After orbiting separately around similar technical and design planets for 5 or 6 years, over the past two months I’ve come to know the masterminds behind the secretive silverorange.
This is, of course, the stuff of youth, and while I have a beautiful woman to share my life with, and more than my own fair share of world gadabouting, I can’t help but be envious of their youthful insouciance.
What interests me more, however, is the cultural divide that separate us. As much as we take a similar approach to technology and
society (which I would roughly describe as “practical, functional and anarchistic”), there are vast tracts of the popular culture that we don’t share in common.
This surprises me. I’ve got a healthy collection of friends who are anywhere from my age to 35 years older than I am, and, in general, I find our popular culture references overlap to a large degree, generally centred on about 1975.
I can draw a broad allusions to Mary Richard’s apartment, for example, and most of my friends will know exactly what I’m talking about. Same thing for, say, the New Adventures of Superman, The Bob Newhart Show, and Airport 1975.
Although we share certain cultural touchstones — Seinfeld is a good one, as are The Simpsons, I must say that, in general, I feel a much wider cultural divide going back than I do going forward.
Some of this, of course, is because of the inherent differences between looking forward and looking back; it’s inevitable to feel old fartesque when you’re talking Archie Bunker’s Place and Joanie Loves Chachi and they’re talking Ali G. and Biggie Smalls.
But, after my [not all that old, but still a little older than me] friend Ann planted the idea in my head, I think there’s something else at play too, which is that the rate of popular cultural acceleration in the last 10 years has increased dramatically. I don’t know how to measure this, or even whether it is true or not, but there’s a certain feel to the notion that hits right.
So I ask you, young people: does this make any sense, and do you feel the same thing going back and forward from your positions in the cultural timeline?