Previous Entry | Next Entry

talks to wolves
A sunny morning here in Providence. The office window (well, one of two) is open, and there's a Siamese cat sitting on my desk, watching whatever there is Outside to watch.

Today will be a day on which I make a new beginning for the Next Novel. That's my hope.

Yesterday, conversation about The Wolf Who Cried Girl, and I answered a great mass of accumulated email, and agreed to do an interview for Clarkesworld, and I bowed out of two anthologies (because, presently, there's only time for the novel and Sirenia Digest), and I lay on the bed with Hubero while Spooky read me the first chapter of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962; one of the most beautiful books I know).

This morning, I am weary of modernity.

And I'm wondering how the new crop of teens and twentysomethings became so afraid of emotion and the expression thereof.* Did their parents teach them? Did they learn it somewhere else? Is this a spontaneous cultural phenomenon? Are they afraid of appearing weak? Is this capitalism streamlining the human psyche to be more useful by eliminating anything that might hamper productivity? Is it a sort of conformism? I don't know, but I could go the rest of my life and never again hear anyone whine about someone else being "emo," and it would be a Very Good Thing.

Could anything be more inimical to art than a fear of emotion, or a fear of "excessive" emotion, or a reluctance to express emotion around others? No, of course not. Art can even best the weights of utter fucking ignorance and totalitarian repression, but it cannot survive emotional constipation.

I want a T-shirt that says, "Art is Emo." We live in an age where people are more apt to believe a thing if they read it on a T-shirt.

Last night we watched the new episodes of Fringe and Spartacus: Blood and Titties. Very enjoyable, on both counts.

Now, the platypus calls my name. Here are three photos from Thursday:





Budding tree.



The Armory and Dexter Training Ground. View to the south.



Houses along Dexter Street. View to the east.

Photographs Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac



*The suggestion has been made that they are so much expressing fear as contempt, and I am open to that possibility, though fear and contempt often go hand in hand.

Comments

( 26 comments — Have your say! )
timesygn
Apr. 3rd, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)

And I'm wondering how the new crop of teens and twentysomethings became so afraid of emotion and the expression thereof.

I don't think they're afraid so much as contemptuous of emotion. In my experience, these youngins view feelings as the buttons they need to push to get what they want out of other humans - the logical outgrowth of vending machine culture.

Just a thought.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 3rd, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
I don't think they're afraid so much as contemptuous of emotion. In my experience, these youngins view feelings as the buttons they need to push to get what they want out of other humans - the logical outgrowth of vending machine culture.

That's ever more unsettling.

But yes, I have noted the extremes of contempt. I assume they arise from fear, but too often, these days, we assume contempt arises from fear.

Edited at 2010-04-03 04:34 pm (UTC)
timesygn
Apr. 3rd, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)

I think the contempt comes from arrogance.

Plus, they have no souls (- my use the term 'soul,' in this case, being in the Motown - and not the theological - sense of the word.)
greygirlbeast
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)

I think the contempt comes from arrogance.

Not sure I agree, though I do often see arrogance. More and more, I think they've been taught that emotion is a sign of weakness. And weakness is a thing to be despised, so excessive displays of emotion, which denote weakness, should be feared, avoided, and condemned.
timesygn
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)

One last question on this before I vanish ... What proportion of your readership would you estimate falls into the demographic of that age group?

Just curious.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)

What proportion of your readership would you estimate falls into the demographic of that age group?

I have no way of providing a meaningful answer (one consisting of anything more than the basest speculation) to this question. Sorry.
chn_breathmint
Apr. 3rd, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
I will be playing with silkscreens Monday in Design class. What is your t-shirt size?

- Mel
greygirlbeast
Apr. 3rd, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)

What is your t-shirt size?

I only wear T-shirts to bed, and like them roomy. So, XL.
chn_breathmint
Apr. 3rd, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
Once I learn to silkscreen I'll make one and work out mailing.

- Mel
robyn_ma
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
I'll simply say that the template 'Teenagers do ______ these days. We were _________ [some variant of 'superior'] when we were that age' has existed among the older generation since there have been teenagers. Nothing to get hung about. Some will square their shit away, some won't.

For the record, the teens I see on a daily basis don't seem to shrink from emotion. They must grow 'em different in Providence. If it's solely about disdaining 'emo' — Christ, that goes back to the Stoics. (Marcus Aurelius' 'Get rid of the judgment, get rid of the 'I am hurt,' you are rid of the hurt itself' is the original 'Go cry, emo kid.')

Edited at 2010-04-03 05:18 pm (UTC)
greygirlbeast
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC)

Marcus Aurelius' 'Get rid of the judgment, get rid of the 'I am hurt,' you are rid of the hurt itself' is the original 'Go cry, emo kid.'

I cannot argue with this. At least, not today.

I'll add that this is something I have encountered (very frequently) primarily online, and so it may be, possibly, in part, an online phenomenon. I have virtually no contact with this age group in the real world.
robyn_ma
Apr. 3rd, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, online is a whole different deal. It's a whole new anonymous frontier. I'll also say that the section of teens I see in the library may be a different breed, even the ones who come in primarily to hang out and do Facebook.

