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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Default Are younger people less knowledgeable about pop culture history then before?

    I remember growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, but still having a lot of knowledge about shows from the 60’s and 70’s and even earlier. Today I feel young people only really know about stuff from their generation. This is in spite of the fact that they have the internet and can look up older stuff easily. I think part of it has to do with the fact that back in the day reruns of old shows use to run alongside new stuff creating kind of a continuity between old and new. Today you have to actually seek out old stuff, so most people don’t bother.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Güicho's Avatar
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    As far as I can tell they think every tv and cinematic concept, visual, tone, theme, motif, idea, began whole cloth with the Marvel Cinematic universes.
    Nothing influenced or existed before it.

    And yeah, you can't get them to read or acknowledge a post that came before theirs dropped, let alone a movie or tv series that existed before them.

    Of course the exact flip-side happens with old fogies who can't or refuse to acknowledge or reference anything new, so it balances out perfectly

    If anything back then everyone recognized the same stuff cause that's what was available.
    There is so much content; old, new, international, all easily available now, no reason any two people saw the same thing.
    Last edited by Güicho; 09-27-2020 at 10:34 AM.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Re-runs on tv helped a lot back then.

    For example in the 80's Star Trek was very often on tv where i lived, as Space 1999, the Invaders, Batman, Zorro or The Twilight Zone so of course i knew about this old stuff.

    But now who watches tv really?

  4. #4
    Mighty Member jb681131's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    I remember growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, but still having a lot of knowledge about shows from the 60’s and 70’s and even earlier. Today I feel young people only really know about stuff from their generation. This is in spite of the fact that they have the internet and can look up older stuff easily. I think part of it has to do with the fact that back in the day reruns of old shows use to run alongside new stuff creating kind of a continuity between old and new. Today you have to actually seek out old stuff, so most people don’t bother.
    You also missed the fact that there are way more new stuff now a days than before, that's why before there was lots of reruns.

  5. #5
    Courage looks like this Powerboy's Avatar
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    Some points I'm thinking of, some of which have already been brought up.

    I grew up in the sixties and seventies. Reruns were a much bigger thing then. A lot of Saturday morning stuff was reruns of old movie serials which is why I have any idea who Roy Rogers was or the Lone Ranger.

    Television was much newer then and there were only three networks, two in the early days, and they had a limited number of things to rerun. There was plenty of time to watch old stuff which really wasn't that old at the time.

    Nowadays, you've got endless networks and streaming. There's so much more out there that you could never watch it all let alone reruns.

    If you go far enough back, the culture has changed so much that a 20-something doesn't relate to it. The pacing back then was slower, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.

    I also think young people do know about stuff from before their time but a little before or if it's something that relates to something current. They might check out an older version of a character they like in the present.

    But more than anything, I think it's that there is so much to watch now.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb681131 View Post
    You also missed the fact that there are way more new stuff now a days than before, that's why before there was lots of reruns.
    This is the real change, I think.

    Pop-culture knowledge as a whole nowadays is far more about breadth of material than depth. Your average member of Generation Z is going to have the same amount of knowledge as a Boomer, Gen X or Millenial... but the pool of information they’re drawing from will be exponentially larger, and therefore overlap from person to person will be rarer.

    I mean, a cult hit today might be a YouTube channel with a few million subs, vs a film from the 80’s with a million in ticket sales.

    I teach enough 6th Grade kids to see a tiny handful be massive nerds for the YouTube channel Overly Sarcastic Prodcutions, a larger group for the Disney Renaissance thanks to their parents, an equal group that now knows about Avatar: The Last Airbender but mostly thanks to Netflix, and can clearly state the overall class *does* know more about the MCU than they do about Star Wars.

    Whatever generation change is happening here is being caused by a change in pop-culture, not the other way around.

    (I’d also say Star Wars’s fall in popularity is in part because the franchise kind of had a “mini-regression” in its junior year under Disney in terms of keeping up with the times, especially compared to its George Lucas-led form and in comparison to the MCU - they never sought to fully saturate the market with kid appeal ideas the way Lucas did during the PT, and TLJ and Solo are movies made more for Boomers and Gen-Xers than for Millenials or Zillenials.)
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  7. #7
    Mighty Member LordMikel's Avatar
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    I would say we should also realize the idea of historical.

