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You're gonna have to overlook the cliched title up there and just bear with me; this idea is bigger than me and has been dolled up by writers smarter than me, though usually much older as well, those having come from the Can Do and the Me First Generations that have brought us to this point.

But first: 0 for 4, a team-leading 4 Left On Base as the Mariners lost 5-0; .171 batting average.

I realize that a lot of what I do and what I say is completely steeped in hypocrisy - I bet you didn't know they named Hypocrite Smurf after me on that wonderful cartoon - so it really comes as no surprise that after lambasting Rolling Stone for their 40th Anniversary Issue, I've gone and read every article and every interview I've come across so far. What can I say? It's either read this issue or listen to Mike & Mike in the morning on ESPN Radio; it's a matter of human decency! Am I wrong? Am I wrong???

So, as I was sitting there on the floor, listening to the last Yo La Tengo album on my iPod, with my laptop downloading Season 3 of The Wire, with my cell phone getting absolutely no reception, I read the interview with Patti Smith and the interview with Steven Spielberg. This is what they had to say:

Maybe things come too easy now. When I wanted to hear "White Rabbit," I had to save my money, get on a bus to Philadelphia, get my single, get back on the bus and hope the electric bill was paid so I could play my record. You didn't just dial it up on your cell phone and pay for it with your credit card. Everything was a choice: Am I going to get Jimi Hendrix's new album or Surrealistic Pillow? You didn't just dial them up and get them all. - Patti Smith

Look, we've become a fast-food nation, and that includes how we get our entertainment. Kids are happy to spend four hours blogging and e-mailing each other. As opposed to my generation, who used to spend that same number of hours sitting in a movie theater. - Steven Spielberg

***


Everyone likes to talk about how things are different from generation to generation. Why, back in MY day, and all that nonsense. The truth is, of course things are different now than they were in the 60s and 70s; but what's really fucked up is, things are vastly different now than they were just ten years ago! I'm only 26 and I'm ALREADY saying, "Well, back in MY day we didn't have this dal-gurn Internet whositmajig and when I was a youngster there wasn't all these danged cellular phones running around and I had to walk five miles in the snow backwards just to get to school; and we LIKED it!"

But I can't help thinking about what Patti Smith had to say right there. When I was a kid first getting into music, living off of an allowance, I had to make those kinds of choices! OK, two tapes just came out this week, but I've only got twelve bucks. Which one do I buy today because I simply can't go one more minute without it and which one can I wait a week or two on? Now, if they were two landmark albums, I'd go ahead and get an advance on my allowance, blow my wad and buy both, and then suffer for two weeks because I already wore myself out on the two purchases. But, if two albums come out in the same week today, I just go to my handy-dandy torrent site, start the download, and before I know it I've got more music than I know what to do with; more music than can possibly fit on my iPod.

I think I answered my own question that I posed a few months back: why don't I have the same passion for music and certain bands like I used to when I was younger? It's because I have everything! I have everything from every possible band and from every possible genre of music. There's no thrill of anticipation anymore because I no longer have to wait; I no longer have to scrimp and save and borrow money and wait in line. Instead of running home and listening to music in my room with my speakers blasting and my door closed; I listen to music on my iPod while going to work, or going home, or while otherwise on the move.

Likewise, I just have too much music. When I was younger, I built my collection from a dozen or so cassette tapes to around a hundred. Sure, I thought I was hot shit, but it took me a damned long time to get it up that high. What if I was to tell you I could get a hundred albums by the end of the week, not pay a dime, and have them all organized on my computer without any work whatsoever; would that be something you'd be interested in? No? Because who in their right mind needs 100 albums in a week? Who in their right mind could LISTEN to 100 albums? Exactly. When you're young and you're building a music collection like I was, you get into certain bands. You buy their albums and you listen to them over and over again because you've only got so many to choose from. When you have 12 tapes and you listen to them ad nauseum for months on end, the anticipation for something new from one of those 12 bands is so intense that you're frothing at the mouth when that Tuesday comes around. It's not the same when you've got hundreds of bands you like and that number grows by the day through an insatiable hunger for a fresh new sound.

