- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 1999

Innocuous era?

"I'm a boomer. So what does that say about my ability to communicate with all ages to know that I met only one child of divorced parents from kindergarten through 12th grade … that Dad left for work wearing a hat and returned every evening at precisely the same time … that we had hula hoops and poodle skirts and viewed Elvis only from the waist up on 'Ed Sullivan'? Sounds like a pretty innocuous era, doesn't it? …

"On the surface, it appeared as smooth as Pat Boone's voice. But look closer… . Things were changing fast, and innocence was becoming a scarce commodity. One day I thrilled to news of the Beatles' arrival in America; the next I was grieving the return of a friend from Vietnam in a body bag."

Carolyn Curtis, writing on "Generation Boomer-ang," in the January-February issue of On Mission

Demographic implosion

"If there is any population crisis in the developed world, it is one of looming depopulation, not overpopulation… .

"America's birthrate has been below replacement since about 1970. There are simply too few young people coming into the work force to fill available jobs.

"Another way of putting this is that America's population growth rate is too low to sustain its current rate of economic growth, which will in turn increasingly affect its competitiveness on the world market… .

"The problems this will cause are already apparent in the Northeast. A report … highlights Massachusetts' falling birthrates, and hence its increasing dependence upon foreign immigration for sustaining both the state's population, and the growth and success of its economy.

"The study placed Massachusetts as one of the five U.S. states most dependent on foreign immigration … . The report found that, absent foreign immigration, the Massachusetts population would be smaller today than it was in 1970 … .

"Many New Englanders have voluntarily adopted a one-child policy, justifying their selfishness by an appeal to the myth of overpopulation. Having chosen fewer children, they will either admit more immigrants or watch creeping economic stagnation infect the entire region… .

"If birthrates continue to fall according to current projections, Massachusetts and the Northeast Corridor will be joined by more and more states in their dependence on foreign immigration.

"This slow-burning demographic implosion will be one of the principal challenges facing the U.S. during the next millennium."

Steven W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, in the Dec. 16 issue of PRI's Weekly Briefing

'Oh, bay-buh . . .'

"When Britney Spears addresses the guy she hopes will hit her one more time … she calls him her 'baby' in a growly moan that would do a veteran soul singer proud. 'Oh, bay-buh, bay-buh' is her refrain, and that throaty purr, combined with the pert video that was all over MTV like milk chocolate on a Ding Dong, turned the 18-year-old Spears into an end-of-the-century sex kitten who'd humble Humbert Humbert.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that, since Spears bypasses Nympho-ville and zooms straight into the Mall-lands of America, where her public appearances make prepubescent fans scream with innocent delight… .

"Britney, on the heels of the Backstreet Boys, helped bring pop back. And, on the much higher heels of the Spice Girls, she's taken girl power to higher ground… .

"In 1999, she was the brightest reflection of prepubescent longing and joy.

" 'My audience looks at me like a girlfriend,' says Miss Spears. 'That's how I was trying to portray it on stage… . I didn't want the jealousy thing.' "

Ken Tucker, writing in the Dec. 24 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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