Friday, June 20

The Friday Random Ten+5 has had a good run, but . . .

A couple days ago, Jill at Feministe directed my attention to this deeply unfortunate column by Dennis Prager predicting doom and gloom as a result of millions of young American voters getting excited about Barack Obama. Now, we can argue over the actual thesis of Prager's column, i.e. that "when youth get involved in politics in large numbers, it is not a good thing," which obviously I think is utter baloney. But the more offensive aspect of the column, to me, was that it obviously wasn't intended to convince or persuade any of these wayward youngsters, it was basically written only to call them naive idiots. See, there's a right way and a wrong way to talk to the under-25 crowd, and "withering condescension" really doesn't get it done; as I said in the comments thread to that Feministe post, it's fine to try to portray oneself as a wise adult when dealing with young people, but when you explicitly and unironically refer to yourself as "a wise adult" in doing so, you might as well be wearing a FEEL FREE TO IGNORE ME T-shirt.

So completely irrespective of whatever political point Prager was trying to make, he basically painted an intricately detailed portrait of exactly the kind of cranky, self-satisfied douche I don't want to turn into as I hit middle age. Actually, turning 30 has inspired me to think about a lot of things I don't want to turn into as I get older, the kind of behaviors that, were I to engage in them, would be a pretty clear indication that my useful time on this planet is up and it's time to just put me away peacefully. With that in mind, this week's +5 is Five Things That, If I Start Doing Them In My Old Age, You Have Permission To Euthanize Me. Obviously I'd prefer a fairly quick and painless exit, but under certain circumstances that I'll outline below, you have permission to take some liberties. Here we go:

Wearing socks with sandals/flip-flops
I have friends in their thirties who do this, and it never ceases to boggle my mind. I’m hardly a fashion expert, but even I’m smart enough to know that if you really feel that bad a need to wear socks, you need to be wearing actual shoes.
Upgrade death from "quick and painless" to "slow and agonizing" if: The socks in question are black.

Owning a car with whitewall tires
Whitewall tires are the automotive equivalent of segregated water fountains — somehow they seemed completely appropriate back in the 1940s, but that’s no reason to have them now. I remember when my dad and I went to the Chrysler dealer to buy my mom a Grand Voyager minivan back in 1993; my mom was a fan of the “wood”grain paneling you could get on those vans at the time, so my dad checked it off on the options list, but it turns out the woodgrain came as part of an options package that also included whitewall tires and wire wheel covers. “Stop right there,” I said. “If you put all this stuff on her car, there’s no way in hell I’m going to be seen in public in it.” The dealer graciously offered to delete those while keeping the woodgrain, and a grave automotive fashion offense was averted.
Upgrade death from “quick and painless” to “slow and agonizing” if: The car also has a padded vinyl roof.

Eating dinner before 5 p.m. (excepting major holidays)
This always makes me think of the “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry went down to visit his parents at Del Boca Vista and present them with a new Cadillac, and they insisted on dragging everyone to dinner at 4:30 so they could make it in time for the “early-bird special.” (Thus spawning Jerry’s immortal reply “I'm not force-feeding myself a steak at four-thirty to save a coupla bucks, I'll tell you that!”) In Europe, they eat dinner at eight or nine, sometimes even later; if you’re so desperate to eat dinner that you can’t wait past five, you need to be treating yourself to a bigger lunch.
Upgrade death from "quick and painless" to "slow and agonizing" if: The early meal is scheduled specifically to save an amount of money totaling less than $10.00.wik

Driving below the posted speed limit in light traffic
Last time I went home to Columbus for the weekend, I surprised myself by actually driving the speed limit as opposed to 10 or 15 over — saving gas and all that. But even $5-a-gallon gas isn’t enough to make me drive 55 on the Interstate.
Upgrade death from "quick and painless" to "slow and agonizing" if: I'm riding in someone else's car and tell them they're going too fast.

Criticizing the clothes that younger people are wearing
I reserve the right to criticize the music that teenagers are listening to; I've been hating mainstream radio pop since I was in high school. But griping about the clothes that "the kids" are wearing is a pretty clear sign that you're sledding down the slippery slope into old-codgerhood. Now, if people my own age are wearing it -- Crocs or tramp stamps, for example -- then it's fair game.
Upgrade death from "quick and painless" to "slow and agonizing" if: I make the specific criticism that the outfit in question is too revealing. By the time I turn 60 or 70, leering at slutty-looking 19-year-olds might be as much action as I can get, so I need to enjoy it while I can, you know?