I'm cursed with the long view, though. Any time I'm tempted to say how much popular music sucks these days (except for fabulous Gaga), I remember that there was a generation who said that about Sinatra, for goddess' sake.

What I remember from my teens...well, we didn't have 'emo' as a pejorative back then, but to be too demonstrative about one's feelings denoted weakness in some way. Everyone still had emotions, of course, but if you fessed up to them — barring some disaster which justified outward emotion, like a Columbine-type event or a kid committing suicide — it just gave more ammo to the kids who would point out your 'weakness' so as to distract from their own. So it could be that not a lot really changes except the terminology. Teenagers have always been and will always be insecure beasts, and that will manifest in various ways depending on the generation and what culture/technology they're immersed in — look at the epidemic of online harassment, something that was confined to hallway taunts in previous generations.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 3rd, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)

I'm cursed with the long view, though.

As are many of us. But, of course, there is a multitude of long views, each subjective and many incommensurable with any other.
juushika
Apr. 3rd, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962; one of the most beautiful books I know).
Me too.
fusijui
Apr. 5th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
Me too, too.

Not that I'm getting emotional about it, or anything.
sovay
Apr. 3rd, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
And I'm wondering how the new crop of teens and twentysomethings became so afraid of emotion and the expression thereof.

It makes them vulnerable. Any chink in the armor is to be avoided at all costs; it will just turn up on YouTube and everyone will laugh at you.
awdrey_gore
Apr. 4th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
This is actually a good point and one I had not considered. "These kids today" have grown up monitored in a way that would have seemed positively Orwellian to me when I was a teen and early 20-something.

You express a fervent point, weep openly, become angry and you never know who's gonna secretly film it on their cell phone. Or Tweet about it. Or make a Facebook entry devoted to it.

Gah! I'm glad I'm old(ish).
greygirlbeast
Apr. 4th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)

I do adore that icon.
thehousesparrow
Apr. 3rd, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
And I'm wondering how the new crop of teens and twentysomethings became so afraid of emotion and the expression thereof.* Did their parents teach them? Did they learn it somewhere else? Is this a spontaneous cultural phenomenon? Are they afraid of appearing weak? Is this capitalism streamlining the human psyche to be more useful by eliminating anything that might hamper productivity? Is it a sort of conformism? I don't know, but I could go the rest of my life and never again hear anyone whine about someone else being "emo," and it would be a Very Good Thing.

It's counterculture from the Emo fad and the early days of Radiohead. It's kind of like how the bright fashions of the 80's gave way to the grunge of the 90's. People get sick of one extreme and so they rush to the other end of the spectrum.
thehousesparrow
Apr. 3rd, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
..and on that note, I'm going to go watch Daria.

thehousesparrow
Apr. 3rd, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Just to add.. I know there's lots of guesses here about what's up with teens today. To be honest, nothing has changed from when any of you were younger. I'm 27 and I cannot remember my teens so clearly, only that my view of the world was very narrowed and I was always focused on how I did not seem to fit in with other people (which was untrue, but I didn't realize it then).

People grow up after a while. You look back on things you did so many years ago and feel stupid, resolve to do better and move on. But sometimes you might also forget what used to make you feel the way you used to, and then you have to fill in the blanks with guesses.
jtglover
Apr. 3rd, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
We live in an age where people are more apt to believe a thing if they read it on a T-shirt.

...which would go nicely on a T-shirt.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 4th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)

You might have to shorten it just a bit...so as not to overwhelm contemporary attention spans.
easter_lane
Apr. 4th, 2010 07:47 pm (UTC)
Well, three of my good friends are in their very, very early twenties, and I hang out with them quite a bit. What I've noticed about this generation is they are extremely casual about physical affection. They hug everyone and, if they really like you, they'll sick their tongue down your throat. They are very affectionate with their friends, and have quite a few sex partners (not all of them do, but a good number), but the idea of romantic love makes them very nervous. An actual date, without the prospect of hooking up, is terrifying. Often they don't approach someone because they 'really like them'. The explination I get is a very broad 'I don't want to get hurt'. Myself I find this very odd, cause I had always been just the opposite; fairly reserved in my physical attention, but if there was a chance for love, I charged in boldly and wildly.
mckenzie34
Apr. 5th, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
Last night I went and saw Henry Rollins on his current spoken word tour. I was completely blown away, when at one point, he started talking about how disturbing it is that young people these days are so anti-emotion. He said he wondered if it was some social darwinism capitalist kind of way of creating generations of humans who perform at maximum productivity to the system.
In a word, a way of making people most like machines. Was pretty poignant to have read your post, and then hear Hank talkin' 'bout the same thing. 'Guess great minds really do think alike. By the way, if any of you get the chance to see him on this tour, do. *Highly* recommended!
docbrite
Apr. 5th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
Actually, they love emotion. They especially love it when you post it online, so they can get "lulz" from it.

I'm a little bit sick of the Internet, I think.
( 26 comments — Have your say! )