Skip to comments.Generation Repeat: An Open Letter To The Youth Of Today
Posted on 07/22/2005 10:29:02 AM PDT by qam1
You know how every generation has a catchy name? Gen X, The Me Generation, The Pepsi Generation, whatever. You know what yours is going to be? Generation Repeat. Why, you ask? Because everything about your culture, with the exception of some emo songs, is stolen from us. And by "us" I mean people old enough to be your parents. People who actually are your parents (and it is with creative liberty that I refer to "generation" here as "anyone coming of age in the 80's, 90's or 00's.).
I know it's not your fault. You can't help it if the marketers, PR guys, and TV heads put out entertainment and fashions that act as the call of the siren for you. You can't buy or like what's not out there and I'm sorry your choices are so limited. I think it's up to you, the kids who are being spoon fed this regurgitated crap, to come up with your brand of cool.
We never stole from other decades. You didn't see us suddenly showing up for prom in flapper outfits or hanging out at the arcade with a pack of cigarettes rolled up our t-shirt sleeve. You even stole swing. Who the hell would think to repeat something like that? Blame Brian Setzer all you want, but you bought the records, you danced the dances.
Since the 80's ended, it's been nothing but pop culture on repeat. You had your bellbottoms and tie-dye shirts. A million tv shows dedicated to going down on the past like an old boyfriend you're trying to win back. That 70's Show. That 80's Show. We Love the 70's. We Love the 80's. We Love the 90s? Are we going to be nostalgic for the future next?
When I walk through the local mall and I feel like I've reverted back to 1976. I went through this once, why are you forcing me to do it again? The haircuts are straight out of my high school year book. The t-shirts are all Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. The girls are wearing Hukapoo shirts and tube tops, the boys constantly flitting the hair out of their eyes, looking for all the world like Matt Dillon in Over the Edge. Even your emo music and punk fashion isn't new. Hello? Is this Dashboard Confessional? Morrisey called, he wants his act back. And if you see Good Charlotte tell them Black Flag wants to kick their asses.
You're even stealing our movies. You tried out Rollerball and Planet of the Apes and when they failed, you went for the jugular. Bad News Bears. Longest Yard. Amityville Horror. That's our stuff. And your predilections for eating up anything that came from a culture 20 years ahead of yours is what's feeding the entertainment and marketing industries, it's what's making them hungry for more, more, more. That's why they are remaking Poseidon Adventure and that's why REO Speedwagon has reunited. That's right folks. It's your fault Poison is still touring. Stop buying into the whole "retro is cool" thing and they'll stop throwing our leftovers at you. But, no. I think you're content to listen to The Song Remains the Same as if you're the first one to hear it. I think you're content to wear those ridiculous handkerchief skirts as if it's a blazing new fashion. Oh, and while I have your attention: Jessica Simpson in Dukes of Hazzard? My god, what an abomination that is, and I've only seen the video.
To be fair, I can see why you want to rip us off. I mean, what do you have? Does your generation really want to be known for R. Kelly's five part Trapped in the Closet? Are you going to spend your 20 year reunion looking at pictures of a pregnant Britney Spears or reminiscing about Paris Hilton's sexcapades or cracking up at pictures of your old boyfriend sporting a Gotti Brothers headband? If this is all you've got, then it's no wonder those Def Leppard CDs are still flying off the shelf. It's no wonder you are buying Transformers toys and wearing vintage Journey t-shirts and playing vector-based Atari games on a $2,000 computer.
Maybe I should be happy. Perhaps I should even be proud that my son is obsessed with Zeppelin or my daughter has an affinity for John Hughes movies. Maybe her Hukapoo shirt and his Outsiders style hair cut are a testament to the fact that their parents' entertainment reigns far superior over what new products are available to them today.
Still, it's kind of sad. Years from now all of your pop culture memories will consist of either crappy horror movies and faux punk bands, or remakes of old movies, remasters of old CDs, re-issues of old video games and re-stylings of old fashions. Well be watching a marathon of I Love the 00's and at some point well realize that its just I Love the 70's, with some news footage edited in.
