In addition to writing novels, raising a kid, playing music, and lamenting my failure to become a paleontologist, I am finishing college. Nope–(I hear the unspoken, perhaps unspeakable, question) –I’m an underegrad. Yes. I am twice as old as everyone at my college but they gave me a wonderful scholarship and the teachers are all my age so I am not totally alone. What surprises me is that, while I am twice as old as everyone, I
seem to be far more aware of subcultural music, trends, artifacts, etc.. as many of the kids around me.
I will now forward a vague thoughts on this as well as an anticipated response to a potential retort:
Vague thought: When “underground” music and independent art achieved maistream distribution throughout the 90s, several marketing generations (my term “marketing generation” refers to the time it takes for a full cycle of marketing, the smoke signal, the blaze, the repackaging, the shift to a different demographic, AND finally the return of the fetishized object/concept to the younger siblings of the original buying populace as a form of ironic adornment or as an identity statement to prove oneself socially fearless, ie, authentic. This whole thing is what I mean when I say “Marketing generation”) let go the need to continue the oral histories of Our People. (Our People: those who waste their days on a single album, tinker with social networks, invent things that never get patented and often fail at grand plans). People as distribution of ideas, legends and the unmonolithic subcultural heritage, were left behind because ‘availability’ was the drug of the day.We are seeing the results of that now.
Potential retort: Oh, no! That’s just age. They (college kids?) are just rebelling against their green haired parents by courting the mainstream.
Me: AHA! THAT is where you are wrong. This is a determinist lie intended to make complacency acceptable and lead you out into the pastures of nowhere. The children of “radicals” are not “republicans” (I would like to that Hannah Arendt for the quotation marks…) they are their own weird selves.Many, many of the most interesting, original, artistic kids I have met have freak parents. I don’t mean that the have hippy parents, or punk parents, I mean seriously freaky parents. Like people who make their own license plates and wrap their weed in bloody underwear so the Goddess will protect them from the cops. Real freaks.
Analysis: 1) Mainstream kids functioning on the outer circle of popculture are illinformed about their subcultural heritage because of the prevalence of distribution methods in the 90s that temporarily broke the word of mouth chain, rendering each object/movement historically discreet. 2) That’s okay because there are some really cool adults/ kids coming out of the fringe that have untold skills, which have strange and uncataloged skills that we may all need soon.