Friday, 11 May 2012

Psst, You'll Get Old Too

I am very fortunate to not look my age.  These days, it's usually my pop culture references that reveal my years.

When us 40-somethings were young, we were captive to the new technology.  Colour TV broadcasting really was an incredible leap forward for technology and communication.  It was so captivating I'd argue it was (and still can be) addictive.

This adorable dude played some computer guy.  Isn't that enough of a reason???
Back then if we were lucky enough to have one our computer had only what information we were able to feed to it, either by keyboard entry or by cassette tape.  The TV was a better communicator, so we all grew up with a common culture, fed to us by the television.  Everyone watched Gilligan's Island re-runs.  Everyone watched Three's Company.  And if you had good Canadian friends, they'd laugh at your Beachcombers or Danger Bay references.

And they knew Hammy and they didn't question that a mouse could fly a plane. Hell, Matty probably had a fucking train locomotive somewhere.  And no, he never went into a gay guy's ass (hopefully no rodent ever has and all of that nonsense is just a sick joke).

Our computers very slowly became connected to our home phone line, but when we connected, our home phone line was in use.  You would drop any time someone picked up the phone.

Oh, and you called another computer directly.  Forget YouTube, or even hearing or seeing anything other than text (not that there's anything wrong with that ;).
Oddly sexual.

Not everyone was online, but everyone knew "Boss, the plane !". Everyone knew that all bartenders should be named Isaac.

Then an amazing thing happened.  Re-runs fed a new generation the previous generation's pop culture en mass, so for a while there we all knew what everyone was talking about, very nearly to the person.

Then, shortly after, the  (gasp) Internet came to town.

The generations that follow it were no longer restricted to a dearth of live video content ranging from 3 fuzzy stations to (gasp) 13 glorious cable channels, and sometimes they even all broadcasted something.

Remember what happened next?
There are still plenty of ways to consume the classic TV shows and movies to be sure, but Magnum P.I. can barely compete with new HD shows made for hundreds of channels and networks.  And there's internet shows and networks that let you watch whenever you want to.  The traditional networks are letting us watch on-demand now too, ensuring that the water cooler talk of yesteryear is probably gone forever, at least where TV shows are concerned.

Today we have viral videos and millions of minutes of home-made content on virtually every subject imaginable, with even more fresh content being added whenever dude with the new content's sister doesn't pick up the phone when he's uploading to Compuserve at $59.99 per hour.

Though we all certainly grow old over the years, this phenomenon has caused (gasp) accelerated gay aging.  This is especially terrifying, as the loss of the re-run generation means we won't all get to understand the same cultural references from one generation to the next.

Cultural references of today rarely come from television (unless from TV's bastard offshoot, Reality Television).  And with audiences allowed to be as fragmented as they want, perhaps our old ideas of cultural references are never coming back.

Lines from Cheers aren't worth repeating.  Even quotes from The Simpsons are borderline banned. Does anyone watch SNL anymore?

It's a brave new world for us "getting older" gays.  And that's all of us.  Just you wait.

1 comment:

  1. Well at least I better understand the younger generation now... 23 year-old hotties into older bearish guys, here I come :)