Things My Generation Doesn't Seem to Get (For Reasons That Are Beyond Me)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011
As the youngest contributor to this blog at the young age of twenty-two, I'm obviously from a strange time of tastes and fads that seem to sprout up as quickly as they fade away. Honestly, I could never keep up with what was and is "hip" for people my age, and I can only imagine that from the wizened outside perspective it seems that so many of us have attention spans shorter than a cockerspaniel... or perhaps oblivious to the irony of spending hundreds of dollars to look like we stole our clothes from a hobo. Well, I certainly don't have the answers to the convoluted and, at times, deranged puzzle box that is quote-unquote "my" generation, but as of late I have noticed a couple of things about the world and times past that my generation just doesn't understand for one reason or other. Things like:

Movies made before 1980
I think this one speaks to my generation's notoriously short attention span. We just can't handle movies with, you know, detailed exposition and character reactions. This came to mind from my Film and Religion class, where we watch and dissect a number of religious films in class. The class sports around 100 people, and while obviously there are differing opinions, the majority does tend to speak more loudly. The past two weeks, we've watched Ten Commandments and Jesus Christ Superstar, both movies from different eras appealing to widely different audiences. However, in both cases a vast majority of the class expressed negative views on both movies, saying Ten Commandments was too long and poorly acted (I kid you not, we have insulted the good name of Charlton Heston. I'm so sorry on behalf of my generation for such blasphemy), and that Jesus Christ Superstar was stupid and had bad music. Now, admittedly not EVERYONE shared these thoughts, and certainly not me, but for every one of us who saw the merits of both films there were three others loudly complaining.
My problem with this, and my failure to understand it comes from a couple of things: First of all, as I mentioned early in the case of the four hour epic that is Ten Commandments it painfully makes clear that my generation has been brainwashed by the non-stop flashing of 30 second clips from the television and internet and the advent of 20 minute shows that even an hour is just too long for us. Not that you can blame us, I mean, the world around us seems to move a mile a minute, so we feel we do too. I understand that. However, for my second point, the thing I don't understand is our seeming lack of appreciation for aspects of film and music we are unfamiliar with. Now, I believe all generations are guilty of this to a point, but it makes me sad to hear 80% of my class insult the rock-driven music from Jesus Christ Superstar, or Heston's acting style. I can understand the religious and generational messages of either movie not appealing to us, but that doesn't mean the music is bad, or the acting. Hell, Jesus Christ Superstar rocked, and I wasn't afraid to be one of the few people in the room tonight to defend its merits, and Charlton Heston was a badass. My point is, my generation seems to instantly judge anything that doesn't quite sate their constant need for gratification they are used to in modern gore and explosion a minute movies and loud, repetitive, bass-heavy music that is popular for some reason. Or anything that makes them think. Which brings me to the next item on my list...

Reading, Intellectual Films and Music, or anything that makes you think
Gone are the days of popular protest music, popular books that aren't friggin' tripe like Twilight, and Academy Award-worthy movies aligning with top grossing movies. Now, I know that retrospective makes the past look more appealing than it really is, I mean we remember all the amazing music from the Stones, the Beatles, Hendrix, Janice Joplin, etc. but we tend to forget other popular artists from the time who just weren't as good as the bands I just listed. We remember amazing movies like Citizen Kane and Casablanca but tend to leave out the slew of terrible B horror flicks, which had to have been popular to some degree considering how numerous they were. We remember great writers like Salinger, Steinbeck and maybe sometimes Rand but conveniently forget that westerns and romances were insanely popular. That being said, it doesn't change the fact that today's chart-toppers are usually awful bands like the Black Eyed Peas (remember the halftime show?), and you have to dig deep to find music that has, you know, a point to it and more that one beat, or that isn't just a terrible sampling of a once-great 80s song (I'm looking at you again, Black Eyed Peas!). And today, books are a dying art, saved only by stalwarts and teens reading anti-feminist and morbid fantasy about necrophilia and bestiality.
My point is this: while mindless and fun pop has always been popular, it seems that my generation can rarely acknowledge positively works that make you think. The Departed sucks, but Transformers is somehow good. Boo to crap like U2 that challenges your worldview, yay to the repetitive dribble that seems to top the charts (this is my last jab at Black Eyed Peas, I promise). But it isn't just that, now is it? It isn't really that we like that stuff, it's that we hate things that don't gratify us in some way. Now I know that not everyone who came before us had a great appreciation for intellectual pursuits, but it's just disheartening to be in college, with the top 25% of my generation, and still see a majority quoting verbatim the lyrics to a song that only actually has like one verse, over and over and over and over...

A Sense of Irony
Oh come on, like you didn't see this one coming from the introduction. Now, in regards to the parts of my generation I'm in proverbial contact with on a daily basis, i.e. the brain that is the college demographic and the scrotum that is the "loser towny guy" demographic who dropped out of High School, got a 17 year old pregnant, can't hold a job and now hangs out at the local Wal-Mart insulting us "college fags", we don't seem to understand just how ridiculous and contradictory we are sometimes. In regards to that second demographic, many of us probably don't even know what irony means, even if we may use it sometimes. Now, again, I'm not speaking for everyone in my age range, and I'll even go so far to say that I spend my time in the company of people who almost all do not fit into this particular group. But, from what I can tell we are the minority. Hell, we may even be the minority OF the minority, as college students, the hope for our generation, sometimes fall in here too. In specific, I'm talking about to now past emos who are depressed and non-conformist in an attempt to be accepted and loved, and today hipsters who feel they can only express themselves by liking only the things no one else likes alongside their hip friends.
Seriously, if you CAN'T see the irony in either of the aforementioned groups, then that is sad. Hipsters especially drive me nuts, be cause they flock from rejected fad to rejected fad, never attaching to something too long lest it become recognized and popular. What they don't realize is that there are now so many of them, they will make these things popular, and therefore must then denounce them in a viscous cycle of conformity through nonconformity. That other demographic is actually worse, in that they are a boorish, loud, and obnoxious bunch that thinks that if you don't like what they like than you can f*** right off, but then can't understand why the ENTIRE WORLD HATES THEM. Which, really isn't as much ironic as it is ignorant and sad.

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