Saturday, February 28, 2009

What generation gap?

A dark hoodie discretely stashing a bummed cigarette, a mumbled conversation, a pair of incredibly baggy pants... just this generation's coming-of-age accoutrement, no different (really) than the beeper an uncle might have slipped into one of his scuffy Doc Martins. Or a Sex Pistols T-shirt defiantly ripped and safety-pinned by a father. Or a grandmother's peace sign necklace and flag miniskirt. Or a great grandfather's coonskin cap. Yeah, there's that cell phone... but you just know those pleas and sighs could have just as easily been uttered into a crank phone mounted on a kitchen wall. Or written in a telegram. Or scribbled with a quill by candlelight.

Fashions change and technology buzzes forward but angst, irrepressible feelings of immortality and sulking ennui are exactly the same as they ever were. Isn't it grand? (Don't worry... it's only teenage wasteland.)


dbdubya said...

The youth of every generation has ways of rebelling against their elders and the rest of society. We can age ourselves by what it was in our youth. For my generation, it was long hair. It drove my dad nuts. We had a friend he used to call "Alice" because of his hair length. For my 30-something kids, it was earrings and later tattoos. Now, it's super baggy, low bottom pants, multiple piercings and other forms of mayhem, and hoodies regardless of the weather.

Only time will tell what's next. Another good candid photo, Laurie. I wonder how the rest of your readers protested and rebelled.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

I can't wait to see how Madonna's kids rebel. Seriously, what's left for them? Poor kids! LOL

I'm damn glad the internet didn't exist back in my teenage days. Those years are better left undocumented, thankyouverymuch.

And can you imagine high school in a zero-tolerance zone? No wonder the kids are all so fat, they took away their ephredrine! Seriously, though ... back in the 70s and 80s, I remember the seniors showing up at high school drunk the final week, or high schoolers pulling semi-destructive pranks, and the adults would just shrug their shoulders and chalk it up to kids having fun. Which it was. But not so these days, those same pranks would result in jail time and ruined futures. Silly, because the vast, vast majority of those 70s and 80s pranksters turned out just fine.

I'm glad I grew up when I did. Being a kid doesn't seem like nearly as much fun these days.

Sharon said...

Just love the photo and the comments on this one. Oh so true.

Mister Earl said...

Let's see, DBDub, it might have had something to do with the hair. And the music. And the "gentle and benevolent" herb we smoked. I started at Stanford in 1966. There were five men on campus with hair below their ears. Student body president David Harris, who was a leader of The Resistance and later married Joan Baez, was one of them. I was another.

There were also the civil rights, anti-war, and anti-university protests, which were common on the Berkeley campus, where I transferred in 1967.

And of course there was the music. In 1964, my high school teachers said The Beatles were "jungle rhythm" and wouldn't last. By 1966 they were saying, "I kind of like that song, 'Michelle'". Now they play our music at the supermarket!

Mister Earl said...

(John Sebastian - The Lovin' Spoonful - 1968) (Woodstock version with long intro)

Why must every generation think their folks are square
And no matter where their heads are, they know Mom´s ain´t there
'Cause I swore when I was small that I´d remember when
I knew what´s wrong with them, that I was smaller than

Determined to remember all the card'nal rules
Like sun showers are legal grounds for cuttin' school
I know I have forgotten maybe one or two
And I hope that I recall them all before the baby´s due
And I know he´ll have a question or two

Like "Hey, Pop, can I go ride my zoom
It goes two hundred miles an hour suspended on balloons
And can I put a droplet of this new stuff on my tongue
And imagine frothing dragons while you sit and wreck your lungs?"
And I must be permissive, understanding of the younger generation

Then I´ll know that all I´ve learned my kid assumes
And all my deepest worries must be his cartoons
And still I´ll try to them him all the things I´ve done
Relating to what he can do when he becomes a man
And still he´ll stick his fingers in the fan

And "Hey, Pop, my girlfriend´s only three
She´s got her own videophone and she´s taking L.S.D.
And now that we´re best friends, she wants to give a bit to me
But what´s the matter Daddy, how come you´re turning green?
Can it be that you can´t live up to your dreams?"

altadenahiker said...

And to think they're all going to end up in accounting.

LSaeta said...

I always said that I was going to be a "cool mom" and not let the generation gap come between me and my kids. But then someone gave me the best parenting advice ever adn said "You should always be a parent first and friend second to your kids". Boy were they right - who else is going to teach them which lines not to cross (or more importantly, how to get back when they do cross the line). I love this photo, because for all we know the boy on the left perhaps just finished baseball practice, the young man in the middle just aced his math test and the boy on the right just got the starring role in the high school play? Hah!

Mister Earl said...

Accounting by day...

Rock and roll by night...

"But way back where I come from, we never mean to bother,
we don't like to make our passions other people's concern
And we walk in the world of safe people,
and at night we walk into our houses and burn."

Iowa - Dar Williams

Yakpate said...

What will Madonna's kids do to rebel? Well... one of my ex's was a teenage drug dealer whose mother hid his stash in her dress bags during a police raid. The atmosphere in that house was so far left it could reach around and shake its own right hand. So...

When the younger brother grew up he became a Hitler afficionado. He constantly played that "Springtime" song at the highest possible volume, draped his bedroom in swastikas, and succeeded in outraging everyone in the family.

