Peter Bart, that wise old owl who sits atop Variety, nails it this week when he leads off his column with this resonating world view:

    "Clearly we are not witnessing a ‘normal’ recession.  This downturn is global and gut-wrenching. It’s as though the bountiful 1920s have just collapsed and we’ve all been plunged yet again into the grim ’30s.  That upheaval took a decade to unravel.  Also a world war.

    The emotional response to the present economic debacle varies by generation.  The 20 and 30-year-olds tend to be in total denial. They’ve never gone through anything like this and can’t believe it’s happening.

    The baby boomers are in disbelief for another reason:  Most smugly believed that governments were too smart and that the science of economics was too sophisticated to permit a disaster like this.  Globalism would save us:  The Arabs and Chinese would prove resilient: The Russians would kick in their energy billions.

    Now all of us are standing at the abyss asking:  Whatever happened to the survival instincts of the CEOs?  Why do the gurus of fiscal and monetary policy suddenly look shell-shocked?

    The kids still believe that somehow, somewhere, Big Daddy will save us. He will – if anyone can find him."