Monday, December 04, 2006

Nostalgia lost

It’s pledge time for the local Public Television, and of course that means we’ve been seeing special dinosaur-rock reunion concerts. Generally I watch only to see if the coots can still hit the notes- and it’s amazing how often they can after all those years. But another thought struck me while watching the Doo-wop special.

Doo-wop is before my time; this special was octogenarians on stage singing to septuagenarians in the audience. But it was kind of sweet, actually, with silver-hairs holding hands and singing along, sometimes with tears in their eyes, remembering their salad days. By the end, there was dancing in the aisles. Suddenly it occurred to me that this was another thing denied to the Hip-hop generation. That they’ve been denied a positive, uplifting cultural experience in the present is pretty clear- but they’ve also been denied in the future the kind of societal-binding nostalgia their parents have, the camaraderie of shared cultural experience the oldies induce.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps fifty years from now a silver-haired Marshall Mathers will be up on the PBS stage, making eyes glisten with an obscenely delivered fantasy of raping and killing his mother; perhaps those future septuagenarians will be lost in memory of their salad days as Public Enemy barks out a classic about killing cops, or maybe Ludicris’ rant about ho’s will move them to one last dance, with grandmama bending over and sticking her booty out so grandpaw can grind his pelvis against it. Perhaps those rappers who have not killed each other at award shows by then will be able to generate the same emotions in their fans that those Doo-woppers did. It could happen, I guess.

1 comment:

powderblue said...

Our local newspaper recently ran a column by, Leonard Pitts, Jr., on this very topic, “The lost art of singing ‘baby, please’ ”.

I think you’ll enjoy it.