I’m reading a blog written by this really cool woman. She’s talking about what music she has on her iPod. She listens to the coolest current music and I’m writing down the names of the latest bands that I never even heard of. Then this woman starts talking about her teenage children, and I realize that this woman is 35 years old. It makes me think of my own parents and their relationship to my music, which was mostly:
"Neil, make that hard rock lower! It’s driving me crazy" (and we’re talking about Hall and Oates here).
For my parents, listening to popular music stopped when they got married and had jobs. They became too busy with real life to keep up with the latest movies, songs, and TV shows. Even today, my mother is always one year behind with popular culture:
Me: "I’ll call you later, Mom. I’m watching "The Office."
Mom: "Whose office?"
I don’t do this to make fun of old-fashioned parents. I do this to make fun of us, a generation that feels the need to keep current.
It is impossible to keep up with all of the latest stuff. It used to be that you had to only keep track of the latest celebrities and movie stars. Now you have to remember "reality stars." You have to know "blogs." People even know the names of "adult stars" now! Soon, we’ll feel embarrassed if we don’t know the names of "podcasters."
I have to admit that I sometimes read "celebrity" blogs and have no idea who they are talking about. For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyone is interested in Nicole Richie. Because of that one stupid TV show with Paris Hilton? If you asked me, I could not hum any of Ashlee Simpson’s songs to you.
I use to pride myself on seeing every single movie that was ever released. I would sit in movie theaters for hours. I used to anxiously wait for the TV Guide Fall Season issue to come out and bookmark what shows I would watch that season. Now, I barely find time to watch "Lost."
Maybe this is the way things are supposed to be. After all, does a teenager really want a Mom who listens to Franz Ferdinand on her own iPod? What do you rebel against? Does the teenager intentionally listen to Donny Osmond to annoy her — just like Alex Keaton in "Family Ties" became a Reagan supporter to rebel against his hippy parents?
I notice that radio stations have started to adjust to the aging population. "Oldies" stations used to play music from the 50s and 60s. Now they play music from the 80s and 90s. Soon there will be nursing homes where the residents will be rocking to Led Zeppelin. Or maybe future retirees will be downloading the latest music from iTunes, still hip to the latest music. Maybe this is actually a good thing. Someone 30 or 40 today seems a lot younger than someone 30 or 40 from the last generation.
Even my mother is trying to be more current with movie stars now that Paul Newman doesn’t act much anymore. She recently called me up and said she saw some movie on HBO with Jude Law. Unfortunately, she read on Page 6 of the New York Post that he was a "real jerk" to his wife.
"So, do you like Jude Law?" I asked.
"He’s very handsome… but he’s no Paul Newman."