Along with the state of my auntie’s hearing, my grandfather’s memory, and my mobile phone’s battery, British culture is deteriorating frighteningly rapidly – and the upcoming generation is faced with the brunt of the blame.
But is it really? (Yes, my auntie’s hearing, my grandfather’s memory, and my mobile phone’s battery are all worsening at a worrying rate – but is Britain really on a downward spiral?)
I decided to hit the teenage years just as England was on the verge of becoming a less than pleasant place in which to reside. The streets are no longer decorated by a host of buses and bikes, but more commonly littered with four-by-fours on tarmacked roads and kids riding mopeds as though they are actually capable of travelling at some significant speed. Music no longer means rock ‘n’ roll, but now mainly comprises a new batch of irate youths disguising complaints about their deprived lives to a background of kool (with a “k”) beatz (with a “z”) as actual “talent”. The fashion of today isn’t even the fashion of today, it is the slightly-altered fashion of yesterday: skinny jeans to leggings, boots to brogues – completely, utterly, entirely unoriginal. Talentless pop stars churning out over-produced record after over-produced record top the charts, and the only books that get any hype are shoddily-written novels about glittery vampires. All the things that supposedly put the “great” into Great Britain are gone.
Conclusion: no hope for the future. Right?
“Tut tut, the youth of today, tut tut tut,” the older generations complain to themselves and each other, “Violence, gangs, knives, guns… No respect! Mobile phones, computers – can’t live without ’em! What is this world coming to? Wasn’t like this when I was young. Back in the day!” They shake their heads at mugs of tea as they pencil in crossword answers with Deal or No Deal on the telly and a bit o’ Cliff on the stereo. Of course, not every pensioner fits the mould. Some of the crazier types might venture to the bingo or try a bit of sudoku instead of the traditional word puzzles.
Today’s teenagers are widely portrayed as lazy, rude and generally not very nice, but surely it is obvious that the minority who make a name for the majority cannot truly represent a generation in its entirety. For instance, just because three out of four of my peers is a brand-wearing clone, permanently plugged into technology of some sort and exuding a can’t-be-bothered air that smells like body spray, chewing gum, cigarettes and sweat doesn’t mean we’re all like that. And just because my gran is a fan of Noel Edmonds and crosswords doesn’t mean that yours is too.
I’m fed up of resistance to diversity and reluctance to adapt to new music, clothes, icons and attitudes (yes Grandad, I’m looking at you). I’m fed up of the fact that because culture and society are changing it is often assumed to be for the worse when, really, the opposite is true! If more diversity than ever before is not something to be excited about, then I don’t know what is. What I am trying to say is that I am tired of hearing about how Britain “isn’t how it used to be.” Well, what do you expect?
Moral of the story: welcome the change. Embrace the change. Give the change a big fat kiss on the lips (or a high five if you’re not comfortable with that level of intimacy) because although it may be scary, change is good. Say it with me: “Change is good.”
And to conclude, just an update on the auntie / grandfather / mobile phone situation: we have invested in a hearing aid, Brain Trainer for DS, and one of those phone battery booster thingies. Deterioration is no longer an issue.