The E Generation

In days of yore – which means anything more than 10 or  15 years ago – if a young man or woman were being urged to  go on a blind date, they would probably have asked “what is  this blind date like? “Fun, fun to talk to, a great dancer,  sings every song you’ve ever heard, and good looking, too”,  would be a engaging description of a socially graceful  person.

Nowadays, the electronic generation, in the age of  electronics, where obsolesence attaches before you have  your new computer, TV, or HiFi out of the store, the  attributes of young people are quite different.

The latest thing is E-mail, the Internet, the world  wide web, accessing anything, from anywhere, in front of  your 12″ computer screen.

Recently I asked a friend who is knowledged in  computers what kind of lap-top computer would he recommend.  He indicated one with sufficient memory and storage so that  I could watch movies and play games on the computer.

Think of the implication of all this electronics,  accessing the world while sitting in a room, in front of a  minuscule screen. The new generation doesn’t go out and  have face to face socializing at the soda store or the  corner bar or at a dance with their peers, developing  social and human graces. How gauche! No, the new generation  sits alone, in front of an electronic monitor,  communicating in cool binary codes to someone they’ve never  seen. They play computer games, where warrior images wield  giant scimitars, or perform karate kicks, totally  destroying their opponents, they watch movies alone,  sitting in a chair in front of a screen. They read  magazines the same way.

Young people aren’t into social interplay. They’re an  extension of a computer chip.

And think of what occurs when they do meet on a social  plane. they go to concerts, where they are wedged in, two  or three hundred thousand, a writhing mass of insects,  immersed in the dark in a cacophony of sound ( music?),  punctuated by pulsing strobe lights that distort reality.      Tell the truth, is this your idea of fun?

Ask a young person to sing or whistle their favorite  new song or tune, one they heard at the concert. Can’t be  done, because there are no words to sing, no tune to  whistle. I should be charitable, occasionally there are  words to a tune. The title and all the lyrics are the same,  three or four words, repeated incessantly, ad nauseam,  period! Fact is, young people can no longer whistle a happy  tune, because there ain’t none. Nor are there songwriters  or lyricists. Nor musicians – just synthesizers. Are there  any violin players. Too sappy? Are there any trumpet  players out there?

Ask a young person to dance. They can’t `touch’ dance.  And what they call dancing is standing by themselves,  moving to whatever moves them. It’s something they can do  as well alone as with a partner. Not exactly sociability.

The young generation, the E(lectronic) generation, is  disassociated, detached, devoid of human contact. And when  they have such human contact, they are do ill at ease, they  cover themselves in anonymity, in the center of a mass of  bodies in the dark.

Does violence and brutality result from any of this  electronic life? If your only contact with others is  through a monitor screen, where people images appear as  some warrior slicing heads off, blowing body parts away,  kicking opponents in the head, all leading to winning an  electronic game, is your main pastime, perhaps real human  feelings, hurt, suffering, pain, death, is something  unfamiliar, unreal, foreign. Perhaps young people don’t  realize – because they haven’t had much practice – that  other young people, other people in general, actually  function with human feelings, that life is not a computer  screen made up of electronically generated stick people.  Blowing people apart, shooting them, slicing them, is not  as simple as re-booting a computer.

When I said to my friend who suggested I buy a large  memory lap top, responded to my question: “why do I need so  much memory, so much storage, to word process?”  he asked:  “Don’t you want to watch movies on your computer, play  electronic games?”

I said hell no!

And then I thought about the implications. And then I  wrote this article. Hell no!  A thousand times, no! I want  to get out with people, sit around, talk like a human,  have a cup of tea or a bottle of beer, shake hands or kiss  goodbye at the end of an evening, maybe whistle a happy  tune on the way home.

I don’t function too well as a writhing insect in the  dark. No human does. Unfortunately, we have a whole mess of  a new generation who does nothing but. And if you think,  hey, why not, what else is there? May I suggest that you’re  not real, you’re just a computer generated image of what a  human being used to be.

Now there are those that say, hey, man, you are too old to understand. You are out of it. Maybe. But I can touch dance. And I can whistle.