Have You Scene This?

02 April 2008

"Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
Socrates (469 BC - 399 BC)

There's nothing exactly new in thinking the younger generation is inferior to yours. But from here, it's hard not to be shocked and appalled by what the next, even worse generation is up to. and it was in a state of mild horror that I read this article from the SMH, about the newest subculture - scene kids.

It's not the scene kids look itself that alarms me. Kids should be able to dress how they want; looking back at photos of youself at 15 and being amazed you ever looked like that is part of life. I'm maybe even a little jealous; growing up in the era of flannelette shirts and tencel jeans there were no opportunities to dress up and show off like that, and I actually would have loved to.

Surely though, culture is accelerating too darn fast for anything to make an impact anymore. Having been, at least nominally, a goth for many years, once I understood what emos were I learnt to be wary of them. But already emo is passe. The article quotes 17 year old emos as if they were somehow "elder statespeople" on the issue, able to impart their hard-gotten wisdom. When your subculture is dated by the time you're seventeen, something is wrong. Kids need to grow out of their silly fads in their own time, not be left behind because of them.

The documentary Growing Up Online made the point that the rise of the internet has caused the greatest generation gap since the start of the rock and roll age. (Certainly greated than the generation gap we knew - our parents complaining that Nirvana were just trying to be Led Zeppelin). Kids have somewhere to go to just be themselves, and while they can find people to share any problem they may have, they also feel the need to be someone else. Cultures and trends rise and fall faster than was ever possible before, sweeping along everyone involved along with them. There used to be "overnight senstations" - now we have whole overnight lives as people reinvent their personas. But with this lack of permanence comes a lack of importance.

The kids don't know any of this, of course. The think that what is now is what is absolute, and that's what''s making so many of them insufferable little twerps.

"You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters."
Plato (427 BC - 347 BC)


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