Get the Young Whippersnappers Off Their Fannies ASAP!

In Christopher Buckley’s wonderful Boomsday (mentioned here before), Gen X revolts successfully against a future of, in effect, watching their earnings disappear into the aging pockets of the emergent Boomer Nation.

The issue Buckley so effectively satirizes is indeed very real—earthshaking, actually, unprecedented in human history, in fact. But there’s reason to believe the results may be quite the opposite of Buckley’s plotline. Or at least that’s the story from Sunday, May 6, 2007.

All the coverage here in Europe (I’m in Munich, on the 8th, heading for Dubai as I write) tells us that Mr Sarkozy trounced Ms Royal to make it into Élysée Palace. Indeed, in electoral politics a 53%-47% beating is at least a semi-trounce.

But one small story in Britain’s Independent, digging an inch or two below the surface, caught my eye, then fully grabbed my attention. Call it Boomsday Reverse.

Mr Sarkozy, a tough cookie, ran on an uncompromising platform that aims to deal with France’s dire slippage in global competitiveness. Some are predicting he’ll be France’s Margaret Thatcher. He aims to lengthen the work week, cut taxes, hammer the unions, and such to get the French economy in tune with 21st century economics. Ms Royal, on the other hand and in stark contrast, effectively ran on a “What’s all the fuss?” platform, claiming that the hyper-liberal French employment practices can be retained without further damage to France’s ranking in the global competitiveness polls. So, the rather straightforward story goes, “the voters” went to the polls in record numbers, bit their collective tongues, prepared to accept the bitter medicine—and awarded the powerful presidency to Atilla the Economic Reformer.

Not so fast …

The real story is far different. As to “the trounce,” Trounc-ee Royal was in fact the trounc-er with a “very interesting” “little” slice of the population. She in fact handily topped Sarkozy among those who are in the 18-59 demographic. That ain’t Gen X, my friends, that’s more or less everybody on active duty in the workforce!

So how, in the end, did Sarkozy become the Ultimate Grand Trounc-er? Simple. He beat the bloody hell out of Royal among the 60-and-up crew. “Beat the bloody hell out of” equates to unheard of margins that were above 2-1.

That is, Team Elder exerted incredible, decisive de facto unity and power in France’s demographically old-and-getting-older-and-we’re-healthy-and-will-
be-around-for-a-long-long-time population. It’s not that Sarkozy beat Royal. The actual story is that the 60+ geezers have ordered the wee 60 minus crew to get the hell to work and stay the hell at work … so the Six Zero Plussers can get their hands on the loot they need to spend their remaining winters in Nice, or some such.

Boomsday was a fable about a very real issue, and a hilarious one at that. Boomsday Reverse, Variety Française, is episode one of Ultimate Reality TV—and it’s going to be a long-running show, from France to Japan, with impact that buggers the imagination.

Stay tuned …

Tom Peters posted this on May 8, 2007, in Trend$.
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