June 28, 2009

Overnight Open Thread – (genghis)
— Open Blog

[Sorry for the delay - genghis is out and asked one of us morons to post this for him earler, but we're all slackers so no one got around to it until now - Mætenloch]

Here’s a couple of articles for you to compare and contrast.

Item #1: I’ve gone out of my way to avoid most of the celebrity death stuff over the past few days (unless bacon was involved) but as always, the media has moved on to the next phase of grieving/exploiting which is the What Does it all Mean? phase. And why should this be any different, particularly since they’ve got a two-fer going? But now, just in our time of greatest need for healing, comes a piece from the AP titled This is the Moment When Generation X Realizes They’ve Grown Up. So please settle back on your generational therapy couch and we can begin our session:

”It all seems so quaint now, the fragmented dream memories of a fleeting micro-era that began with words like "bicentennial" and "pet rock" and ended with MTV, Atari and absurdly thin cans of super-hold mousse. The man-child named Michael Jackson and the luminous girl known as Farrah Fawcett-Majors jumped into our consciousness at a plastic moment in American culture - a time when the celebrity juggernaut we know today was still in diapers. When they departed Thursday, just a few hours and a few miles apart, they left an entire generation - a very strange generation indeed - without two of its defining figures.”

"These people were on our lunchboxes," said Gary Giovannetti, 38, a manager at HBO who grew up on Long Island awash in Farrah and MJ iconography. "This," he said, "is the moment when Generation X realizes they're grown up." It was a long time coming. Cynical, disaffected, rife with ADD, lost between Boomers and millennials and sandwiched between Vietnam and the war on terror, Gen X has always been an oddity. It was the product of a transitional age when we were still putting people on celebrity pedestals but only starting to make an industry out of dragging them down.

Its memorable moments were diffuse and confusing - the Ronald Reagan assassination attempt, the dawn of AIDS, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It had no protest movement, no opponent to unite it, none of the things that typically shape the ill-defined beast we call an American generation.”

So in other words, shit (I’m sorry…”historical events”) just sorta’ happened as it does during every time period but what apparently defines a generation is a protest movement. We were simply deprived of the opportunity to get out in the streets and march against…something. Probably because we were mindless conformists and the Atari-Industrial complex had us too distracted with promises of endless rounds of Asteroids. Let’s just go ahead and wrap it up with an epitaph:
”In the 1990s, members of Generation X would often laugh in bars about how the time of the Boomers was passing - about how the quaintness and naivete that made up the 1960s was, finally, a grave being danced on by Kurt Cobain. Today, members of that same generation sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings of pop.”

So If you happen to be a part of that lost generation it must be hard for you to hear that you’ve finally grown up. Personally I thought I’d done so a dozen years ago when the first mortgage statements started appearing in my mailbox. But once we’ve finished sitting around on the ground and telling sad tales of the death of kings of pop we can all take heart in this next story, can’t we?

Item #2: So here’s the compare and contrast part. It’s about a man who was trapped in a well for 4 days.

”PORT ALICE, B.C. -- Robert Bennett doesn't understand the hoopla surrounding his survival story. Then again, he’s not easily excited. The…man was working on his property when he fell through a decayed well cover in his yard. Bennett felt some 12 feet down. Most people would panic, but not Bennett. Shaken but unharmed, he started plotting his escape. "I made many attempts to get out, and all I had was the pieces of the lid, the wood pieces. And of course, they had broken apart. I would build these various edifices, and I would get up and get so high. And then the (darn) things would crack out on me and so I would think, 'Well, we gotta try it again.”

Where’s the angst in this story? There must be angst, right?
”What began as hours took up an entire day. Then night fell. Then the sun came up, and so on. But if Bennett was distraught, he didn't show it. He exercised. He went over his to-do list. He had plenty of time and plenty to drink. "Be sort of a... fool if I suffered from thirst, sitting next to a six-inch water valve, you know," he said.”

And mulled over the loss of pop icons I’m quite sure, but the story doesn’t mention that.
” Rescuers considered it a miracle. But for Bennett, it was just another adventure along the road. "I fell 50 feet down a shaft one time and survived quite well. What the hell's a 9-foot fall?" he said. Not having eaten a thing, Bennett lost some weight during those four days. He told his rescuers all he needed was some soup and a sandwich, and he'd be all right. But he reluctantly went to the hospital to be checked out.

So that should restore a little of your faith in humanity and the survival of Western culture. Just knowing that we have tough and resourceful guys like Mr. Bennett around makes me think that the future of America is secure. Well, except that Mr. Bennett is Canadian. And 84 years old.

Oh well, whatever. Never mind.
[Added by Mætenloch]

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