Every few months or so, I get one of these emails about how kids today will never know about things we had as kids blah blah blah. These annoy me for several reasons. Not only do these come out more often than significant technological changes happen (magazines or bloggers do these every 6 months or so and they aren’t many new updates so it’s the same crap over and over again), but it also infers that people are only aware of the things that came into existence after their birth. Meaning no one ever learns anything historic. And if this is the case, we’re all screwed.
I will admit, I am defensive about this. As a kid myself I had quite a sense of history regarding culture. I watched a lot of silent movies and listened to a lot of classical music. I also was aware that things came before me. I also have a bit of a chip on my shoulder from my previous life as a record store employee. Many customers who noticed that I was younger than them were so shocked to find out that I was aware of bands that were from the past. I took it a little personally, and perhaps too personally, that someone would think that no way would a 30 year old know who The Ink Spots are. First of all, I’ve listened to the radio more than once in my life, and second of all, I did work in a record store with stock beyond the Top 40.
If a kid today has no idea of culture prior to their date of birth, I’m taking the Ooompah Loompah stance here and blaming their parents. Parents who have such a short attention span that all they ever do is jump on cultural bandwagons will most likely have children with no sense of history regarding their culture. My personal bias is that they probably aren’t big readers, either, but now I’m just being mean.
Where are the “when I was a kid” stories? And do households with children really have no records or VCRs still in them? I suppose that is what surprises me most. I can’t imagine that every household with children comes home and immediately throws away their old systems after buying a new one. Heck, even my friend with a 2 year old still has vinyl records in the house! Sure, I don’t expect anyone to still have a PC Junior or original Macintosh with the handle on top, but I would think that some of this would come up in family conversation at one point.
I could just be living in the past myself, keeping my records and cassette tapes. I just like my music and don’t feel the need to spend the money to replace it all at once. Maybe others either have replaced everything they wanted, or just got rid of it all before they had kids, I don’t know. But I just don’t get the idea that young people have no idea that anything existed before they were born.
So here is my rebuttal to the most recent one of these that I’ve seen, which I found at www.wired.com. I’m assuming this list refers to kids now at the age of 16 (in the year 2009), which would make their year of birth 1993. I deleted the statements that reference something that is truly nothing that anyone has dealt with in decades. And to be fair, there were several deletions. For example, I do agree that no one has dealt with Super 8 film outside of film school for the last 20 years.
There are some things in this world that will never be forgotten, the moon landing, for one. But Moore’s Law and our ever-increasing quest for simpler, smaller, faster and better widgets and thingamabobs will always ensure that some of the technology we grew up with will not be passed down the line to the next generation of geeks.
That is, of course, unless we tell them all about the good old days of modems and typewriters, slide rules and encyclopedias …
Inserting a VHS tape into a VCR to watch a movie or to record something.
Come on, these kids would’ve been 5 in the year 1998. If they ever wanted to watch movies at home as kids, I’m sure the first ones they watched were on VHS. Kids were putting the movies in themselves by age 7, if the kids I babysat are any indication.
Now I can buy that these kids may not have recorded anything. Kids that age don’t get record privileges, and if they wanted to “tape” anything, mom or dad surely set it up for them.
Playing music on a tape using a personal stereo.
I owned a 2003 model car with nothing but a cassette deck and radio in it. Granted, many companies stopped making cassettes in the early 2000s, but the ones who kept up with them longer were companies like Sony Wonder, AKA kid’s music labels. Cassettes for kids made sense since they could be handled by grubby fingers that do not know their own strength and survive way better than CDs can. This is of course not to mention that books on cassette were still widely found in libraries and bookstores until only a few years ago.
See what happens when you give a Walkman to today’s teenager.
You probably just get a kid scoffing and saying “Um, where’s my iPod?” Again, a teenager now was a child in the 90s, and I’d bet most kid’s music they remember listening to was heard on cassette.
Vinyl records. Even today’s DJs are going laptop or CD.
Bullshit. Vinyl records are readily available in many indie record stores, and on amazon.com. It’s the indie record stores that are going extinct, not vinyl. Granted, the Mac Book Pro has made DJs different kinds of spinners, but the ones I see have 2 turntables and a Mac.
Scanning your radio dial and hearing static between stations. (Digital tuners + HD radio b0rk this concept.)
Right, everyone has nothing but Sirius or XM. NOBODY has regular old FM radio anymore. Cars don’t come with radios anymore. Um, okay. I can see this in maybe like 20 years when the FCC requires radio to be completely digital or satellite like they did with television, but not now. The fact that people can still buy FM transmitters for their iPods proves my point on this one.
