No Winstons for You!

Every fall, colleges around the country send a memo to their graying faculties, reminding the fogeys that the Fresh Young Minds about to invade campus are terrifyingly fresh — this year’s 18-year-olds were born in 1993, which means your Cobain favorites are now as culturally irrelevant as our Stairway/Gilligan mashups.

It’s the shallow end of Living Memory, a wonderful concept that defines our cultural moment — a moment you can effectively double, since today’s centenarians were born into a world that included the centenarians of their day. You can even triple it if you care to, allowing for a great-grandmother telling childhood stories about her great-grandmother: It’s not inconceivable that a centenarian today (b.1911) might recall tales from an earlier centenarian (b.1811) passed along by a 1711 baby who lived it.

So while it’s certainly freaky in 2011 to watch a 1956 clip of someone who witnessed an 1865 presidential assassination, it’s not that odd when you work the math. But it still doesn’t mean that kids today give a shit about Smells Like Teen Spirit.

[via Kottke]

Can I yell at kids to get off my lawn?

Yeah, cuz Smells like Axe® would be such a kick ass song.

I first realized my cultural irrelevance in 1998 or so when a student in a French language class I was attending said that she liked the Smashing Pumpkins, but only old Smashing Pumpkins, not New Smashing Pumpkins.

At the time, for me, the Smashing Pumpkins were still an edgy new band that was evidence that I enjoyed the same sorts of cultural products that the “younger crowd” enjoyed. The idea that there was such a thing as “old Smashing Pumkins” seemed inconceivable to me. She spke those words in the same way my peers and I used to debate the merits of “old Rush” vs “new Rush in high school.”

These days I don’t even try to kid myself about the relevance of my cultural universe.

For all you young whippersnappers out there, I used to watch reruns of “I’ve Got A Secret” when I was a young’un. And why does Bill Cullen resemble Matt Damon so much?

Also, your word of the day is “kinescope.”

On a related note, the last known Civil War widow died in 2008 (it was quite the May-December relationship).

@matador1015: Game Show Network used to run classic episodes of What’s My Line?, To Tell the Truth, and I’ve Got a Secret, but, sadly, they seem to have switched focus to original programming in the last decade or so.

What was a 5-year-old doing at Ford’s Theater?

I’m not sure I buy it.

Well, maybe, but …

chick here at work doesn’t know who gomer pyle and jed calmpett are. she thinks old star trek is the dude that ran things after capt kirk. have there really been two more star treks after capt kirk?

@mellbell: tv land shows aren’t even old anymore. they used to show daniel boone and such. now you can’t even find the rockford files on tv.

@matador1015: I still consider Trebek an arriviste. Art Fleming is the real Jeopardy host.

@jwmcsame: Four: NextGen, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise. Also in decreasing order of quality.

speaking of remade throwbacks, check out these socialists

@nojo: 4 star trek sequels? sad. why would anyone want to fuck with kirk and spock?

@nojo: I can’t really dispute your rankings. Still, I had a thing for Capt. Janeway of Voyager.

@Walking Still: Kate Mulgrew’s on the new Adult Swim series NTSF:SD:SUV, tonight at 12:15 a.m.

Today’s young 20-somethings are already nostalgic for TV shows of their youth in the 90s and Nick is responding to the demand:

@nojo: I used to play the game with Art Fleming; kept score and everything. Trebek doesn’t hold a candle to the Master of The Answer in The Form of A Question.

And upon further review, I remember watching “What’s My Line” and “I’ve Got A Secret” at the 6:30 time slot, so they may have been first run shows. They had made the leap to videotape by then, instead of a crappy kinescope trained on a round CRT like the example above.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Maybe it was hard to find a sitter back then.

@matador1015: The evening game shows of the day were largely syndicated ’50s holdovers, videotaped in batches, with plenty of reruns mixed with the originals. Occasionally a date reference would slip out, and you’d realize you’re watching something from two years ago. This all changed with satellite distribution, but that didn’t come about until the early ’80s.

Also, I have an uncomfortable attraction to Kitty Carlisle.

@nojo: I can relate to the awkward Kitty Carlisle thing.

These game shows made household names out of Kitty, Bill, Bennett Cerf and others; they became famous while most of us had no real idea what their day job was. I had no idea Cerf was in literature until I read his obit.

@JNOV: Kitty Carlisle – the ingenue in that classic of the cinema A Night at the Opera, among other claims to fame.

@nojo: Thanks for the tip about Kate.

Are we talking about Kitty Carlisle Hart? Wife of Moss Hart?

@Benedick HRH KFC: Yes. Or, as known to a generation of TV-watching Americans, “the one with the rack”.

Just 80 bucks? Even in 1956 that’s not much. Hope they comped him the hotel, meals, and maybe a hooker. And I don’t mean Fightin’ Joe Hooker ::rimshot::

@nojo: As I have said before – BBC-A runs STNG constantly – while I enjoyed the show in 1989 I find it unwatchable now. Unless it’s a scene with Marina Sirtis. Who, oddly enough, will chat online with you for 99 samoleans.

@blogenfreude: I’ve been streaming NextGen lately via Netflix, and the fashions are as High Eighties as the original is High Sixties. It’s really a hoot.

I don’t even watch X-Files reruns anymore. Scully and I were not meant to be.

@nojo: NextGen no, but wonder how I’d feel about revisiting DS9 …

@redmanlaw: I’ve gone back and watched a few, including the pilot. One of my favorites remains the episode when they move into the planned suburban community as “Rob and Laura Petrie”.

@Walking Still: Naw. Naw. I vaguely remember her. I’ll google pics later. I’m talking about the Jeopardy! dude.

@redmanlaw: Her eggs are out there somewhere…or did she get them back? Starbuck’s eggs are out there somewhere, that I know.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment