So, we let Ainsley watch Glee.
With parental supervision, of course. I would feel more guilty about letting her watch an "adult" show that sometimes features sexual innuendo and mildly racy language, but I really think it's less harmful in the long run than letting her watch Hannah Montana. At least the people on Glee are examples of how to act and sing well.
Lately, watching this show together has made me all too aware of the generation gap between my 7-year-old and I. It all started with the episode that ended with the group doing a cover of one of my all-time favorite songs, U2's "One."
Rachel, the young diva with the great big voice, started singing the song for someone and prefaced it by saying, "I heard you like classic rock."
So "One" is classic rock now? Really?
"That's not classic rock!" I said to Jason. "Classic rock is 60s and 70s music."
"Classic rock WAS 60s and 70s music back when we were in the 80s and 90s. I guess music from the 80s and 90s is classic now."
It didn't help that Ainsley popped up and said, "What's this song? I've never heard this one before."
I opened my mouth to correct her, because how has someone not heard "One"? Then I remembered she's seven. Then I retrieved my copy of Achtung Baby to play with Ainsley in the car between listenings of Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato.
During Glee's Madonna-centric episode I realized that Ainsley had no earthly idea who Madonna is nor why the girls in the cast were wearing funny-looking bras when they did "Express Yourself." (Someone get me a copy of The Immaculate Collection, stat!) And this week when the Glee club guys dressed like Kiss, she had no idea who they were supposed to be.
"Why do all those guys have that makeup on their faces?"
I looked to Jason, former Kiss fan, to give her the explanation of this one, but he was singing along to "Shout It Out Loud" at the time and I didn't have the heart to interrupt him.
In the same episode, she did, however, know the Lady Gaga songs. Methinks it's about time for a "classic rock" intervention.
I don't know if there has ever been such a wide generational-knowledge gap than there will be between us late Gen X-ers and our children. Technology and the world in general have moved so fast; items are invented one year and made obsolete the next. In a world where the phrase, "That's SO ten minutes ago" is not really an exaggeration, is there any hope of us catching up to them and them slowing down for us?
Ainsley has never seen a rotary phone or a vinyl record. She has no idea what a roll of film looks like. She has a tape player on her little boombox, but she's never put a cassette in it and I dare say she wouldn't know how to. She saw someone use a typewriter in an older movie not too long ago and asked where the computer screen was. She's learning cursive at her school, but most her age are not; they're learning keyboarding in the third grade instead. Even things we thought once were cutting-edge technology are like artifacts from an archaeological dig for her; she's never seen someone pull up the antenna on a cell phone, never heard that high-pitched modem squeal that means your dial-up connection is starting, never saved a document onto a floppy disk, never watched someone program a recording on a VCR. She does, however, know how to start a saved program on a DVR, how to send a text message, and even took a picture and captured video on her dad's new phone before he had even figured that out. It's like being a family of immigrants; Jason and I have learned this new language in adulthood and know just enough to function in our new world. But Ainsley was born speaking technology and has a native proficiency and comfort we'll never have.
For her, a phone is always going to be something people can carry in their pocket. Listening to music while on the go will mean plugging ear buds into something roughly the size of a credit card. Passing notes in class while the teacher's not looking will mean discreetly typing a text message. Getting a roll of pictures developed will mean plugging a camera into a computer and hitting "Print."
And "One" will always be "that song from Glee."
Get used to it, fellow children of the 80s--we are antiques.