When he was 15 years old we shared a shopping expedition, for which he wore a long black cape and a top hat. He confided in me that he didn't really care about Hitler, he was just preparing his parents for the revelation that his real love was musical theater, and that he was going to become a drama major.

I LOVE the rebellion of youth!

Mister Earl said...

So Yak, what became of him?

Dixie Jane said...

Way back in the long time ago I guess everybody that came after would have called me a, "square." Or maybe there is a newer name for it. But I had so much good clean fun and the worst thing I ever did was smooch in the back seat of a roadster on the golf course and ride in that same roadster down slippery mud roads. I jitterbugged the night away and my parents were real "cool." They were intrigued by a new dance because they had done, "The Charleston", the women "bobbed their hair" and tried to smoke cigarettes. Think The Great Gatsby. I wouldn't take anything for the where and when I grew up.

I guess every generation has their own set of stuff, they might wish to forget, or to look back on in reverie and relive some memories to talk about while sittin' and rockin'. We all hope to make it that far.

Yakpate said...

Mr. Earl... I just Googled him and found:
On-Air Personality at Standard Radio
Toronto, Canada Area Broadcast Media

This could be the same kid, because Toronto is his home... and I can really see him as a radio personality! I will update you on further investigation!

Mister Earl said...

Dixie Jane,

I've been a swing dancer for 20 years. I hear all the old Glen Miller, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima, Benny Goodman, all that stuff, all the time. I think, "When my parents were young they used to see these bands and dance these dances. Who would have thought after all the rock and roll and what has followed that I would be dancing those dances to that music 60-70 years later? Not to mention listening to Sinatra."

Steve Buser said...

They were complaining about the youth of the day back in Aristotle's time (at least we have Plato's word on that -- but then, Plato may have been one of the kids Aristotle was complaining about.

Cafe Observer said...

I dunno what you humans are talking about. How old are y'all??

dbdubya said...

To put this discussion in a dog's perspective, Cafe Observer, think of your youth when you chewed shoes, ate rocks, peed on the carpet, and chased cars.

I can't speak for the others, but in dog years I'm about 8, or so, and past my car chasing prime.

Babooshka said...

Baba O'Riley great track loved that link. I tend to agree about the each generation having there own scene. Here tough hoodies(no idea you called them that too) really are responsible for the new wave of knife crime amongst the youth in the UK.Sad when a fashion statement has been hijacked by this nasty element of society. Clockwork Orange comes to mind. I prefer your hoodies to ours.

Petrea said...

Farmgirl, you made me laugh. Youtube and Twitter were nowhere to be found during my sordid youth, and I'm glad of it. Hiker, you made me laugh, too.

Laurie, thanks for posting the real Baba O'Riley. Some current techno-pop song has co-opted a riff from it, and not very well either. These kids today.

Dixie Jane said...

Mister Earl:

I had no idea there were the likes of you and me represented here. I never tire of listening to Glen Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw.....and listening to Sinatra just gets better all of the time. There is a timelessness here. Oh, to go to a dance again and dance to that music. I got to go to the Palladium on my 21st birthday. Band and all. But the best of all was being asked to sing at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel after dinner with Yak and Laurie. That was a memorable birthday. Thanks Laurie for spoiling your Mother.

Mister Earl said...

Dixie Jane - If you're ever visiting in South Pas, and you're up for it, I will show you a place where they have swing dancing to a live band in a church hall every Saturday night and there are usually 200-300 people!
Pasadena is an amazing place.

Anonymous said...

Just love the sentiment of this post. I feel exactly the same way. There's always something for the teens to do differently for its own sake. Always will be.

Dixie Jane said...

Mister Earl,

Without taking up too much of Laurie's blog space I must reply to your invitation. Yes, yes, yes. I would love it. Thank you.

Kathy H said...

All my teenaged son wears is t-shirts and zippered hoodies. That really is the uniform of this male generation.

Cafe Observer said...

Carpet? What's that gddubya?
I'm a german shepherd. A guard dog, a K9 who protects the protectors, and takes out his people for walks - not a french poodle, or, worse, a little pussycat.

But, thank you for a homo sapien perspective.

Laurie said...

My, you guys had fun with this today! Thanks for all the wonderful recollections, lyrics, impressions and opinions. It's late and I am not nearly sharp enough to respond to all this good stuff. So...

Until tomorrow, everyone.

Kim said...

Fabulous image and observations. I was at a Taj Mahal summer concert last year. He peered into to crowd on the sunny zoo lawn and said he was sending the next song out to "the first generation of grandmas to wear miniskirts." I laughed so hard. . .I'm not that old or a grandma, but my teen daughter and I just bought matching spring mini dresses at Urban outfitters. :-) She called me to that section of the store on our iPhones. I'm over the immortality and ennui of adolescence, but middle age seems to have its own wasteland.
Seattle Daily Photo

dbdubya said...

No doubt, Cafe Observer, you are a well mannered K-9 at this time. But, I'm sure in your rebellious youth you left a few deposits on the carpert along with chewing shoes and eating furnitue.


Mister Earl said...


Remember those commercials? The teenage boyfriend reaches out to his girlfriend and exclaims, "Mrs. Smith??? I thought you were Sarah!!"


I believe that the German Shepherd is getting older and is replicating the carpet accidents of his youth.

Tash said...

Fabulous photo, wonderful writing (sorry I am late again). The images you evoke. I'm with Kim on the grandmother line - first thought was an age/generation check - yup, I could be a grandma! So now the shock is over, ain't what you said the truth.

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