“The youth are very important to me, they’re the next generation, but I want to instill in kids, even in playing, that it’s never too late and there’s no right or wrong way to do anything.”
I think we can all agree that there is so much wrong in this world today and depending on your interests, it can range from personal concerns at home or work to larger societal problems relating to the economy or political issues. I would add to that mix generational issues; there are generational clashes (old versus young) and, the young generation’s still-to-be-defined final destination in this new digital world. Boy, that’s a lot for everyone to deal with but it’s really a lot for our young people to tackle.
So in taking the temperature of our youth (and our future) two recent articles that came across my desk really got my attention. The first was 5 Seconds of Summer talking about depression and the “New Broken Scene,” and the second was Lady Gaga similarly talking about depression and anxiety.
Taking 5 Seconds Of Summer first, broken down to it’s simplest explanation, The New Broken Scene is a phrase that comes from a 5 Seconds Of Summer song entitled She’s Kinda Hot (the song appears on 5SOS’ upcoming album Sounds Good Feels Good (Capitol Records) which is to be released on October 23). The context of the Scene, as proclaimed by the band, goes like this:
“We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene yeah we’re alright though”
Translated, it means that our younger generation is messed up but despite their flaws they are alright and they will be fine. There is something interesting about that proposition; first, there is a retrospective reality check–and an honest one at that–that everything and everyone is not perfect. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there is the prospective positive belief that all will be okay despite the product being defective. In my opinion, and as a member of the baby boomer generation, I really like (and indeed prefer) the honest self-analytics of that generation versus mine which tended to be more propagandized into making everyone believe there was nothing wrong. . . .ever. They at least realistically assessed their credit limit while we just kept borrowing without worrying about our ability to repay the debt. In recent economic times, we all know what happened when unbridled and unchecked borrowing was allowed to happen–it nearly put our economy out of business. So, you tell me; which is the better model?
Gaga’s piece picks up where 5 Seconds Of Summer left off. Gaga–a/k/a Stefani Joanne Angelina–is “significantly” older (at age 29) than the members of 5SOS who are between the ages of 19 and 21 (drummer Ashton Irwin is the oldest at 21 while everyone else in the band is 19). The point is that Gaga brings a slightly different perspective but her observations are nevertheless spot on particularly considering this is the digital age. Gaga said this about the problems plaguing the youth today:
“There is something in the way that we are now, with our cell phones and people are not looking at each other and not being in the moment with each other, that kids feel isolated. They read all of this extremely hateful language on the Internet. The Internet is a toilet. It is. It used to be a fantastic resource—but you have to sort through shit to find the good stuff.”
Taken together, what 5SOS is saying is that we (as in their generation) have problems but it will be okay. Gaga adds to that by being more specific about the root and the cause of the societal and generational problems themselves; i.e., the digital age. Wow, those are important messages particularly if you care about our future and our youth and you realize the problems that the digital age has brought about. If you don’t agree then you might respond by criticizing 5SOS (as some critics have) for being the newest brand of bubblegum rock which adds nothing to our musical culture. Similarly, others have taken a shot at Gaga claiming that she is too eccentric or odd to be cast alongside credibility (although Gaga’s recent television performances have reaffirmed her talent). In my opinion, neither argument has any merit; both artists deserve a listen.
In fact, I will say this. If you are a dismissing critic who won’t even listen to what they have to say that is dangerous and such an attitude has gotten us in trouble before like when iceberg warnings were ignored while a ship steamed full speed ahead in a moonless night. As you know that event didn’t end well but had someone listened, it could have saved lives. Anyway, I applaud 5SOS for coming up with the generational anthem and Gaga for setting up a non-profit to assist those who are struggling to deal with it.
In fact, I will do you one better. Maybe my generation could borrow a cup of self-assessment to acknowledge that we too are flawed but that it will be alright. As I see it from my chair I am hopeful that the new wave will influence us all to change. People are angry. People are fed up. I believe that many, like myself, are tired of the ongoing parade of horribles. Maybe we can learn from the younger generation which wants to live in a “real” world where people are accepted for who they “really” are. You know my thoughts on acceptance:
“Being judgmental is the rust of society”
Even better yet, maybe we go back and help them. In fact, the young generation, in my opinion, needs our help. That’s because they are dealing with something that we never had to deal with; the digital age. It’s an age that was designed to make life easier and more convenient. In large part it has done that but it has also allowed people to become less personal and more isolated and it has also given some a platform for bullying and scandal. I would like to believe that that wasn’t in the original plan.
So when I think of how we all dealt with isolation and the typical issues that plagued us all when we were young I never imagined turning to a telephone (now cellphone) for relief. Electronic chaperones simply weren’t in the plan then and in my opinion, they shouldn’t be in the plan now.
You know it’s funny when you think about it. Wasn’t it in literally 50 years ago that The Who sang this this?:
People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
Ironically then, it appears that other generations similarly had their own anthems and their 5 Seconds Of Summers and Gagas that rallied the troops for the fight called life. Well, we turned out okay didn’t we? But then again, we did it without the aid of websites, cellphones, and social media. Yeah, that would have changed things for us for sure. I guess that makes me think that indeed the “new” scene that is the “broken” scene is just like it used to be but with an electronic twist. Interesting, isn’t it? If you agree don’t call me; just shoot me an email. Otherwise, I am going to reach out to the young ones and talk to them and lend a hand. You know, show them the way we did it.
Alright alright. I guess we can take a selfie to meet in the middle. Ok?