Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gen Z and Me

So, have you heard about Gen Z?

I typed that right. I didn't mean Gen X or the Millennial Gen Y kids. I mean Gen Z. There's a whole bunch of 'em, and they were born between the early '90s and 2010, according to Wikipedia, which is the final word on everything until somebody hacks it and writes what they want.

ANYWAY! The Gen Z kids are young and hip and now. Which is why I'm barred from their group.

However, I have found there are ways I can help these Gen Z-ers. For example: I can shed light on some of the obscure '80s and '90s references that are trotted out on shows like "Psyche." Last summer's show promo was a parody of that '80s hit "Private Eyes." The kids thought it was a knee slapper.
Me: "That's a good take on the Hall & Oates song."

Cara: "Which song?"

Ry: "Who's Hauling Oats?"

Yes, they loved the "Psych" commercial even though they didn't even KNOW it was a parody of the singing duo HALL & OATES who had a song named "PRIVATE EYES!!!"

So I called up the video on YouTube, and -- like all Gen Z kids -- they saw the first 12 seconds of it and got distracted and grew impatient because they're impatient and think they have better things to do than watch '80s videos.
Ry: "Whatever, Mom, we got the point."

"Glee" is always dredging up ol' timey hits like, "Good Vibrations."

Me: "Wow, they're going with Marky Mark."

Cara: "Who's Marky Mark?"

Me: "Only Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch!"
Cara thinks "Funky Bunch" sounds hilarious. Then I point out Marky Mark has been in movies with Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney, and produces half of HBO's line-up. So, laugh all ye want... young 'un.

Recently, Cara directed my attention to the apparel site. There, she clicks on what she "loves" and all her selections end up together on a "Loved Items" page. Cara emails these lists to me and I hit the delete button.
Cara: "Mom, just look at their clothes! They're SO CUUTE!"

Me: "Cara, just look at your closet and drawers -- they're SO MESSY!"

Cara: "You're so mean. But just click on the dress on the top. Isn't that SOOO CUUUUTE?!"

I click on the "A Little Bit Indie Rock" dress. I don't know what's indie rock about it -- I mean, it's not plaid, it's not eight layers of different ripped up fabric and tulle. I'm guess I'm just really out of touch with the indie rock scene, man, because this dress looks like a "Michelle Obama has Tea with Southern Republicans" number.

The Indie Rock description starts with "You may be a little bit country, like Marie, or a little bit rock n' roll, like Donnie...." Yes, they spelled Donny wrong -- but that's because the caption writer probably didn't spend years of her life with his poster on her wall, like some people.

Me: "Do you know who Donny and Marie are?"

Cara, after a several-second pause: "Osmond?"

Me: "And do you get the 'little bit country, little bit rock n' roll' reference?"

Cara: "It's a reference?"

That was my cue to jump into a rousing rendition of, "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock n' roll" dut dut dun naht! I explained the whole thing about Marie sang a country song, Donny sang a rock tune. Sometimes they switched it up and Marie got to rock out.
Me: "Here, look. I can probably pull it up on YouTube."

Cara: "It's okay, Mom. I get it. ...Now can I get the dress?"

Oh, those impatient, attention-deficited #!* Gen Zers!


  1. Looks like Cara is fond of the kind of stuff that Zooey Deschanel (Actress from "Elf", sister of "Bones" star Emily, wife of Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and singer/songwriter of the duo She & Him) likes to wear. Indie these days is a bit different than what we once considered it to be, but there's a lot of good stuff out there. She & Him is really along the the lines of '60s pop with a lot of Beach Boy, Beatles and Motown influences. From what you and Mike have said about Cara's tastes in music if she doesn't already know about them, she and you will probably both enjoy the stuff.

    It's hard to keep up with what generation is what at times. We all know labels for the marketing teams. But no matter what the label, you're just getting the same reactions your parents got from you and their parents got from them and so on and so on as it has been since the beginning of time. In a way its conforting to know some things never really change.

  2. Rich, guess what's sitting on her dresser as I type this? A "She & Him" CD she picked up somewhere. She's a huge Zooey AND Death Cab fan.

    One difference between me and my kids, versus me and my parents: I don't recall being allowed to call my parents old and in the next breath asking them to buy me stuff!! LOL Thanks for the comments, Rich! Always love feedback.... :)