Monday, December 15, 2014

Talkin' Bout' My G-G-Generation

      It's interesting to note that kids these days (ie. under 30) are in love with themselves.  I think every generation generally is, though the previous ones would embrace earlier works of art, literature, and media whole-heartedly.  This generation (which you all know is dubbed (by me) as Generation Zero) refuses to look-back.  This could almost be a good thing, hoping a level of progression exists, but it does not.  You cannot progress if you do not have an earlier starting point to base progression off of.  Essentially, you're starting with zero (hence, even more perfection of my definition of those born in the "naughts" as "Generation Zero".  Serendipitously awesome there.  I'd like my Pulitzer in 10s and 20s please, keep the trophy, unless it's gold, then melt it down and give me the cash-value of it at the current going-rate).

     GZ tends to be quite sensitive to those who recommend something from the '70s or '80s that might be super-awesome and disregard it as "old" and therefore negligible.  It's an odd connection.  When I was growing-up, others would recommend something 20 or 30 years older than myself and I'd give it a go and sure enough it was noteworthy and impressive.  Talent is talent, despite the age of it.  Some musicians realize that certain equipment was of higher caliber than present-day efforts, such as analog equipment.  The HipHop Industry raves over the Roland DR-808 drum machine, ugly and cumbersome as it is, this device has a particular warm and iconic "thud" on the kick-drum that is pleasing to every generation's ear.  Certain guitarists' chorus-effects can be best-produced from earlier Boss Chorus Ensemble devices from the mid-1970's.  Often, analog devices are somehow more pleasing to the eye or ear, and ultimately "brain".  I can remember when we all switched to digital LCD (or LED) screens from massive analog CRT computer screens several years ago.  I remember that though they looked "crisp" there was a je-ne-se-qua element missing and it came-off as being cold, perhaps vacant or "false" in some way. 

Generation Zero cannot tell if this is real or not (it is).

     When I see CGI in a movie, I can see that missing element of analog-y-ness, like some pixilated doppelganger out-of-place more-so than even a hand-drawn cartoon or a Claymation Ray Harryhousen brilliance.  It seems, despite great digital efforts, utterly pathetic and fake compared to an analog or "practical" effect.  Ah, how I miss the actual "Stunt Man".  The "real-ness" of things just impresses me: the talent, the honesty, the integrity of it.  This synthetically-rendered world is getting on my nerves, and it lacks of professionalism somehow, it's dryness creeps around every corner like a blow-up-doll in a passenger-seat, the driver trying to fool the Law in the carpool-lane.  I ain't fooled.  It lacks quality.

     We can look, however, to the concept of what "quality" is, as is explained in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  From that (rather lengthy) book, one can philosophize that "quality" is universally agreed-upon, though truly, it is not.  Quality itself is an individualistic element, different to each of us.  Sure, the CGI-master-renderer can simulate very closely elements of Truth to get very close.  Still, what is lacking?  It's hard to tell exactly "what".  Once in a while, I can be not sure in a low-videophile environment (such as on a tablet or "smart"-phone) that I'm being tricked.  As we increase quality of viewing to microscopic levels, it's easier to tell, and it sticks-out like a sore thumb.

MP3 or M4A files mean you can have a ton of songs in a small space.  2 Loss-free files in comparison visually.
     Back to the topic, when you mention that Steve McQueen in Bullitt was actually driving like a madman in real-life in that Ford Mustang, they shrug it off to the excellence of some of the Fast and Furious films, even though the physics in a bridge-jump with a front-wheel-front-engine car would make it nose-down hard.  Mentioning the physics silliness of it makes them respond ambivalently.  "It just looks cool!" like some Applejacks commercial from the 1980's, "We just do!"  Uh-huh

Fake car race in Cars 2 (2011)
Actual car race in Bullitt (1968) with no safety and real drivers.

Actual jump, no safety, no fake car, no mods. Bullitt (1968)
Dodge Charger got f*cked-up pretty badly throughout the chase, especially after the previous jump (above).

     When a kid I know at work mentioned that he thinks Arcade Fire is an excellent band, particularly for their guitar-work, I respond to that with, "Well, you should also consider Joe Satriani or perhaps some Dream Theater."  Shrugged-off.  Why?  It's older than him so therefore shunt.  I never did that.  I never closed my doors to things before 1969.  It's part of history.  It's part of Americana.  In this case, the kid was born around 1994.  Pre-1994 doesn't exist for him.  He won't allow it for the most part.  He's the most open-minded of the bunch, too.  Others won't give pre-birthday a chance.  You know, 12 Angry Men is a good flick.  Ignored with, "That was before I was born!"  Right.  Not everything is awesome upon your birth and beforehand the world was zero.  Not by a longshot.

     I think that there's a sensitivity to this generation's feelings, that things could possibly be better before them, that there were rock-and-roll giants in the 1960s and 1970s such as Led Zeppelin and Queen, wearing those concert shirts ironically without knowing the bands they wear.  Non-fans liking great album-art (now almost dead thanks to digital media).  Little kids refusing to leave their playpens.

So sweet, the sound!
     I installed an 8-Track player in my 2012 Corvette GS.  The audio-quality was surprisingly exceptional, that analog-goodness through Bose speakers were impressive.  Same song converted to an MP3 through a USB stick was clearer in some ways but not as rich.  Too bad the 8-Track doesn't quite play well due to its mechanical spiral setup.  I find Bluray-Audio and DVD-Audio tracks to be "acceptable" however.  CDs are just "good".  MP3 files are painful at highest-quality.  M4A files (iTunes) is unlistenable junk and about as lo-fi as you can get.  I'd rather listen to MIDI (.MID) files than M4A.  Hurts the brain like converting your collection to Atari 2600-format with the mid-range spiked at 1k Hz.  God help us, these GZ-ers prefer it!  They PREFER it!

     Hopefully, BluRay Audio will seep into our world, or 4K BluRay (no cool name for that yet, probably just 4K, though 8K exists in Japan already, we're 2 generations behind, some folks haven't graduated from 1976's 5.1-Surround format yet!  That's right.  5.1 came-out in 1976!) 

     If you're born after 1993, I recommend strongly you don't feel sad that you missed a hell-of-a-ride from the 50's through the 80's (and arguably the 40's).  You have such an adventure to set-upon!  So much good music, movies, and art back-then.  A little weird?  Sure, sometimes.  There's elements that will appeal to your lizard-brain-medulla-oblongata (aka ancient memory DNA) in some way as it did us.  I'll listen to your music and you can listen to mine.  Try it.  Start with the Academy Award Winning movies of each year, starting from 1940.  Not a movie-fan?  Consider the Billboard Top 10 of each year.  Will take you an afternoon to go from 1940 to present-day (Billboard started in 1936, so you could essentially one-up me and start there).  Enrichen your mind!  Fear not!  Begin, children.  BEGIN!

We shall be your guide.. on an ADVENTURE!  Join US!  Or.. maybe you can do it on your own.. it's up to you...



  1. It's "je ne sais quoi" (literally translates to I don't know) not je-ne-se-qua you fucking poser.

    1. Thank you. I'm not French, but I understand the meaning of the archaic phrase (as French is a dead language). Still, the intent is there, a certain unknown something that one can't quite get a notion of. A lot of things are like that in life, a certain hard-to-define element. I was not, indeed, however, trying to pose a Frenchman, as I'm not a socialist and don't stink. Thank you for your explanation, though I'm surprised it has come to blows. Not sure what you think I was "posing" at, but if you like, you can send me nudes of your mother (the ones she sent me are stained). Please also send me nudes of yourself. Thank you.