    In 1980 as a child of 8, I watched reruns of the Brady Bunch, which debuted in 1969 - 1974.
    Brady Brides was in 1981.
    The Bradys in 1990. Which I believe is the last time the original cast had a TV show. (There was a home show with the Brady Bunch)

    It is 2020, my daughter is 11. I just walked up and asked her if she knew who the Brady Bunch was and she said no. so she doesn't know a TV show that debuted 50 years ago and was last on TV 30 years ago, and I'm really not surprised.

    But let's go back to 1980. If we want to apply the standards of today with the standards back then, then I should know about movies from the 1930.
    I had to do some research to find an example. Jack Benny show debuted in 1949. I know the name, but I've never watched a single episode.

    I hate to say it, but some of us are old and stuff we remember and we think everyone should know about, is maybe a lot older than you think.

    But this does bring up a good point. I do think a new high school class could be "pop culture and its significance" through the ages.
    I think restorative nostalgia is the number one issue with comic book fans.
    A fine distinction between two types of Nostalgia:

    Reflective Nostalgia allows us to savor our memories but accepts that they are in the past
    Restorative Nostalgia pushes back against the here and now, keeping us stuck trying to relive our glory days.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordMikel View Post
    I would say we should also realize the idea of historical.

    In 1980 as a child of 8, I watched reruns of the Brady Bunch, which debuted in 1969 - 1974.
    Brady Brides was in 1981.
    The Bradys in 1990. Which I believe is the last time the original cast had a TV show. (There was a home show with the Brady Bunch)

    It is 2020, my daughter is 11. I just walked up and asked her if she knew who the Brady Bunch was and she said no. so she doesn't know a TV show that debuted 50 years ago and was last on TV 30 years ago, and I'm really not surprised.

    But let's go back to 1980. If we want to apply the standards of today with the standards back then, then I should know about movies from the 1930.
    I had to do some research to find an example. Jack Benny show debuted in 1949. I know the name, but I've never watched a single episode.

    I hate to say it, but some of us are old and stuff we remember and we think everyone should know about, is maybe a lot older than you think.

    But this does bring up a good point. I do think a new high school class could be "pop culture and its significance" through the ages.

    It is strange. Growing up in the 70's, there was an obvious distinction between say Laurel & Hardy and M*A*S*H. Or between the Beatles and Pink Floyd and David Bowie. I grew up with a strong sense of the chronology of pop culture. However, younger generations probably lump all of them into a general bucket of old or nostalgic media without a sense of early 20th century to late 20th century.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    It's an interesting question.

    I think right now there's so much more material available, so it's harder to be as knowledgeable about the basics. We also have increasing nichification, so that few things are as popular as the big things in the past.

    Friends had a viewership that regularly hit 30,000,000. The Big Bang Theory was not on that level.

    It is worth noting that much of earlier pop culture doesn't survive. Sherlock Holmes and Dracula remain popular, but Tom Swift and Black Oxen have pretty much disappeared.

    As an example of things that are popular and forgotten, look at how many bestsellers from decades past don't even have wikipedia entries.

    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Publishe...s_in_the_1920s
    https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Publishe...s_in_the_1950s
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  10. #10
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    One it comes to music, I have been entertained watching the younger generation that posts a lot of these reaction videos on YouTube. Typically they come into a song through user requests and then post their reaction. Sometimes they are in their teens, sometimes they may be 20 or 30 ish. I had to laugh because many times when they are given "We Are the Champions" or "We Will Rock You", they find they actually know the song when they hear it but were completely unaware that Queen was the group that wrote & performed these songs. I think it is encouraging to see them want to sample other genres of music. And they can make some money from it! A few times I've seen young people react to Elvis, Sinatra, the Beatles etc and it is their first exposure to this music and they are quite taken by the musicianship of the artists.

    These young men from from my old home town had a recent write-up in the Chicago Tribune. They have a ton of subscribers to their reaction channel.

