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It Feels So Scary Getting Old
Last night I said to my son “In past generations, you had to use a lot of
words to win an argument. We tried to sound really smart. Now the thing to do is
sound really dumb, and you still win. Think about it.” He thought about it and agreed. I remember arguing to my dad about how I should be allowed to have blue hair in the early 80’s when I was experimenting with punk styles. I wrote a very complicated, erudite essay brining up every possible historical tragedy (you know – the usual ones, Jesus, the Nazis, etc) and compared it to my own persecution. I used as many big words as possible.
Now think of a kid from today, an angry kid. Who is the ultimate angry kid? Eminem. Think about him arguing with his parents. He’s been doing it all his life so that is easy. For example his new song “Headlights”:
‘Cause to this day we remain estranged and I hate it though
‘Cause you ain’t even get to witness your grand babies grow
But I’m sorry, Mama, for “Cleaning Out My Closet”, at the time I was angry
Rightfully maybe so, never meant that far to take it though,
’cause now I know it’s not your fault, and I’m not making jokes
That song I no longer play at shows and I cringe every time it’s on the radio
That probably wasn’t a good example. In this song he’s trying to make peace with his mom. And Eminem really knows how to use words. On the other hand, he doesn’t use the “20 thousand dollar words” which is why he appeals to kids. If you look at online comments from anyone under 20, you will see things like “bad” or “that’s gay” or just “FAIL”, without any further explanation. These bumper sticker-type comments will win against “the social significance” or “mutually exclusive” because no one has time for those expressions now! Words are old school, for prissy white people, or fussy teachers who have nothing better to do than sit around and read them, and anyone with a life has no time for that.
The other thing is that young people rebel by flaunting youth in the past generations face, for it’s own sake. It’s not that they think we are wrong, or have old-fashioned ideas. They really couldn’t care less about our ideas because they aren’t going to bother arguing against them anyway (see above). And we (the older generations) are really eager to side up with them. Look at how badly we want to be young! We spend all our money on plastic surgery and cosmetics to try to preserve our youth obsessively. Adolescence lasts until death today. Nobody gets “old” as in stodgy, old-fashioned beliefs. They just “age” and get more wrinkles but try to pretend nothing is happening, and all the bands that ever were just keep touring.
Still authentic youth is recognizable in photos and it is the holy grail in more ways than ever for both young and old. Anyone over 35 suffers from an automatic lack of swag, and young people know this. They don’t even need to “rebel” now, all they have to remind us is that they are young, and that is enough.
NOTE: All mis-spellings and grammatical errors in this article were intentional as they make the writer appear younger like she just don’t give a sh%$t.