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.