For a long while now, others and I have been awfully hard on the current generation in power — the prostitots, Abercrombies, the text-speak teenwits and the social-networking whores. By and large, with the exception of some outliers, the 15 to 24 demographic, unfortunately, doesn’t have a lot of individuality or creativity to speak of, and they speak en masse with the wallets of their parents and interest-heavy financial aid, and every goddamn one of them thinks they’re destined to be the next reality-television star. They’re not terribly worried about selling out either, because let’s be honest, they don’t have anything to sell out. The Gaplet and Lohanese culture is all they know, so the very idea of selling out is a completely foreign notion to them.
But about halfway through Prom Night, I had an epiphany of sorts. A fairly obvious notion that, for some reason, just then clicked for me. It’s our fucking fault — that is, the brethren and sistren in my Generation. We gave you “Saved by the Bell,” so where else was there to go but “Josh and Drake.” We gave you NKOTB, and the only obvious down-generational iteration was N ‘Sync and Backstreet Boys, which spawned Nick Lachey (and thus Jessica Simpson) and Justin Timberlake. We gave you Prom Night, so really — what choice was there but to remake it for your generation?
But then, it wasn’t your choice, was it? It was ours - at your age, all you can do is consume. It is those of us in our generation that are doing all the mass producing, isn’t it?
And all I can say is, I’m sorry. We used to be kind of cool. I swear it. We were detached and aloof; we didn’t shower; we smoked pot and watched movies; we didn’t hate the world because we were to goddamn disinterested in the world to work up the requisite loathing. We had shitty facial hair. We were going to grow up and be poorer than our parents! And we were OK with that. Everything we said was ironic. Our music came from BMG and Columbia House for a penny (plus $5 shipping and handling per CD). We made movies and television shows about nothing, but they were profoundly about nothing. We were awesome.
But then, in the midst of all that, the dot-com bubble arrived, and the collective we inadvertently came across scads of money for basically doing nothing, or for doing something we thought was cool or great or life-changing! For example, in the late 90s, we invented an Internet service that would bring guys on bikes with messenger bags to your door in under an hour, who would then deliver videos or ice cream or even frozen pizzas. And we made a shitload of money.
And then, the bubble burst. And all those slackers who made all that money suddenly had no more money. And the guys in messenger bikes disappeared with their shiny orange bags. And (the collective) we didn’t like being poor, goddamnit. So, what did we do? At least the Hollywood versions of us took all the great things about our generation and we watered them down and mass produced them and we shat them back out in shiny, brightly lit packages and we force fed them to you with pretty movie posters created with awesome software and then slash/cut edited the trailers and shoved them in your fucking face. We basically took everything we loved growing up, and we homogenized it because we wanted that money back, goddamnit. And it’s all we really knew (for most of us, the world we know began between 1981 and 1984).
And now that’s all you know. And I’m really sorry about that. We didn’t realize that, when we ironically mocked valley girls and their “Oh, my God’s,” that you didn’t know what irony was, and that you’d accept it earnestly, shorten it for text-speaking ease, and throw it back at us with the force of a 1,0000 fucking Britney Spears.
2008’s Prom Night is just another example of our generation selling out, and the reason it sucks, honestly, is because we don’t give a shit. We don’t care. Remember: We’re the slacker generation. What else did you expect? It’s the easiest point between conception and cash — strip the soul out of one of our films, throw in a bland, fairly recognizable, inexpensive-to-cast blonde (Brittany Snow); a 29-year-old television high-schooler (“Friday Night Light’s” Scott Porter); a decent, but unknown (and therefore cheap) actor (Idris “Stringer Bell” Elba); light the hell out of everything; take out most of the blood and replace it with half-hour dead spots we characterize as “suspenseful”; cut it together into a 30-second YouTube spot and throw one of our songs (“Time After Time”) performed by one of the shitty, homogenized, fangless bands we created, and blend it together for a beautiful $20 million opening weekend. We’ll take our cut, and go on back to slacking, gloating because we just did the unthinkable: We Wal-Marticized a slasher film! We just took blood and murder and made it palatable for mass consumption! Hahahahahahaha … fuck you!
Meanwhile, the atrophied minds of teenagers continues to fester and rot and decompose. But don’t worry, Generation Douchebag: It won’t be too much longer now. I promise. There’s still a couple of years before it completely devolves into a messy soup of indistinguishable blah, before everything is just recycled and reprocessed fluorescent-lit shininess. But, soon enough, right around the time that Miley Cyrus hits the age of majority and has her third nervous breakdown and starts fucking random lamp posts in the middle of L.A. traffic, it’ll happen. Your Kurt Cobain will come along. A loud voice will scream out, and there’ll be just enough agony and despair in it to cut through all through the corporate bullshit. It will grow louder and louder. And it will take down everything in its wake. It will strip your culture down to its bare ass. And something new and intense and profound and original and overpowering will grow in its place, before it, too, will wilt and die.
And then it will all go to shit again.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife and son in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.
Prom Night / Dustin Rowles
Film | April 11, 2008 | Comments ()