MISUNDERSTOOD BOOMERS

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In a recent Forum article in Advertising Age, the writer declared, "Boomers are very `self' oriented," "want to revive sex!" and "Boomers in business are tired." All of this, he announces, is good for retail holiday business because "76 million boomers [are] turning 50."

Excuse me, but can we correct that figure to 2.8 million for this last holiday? The other 73 million boomers will take up to 17 years to reach 50.

And also, haven't boomers long been associated with robust insistence that each person is an individual? How then can one say "boomers are this" or "boomers are that"?

I have an experiment for anyone inclined to lecture a seminar audience about how boomers are alike in one behavior trait or another. Ask for two volunteers to come forward-one born in 1946 and the other born in 1964. Ask them to share something of their philosophy of life, what matters most to them, what their goals are. The results will likely put to rest any notion that 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964 have enough commonalities to justify classifying them under one label.

One little recognized fact about boomers is that while a sizable number have died, they have been replaced by immigrants, so the number of people in this country born between 1946 and 1964 remains constant. Many of these immigrants grew up in lands that were less permissive, and didn't protest, smoke dope, trip out on the Beatles and do all the other things that supposedly define boomers. It has been estimated that by the time the last boomer reaches 65, some 40% of the boom-er population will be foreign-born.

But even today it is indefensible to claim that any single behavior, such as self-absorption, distinguishes boomers. Most boomers will continue-as their parents generally did-down the path of personal development, reaching states of maturity far above those of adolescence. They will be less narcissistic, less materialistic and otherwise less self-absorbed.

To suppose otherwise ignores a century of findings in human development research, study and clinical experience. Boomers have not been sentenced by fate to eternal adolescence, nor even to the ways of young adults.

David B. Wolfe

Wolfe Resources Group

Reston, Va.

Thanks for reminder

I hope Jim Brady's column ("How conveniently we forget what Hoffa really was," AA, Dec.2) opened the eyes of your readers

to reality. Labor unions were needed in the early part of the century to defend employees; now it is legalized racketeering. When unions can use their powers to keep unfit teachers in their positions and bus drivers who have repeatedly been ticketed for irresponsibility, who do you think is suffering? The public.

The mentality of some of the union individuals when on strike is to destroy the property of their employers and raise havoc on non-union employees. Thank you for reminding the public who the real Jimmy Hoffa was, Mr. Brady. I hope you have a bullet-proof vest.

Name withheld by request

Good ad . . . wrong day

A very good fare ad . . . Page 10

Running at a very bad time . . . Page 1.

Bob Sarchiapone

Malverne, N.Y.

Corrections

In "Marketer of the Year: Nike" (Dec. 16, P. 1), the Nike endorser who sported the gold shoes while shattering the world record in the 200-meter dash at the 1996 Summer Olympics was Michael Johnson.

In "Medium makes impact on the World Wide Web" (Dec. 9, P. S-10), the middle Web site pictured is the Sci-Fi Channel's

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