***


So, I've been trying to think of some of the things Technology has given me that makes me completely enmeshed in this Fast Food Generation. Really, it's like a conglomeration of the Can Do and the Me First Generations, a hideous spawn known as the "I Want Right NOW!!! Generation"

Spielberg goes on to opine about how wonderful these times are, how great it is that this younger generation is embracing Reality Television and saying that they want to watch themselves as opposed to whatever the Old Guard says should be "Entertainment". Personally, I think he's full of it; like any other liberal old person, they think EVERYTHING is exciting because they can do nothing but live vicariously through their children because they know their time is coming and it's the CHILDREN who are the FUTURE! Please.

What we've got on our hands is disgusting narcissism and selfishness, plain and simple. We want music, but we don't want to wait for it or pay for it; we want it right NOW, and we want it for FREE! We like watching movies, but we don't necessarily want to go to the movie theater or have to pay exorbitant prices; we want to watch it on the GO, on our iPods, on our lap tops; and we want to download it because 20-30 bucks for a movie is rediculous! We absolutely love talking to our family and friends, but we don't want to be stuck at home, tethered to some land line, conversing at specified times; we want to talk to our family and friends while we're OUTSIDE; while we're driving and walking and sitting on a bench on our lunch breaks!

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm as big an offender of these things as anyone. But that's because I've got the choice. Computers are readily available; the Internet is up for grabs; geeks and nerds are developing new ways for me to steal shit electronicly all the time. All I have to do is educate myself just enough to know how to work their geeky and nerdy technology, pony up the dough for a computer and some high-speed Internet, and I'm good to go. I've got everything I could ever want. Except a life.

Spielberg's right, kids today can multi-task like no generation before (well, I guess except for all those pioneer children who had to get up before the sun to help their parents with the daily farm chores before going to school, doing all their homework, and again helping their parents out in the fields or in the home until the sun set; I'm guessing those kids knew just a LITTLE something about multi-tasking), but kids today have so many more choices. Back in the 60s and 70s, what did they have? Three television channels, AM radio, record and 8-track players, cars, and drugs. So, what did they do? Smoked pot, took LSD, tripped balls while listening to Hendrix or Floyd, zoned out to Gilligan's Island or Scooby Doo, and worked on their Ford Mustangs, while occasionally using them to drive around aimlessly because it was all they could do just to scrap a few bucks together for more gas and more weed. They didn't have 9,000 channels, didn't have Netflix, didn't have torrents or e-mail or digital porn. They had their older brother's stash of Playboys and let me tell you, Playboy in the 60s and 70s was NOTHING compared to what it is today. Keep that in mind the next time you think life is one big pain in the ass.

***


I've always wished I could've lived in a different time. In a different age, if nothing else than to experience what they did in the late 60s, early 70s. To be in my 20s, living in San Francisco with all the hippies, doing endless amounts of drugs, just scraping by in life on my art and my communal lifestyle.

I quickly try to squash that kind of thinking because it's pointless. I'm here, I'm stuck here, and there's nothing that's going to change that. So I just have to make due.

Yet, there's nothing I'd rather do than try to make my life as primitive as possible. To do away with the cell phone, to chuck the Internet, to listen to the music I've got for the next decade without adding to the mountain. I think about how I really don't get all that much from the Internet, that more than anything it's just a tool to take up my throwaway hours when I wouldn't be doing anything all that productive anyway. More than that, more often than not, what I do on the computer digs into my productive hours as well, and that's when I'd like to toss it out the window.