And now the Ten:

1. De La Soul, "Magic Number"
2. James Brown, "Papa Don't Take No Mess"
3. Röyksopp, "Alpha Male"
4. The Beastie Boys, "Sure Shot"
5. Radiohead, "High and Dry"
6. Pet Shop Boys, "Between Two Islands"
7. Pet Shop Boys, "Dreaming of the Queen"
8. Air, "All I Need"
9. The Dust Brothers, "Marla"
10. Massive Attack, "Hymn of the Big Wheel"

Now it's your turn, whippersnappers -- your Random Tens, and various old-age fears, go in the comments.


Anonymous said...

Sandals and socks. Ugly feet should be covered. Period. I have never worn sandals and socks, but if a geezer has ugly feet, I am grateful for his or her discretion in keeping them covered. What about "Crocs & Socks"? Oh wait, I just read number five. ;-)

Whitewalls exception: Saw a guy two days ago driving a meticulously restored late 50s Thunderbird. Very cool car. It had whitewalls - big wide ones - and that was the only way to go. Anything else would have looked out of place.

Anonymous said...

Getting on the board or some committee thereof in my homeowner's association. These people are uniformly awful. Upgrade to slow and painful if it is the landscape and architectural committee.

The ten:

1. "The Coming" by Iced Earth
2. "Cheap Sunglasses" by ZZ Top
3. "Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin
4. "Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra
5. "Boom Boom Mancini" by Warren Zevon
6. "Speak" by Queensryche
7. "God of Thunder" by Kiss
8. "The Trooper" by Iron Maiden
9. "Beth" by Kiss
10."Dark Reign of Fire" by Rhapsody of Fire

NCT said...

I generally never feel the urge to criticize what the kids are wearing, but I reserve my absolute right to laugh out loud when I see young men struggling to hold their pants up when ambulating at any pace faster than a saunter.

When I was a kid, I actually wondered what the cut-off age was for wearing blue jeans. Older folks (35+?) simply didn't wear them back then. Now that I'm among the older folk (40+), give me "quick and painless" if I stop wearing jeans altogether. Upgrade that to "slow and agonizing" if I continue to wear them, but start having them professionally claned and pressed with creases (the male equivalent of "mom jeans").

1. Tori Amos, "Crucify" (Remix)
2. Elvis Costello, "Indoor Fireworks"
3. The Who, "I'm Free"
4. The Beatles, "Revolution 9"
5. Depeche Mode, "Useless"
6. Hole, "Softer, Softest"
7. Erasure, "A Little Respect" (Jades Alliance 'Electrospect' Remix)
8. Cowboy Junkies, "Seven Years"
9. R.E.M., "Camera"
10. America, "Ventura Highway" (Deepsky's Blizzard in L.A. Remix)

Unknown said...

Does criticizing the clothes the kids are wearing these days count if the clothes are on your own daughter?

Anonymous said...

My greatest fear is carrying around a MTWTFSS case full of pills that I have to pull out before every meal. Then I complain during the whole meal how I'm old and everything hurts.

1. Whitesnake, "Crying In The Rain"
2. Peter Gabriel, "We Do What We Are Told"
3. U2, "With or Without You"
4. Depeche Mode, "Waiting For The Night"
5. Disturbed, "Stupify"
6. Telepopmusik, "Don't Look Back"
7. Rich Boy, "Throw Some D's"
8. Lil Wayne, "Lollipop"
9. Jack Johnson, "Breakdown"
10. The Cure, "Why Can't I Be You"

Universal Remonster said...

Whoa. THat Prager column was one of the more offensive things I've read lately. Whatever.

I also have to amend your eating before 5 thing to include major holidays AND UGA tailgates, unless you count the constant flow of alcohol after 5pm "dinner."

Kudos for using a still from Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the driving thing.

Josh M. said...

While I generally think people under 25 are doucheface morons, I completely disagree with Prager - because most people above 25 are also doucheface morons. It's parallel to the old gay marriage debate - if you're so worried about protecting the sanctity of marriage, we should get heterosexuals to stop treating it so shabbily. And if we are worried about the sanctity of politics - gag - then are the older folks really doing that good a job these days?

That said, whitewall tires are the tit. And while I don't criticize kids for their clothes necessarily (baggy pants excepted), I do want to punch parents once in a while for letting their kids walk out of the house. For example, my daughter will never, ever, ever wear a pair of shorts with anything written across the ass. I don't care if says "I Love Jesus" or "Virgin Til' Death," it ain't happening.

