I am well aware I’m not that old. Thirty is no big deal. However, the more conversations I have with those younger than me, the more I wonder if many of them will ever have an appreciation for so much of what I grew up loving. Yes, digital music is here to stay and is far more preferable than cassettes. I can now keep a pencil around for writing rather than to wind loose tape back into a plastic shell. Blank VHS tapes are barely produced anymore, having been replaced by DVD, which was usurped by Blu-ray not so long ago (and I love them!). While the way we enjoy our entertainment may change, the content will survive through the evolution of formats.
Like Andrew, I was disheartened a few months ago when Twitter lit up with snarky comments asking who the old guy was on TV when Paul McCartney performed on the Grammys finale and when Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars. On both occasions, asking who the “old guy” is was a trending topic. It seems this younger generation (I just said that, didn’t I?) is more keen on being blissfully unaware of who the person in question is than they are curious enough to find out who they are and what they’re doing on major awards shows. Not knowing someone was so cool that it was trending. Yikes.
Ignorance wasn’t as rampant the year before when that goofy stoner from Pineapple Express and that Princess Diaries chick hosted the Oscars. Kids seemed to know them. Not the case this past year though. Surely these kids grew up laughing at Mike Wazowski in Monsters Inc. I also can’t imagine any child who grew up outside of a secular community making it to age 10 without having heard a Beatles song or two. Even though Sir Paul still releases albums on a regular basis, since he’s not on TV every week levitating in a pink wig, kids don’t have any knowledge of him.
Maybe it was the student in me, but I always had a desire to seek out the best of what came along before I did. My sister and I would either buy or rent VHS copies of well-regarded classic comedies so we could see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Caddyshack, Fast Time At Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club, Animal House, we got our hands on all of ‘em! Sure, we still had love for movies we grew up on like Back to the Future and The Naked Gun, but we knew there was more where those came from and we sought them out.
I wonder if this curiosity still exists. Is it as important to watch TBC and Fast Times before starting high school now as it was when I was an incoming freshman? I don’t know, but I hope it is. I’d like to think there are young ones out there taking advantage of the immediacy we have in 2012 where everything can be streamed on demand. I hope they’re combing IMDb to find out all the movies John Hughes made which Generation X and the tip of Y regard as classics. I hope they learn about John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Rodney Dangerfield. Maybe some of them have seen Chevy Chase passing through Community and wonder what else he’s done. Won’t they be surprised when they check out Fletch and National Lampoon’s Vacation? Those are the young men and women who will keep some of the best stuff alive.
Yes, I realize I only got a sampling of youthful ignorance when I read a few dismissive comments which probably came from some 16 year-old in an Operation Ivy shirt they bought at Hot Topic who was tweeting from their iPhone, and I’m sure the 1990s equivalent existed when I was their age. Simply shrugging off what you don’t know is certainly nothing to be proud of, and I get the overwhelming impression it is these days, despite the accessibility of information. Ultimately, my wish is that the good ones will take the time to learn a bit from our past while still appreciating what they’ve grown up with.
But, as Burgess Meredith once said in a movie, you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which gets filled first. Look that up if you don’t know what film I’m talking about.
And if you don’t know who Burgess Meredith is and don’t bother to look him up, you’re a bum, Rock.