Are We Too Cool for School?

Blog No. 54

I was a child in the 80s so my memories are all a bit fuzzy at best.  Maybe I’m looking back at it through the lens of child like wonderment or maybe it’s just that my memory has never been very good but it seems to me that we were all a bit more ready to accept the silly things that went on around us.  I was reminded the other night that I am a jaded person, which is a fair assessment, but I would like to think I wasn’t always that way.  I try to remember the time that my parent’s bout the Ghostbusters’s sound track and I grooved out to Ray Parker Jr. on my Playschool tape player.  Every movie had a theme song, cereal had toys inside and Burger King had those little burgers that came in a pack of three. 

Maybe it is better that we are all more aware of the media and its effects, but it seems to me that they are just trying harder now that we know not to take it all at face value.  Fear seems to be the only way they know to keep us watching and it’s a dirty move on their part, but it works.  Fear based news keeps us tuning in and waiting for that last story that will save us from the food we eat and the people we live with.  I’m not saying that it’s all fear mongering, but there are clear statistics that indicate that violent crime is going down though there are more reports of it in the news. 

Sometimes the scare stories are true, we have to be and are more aware of what companies and governments are doing and it’s not always good.  But sometimes we weigh the fear over the actual information and that’s just as bad.  We get in our own way.  It’s good to question but it isn’t always necessary to fight.  Sometimes it’s just good to play along with the system and working together we can get ourselves out of trouble (or try to stay out of it).  Simple things like buying local can have a huge economic impact in our communities and if we remember that when times are though we can help each other out.  It’s just following the program, but (like the point I was trying to make) sometimes that’s okay.  Right now in my area there is a big Hinez plant closing and we all get the reminder that spending our money locally over saving a few bucks can help out a lot of our neighbours.

 It shouldn’t be surprising how off topic I ended up (I’m calling it a skill having done it so many times) but here we are now.  What I wanted to write about is how we all seemed to play along more to the culture of the 80s, with Sunday night family movies on TV and bad rapping in commercials.  We learned those raps for the schoolyard and begged our parents for the new Transformer toy.  My family spent a lot of time at baseball games and in hockey arenas with one of the three boys in the game and the rest of the family in the stands (or playing behind the bleachers).  We would even collect the glasses that were sold at gas stations (and they were cool).

 Everything is ironic now.  People wear clothes and follow trends because they aren’t cool (at least that’s the idea).  In the 80s and 90s people followed trends with earnest.  Even marketing campaigns have leaned towards trying to reach the bored youth by taking them self as seriously as their audience.  After school and Saturday morning cartoons are nowhere to be found (on regular TV at least).  We seem to be stuck in a culture that osculates between idolizing the past and making fun of it.  We almost lack an identity as if we are afraid of the future but think of ourselves as better than the past.  It’s an odd mix that just seems to be a cop-out and an excuse to not make any choices or decisions in fear that we will be made fun of by our cool, ultra hip connected society.  Personally I agree with the people who call me jaded.  I’ve grown more so with age and have no interest in staying current.  I do miss the toys at the bottom of cereal boxes though.

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