3-D movies meaning red-and-green glasses.
When you buy a 3-D movie on DVD, do you know what comes with it? Folded up red and blue 3-D glasses.
That there was a time before ‘reality TV.’
When was this? Documentaries about families with multiple children or families suffering through the addictions of a loved one have been on television for decades. So have game shows. There was a time before the label “reality TV”, but these kinds of shows have been around since the Indian’s head.
Wires. OK, so they’re not gone yet, but it won’t be long.
Thanks for fessing up to this one. Again, kids in their teens now started playing video games as young kids, and everything up to the Playstation 2 had standard wired controllers. Wireless ones you had to buy separately. Besides, everything still has to plug into the wall.
Counting in kilobytes.
I’m being nit-picky here, but I still get emails less than 100K on occasion. Kids know what a kilobyte is, I guarantee you. Programs in kilobytes, sure, that’s gone the way of the dodo.
Blowing the dust out of a NES cartridge in the hopes that this time it will load.
Oh yeah, this takes me back. But I’ll bet kids today did the same thing when they were young with the cartridges for the N64.
Recording a song in a studio.
What? Not everyone just uses GarageBand for their music recordings. The process may have changed, but you can still find a music studio to go into to record your record.
Doing bank business only when the bank is open.
Banks still have banking hours because a lot of things must be done in person, like opening accounts and such. Thank you very much, Patriot Act.
Shopping only during the day, Monday to Saturday.
If you need something right now, as in you can’t wait for it to ship to you from an online store, you have to visit a brick and mortar store. Major retailers, such as Whole Foods, Target, Macy’s, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, Hallmark, Limited Brands, and about 1000 others are not 24 hours as of yet. Granted, the hours are later and these places are open Sundays, but still, the 3 dimensional world isn’t completely 24 hours yet.
Phone books and Yellow Pages.
Well, these still get delivered, but I can’t guarantee that everyone uses them.
Carrying on a correspondence with real letters, especially the handwritten kind.
Christ, even Hot Topic still sells stationery!
Waiting several minutes (or even hours!) to download something.
Um…. RapidShare isn’t always all that rapid. The thing is that if you want it fast, you have to pay.
Putting film in your camera: 35mm may have some life still, but what about APS or disk?
I’ll bet a lot of teenagers today have APS baby pictures.
Sending that film away to be processed.
Baby pictures that had to be sent away to be processed.
Having physical prints of photographs come back to you.
Fickr, Picasa and Shutterfly all have services where you can order prints. People don’t have their wedding albums online only.
Faxes are still pretty common. Sending efiles is slowly becoming the norm, but there is a long way to go.
Vacuum cleaners with bags in them.
Dyson hasn’t taken over the world just yet. Not if Oreck has anything to say about it.
Taking turns picking a radio station, or selecting a tape, for everyone to listen to during a long drive.
No, but all the kids have to agree on a movie.
Not knowing who was calling you on the phone.
Privacy blocker keeps us still in the dark about who’s calling.
Actually going down to a Blockbuster store to rent a movie.
Well, maybe not the Blockbuster, but actually going to the RedBox is still pretty popular.
Toys actually being suitable for the under-3s.
So, babies just have no toys? No stuffed animals? No blocks? No xylophones?
This is still graded in school.
Starbuck being a man.
Dirk Benedict knows Kara Thrace could kick his ass.
Swimming pools with diving boards.
I haven’t been to the pool in a while, but isn’t diving still an Olympic sport? Or is this one in reference to diving platforms rather than those springy boards? Like the one that almost killed Greg Louganis?
Hershey bars in silver wrappers.
Last time I checked, it was brown paper over a silver wrapper. Not sure though, I don’t eat chocolate anymore.
Having to manually unlock a car door.
When keyless entry batteries die, this is what we do.
Writing a check.
My piano tuner doesn’t take credit cards, and neither do Girl Scouts when the come to collect for their sweet, sweet cookies.
Roller skates, as opposed to blades.
Roller skates have made a big comeback. Blades are not nearly as hip as they once were.
So far, still the preferred currency of vending machines, drug dealers and even Auntie Annie’s pretzel stands in shopping malls.
Spending your entire allowance at the arcade in the mall.
I think it’s even easier to blow your allowance at Dave and Buster’s. And with Hot Topic and Sbarro still in almost every mall, I’m certain the wallets of young people don’t stay full long after a trip to the mall.