In 1985 the senior members of the baby boom generation turned 40. Many of them are surprised to be still around. The films and songs of the 50's and 60's were so full of "disorder and early sorrow" that it was, perhaps, no surprise how many real-life actors and singers, who took the place of soldiers and athletes in the national pantheon, did their best to quit the scene before embarrassing us with their gray hair and boring reminiscences of the good old days: James Dean, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Elvis Presley.
Some with lives that came to nothing
Some with deeds as best undone
Death came tacitly and took them
Where they never see the sun.
Nineteen eighty-five was inevitably the year of the yuppie, now that "sweet sixteen is turning thirty-one." More significantly, it was the year of Bloomington, Indiana, which saw the departure of The American Spectator for foreign parts and the return of John Cougar Mellencamp. Mr. Mellencamp symbolized his gesture by helping to organize the FarmAid Concert in the full. He also released an album tribute to the embattled American farmer, Scarecrow, which included a #1 hit, "Small Town." In the middle of the concerts on his winter tour, Mellencamp made a graceful little pitch on behalf of the family farm, and in Rockford, at least, his performance of "Small Town" seemed...