Im afraid its too late to save your generation. But that doesnt worry me as much as you think. After all, youre doing us a favor. We can borrow your music. Save money by giving our kids old clothes we have stuffed in the attic. Kick your asses in video games. Laugh at your punk rock. Recite more lines from Airplane! than you. And make you insanely jealous by saying things like Yea, I was at the first Lollapalooza. Or Oh geez, saw Zeppelin live six or seven times. Or I have an original Burger King Jedi glass. No, I didnt buy it on eBay. I got it a Burger King the day it came out, babe. I was THERE. What will you have to tell your kids? Thats right, we were there for the Reunion of the Eagles Concert to Commemorate 20th Anniversary of the Farewell Eagles Concert!
Go ahead, be Generation Repeat. Its kind of working out for us, after all.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
When will Hollywood get around to remaking the great old war stories, westerns and musicals?
Just kidding...there's not enough brains, guts or talent in the movie business to do them right.
Our daughter, who's not quite 19, mocks the miserable junk that's making it to the big screen.
Time for Old Hollywood to join Old Europe and Old Media.
She's not a good prognosticator of cultural means.
I have to admit that it was neat, when my mother, wife, daughter, and myself were able to spontaneously sing, "Istanbul, Not Constaninople," on a car trip several years ago.
I'd like her blog more if she didnt have such a poor attitude towards those who are different than her.
At my high school, which could have been in a John Hughes movie except that it was all-boys and Catholic, the parking lots were filled with the Doors, the Who, and Zeppelin as if it were 1969 all over again. Of course, we were blasting it, digitally remastered, out of sub-woofer steroes that could be heard half a mile away.
Our ex-hippie art teacher loved the fact that he could bring in his old Pink Floyd records to play during art class for *our* enjoyment as much as his. He saw some osrt of sociological significance in the fact that our generation was "the first to reject its own music."
My 17 y/o was shocked enough when I told him that I am familiar with the group and know their music, but can_not_believe that *I* would ever actually attend a Metallica concert myself..
Ahhh!!! That gave me flashbacks.
I still can touch a MUD without a 20 ft. pole. Those evil internet things made me repeat my freshman year of college.
Sounds either bitter/jealous...or both...
Oh Gawd that's all so true its depressing...
Perhaps amount of marketing exists in inverse proportion to amount of creativity in pop culture; with the result of corporate mass market lowest common denominator pop culture becoming nothing more than a recycling machine on spin cycle [recycling and spin...also from the 70s ;-)].
But if pop culture overmarketing is the culprit we can largely blame George Lucas for that too; the 70s strikes back again...and again...and again...
Fashion may be even worse than movies and TV endless 'remakes' [Kolchak the Night Stalker fgs???]...has anyone actually looked FORWARD since Courreges??? Its either find a 20th century decade or an indigenous culture to rip off...gee Mssrs Galliano and McQueen isn't it about time for a Twenty FIRST century style perhaps??? And I dont mean clear PVC minis or Rabanne metal with a neofuturistic twist but something actually NEW.
If anything 'new' is even POSSIBLE anymore.
The lack of creativity much less quality in 'new' popular culture is enough to make one want to go to the opera, or symphony, or ballet ;-)...
Well we can always find a shining Future of new and original ideas in sci-fi right...;-)...hey the War Of The Worlds and Battlestar Galactica REMAKES are actually not bad...;-)...
With the very wide age span where people first conceive children that came to be the norm during the 90s (anywhere from teen years to 40s) we have a situation where today's youth may have people ranging from the kids of Boomers, to the Boomers themselves, as parents. That would tend to explain at least some of it. Kids today have been exposed, by the parents, to the generational influences of that entire range.
I do! Always got a kick out of Fonzi (but didn't have any crushes on any of the characters)
An interesting point! I'm an Xer, myself, but I have children older than some of the younger Boomers!
One of the most underrated movies of the era. A bunch of kids in a middle class "planned community" in Colorado all riot and basically destroy the town. Starring Matt Dillon and Michael "I produce TV shows now" Kramer.
BTW: My original Jedi glass lasted about 11 years until I decided to take it with me to college. My nephews, all of 3 years old, love Star Wars. Makes me feel like a trendsetter.
I think a major problem culture wise for Gen Xers like myself (born 1976 here) is that there were SO MANY boomers and so few of us, so our boomer parents still dominated the culture when we were kids. I for one, NEVER, participated in the 1960s revival that swept Long Island in about 1989.
Why is it that Chachi had a Matt Dillon haircut and wore aerobic wristbands? How did Anson Williams get away with his 70s hairstyles on a show set in the 1950s? There is a reason that show "Jumped the Shark" and it had nothing to do with Fonzi on waterskis.
