I've been listening to Ella Fitzgerald's The Cole Porter Songbook incessantly lately. The second track on the album is "Anything Goes", and while I was writing this today a decidedly obvious verse caught my ear:
"Good authors too who once knew better words,
now only use four-letter words,
That was 1934. You can imagine where we are today.
Living in Brooklyn in 2011 its hard not to notice the race for the next and best "artisan" anything. For example, fresh fruit and vegetables: expensive and out of the way, mostly reduced to places like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Eggs, milk and poultry grown locally on a farm: hard to find, probably not actually from a farm, and still overpriced, but that's just the beginning. My neighborhood is filled with all sorts of 'old school joints,' particularly bars, that harken back to the 'good ole days.' More than I care to acknowledge. Look, I probably enjoy a properly made cocktail more than most, but I definitely don't need a hipster with a petite handlebar mustache in suspenders serving me a 'hamburger sandwich.' Alas this sums up the Brooklyn of 2010s pretty well. An homage to everything that was once just -- I don't know, normal, but now somehow a commodity with a kicked up price tag.
Photography is another great illustration (no pun intended) of this. Digital is here, we love it, and we all embrace it, but at the same time are expected to be wowed by 'arty' photographs hanging inside organic cafes, just because they were taken on a 'real' camera, using film. So What!? That's what you do! You take pictures! With a camera. On Film. And they look nice. Shocking. I mean, do you think whoever took this photo had some kind of special something/anything?
Furthermore, when did buying a suit that is made by a real tailor, that actually has a nice cut, and is made to measure, warrant such hubbub? I'll tell you when: when people stopped giving a sh*t about craftsmanship. And by 'people' I mean young people, of course.
This is nothing new, and I'm not going to sit here and pretend that at the ripe age of 33 I am an expert on the decline of such a thing, but it seems awfully telling to me that even in my meager lifetime the contrast between when "I was a kid" and kids today is UN. REAL.
Ok, ok, I'll get to the point. The generation just below mine, the 18-20 somethings of today, they don't care. They don't care how well something is made, or how it is done the right way, they just want it. AND THEY WANT IT NOW (jeez....chill out with the caps mAn) because they deserve it.
Can you blame them? Its the age of the internet people! Sh*t, the only place I can get anyone to publish this drivel is the internet. We live in a culture of clicks. I want it, and I want it now-- [CLICK], and for the most part there isn't much you can't get. Music, literature, relationships, you name it, I'll click it. And who cares if its a replica, or a forgery? Now, now, now. Let's not get caught up in semantics, I mean, who can really tell the difference? Gimme, gimme, gimme. It's said generation's weakness.
But still, this is only a byproduct of what I think the real problem here is. I mean, young people have always been impatient, that's what makes one young. I think the real problem is, that today's young people are way too overly entitled. They think they deserve EVERYTHING (and now). There is no more craftsmanship because no one has the desire to learn. That would take time, and they don't have time. They're too busy clawing at what they think is rightfully theirs.
You don't need to spend years apprenticing to learn how to make an intricate watch by hand that will last for decades anymore, you just need a website!
You don't need to spend years interning at any record label that will have you, soaking up the experience of men and women with tenfold your accolades, or being an assistant to a successful manager, you just need a Twitter account!
You don't need to sit in the back of a room sweeping, getting coffee, or running cables whilst slowly learning a little at a time how to use time tested recording gear, operated by talented engineers and producers, you just need a laptop! (preferably running a [k]racked version of Ableton Live or Logic Pro)
Gone are the days, for most anyways, of slowly building something. A fan base, a foundation. Now a days, you have a song, you have a MySpace... "um, whats the problem?" "where's my record deal? sheeeesh." Kids think they just deserve this sh*t, that somehow its owed to them? Why?
Something happened in between my parent's generation and the one below mine, where in everyone just decided they deserve everything. I mean, I think to be successful at anything, you have to have that certain combination of drive, humility and self worth, but let's not get greedy here huh? 1 out of 3 isn't bad right? I mean, part of me feels bad pointing the finger, with Mark Zuckerbergs walking around. If I was 22 and had a MacBook I'd probably be thinking "whats keeping me from doing the same thing?" (PS -- I'm 33 and walking around trying to think of the same thing.) Too naive to realize that's a fluke, too shortsighted to think about the long term, too distracted by their quest to take the time to learn a real métier.
When I think about the climate of 'the next class' I can't help but think about my grandfather and his friends. Driving around in huge cars, using the correct tool to fix something on the first try, and sitting around at the end of hard day's work at this, rather then this. Drinking something like this, as opposed to something like this.
To be totally truthful, I didn't really know either of my grandfathers, as they both passed away when I was too young to remember, but I can't help think if they could see the post grad kids of today, they'd slap the sh*t out of them.