Yesterday night I was watching 'Celebrity Weddings' on VH1. There was a small segment on Marylin Manson, the poster boy of 'all who live to shock and only to shock'. There he was ; with his face painted ivory, his lips dripping red, his hair set like a mass of mangled rodent tails,his teeth jutting with metal and his eyes bearing those signature blue-white contacts. When one gets habituated to seeing the bizzare, one is seldom repulsed by it.
Sadly, this isn't the case with my parents. 'Who's that', they asked, not making any effort to hide their displeasure. 'That's Marilyn Manson', I said nonchalantly. Never did the flower-power generation anticipate the future their progeny would be subject to. Imagine singing , 'We are stardust, we are golden, we are ten billion year old carbon..', and then having to listen to things like, 'I exist therefore I blog'. My heart particularly goes out to the feminists who burnt their bras. They never saw it coming; not the 'Pussycat Dolls', not ten year olds in hipsters, not five year olds with eating disorders and definitely not the 'globalization of beauty' based on the concept of 'who resembles the waif the most'. I can vouch for sure that my parents never bargained to behold the face of Marilyn Manson on the television screen.
It is ironic how lapses of memory tend to catch up with the older generation. Do they not remember Bob Dylan's subtle euphemisms in 'Mr. Tambourine Man' ? (In case you don't know, 'Tambourine Man' is an euphemism for 'drug dealer'.) Do they not remember John and Yoko's stint 'In Bed' for peace? Do they not remember psychadelia, recreational drug use , dysfunction, and being 'Comfortably Numb'? 'Shock rock', is merely an innocent extension of what the older generation forgot to do. When one generation decides to shock,they must also prepare to be shocked. The bridge that widens the generation gap is not simply a metaphor. It is real and tangible to the extent that we don't want to see it.
From the point of view of practicality, no two generations of people like to be regarded as identical. It goes against the tenets of human self-respect to be superficially akin to one's ancestors. The generation gap was created to prevent such embarrasment, and to make everyone feel like they started the 'renaissance'. So much for so little!