Sunday, September 7, 2008

Generation Gap

I'm sitting in my bed, feeling a little bit under the weather, watching the VMA's...and I'm just a little bit confused.

What do young women find attractive in the Jonas Brothers? I just don't understand the skinny girl jeans, out of control and overly styled curly hair, and their slight traces of eyeliner. What is attractive about that?! They're so....androgynous...weird.

And then, what comes up next? A young man jumping around on the stage dancing half naked with his pants around his knees. I don't want to see his boxer-briefs! And then the worst part - half of his song had to be muted out because it was full of cursing. What's the point of even performing if your song is lost on all the viewers nationwide?

Yeah. I know, I know. It's not like the pop stars and performers of my generation did much better. Remember Britney and the snake?! Or Britney and Madonna?! Or Britney at all in the past few years?! I mean, maybe there was something a little ridiculous about five guys in a boy band dancing around in unison to slightly cheesy pop songs...but at least they were fully dressed and their lyrics could be enjoyed by everyone and not censored because of foul language.

In essence what I'm trying to say is...where's the wholesomeness?!

Okay. I know that I'm talking about MTV - not exactly breeding ground for the Conservative Christian Coalition, but I KNOW that my impressionable middle school students are sitting around watching the very same VMA's that I am and I must wonder - how is this affecting their idea of fashion and what they deem is acceptable behavior?

On a different topic, but somewhat related...I watched the new 90210 last week, as well as the season premiere of Gossip Girl. Not because I'm really "into" either show, but I had to see what all the hype was about. On the subject of 90210, I wasn't interested in watching it when it first came out because I was still mostly in the Full House age demographic. As I grew older, Brenda and Kelly became a staple in my Wednesday night television repetoire. I was wholly anticipating a completely crap version of an old classic. And I was not let down! I must admit - a little shiver of anticipation and nostalgia ran down my back when the signature "dun nuh nuh nuh...dun nuh nuh nuh" came on. But...the rest of the show - take it or leave it. The strangest thing is that the kids that are in middle or high school watching this version of the show have absolutely NO idea the impact that 90210 had on the older generation.

On a side note of the generation gap between me and my far as they're concerned and according to one onry young man - Green Day has been around since 2000 or so. Oh. And they're from Ireland because of the "green" in the name. He looked throroughly confused when I corrected him and informed him of Green Day's birth in southern California in the late 1980s and fame in the early well as their musical journey from hard core West Coast punk to the more mainstream rock-punk breed.

So, then a few days later I watched the season premiere of Gossip Girl. Having never watched a single episode, I had to see what all those steamy ads are about. At the end of the hour, I was convinced I had seen this show somewhere before. After some thinking it came to me. Cruel Intentions + The OC!

So...basically the teenage drama has never gone away. 90210 (the original), Dawson's Creek, The OC and now Gossip Girl. And I also guess that

I know that I'm sounding conservative right now and I have to be clear on things. I work with kids and I see the negative effects of the advanced teen culture...some of them seem like little adults and not the 13 year olds that they are. I hate the fact that they have to grow up so fast - there are so many experiences that they will get to have...but in time and when they are old enough and have the maturity to truly handle it in the best way possible. I think back to what kids my age were doing when I was in middle and high school and all I can remember is how "old" we thought we were at 14 and 15 years old. We got into things that we didn't know how to handle and we didn't understand the future consequences of our actions. Not just the tangible and physical consequences...but the emotional impact it made. I became so cynical and jaded by the age of 20..that's ridiculous and unnecessary! I just want to shake some of them, especially the 8th grade girls, and wipe their pretty little faces of all the ill applied make-up, and put some better fitting and more covering clothing on them. I almost feel, well not sorry for them, but I do pity them in a way. Having to feel so much pressure at such a young age to live up to what society is shoving at them. I don't remember having that pressure from the media at that age. We didn't have the Miley's, the Serena's and the Demi's...yeah, there was N'Sync and Britney, but they were when I was a bit older - high school at least. I don't know. I just don't remember being like such a little adult while I was in middle school.

It kills me to admit that I'm feeling something soooo conservative when, for the past few years, I have prided myself on being an open-minded person and fairly liberal when it comes to my political views. But this goes beyond being left or right - it's about protecting children from things they don't understand or aren't ready for.

BUT, having said that about teenagers and their current culture, I don't believe that it's ALL bad news and influences...I must admit that I totally love the family friendly High School Musical. Plus. Who didn't wish their high school classmates would spontaneously burst into song?!