Thursday, August 02, 2007

Generation gaps? 

Last night I watched an episode from Quantum Leap. I’m working my way steadily through the boxed sets of all five seasons. It was something I missed a lot of when it was on TV and only came to enjoy when it was close to finishing.

This particular episode, Good Mornin’ Peoria, had Sam taking the identity of a DJ in a small radio station in, of course, Peoria. He was tasked with saving the radio station from closure and its female owner from the resultant ruination.

The main thrust of the plot was that some prominent members of the town wanted to stop the radio station playing rock and roll because they thought it was corrupting their youth. Sam eventually won the day by some clever wordplay about various constitutional amendments and freedom of speech. The kids got the music, he got the girl and the radio station was saved. Hurrah!

I couldn’t help thinking that the same scene could essentially be played in more or less every decade since. In the fifties it was rock and roll, then free love in the sixties, glam rock in the seventies, punk in the eighties and so on.

People of my age, in whatever era and seemingly almost without exception, hate the popular music of younger generations. We see it as meaningless repetitive rubbish that leads to social degeneration.

Did this happen before the fifties, I wonder? Did wartime parents worry about their sons and daughters listening to swing? A further back, did people worry about the bad influence of Beethoven?

Is this some sort of law of nature?

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