Kids who come out of the Seventies often carry little rainclouds with them—small pockets of darkness that make us feel at home. We’re comfortable with it because, as children, most of us weren’t treated with kid gloves. Our horror movies were terrifying. Our music was belligerent. Our musicians spat cigarettes out onto the stage in concerts. We grew up on The Rocky Horror Picture Show, not Meangirls, and our comedians didn’t give a fuck. Darkness wasn’t treated like an enemy. Maybe that’s why I feel so at home in the kink community.
I just watched a 2014 remake of Annie. In keeping with the squeaky-clean sheen that covers kids’ worlds today, it was edited of all its melancholia and evil. All the flaws and cracks in the singing voices were edited away, too, and if I have to listen to another song that appears to have been born at a Justin Bieber concert, I will scream.
I’m grateful I wasn’t born in this era. I much prefer my raincloud. I prefer never having known as a child whether a book would have a happy ending. These days, just about everything does. There’s a formula to stick to, doncha know? Love has to end before he realises he needs to rush in peak hour traffic to stop her at the airport and the only films that are morally questionable are age restricted.
Teens of today (god, don’t I sound old?) are given a view of morality that is so easy to come by. Values are spoon-fed to them. Few of their games and films create discomfort or ask their audience to question their own principles. The guy gets the girl. The asshole doesn’t get the girl. True love always lasts. Mean people always fail. Just like real life </sarcasm>
How difficult will the real world be for those kids when they grow older? How will they tolerate the fact that life is not so damned predictable? Oh, right. By finding offense and outrage around every corner.
I’ve been trying not to say this next sentence since I started writing this post, but next month I turn 41, so I’m long overdue: Back in my day, (there, I said it.) Back in my day the entire world was offensive. Every record you played was offensive. The nursery school playground was offensive. You had to build your own moral compass out of all that discomfort.
Your ethics were muscles that strengthened with every fucked up situation you were exposed to because adults preferred to let us figure shit out on our own so they didn’t tell us what to think–they taught us how to think instead. That’s what helped us to develop our philosophies and values.
Back in my day (this is not getting easier to say)… Back in my day, scary things were a part of our bedtime stories. I played with my dolls to the gruff sounds of The Rolling Stones and Iron Butterfly. My Barbies fucking loved that shit.
Dammit, can we stop pretending everything in the world is tied with a satin ribbon?