(By the way, there was a huge lie in that preceding paragraph. I criticize kids all the fucking time for the dumbass clothes they wear. Because they're doucheface morons and they deserve it).

Joel said...

Clothes that make you want to leer at slutty-looking 19-year-olds is one thing. When its a slutty-looking 12-year-old, I'm going to complain and wonder what the world is coming to.

DAve said...

Last night I watched "F*ck", the documentary tracing some of the history and impact of the word "fuck", and Prager's high-and-mighty doucheiness is in full effect. 3 guesses as to his opinion of the usage of the word and it's effects on society, namely "the children".

And since that ties in to his linked article (since I'm over 30 I'm allowed to refer to the under-25's as children) and your bit about younger people's clothes, I am reminded of the wisdom of George Carlin:

"Something else I'm getting tired of in this country is all this stupid talk I have to listen to about children. That's all you hear about anymore, children: "Help the children, save the children, protect the children." You know what I say? Fuck the children!

They're getting entirely too much attention. And I know what some of you are thinking: " Jesus, he's not going to attack children, is he?" Yes he is! He's going to attack children. And remember, this is Mr. Conductor talking; I know what I'm talking about.

And I also know that all you boring single dads and working moms, who think you're such fucking heroes, aren't gonna like this, but somebody's gotta tell you for your own good: your children are overrated and overvalued, and
you've turned them into little cult objects. You have a child fetish, and it's not healthy. And don't give me all that weak shit, "Well, I love my children." Fuck you! Everybody loves their children; it doesn't make you special. John Wayne Gacy loved his children. Yes, he did. That's not what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is this constant, mindless
yammering in the media, this neurotic fixation that suggests that somehow everything - everything- has to revolve around the lives of children."


Anonymous said...

Only one man is cool enough to wear socks with sandals... John Redcorn from King of the Hill.

I would add:

- Buying an automobile because of its "stow and go" seating

- Going to an outdoor concert of a band that no one who you consider "cool" or "in the know" respects

- Not just telling your children about funny commercials you saw, but not thinking for one split second of ending the description of the commercial after they have told you they haven't seen it and seem completely uninterested

- Recounting item by item shopping trips to Publix

- Not being able to remember the title to movies you've recently seen

- Referring to your doctor by his first name ("Jon") instead of his title + his last name ("Dr. Rosenpenis")

Go Dawgs this weekend in Omaha!!!

Anonymous said...

Josh, we may have nothing in common politically, but I like the cut of your misanthropy.

I have the same view re: shorts with a message on the ass for my daughters, but my wife assures me that whatever I attempt to do to prevent it, they will find a way to thwart me. I say, let the games begin. I have nothing better to do after all, because I AM OLD.

NCT said...

@ joel and others re 12 year olds (or younger) dressing slutty: Remember how you used to hear older folks say to a kid's parents with a huge smile and an exaggerated tone "Your little girl looks sooo cute!" or "Your daughter is just precious!" Well, my best friend has joked about how he'd love to go up to a parent one of these days and say "My, what a sexy little vixen you've got there" about their 8 year old Britney wannabe. Of course, that kind of talk might put you in jail, but it's a funny thought. And it's all about the tone of voice, by the way. Gotta say it in the same way you'd say, "oh, how sweet".

Anonymous said...

Many people were scandalized by the photo of Hannah Montana (I'm sorry, I don't know her real name) in the bedsheets, and of the people scandalized, i wonder how many had kids her age (or even younger) wearing shorts that said "Juicy" on them.

Holly said...

DCT--I once had to scramble out of the backseat of a car to make curfew so fast that I ran in the front door with a pair of those shorts on backwards. Careful parenting = spotting the sluttery when it happens. There's no such thing as prevention, including Catholic school (which in my experience only exacerbated, um, everything).

All that said, punch me in the ovaries if I ever set aside a room in my house solely for wrapping gifts (hi, Momma).

And it's still Friday...ish:
1. Drive-By Truckers - Heathens
2. Air France - Collapsing At Your Doorstep
3. Wilco - What Light
4. Plump DJs - In Stereo
5. Coltrane - Locomotion
6. BT - The Internal Locus
7. Silvio Rodriguez - Carito
8. Timbaland - Release
9. Public Enemy - Fight The Power
10. Lalo Schifrin - Danube Incident

NCT said...

Oooh, Holly. I heart published personal confessions in the wee hours.

Michael said...

Socks and sandals are common wear in my culture... well... not mine... but my friends.

They wore socks and sandals... I wore combat boots and shorts.

Oh the nineties...