Norman Mailer had some choice opinions in the very same Rolling Stone issue. I don't have them in front of me, but he was talking about researching information and how it's different today than it was in his prime. Today, we have all this information at our immediate disposal with the Internet, but for the most part it's all useless and jumbled. Since there's so much of it out there, rarely does enough of it seep into our consciousness to actually affect any noticable change in our overall knowledge. However, way back when, you had to spend hours on end in a library, sifting through encyclopedias, until finally you found out what it was that you were looking for. Not only did you have the satisfaction in the score, but you were more likely to retain that information because you just spent so much time searching for it. Knowledge had more importance before the Internet because you had to actually WORK to get it.

Sure, I'd love for the times to be of those simpler years when there weren't so many distractions at my disposal. But, I'm not so certain I'd be as willing to put in the work, the time, the effort, the money involved to maintain a base-level of comfort that I'm used to; especially being who I am, knowing what I know. Knowing that I have the choice, the options before me to soak in as much as possible.

***


The whole point of it is, this is all I know. It's like those starving children in Africa; we look at them and we think, "How awful they must feel." And then those children are interviewed and while they know it sucks, it's not like they're constantly weeping or giving up on life. They're indifferent for the most part, because that's all they know.

I didn't ask to be put into the Fast Food Generation, but that's just how it shaked out. Do I like it? No, but I'm used to it. There's enough for me here that I happen to enjoy that keeps me coming back for more; that keeps me from running away, growing all kinds of crazy facial hair, and living in the woods with the grizzlies and the deer.

Still doesn't hurt to wish that I might've originated as that crazy guy living in the woods with the grizzlies and the deer, just so I can visit this modern world of today, look at all the people and think to myself, "How awful they must feel."
 
 
My conscience tends to weigh heavier on me than most people I know. That's a statement of opinion right there and as such is subject to criticism, but roll with me on this one.

I'm supposed to get off work today, run home to change out of these rags, and book it on down to Brooklyn for a dinner, but first there's a very pressing rock that needs crawling under.

So, as anyone who regularly reads this thing knows, I'm on here talking out of my ass 95% of the time; mostly because I have a job that only requires me to sit and stay awake, and also because I have absolutely no life. However, if someone were to - oh I don't know - happen upon an individual entry written months and months ago because they somehow, through divine Google intervention, found a reference to the sketch comedy group to which they belong (or perhaps more mortifyingly, through a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend), then this person (or persons) might take what's said in a forum I'd once considered quite secluded, where my superficial bashings go - for the most part - unnoticed and without opportunity for immediate written retaliation, and think this is the kind of person I am in real life.

I kinda feel like I've been found by the police being caught stealing candy by a video camera when I was twelve. How in the FUCK did they find me???

Let's just go ahead and get it out of the way right here that I feel bad, because I most definitely do. Now. But, you've got to understand that I'm not any kind of famous, well-known, respected author who gets tons of readership. I'm writing crappy journal entries in a crappy site because I have nothing else better to do. The only people reading this are people who - for the most part - don't live here, have no idea who or what I'm talking about, and therefore wouldn't care one way or the other my opinions on things or people they're unaware of. So, of course, I never expected my injurious comments about a certain person (or persons, I can't rightly recall off the top of my head since I couldn't read it all the way through as it now occurs to me that I also have no excuse for how poorly written this particular entry was in general) to get back to its mark.

Much like the insecure school bully, upon getting smacked in the mouth for the hack that I am, I wholeheartedly, with my penis between my legs, retreat with ample ounces of churning stomach acid regret. And so, to the member (or members) of Impending Moustache that I offended, I apologize for the ... remarks. They were uncalled for, especially since I'm not one to talk in the whole Pleasant To Look At area of things.

Of course, now I've got this perception about me. Entirely earned, but nevertheless not wholly accurate. And while I doubt this is getting read by its intended audience, I'd just like to put it out there that I'm really not the kind of guy I portray myself as in this thing. I didn't even actually think she was unattractive at all. But, then again, I don't preface every entry with, "I'm on here talking out of my ass 95% of the time".