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Dec 15

Written by: Diana West
Saturday, December 15, 2007 4:59 PM 

Getting a load of "lighten up" on today's column, "Deflating Zeppelin." (Score!) This always happens when I dare to critique the Geriatric Rock Gods and what their continued adulation says about their  increasingly Geriatric Worshippers--and especially if I dare to poke fun at them. Personally, I think going for laughs reflects a sufficiently "light" frame of mind, while the critics who send in the crankier responses strike me as the ones who can't take a joke.

Not that there isn't a serious message here--one underscored by some of the response. A few letters make a connection between listening to Led Zeppelin and defending our country. Here's one:

When I was driving C-130s for Uncle Sam's Air Force, in the 70s, I was a fan.  Trust me, it takes a bit of "adolescence" to want to stand at the wall and watch the barbarians approach.  If some of our Congressional leaders had a bit of that, I'd feel more confident.

Of course, we're all creatures of our time. I'd say this man was brave, dutiful and daring enough to drive C-130s for Uncle Sam (and the rest of us) DESPITE being a fan of a group whose members lived (and one died) according to a self-absorbed, wasted, sex-drugs-and-rock-'n'-roll way of life that sees such bravery, duty and daring as a chump's game. Meanwhile, our Congess is plenty adolescent, thanks.

Another reader wrote:

I get the idea that you believe what constitutes an adult is that they wear a suit and know how to behave in a restaurant.  Let me assure you, those are not the adults defending the country.  Instead, they are the weak ones.

Your ideas of what makes an adult male, at least one who defends the country, are off the mark.  Let me assure you that male soldiers have a very high consumption of porn; they listen to a lot of loud heavy metal music; and the party, drink, and chase women like wild men.  They also kill a lot of terrorists and keep you and the guys in the suits safe.

Come on. There's got to be something between between Man as Suit-Wearer and Man as Consumer of Porn and Heavy Metal. And there's got to be something more than a toxic and degrading culture to motivate our menfolk to defend the Constitution. Funny how our fathers and grandfathers (and their fathers and grandfathers) managed to win their wars without that kind of culture.

Another thing: Some readers have decided that "adult" is another word for virtuous--even holier than thou, priggish. etc. Again, they are missing the point: namely, that once upon a time, adolescence was a phase to pass through en route to adulthood--not the endpoint of the life cycle. Fifty-some years  past what I call the death of the grown-up, well into the era of the "heritage rock event," this is no longer true. And this change means more than a lifestyle shift. The death of the grown-up actually threatens, well, Western civilization. I could tell you why, but it's  probably easier if you just read the  book.

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