Monday, October 06, 2008

One Small Step For Man

My parents divorced when I was very young and to this day have very little in common besides the fabulousness that is me...well okay, and maybe the Waif too. However, there is one thing they DO have in common that they like to go on and on and, yes, on about. Their generation. Baby Boomers they call themselves. The physical symbols of prosperity after war. They could stay out playing with their friends til dark with not a care in the world. They witnessed the emergence of rock and roll, the birth control pill and integration. They had Laugh-In. Blah blah blah.

I've been thinking a lot about those claims lately. As someone born in 1980, I've always felt fuzzy about which generation I belonged to. Being from the NW, I don't think it's surprising that I identified with Gen X's pop-culture and mindset, though I was technically too young to belong. But Gen Y never held that much for me. Often people only a year younger identify with references that go completely over my head. In this regard, I'm a man without country. Except I'm a woman. And I'm not even remotely talking about countries.

Personal identity aside (it always ends up being about me, doesn't it), I'm here to say that my generation...we'll call it X/Y...is pretty damn awesome. I think you and I both know that a list is about to happen. Ok, so you got The Rolling Stones and Lenny Bruce. Polyester and roller disco. But really, I don't know that they trump:

1. The Nintendo
This shit brings people together. Let me rephrase that...DUCK HUNT brings people together. Nothing like pretend shooting pretend ducks after a long day of real life. And the Wii is trying to bring it all back. I've never actually played a Wii (I know), but they look nice and I might get one as an instillation art piece.

2. The Cassette Tape
Every car trip my family and I have ever taken has included both the Stand By Me and the Good Morning Vietnam soundtracks on tape. We would sing along to the oldies and try to forget that we were in some godforsaken place like Montana. Insert shudder. Before tapes, I'm thinking families probably had to actually talk to each other. Insert another shudder.

3. Slap Bracelets
You hurt yourself to take away the pain inside. That adolescent pain. But no one makes you go to a counselor because unlike cutting, the end result is an accessory instead of a flesh wound! And they come in florescents!

4. Thriller
I don't know that there has ever been a more influential dance routine in prisons, at weddings or on subways. That video scared the shit out of me as a kid, though. I also like that Michael Jackson is kind of the anti-Elvis, though you know if he'd lived long enough, they would've done some bastardish duet in the vein of Ebony and Ivory. Insert yet another shudder.

5. E.T.
I know you guys thought I'd say The Goonies, but really, it all started with this one. Though sadly, it doesn't hold up as well upon reviewing. But the ride at Universal Studios says your name as you exit! Hurray!

6. Stretchy Denim
It's no wonder our mothers and grandmothers couldn't wear "trousers" to school/work back in the day. A pair of Levis would chafe your damn leg hair off. Cowboys and boy scouts could use the friction to start camp fires.

7. TV Remotes
I remember I used to watch shit I didn't even want to watch on the same channel just so I wouldn't have to get up to change it. I saw a lot of M*A*S*H that way.

8. Cordless Phones
It's really quite difficult to go on and on about how your mother doesn't understand you when the cord will only stretch as far as the kitchen table. My shit-talking skills of today can be attributed to the fabulous gift to the world that is the cordless phone.

9. MTV
Though it's a shell of its former self...it was once a shining beacon of style, beauty and grace. All embodied in the glory that was Headbanger's Ball, Bevis and Butthead, The State, Singled Out and Daria and not to mention videos that CHANGED MY LIFE on a weekly to semi-weekly basis. I'm fairly certain I cried when I first saw the video for Jeremy. And then I thought deeply about things for several days.

10. Kevin Smith
I still quote Clerks and Mallrats. And I think we can all agree that only Kevin Smith knows how to adequately utilize Shannon Doherty. But then around 2000, something happened to him. Something bad. And it still seems to be happening. Sad.

11. The Fly Girls
You bet your ass this goes to 11. I was going to be a Fly Girl, you know. All those jazz classes...all those Heavy D and Young MC tapes...I was so close. And yet...nowhere near.

And here we are in the age of the iPod and an African Amercian Presidential nominee. Shit's lookin UP, people. And it's all being guided by the hands that brought you Nirvana's Unplugged album, sweater dresses and Tim Burton movies. We can't go wrong.

(I give this optimism about 22 hours, so enjoy it while you can)

Oh, and in case you don't know what a Fly Girl is.

