On Eternal Youth
Since when did Peter Pan become our national saint?
I read, and agreed with, something yesterday about the immaturity of modern culture. The more I think about it, the more I agree. It’s indisputable that our culture focuses on youth and has for generations. It’s imperative to appear young, and that’s nothing new. Young is taut and slim and smooth. Old is baggy and wrinkly and crumpled and creaky.
But moreover, it’s becoming imperative to act young as well. Be athletic. Be creative. Be endlessly energetic. Have a short attention span. Be sarcastic. Be cynical. Make jokes. Be materialistic. Value people by their appearance. And while some of these are very positive, some are not so much.
Have MTV and FOX been so successful in their bids for media power that our culture is reflecting their views of youth? Or, perhaps, were they successful because they showed those views, which we already had and wanted more of? Have we built a culture upon the values espoused in reality television? At all costs: look great, have attitude, seek attention, deny responsibility, eschew meaning. Non-divas need not apply.
I’m plenty young as it is, and I still feel pressure to be younger. How much younger can we all be? It’s pathetic to see someone who is clearly too old to be wearing what she’s wearing, or using the slang he’s talking. They try to be young. But, then, I judge them for not being young. Why?
What happens when the Baby Boomers, many of whom still have a death-grip hold on “But I’m still young!”, have to give in and admit that they are really, truly, AARP-card-carrying, my-favorite-shows-aren’t-even-on-Nick-at-Nite-anymore old? Will there be enough of them admitting it to make old popular? I doubt it.
I hope not, anyway. What? I’ve bought into it. Old sucks.