Born in the wrong generation

Janie Simonton | Staff Writer

“Involvement with retro kitsch is … growing because of ththe escapist silliness it provides,” according to Irma Zandl, president of The Zandl Group, posted on chiefmarketer.com. Well, “retro kitsch” seems to have found its way to Mason High School.
“There are definitely things I borrow from previous generations,” senior Shane Riley said. “[I listen to] earlier rock, like sixties and seventies, and jazz from the sixties; a lot of music from the sixties counterculture.”

Riley seems to enjoy the inspiration previous decades have had on current ones.

“I listen to a lot of what is precedent for today’s music. I like [older customs] more because…I like…the pioneers of all the
movements of now,” Riley said.

Riley said both his grandfather and his father had an effect on his fashion and musical interests, respectively.

“When [my grandfather] died,” Riley said, “he had a lot of clothes that I thought I enjoyed to wear, so I just started wearing some of them, like a lot of his suits.”

Riley’s musical interests run in the family as well.

“I think [why I started listening to the music I listen to now] had something to do with my dad’s music,” Riley said. “I started listening to that, and then I kind of just progressed from there.”

Junior Tony Rood said he looks to the past for musical influence also, citing the eighties in particular, the decade that sponsored Farm Aid, Madonna, Michael Jackson, CDs, Run-DMC and LL Cool J, according to http://teacherssduhsd.k12.ca.us/cblack/20thcentury/outline.html.

“[F]or me, [the eighties were] a huge musical period when lots of music and different kinds of fashion were starting up,” Rood said.

Rood said he does not scorn today’s culture, however, apparent in the clean white Metallica shirt he wears, purchased from September 15th’s concert in Cincinnati.

“Things like long hair, ripped jeans, [they’re] pretty modern concepts,” Rood said, “[I] like taking things we used to do and combining them with new things.”

And even though combination is fairly all-inclusive, it is not the only way to do things, according to Rood.

“I think it’s cool now to do whatever you’re interested in,” Rood said. “It’s not like a conformity thing; everybody’s doing their own thing.”

Junior Alison Bewley said she disagrees; not many people want to diverge from today’s standards.

“I think most people want to be in the now,” Bewley said.

And what is “the now”? According to http://en.allexperts. com, the 2000s represent an era of Harry Potter, LiveStrong bracelets, SUVs, William Hung, Tivo, Starbucks, Facebook and energy drinks, among other crazes.

According to Bewley, however, “the now” is very electronic-based.

“We do a lot of the Facebook stuff and the texting stuff and the IM and the technology,” Bewley said. “[I]t’s kind of speeding us up too much.”

Even though she said lots of people want to focus on current times, Bewley said she does not deny that some people are rewinding to figure out what they like.

“People who think about that sort of thing a lot…can be popular and cool at the same time,” Bewley said. “[I]t’s really cool to go backward or forward.”

Junior Kelly Hendrickson’s confession that the generation she would most likely fit into would be “the sixties or under” deposits her in the backward category Bewley spoke of.

“I like all the culture, like the music today, but some of my activities…don’t really fit into people’s norms,” Hendrickson said. So what does Hendrickson consider to be not the “norm”?

“I like doing crafts,” Hendrickson said, “[and] a lot of people don’t like [doing] that.” But Hendrickson’s do-it-yourself hobbies are not just simple crafts.

“My friends and I knit a lot,” Hendrickson said. “And some of the music I listen to is not what people listen to today. Like my
favorite singer is Frank Sinatra, [and I like] Michael Bublé, and … classical music.”

Hendrickson said her friends do not make fun of her tendencies to look back; they actually think it is “really cool.”

“I made a bag for one of my friends and my friends were all like, ‘Oh, that’s so cute! That’s awesome you know how to sew!’” Hendrickson said.

“Sometimes [my friends will ask], ‘What’re you doing?’ [and I say,] ‘Oh, I’m knitting right now,’” Hendrickson laughed.

Hendrickson does not laugh off the useful qualities of her hobbies, though.

“So, say there’s this fifty-dollar bag I want, I can go home and make it with the materials I have for free,” Hendrickson said. “Or say, I want a scarf in this color, I can knit it. I can make my own things how I like them.”

Although Hendrickson said she has friends she knits with, not all of them share her passion for music from earlier times.

“I’ll say, ‘Oh, I know Frank Sinatra, I listen to him all the time,’ and [my friends] are like, ‘Who’s Frank Sinatra?’” Hendrickson said.

Older musical interests may not be widely appreciated by a high school crowd, but Hendrickson said popular fashion crazes are turning back the dial.

“If you look at fashion trends,” Hendrickson said, “all fashion is going back to the seventies and the fifties.”

Riley agrees that “in” clothes now have been inspired by previous generations.

“Especially with clothing styles, retro is kind of a cool thing,” Riley said. “Like leg warmers and stuff like that.”

Junior Jessica Harrison said she’s noticed the crop of older-looking clothes around Mason High School.

“There’s this girl who sits next to me [in class] and she always dresses in kind of the older generation stuff and it looks so cute,” Harrison said.

Harrison said she likes a lot about today, evident in the red Soffe shorts and black Old Navy flip-flops that she sports.

“I like all the songs [of today],” Harrison said. “They’re really upbeat and fun to dance to. Sometimes they say inappropriate stuff, but you just ignore it.”