Alot of Gay guys I have met had a crush on Potsy.
REO Speedwagon reunited? Did Gary Richrath sober up?
Yep. By the late 1980s, early 1990s tie-died shirts were fashionable again. The Greatful Dead toured until Jerry died and half the people at their shows were born in the 1970s.
All generations recycle from the previous. That's how civilizations maintain cohesion. Some bands (Floyd, The Doors, Hendrix, Zeppelin, etc.) aren't ever going out of style.
As a late X'er, on behalf of my generation -- and on behalf of ANY generation that has to listen to this kind of holier-than-thou garbage from its elders, over things that DON'T MATTER -- I cordially invite you to blow me, babe. You wanna know something? Your culture (and for the record, a good part of it has also been my culture) SUCKS.
Your MUSIC sucks -- American popular music was at its zenith during the '30s and '40s, and the dirty little secret about the rock 'n roll that followed is that 90% of ALL of it, in ALL its permutations, is atonal sludge "composed" by a sad bunch of long-haired dope-smoking maggot-infested FM types. Your LITERATURE sucks, unless you really want to tell me that Philip Roth and Stephen King have anything on Ernest Hemingway and H.P. Lovecraft. Your VIDEO GAMES suck -- nobody in his or her right mind would say with a straight face that your average Atari 2600 game even compares to the most sophisticated first-person shooters available for the latest platforms. Your TELEVISION sucks -- you can bitch about maintaining the integrity of "The Dukes of Hazzard" all you want; I'm more concerned that nobody in the last 40 years has managed to come close to the level of class and entertainment provided by Jack Benny. And yes, your cynical, angry, America-is-rotten deconstructionist MOVIES suck. The dirty little secret about the '60s and '70s is that they were completely wasted decades in EVERY respect. The dirty little secret about the '80s is that, culturally, much of it was spent trying to crawl out of the cesspool fostered during the '60s and '70s. If the point of your column is to define those who came of age in the '70s and '80s as a generation of overgrown children, then lady, have you ever succeeded. I feel sorry for your own kids, given the attitude you apparently have toward them.
So take solace in your "Return of the Jedi" Burger King glasses, Michele, if that's really the most you have to show for your pathetic life. My generation is going to be busy busting its collective ass to pay your Social Security, along with that of all the other 21st Century welfare queens whose priority is keeping "Galaga" all to themselves.
I just hope that, after having 75% of our paychecks taxed throughout our adult lives in order to meet the obligations your generation helped dump on us, we'll be left with enough money to bury you.
Meanwhile, I hope to God that my generation and those that follow end up understanding enough about what matters in life that we never end up sounding like you.
Please, no! The whole thought of what modern Hollywood would do with some of the grace and class of Gene Kely's moves, the Duel from Seven Brides and just about anything Ann Miller danced is enough to have me diving for Pepto-Bismol.
Please ping me.
I hope this is intentionally dumb.
You have an advantage over your son - you remember when Metallica made good music.
I have to laugh, because as the Rolling Stones geriatric tour has the distinction of the most expensive concerts tickets in history, I can rub it in that I saw the Stones live back in the early days, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still cute, for $5.
The Truth Hurts bump
Are we going to be nostalgic for the future next?
I am nostalgic for the future. Our current future is nothing like what the future used to be. Even Star Wars isn't the future but "long ago." Where are our flying cars? The robots with cute personalities? Space Hotels with a tourist section? I want my future back!
That dream quickly died when it became apparent that 98% of the people can't even handle 2 dimensional driving with much competence (many even have trouble with just one - see any left lane around the country), so adding another dimension would result in one big blood bath
Your VIDEO GAMES suck -- nobody in his or her right mind would say with a straight face that your average Atari 2600 game even compares to the most sophisticated first-person shooters available for the latest platforms.
Games today are all cool graphics with little gameplay, I'd rather play Adventure, Haunted House, Pitfall, etc. on the 2600 than the newest gazillionith rehash of Doom or Mortal Kombat.
In 20 years from now there won't be the retro craze for Grand Theft Auto and it's many clones as there is for the 2600 today.
My point was that the future isn't what it used to be. All of the wonder and big thoughts seem to be squeezed out of it. Some time in the future why can't a sufficiently integrated computer system take human input commands and flight plans to create a safe three dimensional air space?