Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

My Generation

Grubb Street is a grand chap (we watched the Super Bowl together), but when he says:
"[Teen Titans] is filled with paens to Monty Python and the Beatles. Which I found amusing, but I'm of that era. My only question is, when does the next generation get a culture of their own?"
I gotta call him on it. The next generation did create a culture of its own.

My generation, the Xers, has always lived in the shadow of the boomers. This would be less annoying if the Baby Boomers had ever realized that we even existed. They didn't, and it pissed my generation off.

My culture begins roughly around the time of Steve Dahl's disco demolition and riot in Comiskey Park in 1980. That backlash culture may have kicked off sooner at CBGBs, but hell, I grew up in the Midwest. The general revolt against the limp, overproduced, flouncy Gordon Lightfoot/Bee Gees/ELO/Styx trash of the 70s was the beginning of something wonderful: a renewal of the aggressive and confrontational side of rock and roll. The 80s had their share of trash, too, but they will be remembered as a decade of musical innovation that created the "alternative" genre, starting with Talking Heads and the Ramones and the Clash.

At the time, an alternative to disco, hair bands, and buttrock was required, but most of the punk, New Wave, and post-punk bands were short-lived at best: does anyone else even remember IRS Records (first label of a little outfit called R.E.M.) or SST (home of Husker Du, the Minutemen and others)? I was sure most of those bands would sink into obscurity, and they did. But some survived and kept going. It's become unforgettable, because that era also brought us MTV — Kurt Loder, where are you now? The ghoulish remnants of the 80s still linger on constant replay on VH1. Duran Duran and Adam Ant aren't what I'll remember, but the footage is out there.

And yes, it was the time when the Beastie Boys and Run DMC brought a new wave of black music to suburbia.

It amuses me no end to see my own generation's musical heritage is now being rediscovered and recycled and altered by younger folk. I can remember watching the Pixies play an overgrown bar in my college town, Big Black having trouble with their drum machine and restarting their set, and U2 playing the college basketball arena. I remember Cure posters in every dorm room; now the Cure are embalmed in amber, and frequently cited as an inspiration for more current performers.

The bands we loved made movies too, such as Purple Rain and Stop Making Sense. I'm not as convinced that those have held up as well as the music has, but then, does anyone really watch the Beatles movies anymore either? And yes, Purple Rain was just on cable a few nights ago, and the Artist Formerly Known As Prince and Now Called Prince Again has been releasing material. Hard to say.

My generation's comics are the X-Men, Sandman, and Love & Rockets. You can blame us for the whole B&W implosion, and the wave of pretentious Vertigo titles that finally settled down to a couple good ones.

Finally, my generation embraced the PC and video game era. I never owned a console until recently, but I sure knew what it was all about. Computer and video game references are inescapable now, and adults play and code and generally wallow in techishness. The triumph of the geeks is complete. But there was a time when it was still a kid's thing, and for better or worse, the X-ers own that period of transformation, when Mario was born, and the first Final Fantasy shipped, and Wizardry and the Gold Box games wore the FRPG crown. Not to mention Doom and the arrival of the first-person shooter.
So don't tell me their hasn't been any culture since the 70s. I love and enjoy Monty Python and the Beatles, but if you look around a little, you'll see that later music and culture has its share of tributes and devotees.

The teenagers of the 00s, of course, are free to call me a cranky old goat and let me know that I've totally missed the boat on electro-glitch, alt-country, crunk, or whatever else they are listening to these days.


( 3 sutras — Your wisdom )
Feb. 7th, 2005 11:01 pm (UTC)
Cranky Old Men
Ah, nothing like insomnia-induced ranting to get a rise out of people, eh?

Actually, I offer my sincere apologies, since when i spoke of the younger generations needing to get their own culture, I wasn't thinking about yours (Go ahead, get offended - the old Boomers have ignored you again). I'm what you would call a "trailing boomer", at the end of the great curve of that age bracket, and consider part of your faves to belong to my age. Talking Heads and Punk and the Byrne/Clairmont X-Men are in my era, though the Beastie Boys, ska, and MTV represent the point by "my gang" became "those kids".

No, the generation I was thinking of was the one beyond yours (or maybe two beyond yours), which is Generation Y, Z, or the Golden Generation. I'm talking about my nieces and nephew and kids of the boomers, who continue to be swamped by a popular culture that we old fogies refuse to relinquish. The example I use is a supposed kid's TV episode that pulls its visual cues from Abbey Road and Yellow Submarine. A nice bit of old fun, but its like my generation listening to Big Band.

The sixties had a generational shift between what came before and what came after that has not been repeated, a wholesale rejection of the previous establishment. And though the edifice the boomers put up is as vine-encrusted and ancient now as our parent's music was in the 60s, if not moreso, there has yet to be the necessary revolution to knock it down and build anew.

Gold Box games? I had credits on those. Talk about ancient :)

Feb. 8th, 2005 12:31 am (UTC)
Re: Cranky Old Men
Generation Y and the Millenials scare me a little. It's not that I dislike much of their culture (anime, E, raves, mash-ups, grunge, the OC), but politically they're amazingly conservative. For them, Reagan is a president they don't remember, but they're told he was a saint, perhaps St. John the Baptist. Which makes W the Messiah.

Some generals just wear grey flannel. I just don't want to be one of them.

We both have credits on Al-Qadim. And how 20th century is that?

(Deleted comment)
Feb. 8th, 2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Cranky Old Men
Don't go to Earth-2, man! Nothing but oldsters there! Head to Earth-X where there's still plenty of Nazis to kick in the head and the Phantom Lady's there in all her un-PC glory! ;)

Monkeyliege, I'll post more later on musings of our generation and our necessary apologies as well. If the Boomers have to apologize for flared jeans and toe-socks, we need to apologize for mullets, Miami-Vice fashions, and red leather jackets with way too many zippers. ;)
( 3 sutras — Your wisdom )

Latest Month

April 2016

Game Design


Powered by LiveJournal.com