Now, it’s November 5th; New President and all.  I’ll bet more that a few of you immediately thought I was going to be talking about that, however you’d only be partly correct.

The fact of the matter is, yesterday I voted for a black President.  It was either him, or another candidate with a female Vice President nominee.  That doesn’t seem much right now, as half of us are still not too happy with our choice not winning.  It might not seem like a whole lot to us in 2012.  But think of what it meant to us in 1992.

Did you know there’s a layer of atmosphere that protects the Earth from UV rays?  It’s called the “Ozone Layer” and it is effected by the release of certain chemicals into the air.  It may or may not also be what causes “The Greenhouse Effect”.  Common sense now (even if it is still debated), but what about when they started teaching it to me in 3rd grade?

Now, I know I’ve posted before on how “the kids today ____” thereby making myself sound like the crotchety old guy that everyone makes fun of.  This is not one of those posts.  I am not trying to point out how much better anything was back then, or how lucky kids have it “now days”.  

The inspiration for this post was actually something quite different.  I was driving home yesterday and listening to the radio.  I wasn’t really even paying attention until I heard the DJ call out the next song: “Here’s Lisa Mikovsky’s new song ‘Still Alive‘.  The theme song from ‘Mirrors Edge’.”

Just to reiterate there; the DJ on a major radio station was playing the theme song to a video game.  This is normal in other countries (I’m looking at you Japan) where video game companies scout out musicians like the Disney Channel, but in America it’s not all that common.  For whatever reason, this felt like the moment where I was vindicated as a video gamer.

No, we aren’t all just dumb kids playing a violent game.  Yes, video games can (and often do) carry artistic value within them.  Yes, video games are right up there with movies and television shows in terms of culture.  A game doesn’t need to have a movie made about it to be big (though it does help if all you want is money).

After listening to the song, I sort of marvelled in the revelation that my children may never know of a world where video gamers were the socially outcast; 8-bit jokes were only understood by a subculture, you were unique because you knew the level up code for Earthworm Jim, and no one new you were humming the boss battle music from Sonic.

As I continued to think about it, however, I realized that my children wouldn’t know a lot of the things I grew up with.  Sure there’s the classics, staples of Americana, that everyone in the industrialized world will know; Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who.  But what about the others?  The Abyss? Ghostbusters (movie and TV show)?  Aliens?  Back To The Future?  That’s an entire era of pop culture that we will live to see in history books.

My kids will never know of a Germany with a wall down the middle of it.  Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia will have never existed.  The USSR will be to them like the Nazis were to us (well, not quite as evil, but you know what I mean).

Now, none of this is really a bad thing.  I don’t bring it up because I pity them; I bring it up because it’s boggling to think of how their world view will be different than ours.

  • A black man or a woman can run for President, no problem!
  • The world doesn’t trust the USA, and hasn’t since that whole Iraqi War debacle (compare that to how we were the “go-to” country while growing up).
  • Video games are more common place in home media than broadcast television.
  • Movie rentals don’t exist.
  • The idea of asking a question and NOT being able to find an answer immediately will be completely alien! (I remember having to spend HOURS at the library on their microfilm archives and EBSCO-IS database).
  • No one will know what “Lower Lights” was. 
  • They will have no clue who Shirley Temple was (so people can finally stop advertising those movies).
  • “I Love Lucy” will finally stop being referred to in modern culture (another very good thing).
  • The idea of a space race will be laughable.
  • Environmentalists will protest the drilling of geo-thermal wells, instead of oil ones.
What else can you think of that simply won’t exist in our children’s lives?  Things that you have always taken for granted only because you remember them from your youth?

About The Author

Co-founder of and Executive Producer for Stolendroids Podcast. Also resident 'tech-head' and de-facto leader of the group.

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  • Dr Squishy

    Zuke you really are now an old man. Last night I reflected on how much things have changed just in the last seven years. If someone had told me on September 12, 2001 that our next President would be named Barack Hussein Obama I would have asked which Arab nation had invaded us? I don’t take 9/11 lightly, just ask Zuke he was my roommate that day. As I type this the comment sections spell check does not recognize the name Obama, and thinks I misspelled.

    Though Zuke I do disagree with some of your “Things that must or have gone” list. I Love Lucy isn’t going anywhere. Environmentalists will do what they always do, whine loudly, smell badly, get a few celebrities to endorse their cause of the week, and by and large get nothing done. As someone who voted for Obama I genuinely hope that the next four years will bring great change. However what those changes will be no one can know.

  • Well, I actually outlined most of this post before Obama’s “Think how things have changed” speech last night. I was mildly miffed that he stole the idea from me, but obviously not enough to change it at all.

    I was actually referring more to things in pop culture that have changed. “I Love Lucy” will be gone by the time my kids can remember their childhood. Oh, they may never know that MTV and VH1 were originally music video channels!

  • zohner

    I actually commented on my blog about how much Halloween has changed. When I was a kid, there would be kids trick-or-treating all over the neighborhood and nearly every house would be handing out candy. Now with the advent of things such as “trunk-or-treating” and an increase in sex offenders that have been ordered to keep their lights turned off on Halloween night, things just aren’t the same. It’s a shame really because it won’t be long before parents have to buy their own candy instead of looting from their children.

  • If they are NOW ordered to keep their lights off . . . how many did we visit as kids before, when they could have their lights on?

  • Erica Stark

    Ahh….Earthworm Jim! That was the very first game I ever bought for the PC, mainly because I had had the cartridge for my Sega Genesis. Something else that kids now will never be able to fathom – phones that had to stay hooked to the wall, rotary dialing, and NO TEXTING! By all the Gods, how did we ever survive?!