generation for ruining my chances at collecting my SS and Medicare. If they hadn't enjoyed sexy time so much, there would be fewer of us Baby Boomers around to use up the resources.

  25. jus_wonderin

    Well, the proud parent in me wants to boast that I raised a productive member of society so…there.

  26. BZ1

    The Boomers, the generation that marched for freedom and free love and all that, then settled for mediocrity… that one?

  27. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Bush Clinton Bush Obama
    keep voting establishment

    media will sell it to you
    receive the status quo

  28. Negropolis

    Bill wins the internets with being able to sneak in "hellaciously good" into a sentence. Yes, Mr. President; it hurts so good.

  29. tribbzthesquidz

    Mrs. Tribbz here. I just had to hack the Squidz account and rant about Billy's ASININE assessment of Boomer parentz. Yes, I'll generalize my hatred for them. They're evil, insipid, and selfish, self-absorbed, narcissistic, lying, careless, latchkey kid spawning arseholes. IMHO, we should give them what they so richly deserve, an extended retirement at the very tip of the farthest key, replete with plenty of cocktails, pills, and plastic surgeons to keep them addled and harmless while the younger generations, yes X & Y!, get on with the business of repairing the damage of said arsehole boomers' time in positions of authority. Oh, the litany of abuses they have meted out over the years. Maybe Billy can play sax at their extended drug-in.

  30. Moonbat

    I dunno. Chelsea seems like she turned out OK.

    By which I mean, she didn't get knocked up young, didn't get heavy into the coke or the meth or the goofballs or whateverthehell the kids are snorting/smoking/mainlining these days, didn't commit any crimes (THAT WE KNOW OF!), didn't (say) insult the Queen of England at a state dinner, etc. Coulda been a lot worse.

    OTOH, she married an investment banker, so maybe you have a point.

  31. PsycWench

    The Bush twins seemed to have turned out OK but it was questionable for a while. Maybe it's hard to buy meth with the Secret Service watching you all the time.

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