Feeling sorry for today’s kids and pop culture

Dude, I’m tellin ya………..

Whenever I visit my sister’s house and her family, I often think to myself how I wish I could interest my nephews and nieces in what is actually “cool”.

Quite obviously I am getting old. And turning into one of those fuddy-duddys (did I actually just type that term?) that thinks the crap from their generation was better than any other generation’s crap. Just like my father thinks the 1950s were the greatest times in American history—and maybe they were, I am definitly feeling that the highlights of my generation far surpass what my nephews and nieces get to enjoy. What I see and hear, what I watch these kids wear and how they spend their Friday and Saturday nights…….it makes me feel sorry for them. I’m not talking about my sister’s kids personally……they are smart, well-adjusted, well-raised kids. I’m talking about today’s youth in general. They are being ripped off pop-culturally !!

I think what actually got these thoughts going in my head most recently was watching a TV show on the making of Animal House. Just watching the program made me think of what a great movie it was overall, what a great teenage movie it was, and what a great comic John Belushi was. And I got to thinking about whether my nieces and nephews have ever seen this flick? I tried to make a mental note to ask them when I see them. Maybe I can turn them on to a cultural milestone of my generation. Even though I was 8 years old when it was made and didn’t see it until it was on videotape, I still consider it part of my generation.

And that’s where I feel bad for my nephews, nieces, and my friends’ children. They don’t have anything really, really cool to enjoy. It is all crap now. The very best TV shows are crap. The very best bands are horseshit. The music scene sucks like never before. Movies are re-makes of old TV shows. Television is all “reality” shows that are as scripted and staged as they can be. This generation is reaching back to cooler eras in order to make quality productions (Ocean’s 11 anyone? Ocean’s 12?). My friend bought this Wii (sp?) gaming system for his kids. the graphics seem to be intentionally “retro” and very basic for nostalgia-sake or something. It doesn’t look any better than Atari ! This is progress?

A little anecdotal evidence from the other night: Me and six or seven friends are at the bar having a few coldies and I brought this subject up. My one friend, a real smart-ass, told me I was full of it. If I said the sun was shining or the grass was green, he’d tell me I’m full of it. So I asked anyone at the table to name a good band putting out fresh music today. Anyone. I looked at this buddy sitting right across from me and asked him to identify one, single band doing good music right now.

He replied, “Well, there really aren’t too many. I guess Coldplay.”

I started laughing hysterically and my smart-ass friend glared at this other guy and said, “I’m gonna knock you out. Coldplay ?????  Are you serious? Don’t help me, alright? Coldplay !!!!!

The point was made and the argument basically won. We see all this stuff on the History Channel and learn it in school, so I’m not claiming to make any startling revelations here.

But the 50’s generation had Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, a young Marlon Brando, Fabian, and movies like Rebel Without A Cause (1955),  The Wild One (1954), and Ben-Hur (1959); songs like Hound Dog and Rock Around the Clock; hot cars, the birth of rock n’ roll, blue jeans, going to movie theatres and especially drive-ins, leather jackets, poodle skirts, hula hoops, and American prosperity………..

The 60’s generation had Beatlemania, Woodstock, great bands like The Who, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin; songs like Satisfaction and movies like Psycho (1960)Cool Hand Luke (1967), and Easy Rider (1969); the hippie movement, the drug culture, JFK and MLK, moon landings, cool stars like Steve McQueen, Andy Warhol, and Jimi Hendrix; Laugh-In…….

The 70’s had the Godfather movies (the first two….not that inferior 3rd installment), Taxi Driver, The Exorcist, Star Wars, The Deer Hunter, Animal House; bands like Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, more of Led Zeppelin, and the birth of fast heavy metal like Iron Maiden; cool stars like John Belushi, Bruce Lee, Richard Pryor, and Jack Nicholson; All in the Family and Saturday Night Live……..

Even the 80’s had some cool movies like Terminator, Caddyshack, The Shining, Raging Bull, The Blue Brothers, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High; stars like Eddie Murphy, Tom Cruise, Sam Kinison, Slash, and Michael Jordan; there were still decent bands (barely) like Van Halen, Metallica, and Guns n’ Roses; TV shows like Cheers, Miami Vice, and Hill Street Blues, the Miracle on Ice (1980 Olympic hockey triumph), space shuttle launches…….

At the very least, the 90’s had the advent of grunge, Soundgarden, Nirvana, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Alice in Chains; some decent flicks like Goodfellas (1990), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1990), The Silence of the Lambs (1991),  Reservoir Dogs (1992), and even American Pie (1999), ; some cool TV shows like Roseanne, Seinfeld and The Simpsons; cool stars like Chris Farley, Flea, Charlie Sheen, and Kurt Cobain.

My whole point here is that today’s kids don’t seem to have much. They have very few good movies to quote. They have very few decent musicians to jam. They have very few cool actors/actresses/musicians/authors to emulate. The fashion scene isn’t as cool as the greased hair of the 50’s, the long hair of the 60’s and 70’s, the mullets of the 80’s and 90’s……….they don’t have the hippie wear and the ponchos and the friendship bracelets and the tie-dyes and mini-skirts and the poodle skirts and the…….I can go on-and-on.

What do today’s kids have to brag about? I think the last decent teen movie was American Pie in 1999. There’s maybe one or two decent bands out there doing fresh material like Nickelback or The White Stripes. The best movies are either remakes or have stars in them from the 1990’s or previous. Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise do not belong to this generation. Their pants hang off their ass because that is about the last original way to wear them. And it is the last way to wear them because it looks asinine.

I ask you…..who is cooler/better?  

Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, or……(older generation)

Steven Seagal, Claude Van Damme? (younger generation)

What is the better teen movie?

Animal House and Fast Times at Ridgemont High


American Pie and  ???????????

What comedians were funnier?

Richard Pryor and George Carlin?


Dane Cook and Brian Regan?

How about this?

Johnny Carson and David Letterman?


Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien?

Or this one????

Christie Brinkley and Cindy Crawford


Giselle Buchenan and Heidi Klum?

OK…….I will admit that the last one is a coin-toss.

But I think my point is made. When it comes to music, music personalities, great tunes, great actors & actresses, classic movies, funny comedians, hot models/chicks, sweet cars, great sports moments, fashion trends, cool things to do, new games and technology, and everything else I can really think of……..thanks to yesteryear!!

Now someone go get me a glass of prune juice and switch the TV over to the afternoon “old folks” lineup:

4:00  Golden Girls
4:30  Matlock
5:30  Murder, She Wrote

Woot !


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