Thursday, November 15, 2012
It Must All Seem So New
I'll bet for sufficiently psychologicallly-insightful writer types, there can be few experiences that make you feel older than watching early twentysomethings do half-comedic onstage presentations (of which there are a million in this town) featuring some sort of endearingly-stiff inter-host repartee like:
BILL: Oh...kaaaay...well. We have a big show for you tonight.
BOB [even more stiffly]: At least we think it's big.
BILL: We will try. We will try, anyway, to bring you a big show. We have the big audio-visual set-up, you can plainly see. Isn't that right, Bob?
BOB: It certainly is.
It always sort of works...and the audience does not know that it seems familiar and funny because, just like toddlers still fascinated by the basic mechanics of walking, they, as twentysomethings, are still learning the basic mechanics of things like speaking formally and addressing large groups. And in time it will all be rote or instinctual -- and not so funny or new anymore.
And then either they will stop going to such comedy shows or, in some cynical cases, they will decide they can make jokes that way themselves throughout an entire career as a sitcom writer -- though on some level they'll know they're squeezing out product from a tube for younger, more naive minds much like fiftysomething, balding record execs hiring ex-Mousketeers to make simple music for teens.
But meanwhile, the comedy audiences will tell themselves they are really the first generation ever to laugh at this sort of self-aware stiffness and awkwardness -- because all prior generations must have lacked irony and perspective, possibly lacked intelligence itself. And the teens buying the ex-Mousketeer music will think they invented the music all on their own -- and that all prior generations must have lacked taste.
And the stiff, awkward, self-congratulatory process will never end, just as the left keeps thinking it has invented anew the idea of replacing markets with central planning in the name of a newfound compassion (this time for sure).
Though they are rarer than pro-government and pro-church documents, there are notes from scribes centuries old marveling at the stupid things people do and believe -- and wondering if the future will be any different. And it won't, not really.