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Fish don't notice that they're in water, and Baby Boomers don't notice that American culture has been defined, all during their life cycle, by their life cycle.
With the bright colors and wild designs of the Fifties, the American Reign and the Boomers were both in their joyful childhood. Rock and Roll took off at the Boomers' adolescence; and Free Love (that means sex) during their twenties (the Seventies) when everyone was getting laid. New Wave came along at the time of their midlife crisis, followed by a couple decades of uneventful, businesslike adulthood. In the Zerozies, Boomers have arrived at the point in life where they have all the stuff that they need and they don't need any more stuff, and the American economy has accordingly stopped cold. Now as the Boomers' physical powers decline and we start dropping off, so do the powers of America decline.
This makes Annette Funicello one of the most significant figures* in American history.
Freud said that much of what we are is ascribable to our sexual motivations, and Miss Funicello almost single-handedly* introduced half of the Baby Boom to sexual motivation.