Monday, May 25, 2009

Kids These Days!


I live in a neighborhood with a lot of hipster kids. Michael and Dolores (our landlady) love to get together and complain about them. Dolores is in her 70s and entitled, but Michael seems a little young to me for curmudgeonhood. He's only 35, not much older (in my eyes anyway) than the kids he complains about. When they get together, it's all about the clothes, the hair, the bicycles, the parties, the drinking, living 5 to an apartment, etc, etc, etc. Does any of this sound familiar? This could be my dad 40 years ago complaining about all the hippies in Lee Park in Dallas.
To my eyes, the hipsters are pretty tame. I've seen a lot in my 51 years: hippies, punks, dead-heads, metal heads, head bangers, new wavers, new agers, neo-hippies, goth, grunge, glitter, glam, and gay. Today's youth rebellion in comparison seems very bland and unthreatening to me. I don't see what all the fuss is about.

It seems to me that every new generation disappoints the ones that came before it. The earliest surviving text that I'm aware of that complains about how kids are no good these days and the whole world is going to hell in handbasket is the "Old Oligarch." He was complaining about that lazy shiftless good-for-nothing new generation coming of age in the Athens of Pericles. They were nothing like the real men of his day back during the reign of the Pesistratids, men not afraid of a good day's work who had respect for authority, not like today's kids wasting all their time hanging out down by the Agora; and the insolence! these kids walk right into the Pnyx like they own the place!...

And yet, somehow, civilization is still with us 2500 years later.

Who can blame the kids for wanting to say, "Piss off!" to us old codgers. We did the same thing when we were a disappointment to our elders.


Rick+ said...

I agree with you Doug about complaints about young people, but I disagree that 51 is old. Rememebr 50 is the new "30". :)

June Butler said...

Hi Counterlight. I be's home.

Yes. Pretty tame. Not nearly as scary as the hippies. And 35 is, indeed, young to be complaining about young people.

Counterlight said...


Glad you're back and I hope you had a great time.

Some of the East Village punks with the brilliantly died mohawks, studded belts and vests, piercings, and boots could be really scary. It was hard to know what to do about them. Their look demanded "LOOK AT ME!!!!" while at the same time saying "What the hell are you lookin' at?"
I remember seeing one girl walking down 10th street with a mohawk dyed with such brilliant colors that it was like the setting sun in Technicolor. I deeply regret that I didn't have a camera on me that day. I've never seen anything like her since.
And those kids could be rough. I remember watching fist fights break out almost daily in the Odessa diner, and that was just at breakfast.
Curiously, almost none of the people I knew who played in East Village bands dressed like that, or acted like that. They drank like fish, smoked like chimneys, and drugged like a corner drug store, but they were all more serious about their music than about their "look." That's probably why they were all such underground successes and commercial failures.

Somehow hipsters talking on cell phones while looking at their laptops in a coffee bar just don't quite have same powerful effect, or with such theatrical panache.

Wilfried said...

Well, that's the problem with living in a now trendy neighborhood, hipsters just aren't that interesting. For the old E. Villagers downward mobility was an art form, but the new ones are just waiting to make enough money to become yups.

JCF said...

It seems like the "These kids today!" 'tude follows with parenthood.

Neither you (I think?) nor I having fruit-of-our-loins, Doug, we have escaped---or at least indefinitely delayed!---that inevitable slide into codgerhood. ;-)