February 22: Thoughts for the Day

At some point, every generation must acknowledge its decay.  In one sphere, today, Jimmy Fallon is forcing that acknowledgement.  It’s not intentional, nor is it with any rancor, yet it’s happening nonetheless.  I wonder how that acknowledged decay, or the emergence of the youthful replacement, affects the people in the “in-between generations?”  In the case of Fallon versus Leno, what about the 50-somethings?  What do they think?  Do they feel cheated that “one of their own” wasn’t on stage?  Do they feel cheated that a youngster, Fallon, took a spot unavailable to them because their awkward age made a breakthrough inappropriate?

Some things just mesmerize me; I’m too easily amused, perhaps.  I’m the guy who wonders whether my younger friends feel connected to change or feel washed along by a social tidal wave over which they  have no control.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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9 Responses to February 22: Thoughts for the Day

  1. Love the “Stones in Exile” video with Jagger and Fallon! That does show Fallon’s capabilities; wish I could the other mirror version you mentioned!

  2. Mosha says:

    Nice video, Juan! I’ve not seen the film, but heard that “Local Hero” is a real gem.

    I liked Carson, but watched more Cavett when he was on. Afterwards, I personally enjoyed (lost his cable channel a while back) Greg Fergurson. He’s really quite funny in a deranged sort of way! I’ve never watched Fallon, for I do not receive his show.

  3. juan says:

    Yes…you are absolutely right! I was abusive of your theme…guilty as charged, Sir! 😉

    I honestly paused for a shameless moment before posting, thinking whether I should throw in a “pardon-me post-script,” and then thought, “Well, let’s see if John can work this in” — and sure enough you did! Thank you on that, Partner. I actually have developed some detailed notes on this latent phenomena and have thought seriously about writing a piece. In class the other day, I introduced this as a topic of discussion that went literally out the roof!

    Frankly, when Carson left, I basically quit watching such programs,but I also remember when Carson replaced Parr. I was dumb-founded when Leno came in — not impressed with him — not even when he was a lone comedian.

    Admittedly, I’ve not thought much of them in terms of passing the torch. Whether it was Parr, Carson, Letterman or Leno — the format is essentially “cookie cutter bullshit,” with some slight exception to Cavett. These are merely actors falling into a space almost entirely controlled by producers.

    In fact, I can’t help but wonder if

    Admittedly, I have different feelings about Fallon, ever since he did that mirror routine of Mick Jagger, and that has been taken off the net — likely because it is so damned good! The one below is not it, but at least shows some of Fallon’s ability:


  4. Juan, I think you and I are talking about different things, though perhaps not. My intent was to ponder about the “passage of the torch” from one generation to the next, exemplified in one sphere by the departure of Leno as he is replaced by the younger Fallon. From there, I wonder whether those people in “mid-generation” who don’t have an age-cohort peer holding that torch, feel “left out” to some extent, or whether they feel like they are part of that passing of the torch.

    That having been said, I understand and agree with what you’ve said about youth and changes in our culture. Those changes seem to be driving wedges between generations, and understandably so. The apparent lack of respect demonstrated in the “decibel wars” is one such wedge. I wonder whether lessons are not being passed from one generation to the next or whether, instead, the context is changing. That is, is what our generation views as common courtesy simply not considered important by younger people? I think back to the times in my youth when I heard older people complain about the way kids behaved; it’s the same today, except now the kids are older and there’s a new set of kids with different behaviors that deviate from what the older ones consider the norm. And, though I may understand it, I loathe it! What the hell is wrong with kids these days?! I’m only half-smiling….

  5. juan says:

    Youth of today have incredible technology at their fingertips, but there comes with it some sense of control and rights of others.

    Texting on a phone bothers me, when I think my life depends on some bad move from some other driver on US19. I am bothered by music played at 40 plus decibels. My thought is why don’t some use a cheap MP player, or why not cut off your phone in public arenas.

    Of course, no infraction like this is worth a life, but there is an irritability in the air these days, and that needs to be addressed.

    I’m writing this, early morning, watching “Shaft in Africa.” What a hoot — it’s almost pornographic!

    Frankly, I don’t give a hoot about Leno. I never understood why he was chosen for that spot to begin with. His jokes went stale, and so I quit watching long ago. Fallon? He’s plane funny….but that context has shifted. Jack Parr, Dick Cavett, and “Here’s Johnny” are the hosts I remember, and so I have a contextual understanding — a memory — of “host evolution.” Does anyone remember Allan Burke?