21 keep(s) me blogging:

Rachel said...

ah. the 90s. nice trip down memory lane, dearie. :)

I wish I had some memories to contribute, but, alas...I don't remember a damn thing. Pop culture mystified me back then...

it still does.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Good list. I was in high school and college in the 80s and I think of U2, girls in turtleneck sweaters and John Hughes movies. Among other things. I'd go to 11, but this is your blog.

problemchildbride said...

Slap bracelets? We dint have none a them in 90s Britain. What are they?

Susie Q said...

Let's see, rotary phones, NO remotes of any kind, vinyl albums, computers??? only NASA had that crap, and FREE TV, of course there were only 3 channels that really came in.
So we played outside until the street lights came on and NEVER had to lock our doors.
I know, I sound like your parents! Deal with it!

Sarah said...

Excellent. One memory after another came up while reading this blog. In particular, you leading us in the thriller dance. But wait, that was just a couple years ago.

The Future said...

OK, let's set the record straight. You loved the '60's and '70's music, which is why you had it memorized and sang it in the car at the top of your lungs, regardless of state. In fact, I remember you saying you were born in the wrong era, have you changed your mind in retrospect?

I'm also quite sure you never told your friends your mother just didn't understand you, or maybe just sometimes you did, ok, maybe you said I understood you best when I was under the influence (a couple of memoryless days come to mind).

And you were right in the first place, there will never be another generation as impactful as ours, don't worry I'm not going to get wound up and take up your entire comment space.

Orhan Kahn said...

Clerks II wasn't all that bad. Hope you've given it a go.

Robert the Skeptic said...

I would start trippin' down memory lane with you but I can't find my car keys... again!

Kara said...

rachel - just knowing you were alive too makes it all ok.

wow - damn right it is. i watched all the john hughes movies too, but at the end of the day, they couldn't fulfill me need for raunch the way kevin smith did.

sam - i'm very sorry to hear that:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slap_bracelet

sue - yeah, see, nothing about that appeals.

sarah - well you should like the list, it was pretty much your life too.

future - i did say that, but i meant the 40s. oh SNAP.

or - i did on a very hot day. theaters are one of the few air conditioned places in this town. i did laugh quite a bit...as i heartily love me some Randall.

dad - i'm going to make you a car key necklace to wear like that emergency button.

problemchildbride said...

Huh. Weird. Stands to reason they'd ban it though. Everything fun gets banned.

Fun-banners, I snort in derision at them. Chhnnngghkkkkhhhhnnn pah!

Anonymous said...

You left out the all important Koosh, big bangs, sweater dress/legging combo.

nursemyra said...

bring back Beavis and Butthead

AxAtlas said...

i don't think kevin smith ever fully recovered from the "Bennifer" incident.

AxAtlas said...

And I must add that I truly miss people imitating Robin Leach whether on TV or in convo..."I DON'T KNOW WHY!"

Stinkypaw said...

Holly Molly!!! I'm sorry I'm in shock here... born in 1980... oh dear...

Cathy said...

I still sit and watch through endless programs that I don't really want to watch - because of course the remote is nowhere near where I'm sitting, and what's the point of a remote if you have to stand up to get it?

nic said...

I'm with you on a good chunk of those things. But you know, I was more of an atari girl. And MTV, that showed VIDEOS 24/7 when I would muse.

I wear my sunglasses at night, baby...

Your juicy westley post is posted. :)

Love ya!

Kara said...

anonymous - i'm only going over GOOD things.

myra - it's definitely one of the few shows that hold up over time.

ax - you could be right

stinkypaw - what? bad year for you?

cathy - EXACTLY. when we want a workout, we'll maybe go pay a gym membership for one.

nic - about TIME!

Mary Witzl said...

This was a great list. You are so right about all of these things. Slap bracelets beat cutting hands down, and where would we all be without cordless phones? I was deprived as a teenager: our phone was tethered in the kitchen and my father used to listen to my phone calls with an eager ear. It's a wonder he survived my adolescence.

(Just for you I braved changing a Turkish keyboard to an English one -- imagine!)

Melissa said...

My mother recently found an old collection of slap bracelets for me. And they're awesome. But now I can't find them. It was a glorious but brief reliving.

I'd like to add to the list the following....beautiful school portrait backgrounds:
We have lasers

Orhan Kahn said...

Thats okay, 2 weeks with a post, you know, whatever. It's not like I'm missing you or anything. Pssh.