Aren’t you tired of the generation gap yet? Aren’t you bored? Aren’t you sick of worrying about how the kids use technology? I am so weary, so bored, with even talking about it. If I have to hear one more time that something has been lost from “real” human interaction because the way we communicate now is different than the way we communicated twenty years ago, I’m going to strangle someone with a phone cord. You know, one of those curly springy ones that nobody but spooks have any more because we have better technology now? Yeah, those. I’m re-purposing them as weapons of ironical murder of technology luddites.
My children are 6 and 9, and I don’t really know if they’re going to choose to have children of their own. If they do, I would like to preemptively come out in favor of the music my grandchildren like. It’s not any more vapid or stupid or melodically unsound than the music I like. I would like to say that I am not afraid of the way they communicate with their friends, even if they share information via embedded cybernetic brain enhancements at the speed of thought or speak in profanity laden shorthand that is unintelligible to me. I have confidence that they are smart enough to navigate the con artists and predators that infect their social networks in the future. I do not weep for the future of a democracy conducted via internet chatrooms and a popular vote designed and secured by the infosec community but taken from the model of reality television. I am not concerned about the sexual behaviors or interests of my grandchildren as long as they are empowered to make their own choices and are having a good time. I think the clothes and fashion they wear is just fine.
I don’t think any of these new choices and new ways of doing things is inferior to the way I do things right now. I don’t think my grandchildren have lost or given up a single ounce of their humanity or ability to connect with and care about other human beings. I don’t think they have weaker characters than previous generations because they struggle, and sometimes fail, to find solutions to complex personal and cultural problems I have never had to face but certainly had a hand in laying the foundations for. I don’t think I’m better because my ethics and politics reflect a different age and different problems.
The world turns, and every time it does the previous generation expresses grave misgivings about the behaviors of the next. Have we no perspective on this? Don’t you realize this has been happening forever? Rock n Roll turned out just fine people. AREN’T YOU BORED OF JUDGING YOUNG PEOPLE YET?
I am not a gatekeeper of culture, but I do hope my grandchildren feel like I am a gateway to the past, a place to learn from history so they can move forward and make their own in an informed way. Nothing says “ignore me and everything I know” like a false sense of superiority of the past over the future.
The generation gap is boring. Being afraid is tiring. Hang on to your hats. The future is going to be weird as shit, and my grandkids are going to be my tourguides. Why not ask yours to do the same?