Thursday, July 28, 2005
Hey You Kids, Stay Off My Lawn
At 31, I'm in that sort of gray area that hovers between pop culture currency and the ossified stodginess that one earns with a little bit of experience. The popular culture of our youths always seems so fresh and satisfying, but that's only because we haven't been around enough to realize that everybody is ripping somebody else off. For instance I don't have to listen to Jet because I've heard AC/DC and don't need to spend a lot of time bothering with a tired, echo-like, idea-free imitation.*
I do still like new music, though. And new movies and new television shows and new books. But that doesn't mean I don't catch myself saying stuff like "What the fuck is wrong with these kids today?" with the piercings and the tattoos and the ass-bearing pants** and the crazy big hair and the political conservatism...
Every once in a while you read something that sparks a random realization, setting the passage of time and your place in it in some kind of heretofore unrealized perspective. Like this story with the headline E-mail is for older people, teens say.
When I saw it, I freaked out just a little bit. I thought "Oh my God, they've invented something else without telling me and now millions and millions of young people are using it without me. That's it, I'm finished, it's time to curl up and die and crumble into dust and blow away and nobody will notice or care."
Then I actually read the article and realized they were talking about instant messaging, a technology I had actually mastered and then gave up a long time ago in favor of making out with my girlfriend at the time.*** Who knew there could be something more exciting than that sound AIM makes when you get a new IM?****
What the article did make me realize is that I'm living amongst the second generation of internet-addled technophiliac infotainment junkies, the cutting-edge forward-thrust of which no longer necessarily includes me. Even the surveys taken by news agencies about tech usage among young people are re-runs of the same shit they used to ask Gen Xers when we were peddling our own tired disaffection in flannel shirts and uncomfortable-as-all-hell Doc Martens.
As far as technology goes, things change quickly. You know, when I started this blog, I was pretty proud of myself. Full participation in the technological now, right? Sure it's kind of faddish and trendy, but it's what people are/were doing and just like that I was doing it too.
Now, just 12 months after I started, nobody talks about blogs as much as they used to. Now all the newspaper articles about the popular and growing tech-hobby of choice is all about goddamn podcasting. Well, fuck. What, now I have to go out and buy a microphone for my computer and pretend to be Howard Stern just to keep up? You people are exhausting me. What would be the point of even trying? There was an article in Entertainment Weekly about people making and distributing their own serialized TV shows on the internet, so I'm sure that'll inch its way into the mainstream and push podcasting off the forefront in a matter of months anyway, right when I get my regular podcasted show where I want it.*****
Nope, I'm giving up. In fact, I'm going completely the opposite direction. I'm going totally retro. All tight-fitting poylester clothes in garish, clashing colors and patterns. All my music on 8-tracks with gigantor Princess Leia-style headphones. Cars that get 6 miles to the gallon, highway. Big, poofy coiffed hair held in place by all kinds of Aqua-Net. Huge, cheesy, unkempt mustache. That's right, I'm going to be Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back, Kotter. I'm going back to 1977. Sure, laugh now, but in 10 years when a new group of stupid-ass kids thinks all that crap is new, I'm going to be a 41 year old god. Fuck with me at your peril.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.0
*= although I think "Look What You've Done" is a really good song. But one-off examples are what peer-to-peer file-sharing software is for.
**= honestly, isn't the primary function of pants to cover your ass? Isn't it?
***= if Mrs. Pops is reading this, I'm totally talking about you, baby.
****= come on, sing it with me: "boodlee-DOO!"
*****= a sidekick, lots of gimmicky regular features, celebrity guests and a big whopping fine or two from the FCC.