    Here’s one for you, Trish and all!


  6. Mosha says:

    Great theme and thoughts, John, and great comment, Juan! I find a great decline in how the youth acts, or don’t act in current times. I’m always riding my son and keeping “check”. For this attitude between the youngsters just ain’t fittin’! We were rebellious in our time, but now-days its more than that…more than “feeling your oats”. I cannot help but feel, at least in part, is the silly notion of parents to say to their children, “I’m your friend”. I told my son long ago, we can be friendly and friend like of course, but I am not your friend, you have friends. I am his mother, and I’m in another classification. Meaning, he speaks and acts with his friends in a particular way, but, this is not to be applied to me. Its…well, another rapport. A couple of times he called me Patricia in the middle of a dispute. I almost bitch slapped him! 😉 I was raised, as I’m sure you and John were, to never address your parents by their first name. I also remember calling my best friends parents as Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so. When parents defuse that boarder, there is bound to be problems. Decay? Yes, but I view this decay in the parental unit.

    Your neighbor Alex listens to Rap, and at deafening volume? Gee, who would have guessed that, Juan?! 😉

    I always read Johns writings and thoughts…early morning ritual. Yes, John, you often touch on great subjects, and has taught me much in the process!

    Juan, wish I could tell you I have the title of the song that you seek, but I gifted you when I left with my only copy of the particular collection of music. I didn’t begin to keep record of what was on each disco until I began mailed you more in the aftermath. Is it vocal or instrumental? That could help me figure it out.

    Read about those two example cases that you’ve mentioned. Oh boy, Juan. As they say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, I say, what could, and will happen, happens in Florida! Cannot help but notice this, Juan. What the devil is going on there? Is it just since the Anthony and then Zimmerman case that put this beautiful state in such a harsh light??

  7. Juan and Seamus…I must think on these things. And I will respond with my own comments in a day or two.

  8. juan says:

    Is decay expressly related to age, though?

    I’m not particularly impressed with youth, foregoing any romantic notion that time holds us green and dying, though we sing in our chains like the sea.”

    My days as a college teacher are spent with youth, directing them, teaching them, disciplining them – only last week kicking two out of my classes for their indolent manners – manners that are as uncontentious or as non-existent as their penmanship.

    There are other kinds of decay, like maybe social or cultural decay.

    For example, the missing discussion of the recent murders — raging murders — when in one case a 71 year old X-cop shoots a theater customer for texting during the movie, or the even more recent shooting of an African American boy by an older man for playing over the top, decibel booming music as he pulled into a gas stop with his friends.

    When the older one asked him to stop, the boy continued, and so the older man shot him with a 38 semi-automatic.

    Of course the world is appalled by representatives of my generation who go ape-shit and then revert to some weird interpretation of “stand your ground.”

    But there is a missing discussion here – the missing discussion over initiating infractions concerning good manners, too, or what is the theft of abstract space that comes through texting in a quiet theater or window rattling music at a public gas station, or even in a neighborhood.

    Today, I worked in my yard, doing some landscaping and some preparational gardening for the spring. Next door, young Alex was onto his own projects of waxing the car. The differnence between us was significant: Where Alex played his rap music over speakers set in his garage so loud you could hear it down the block, I was plugged into my MP player with a set of headphones, where only I could here some songs that Trish had sent me.

    [Trish if you are reading this, what is the name of that song you sent me in on an album entitled I-tunes #6, 8th or 9th song — incredible Argentinian beat?]

    To me the logic is simple — it has something to do with public invisibility. Where one bothers no one but myself, the other invades the hearing space of others.

    I often incorporate a book in my classes entitled “On Liberty” by J.S. Mill. And so I ask the youth of my classes what is the difference between playing loud music at 4 in the afternoon or 4 in the morning? It’s an easy answer: where the former basically doesn’t bother anyone, the latter invades the private space of neighbors.

    What I find bothersome of youth these days is their narcissistic lack of manners, or conscientious concern for the rights of others, and so going back to my original question, “is decay expressly related to age?”

    Frankly, I think it is, but not expressly related to old age. There is an “infectious decay” happening lately, John, one partly related to the country’s loss of conscientious behavior and the concern for the rights of others.

  9. Seamus Preston says:

    I feel connected to it, if that’s of any interest. Then again, I may not be in the age bracket you’re talking about…

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