The Younger Generation

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

I thought I would do a short post today to ride the coattails Nathan’s post on Friday. He talked about how the thirty-somethings were talking to the twenty-something that had really no grasp on the technology of Olde… er, old.

The first topic I’d like to broach is that of VideoDiscs. My family had a VideoDisc player. They were fantastic… fantastically bad. They were basically like vinyl records with movies on them. The problem is that they could scratch like vinyl records, but they would become near unusable with little damage. And if you wish to compare apples to apples, I still have vinyl records that play just fine. Most of those VideoDiscs went bad in the time we owned them, which is odd because they were never really handled. They were in the case, and then they were in the machine. They were in the machine, and then they were in the case. You never directly handled the disc, because it loaded from the casing. We made the mistake of trying to clean a couple of them, the way you could clean a vinyl record, and it seemed to make them worse. They would work fine briefly, but then they would really crap out.

So what possessed my parents to buy VideoDiscs instead of LaserDiscs… and for that matter Beta instead of VHS? I can’t answer to the Beta, but I can answer to the VideoDiscs, because I was there. The sales guy showed us LaserDiscs, and, wow, were they amazing. He had me walk on one and then played it in the player, and it worked just fine. He really tried selling my parents on the Laser Discs. The machine and the discs were considerably more, yes, but long term such a better investment. Then my mom reasoned that the video store in town didn’t rent out LaserDiscs, but did rent out VideoDiscs, and that was that.

The truth is that from that time forward, technology has changed so often that it probably didn’t matter which we got. In the 1990s, Miguel pointed out that we could still buy LaserDiscs had we gone that route, but did it really matter. We had VHS and DVD was on the rise. It’s not as though we couldn’t watch movies.

Next, I’d like to tell a brief story about taking my children to see my dad once when they ranged in age from 2 to 10. I decided to play some of my Duran Duran collection, specifically the part that is on vinyl, since it is kept at my dad’s. When I went to put on a record, one of the younger kids asked, “Why are those CDs so big?”

Another time, I was getting the kids from school, and I had on the Classical music station. Needless to say, the kids were in rebellion of my choice of listening for the day. “Put on a CD!” they cried. “Don’t you want to be cultured?” “No, put on a CD!” they cried again. “Don’t you know that bullshit studies show that Classical music makes you smarter?” “We don’t care! Put on a CD!” they insisted. So I put in my Wagner CD, and played “Flight of the Valkyries.”

The first time that I experienced the “younger generation” syndrome was at work, and I was the ripe old age of 25. I told an 18 year old that I had watched “Purple Rain” the night before, and she responded with, “What’s that?” To be fair, she had heard the song. She just didn’t know it was also a movie.

Finally, I would like to tell you about a night at the club. I was with a group of four people ranging from 32 to 40. This was in 2007. One of the guys was wearing eyeliner, which I’d never seen him do before, and since he shaved his head, he looked an awful lot like Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins. These three young women sat down with us and the “leader” introduced them. I introduced our group, which were three guys and one gal. When I introduced the one guy, I said, “…but you can call him Billy Corgan, since that’s who he suddenly looks like.” The young woman who had initiated the conversation said, “I’m too young to know who that is.” I started laughing and said, “What are you, twelve?” Needless to say, I didn’t get her number.

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