Saturday, October 27, 2007
I have two children. One is a diplomat, one is feral. Assembled, that makes me.
Anyway, they browse amongst the luxuriant undergrowth of amusements like everybody else. We don't have TV, so more or less we choose what we're going to look at. We often choose SpongeBob.
There's something profoundly wrong with you if you don't like SpongeBob Squarepants. You should have someone unscrew the top of your head and mess around with the wires if you dislike it. It's Shakespeare and the Three Stooges with all the interim stops thrown in. It's sublime.
There's all sorts of diversions offered to my tots -- and their parents as collateral damage. My older son is a gaping maw for content of all kinds now. Even the little one doesn't watch the same VCR tape over and over any more without protesting. I've seen all the usual suspects, and I have no problem with Sheen and Karl Weezer and Billy and Mandy and a bunch of other harmless tripe. But in general, each micro-generation attracts all the best --or at least the most appropriate and timely-- ideas and people and distills it into something that defines that infantile generation. Bugs Bunny. Fred Flintstone. SpongeBob. Like that.
I think the coalescence of talent and the spot to put it in is not predictable with adults, never mind children whose minds we once had but are completely opaque to all of us now. It's like a mature economy is; no one knows exactly what's going on with everybody, and we all throw all sorts of stuff at the wall and gauge people's reactions to determine if we need a new wall or new stuff to throw or a new thrower. Anyone that tells you that they can predict the next big thing is a liar; or more likely is telling the truth as they understand it, which is not very well. You can only be correct in that big way by happenstance and probabilities. And almost without exception it's a trick any person can only pull off once, anyway; so your track record in the last smash hit makes you as qualified as a homeless man on the corner yelling at the traffic in predicting the next one. Yeah, you knew in advance the obscure dork bit player that held a clipboard on Coach would be a worldwide sensation as an animated talking doofus starfish. I bet the guy that hired him didn't. He was just flinging the best thing he could find and afford at the likeliest wall he could imagine, and hoping.
It's a great wall. It all stuck.