On Thanksgiving morning I posted the Jay-Z song "Forever Young" to my Facebook wall. I see a lot of people post videos that they feel are meaningful, so when I came across the Jay-Z song I thought it was just perfect -- a good way to express the sadness I'd been feeling all morning about a recent loss our family has experienced.
My children disagreed.
Not with the sentiment, per se, but the video itself -- or rather the genre. Gathered around the fire after dinner, my oldest son brought up my Facebook post and pretty much told me that I was too old to listen to hip-hop. Heads bobbing in agreement, his brother and sister, the co-conspirators, were backing him all the way (if I wasn't so old, I would have said that they "had his back"). Rarely have I witnessed these three agree on ANYTHING, but today, with this -- they were a team, unified and sure, which leads me to believe that my digression had been discussed among them prior to our little fireside chat.
As smart and able as my kids are, I feel a motherly duty to let them in on something they haven't been around long enough to understand...
POPULAR THINGS GO MAINSTREAM.
Yep, it happens all the time. You know the graffiti that adorns all those downtown hipster spots? Now it's called "street art" and it's everywhere: on clothing, in commercials, on coffee mugs and stickers and lunchboxes. Your generation made artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey popular, going mainstream made them millionaires.
From boho chic to tribal tattoos, let's face it... none of us came up with much that hadn't been thought of before. The visionaries of my generation started burning their draft cards and their bras, and before you knew it the war was over and women all over America were bouncing about, unsupported. As the "hippie" look became mainstream we shuddered at the sight of our fathers in their flowered shirts and our moms in their flowing caftans. Was it any wonder that the next generation rebelled by turning to argyle sweaters and madras shorts?
We don't mean to ruin things for you, but your stuff is cool and we want in on it. Your job is to find the next great thing that we'll hate for a while and then, when it's good and watered down, we will steal it. Because, as you now know, my dear children, once your parents adopt a trend (or a recording artist), it's no longer considered cool. Just ask me about the time I found my father smoking a joint! Yeah, that pretty much ruined THAT for me.
Just like I ruined Jay-Z for you.
(Check out the Jay-Z / Mr. Hudson video "Forever Young" – it's awesome.)
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