Here’s the deal. I’m not trying to be the grumpy, old young guy here. I think people in any generation should be able to do what makes them happy. What concerns me is that there are certain trends that, if they do not stop, will become our generation’s legacy. Instead of being a weird thing that we did for a few years, they will define us for coming generations. And as much as I advocate for your freedom to do whatever, I also don’t want to be lumped in with some of this bullshit down the road. And unless you want to be known as the YOLO/swag generation, too, I suggest you help.
I’m certainly not the first person to complain about selfies. I’m not even the first person on this site to do so. But I do feel the philosophical need to throw my hat of dissent into the ring. The selfie is so inherently disgusting to me that I can’t even articulate it properly. It’s not just the “look at me” aspect of it. I’m not totally sure what it is, really. It’s certainly an extension of our celebrity worship and our generation’s obsession with whatever level of “fame” we can achieve, even if it’s getting the most Instagram likes out of your group of friends because your outfit was so good that day. I’ve taken a selfie once, and it was for the purpose of seeing which direction my hairline went on the back of my head, because I didn’t have a mirror. I deleted it 30 seconds later. Something about the concept of choosing yourself as both the photographer and the subject of the photo unnerves me, and the fact that my age group is inherently known for popularizing this concept really grinds my gears.
2. Crotch Drop Pants
I won’t lie, I had to Google what these were called. I’ve always referred to them as “those douchebag genie pants Bieber wears.” I know a lot of you who live in the middle of the country probably think something that only a couple of famous people wear isn’t actually a trend, but take it from someone who lives in Los Angeles: they’re out there. My New York and Chicago friends have confirmed this with me as well. People actually wear these stupid half diaper/half ballet tights. In public. And if you think parachute pants, leg warmers, or corduroy blazers were embarrassing for other generations, I can tell you that this is much, much worse.
3. Mainstream Electronic Music
Dance music is fine. Dubstep is fine. I’ll even listen to both on occasion. What I don’t need is for all Top 40 music to be homogenized into a weird Frankenstein’s monsterization of pop vocals over EDM tracks. And that’s what is happening. Every female pop star does it. Hell, there’s a fucking country-influenced Avicii track. I don’t know what’s going on, and it’s not just limited to Top 40. Great bands are putting down their guitars and singing over beats. I’ve ranted about it before, concerning The Goo Goo Dolls and Coldplay (and yes, Coldplay used to be a great band, you ingrates). But plenty of other bands like Matchbox 20 and Maroon Five have sanded down their sounds with over-popped melodies and electronica. Chris Cornell did a fucking album with Timbaland. I like it when bands sample other types of music or take on different genres as influences. I don’t like when bands default to a safe, inorganic sound in an effort to “keep their music relevant.”
4. Being In A Celebrity’s Weird Cult Group
I realize that fanaticism about musicians and celebrities has been a thing ever since The Beatles and Elvis, so I’m not trying to act like this is anything new. What I don’t like is that there are now names for fans of certain people. Beliebers, Little Monsters, Directioners, and apparently Miley calls hers “Smilers.” It’s the weirdest example of pop tribalism I’ve ever seen. Sure, most of these groupies are much younger than we are, but I know of plenty of postgrads who categorize themselves in one of these groups of entertainment Brown Shirts. I think the best way to combat this is to not complain about it, but to join in. You don’t destroy a group by fighting it, you destroy it by diluting it. If we all start calling ourselves true Beliebers, the dumb-dumbs already doing it will get frustrated and leave.
5. Reboots And Remakes
Comic book adaptations, young adult novel adaptations, remakes of old franchises, reboots of new franchises. It’s all over the place. I want it to be known that I don’t have a problem with the wave of superhero films. I happen to like most of the Marvel universe stuff. What does bother me is rebooting “Spider-Man,” a franchise that came out barely a decade ago. And the flood of dystopian and fantasy young adult action movies, in which a pair of white teenagers (a boy and a girl) are thrust into a fight they didn’t want, but discover that they are–you won’t believe it–special. If you think I’m just talking about “The Hunger Games,” then you obviously haven’t heard of “Percy Jackson,” “Divergent,” “The Mortal Instruments,” or “The Host.” It’s not slowing down. Go check out the trailer for “The Maze Runner” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64-iSYVmMVY) and tell me that isn’t a movie that’s already been made seven times in the last five years.
I know, I know. It’s not like our generation is the group of people responsible for this trend. It could certainly be argued that we’re somewhat responsible as consumers for buying tickets, but I don’t think that’s fair either. But we’re going to be guilty by association. It’s not like someone who was in his or her teens or twenties in the ‘80s is responsible for “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Back to the Future,” or anything John Hughes, but they have the benefit of being culturally identified with them forever–and the bragging rights that come with it. I really just want one thing: a new “Star Wars.” No, not J.J. Abrams’ new “Star Wars” (although I am cautiously excited about that). What I mean is that I want there to be one completely original, big budget franchise that blows everyone’s mind when it comes out, changes the landscape of movies forever, and defines the generation of young people for the rest of their lives. And I really, really, really want that franchise to not be “Avatar.”
Look, I’ve already accepted that we’re going to be the social media generation. The hashtag will come to define us. Maybe some of these are already too ingrained to be removed (selfies, almost definitely). If we could maybe just drop one or two from relevance, we can hold on to some shred of dignity when our kids have “Dress Like A Millennial Day” at school in 20 years.