Nature punishes any creature that lacks flexibility. You see it everywhere from the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event to pop music: if you don’t find something to love about the future, the future is taken away from you. I’d say we’re in the middle of a transition period right this second, the kind of massive change that will leave many of you surfing on the thrill side of the wave, and some of you drowning in the lonely doldrums of the past.
It’s easy to spot the biggest drags: above 50, they’re the ones who think it’s funny they can’t turn on a computer; above 40, they’re the ones who can’t go a full day without complaining about Facebook and Twitter. It’s more than just a deeply unfunny, clichéd reaction to technology, it’s the whole package. It’s the belief that there was some “better” time about twenty years ago when technology was in balance with nature – we had our VCRs, but kids still played outside.
That sort of era-ism is a crock of shit, and features the kind of historical arbitrariness that makes my friend Ehren hate the Amish. Really, at this point, you can be a silent Luddite with my blessing, but the minute you start complaining about Twitter feeds and Kids Today™, you’re worse than the Amish, because none of you even have horses.
Having a small child right now offers some pretty amazing perspective if you’re willing to take it. Lucy will never know a world without the constancy of the internet; she will not see it as something you “log on to” or even differentiate it from “the real world”. It will be a silent constant like nitrogen, and its presence (along with people and trees) will be “the real world”. She will not be thankful for it, the same way none of us are thankful about electricity.
With this comes a certain amount of resentment, which is why it’s so easy to hate teenagers. They frolic in the blind largesse of their forebears, taking for granted the things we struggled to create. We think it’s not fair that they didn’t know a world without iPods, it’s not fair that they’ll never have to clean a chalkboard. Hell, I have a bit of resentment over the kids currently in Hinton James dorm for having fucking AIR CONDITIONING.
And yet, those of us in Gen X who can look at the Millennials without wanting to slap them? We’ll be the ones still clutching a tiny bit of relevance. Kids don’t care what anyone thinks anyway, but if you start complaining about their culture, you might as well be dead. You can look upon the winner of the texting championship with disgust, but I might remind you I got 3rd place in the Rubik’s Cube solving contest at Military Circle Mall in 1981. Time will tell which skill set proved more useful.
I somewhat hate the current culture of video games, but at least I understand that as MY failing. I’m still stuck in the arcade days of Defender, Gyruss and Galaga and felt like everything past Doom was just too fucking complicated and an inexcusable time-suck. Sure, I gots the Wii, but that’s a little like the white kids in 1990 saying they loved Three Feet High and Rising.
So I put it to you: what is your immediate reaction upon the introduction of a new technology: knee-jerk hatred or vague excitement? Do you actually feel like the tech revolution has gotten out of control, or is it the same as it ever was? And do you believe video games make kids obese, or is it their parents?