“The median age of the Fox News viewer was 68” in 2018 — so quoth Google from that year’s Nielsen ratings.
Let’s step into our Wayback Machine, and consider the “Summer of Love.”
Doing the math, we find that today’s average Fox News viewer would have been 19 in that halcyon year of 1969 – the perfect age to be drafted and shipped off to fight in Vietnam, yet still not yet old enough to vote. In other words, the exact age to represent the typical disenfranchised “Flower Child”.
So here’s my question — How did the generation that actively took part in “Drop Out, Tune In, Turn On”, chanted “Trust no one over 30,” embraced Free Love and Flower Power, and loathed everything associated with authority, turn into the Ugly American beating the drum of ultra-conservatism?
Truly I say unto you, the child grew into the thing they most hated.
I’m not just postulating hypotheticals here. I have a close relative who is the poster-child for this metamorphosis. In 1969, he was a hippie, lived in a commune, read Marx and Lenin, had a ponytail down to his waist, and was arrested for marijuana possession (in an era when such a thing was a truly scandalous societal Scarlet Letter). Today, he is a devout follower of all things Fox, Breitbart, and who-knows-what-else, often proselytizing the Gospel According to Glenn Beck.
But he is not the only one I’ve observed this startling transformation – not by a longshot.
So, what causes this reversal of behavior in so many of that fabled generation?
Is it Stockholm Syndrome run rampant on a society-wide basis?
Were they so disgusted with their failure to change the world, they decided “if ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em”?
Is it enantiodromia, a Jungian mental illness that causes a person to become their polar opposite?
I don’t have an answer to the question I pose.
I wish I did, but I don’t.
I merely post this to point out my latest unsettling observation.
Whatever the reason, it’s quite probable I’ll work it into one of my books. I’m already working on the follow-up collection of strange tales to “If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep.” Stay tuned – it might show up there!