  11. #11
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    Back in my day growing up, Lucy, Gilligan, and the Beaver were pretty common repeats on TV. To my generation these were pop culture icons. But going back a few years when the repeats didn't last or even were broadcast, my generation knew almost nothing of Chester Riley. I think with each age group there is a pop culture window which they look through. Kids have their own icons who we adults may be unfamiliar with.

    And as for music, my son stole my vinyl copy of Styx' Grand Illusion when he moved out. That ungrateful little scamp!

  12. #12
    New old guy Surf's Avatar
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    2 things, 1- duh, the internet. How much can one consume is the only obstacle young people have now, back before the interwebs, access to so much about pop culture, counter culture, black culture and beyond had real barriers that today's youth couldn't imagine. That giant electrified fence around anything you wanted to see was real-ish and it was always on. There were times when the grid was down and you had to plan a covert mission to obtain some entertainment, sometimes it fell into you lap but the grid was never off all the time. Physical media was the big one, specifically a VCR but outside of that the Networks dictated for whatever reason why Dick Van Dyke came on once a day and the Beverly Hillbillies came on twice. We used to eat up those old 60's reruns but they weren't all cool enough to sit through and the fact that 'something', outside of the news and soap opera's, was always on. Don't leave out video games, that's another time and media pull the generation before mine didn't have whatsoever.

    Which is the other thing, that there's still a cool factor that's even different than when I was a kid. I graduated high school in 1994, in 1993 my homeboy got an 8-track player. Dude was already cool but he also had a car and when he got that player that was it. He even had a couple tapes but the hurdles to get there was part of the process that made it dope. The same 15 year old's can stream an old Earth, Wind and Fire song in the car but there is no process for that and thus it doesn't quite 'stay' as cool.


    But let's go back to 1980. If we want to apply the standards of today with the standards back then, then I should know about movies from the 1930.
    Exactly. Thing is it can work the other way too now, Cagney's White Heat I didn't see until I was 40 years old but I freakin' love that movie. It would have been cool to me back in the day but the internet yo, I didn't have the time or access back then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    their reaction channel.
    Some of these are kind of cute but some of these parents didn't expose their kids to nothin' I guess. It's really a trip when say a younger rapper does a reaction video to another rapper from 35 years ago and they're bopping to it and I'm like, you have the same profession!! How can you not have ever seen 'I'm Bad'... I guess then too everybody that want's to play the guitar isn't quite as versed in Hendrix as one might think though.
    Beefing up the old home security, huh?
    You bet yer ass.

  13. #13
    MXAAGVNIEETRO IS RIGHT MyriVerse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starter Set View Post
    Re-runs on tv helped a lot back then.

    For example in the 80's Star Trek was very often on tv where i lived, as Space 1999, the Invaders, Batman, Zorro or The Twilight Zone so of course i knew about this old stuff.

    But now who watches tv really?
    My family does, and no cable too (cable-free for 20 years!). All of those rerun OTA subchannels like MeTV and AntennaTV are staples.
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  14. #14
    Silver Sentinel BeastieRunner's Avatar
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    Old people are more out of touch with the current generation that vice versa.

    I've never seen so many people in the same or older generational cohorts as me so ouch of touch with current trends.

    There's a lot more reverence with younger cohorts now in regards to what comes before. And is easier to find.

    I think the disconnect is with the old farts.
    "Always listen to the crazy scientist with a weird van or armful of blueprints and diagrams." -- Vibranium

  15. #15
    Mighty Member LordMikel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeastieRunner View Post
    Old people are more out of touch with the current generation that vice versa.

    I've never seen so many people in the same or older generational cohorts as me so ouch of touch with current trends.

    There's a lot more reverence with younger cohorts now in regards to what comes before. And is easier to find.

    I think the disconnect is with the old farts.
    It would be an interesting game show. Old guys vs young guys on pop culture.
    I think restorative nostalgia is the number one issue with comic book fans.
    A fine distinction between two types of Nostalgia:

    Reflective Nostalgia allows us to savor our memories but accepts that they are in the past
    Restorative Nostalgia pushes back against the here and now, keeping us stuck trying to relive our glory days.

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