Monday, July 31, 2006

moving to help the next generation of kids not screw up popular culture

Today at lunch, I had a conversation with my co-workers in which I revealed that one of my biggest fears is that I'm no longer in a place to shape pop culture. Not in a way that I ever had my own Entertaiment Weekly, Spin, or DIW to dictate what was cool, but there was a sense of accomplishment in hand-stapling my own zines, as well as interviewing a bunch of bands before they became regulars on TRL and Pitchfork.

Goofing off on the Interweb, I discovered this New York Times article (by way of the Gawk) in which older (and some not-so older) business people are hiring kids in their teens to be their conduit to the youth of America. I was briefly sad, then I laughed. Loudly.

If there's one thing I've learned from having a younger sibling or three, is that kids don't know shit. Including me. When I was 15, I'm pretty sure that my goal wasn't to be a singer in a hardcore band. In fact, I can guarantee that my number one goal when I was 15 was to be a famous mixtape DJ, a goal that a) isn't very hard to achieve anymore and b) doesn't mean crap.

Here's the thing about teens in general: their tastes will change constantly, and maybe that's why these out-of-the-loop folks are hiring kids, but then again, tastes are dictated by trends, and who controls the trends? Viacom, Universal Music Group, and News Corp. So if you really want to know what's going on with youth culture, wouldn't it be easier (or at least cheaper) to cruise Myspace, watch some MTV, and keep an eye on Jay-Z?

I think so, anyway. I certainly wouldn't go to my brother to find out what's cool since his current musical diet consists of Hyphy Bay Area Rap which, save for E-40, is terrible.

It's not out of the question that one day these kids will rule the world, and that's not my main gripe. The question is why would I trust the musical palette of a generation of spoiled brats whose main vehicle of communication is a cell-phone with a QWERTY keyboard and whose grammar is reduced to half-words and idiotic acronyms (whatevs and LOL)?

I wouldn't trust these halflings with my life, let alone decide whether Panic At the Disco will be the "new" Duran Duran.


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