April 03, 2005

Yes, How Will They Do That?

Jet [i.e. the son of a guy named "Mal"] turned away. The styled hair, the gold earring. For a second the backs of his ears gleamed orange and transparent. Now Jet turned again and looked at him with that shy leer in the raised upper lip. Jesus: his teeth were blue. But that was okay. It was just the trace of a lolly he'd managed to get down him, not some new way of deliberately looking horrible. The law of fashion said that every child had to offend its parents aesthetically. Mal had offended his parents aesthetically: the drainpipes and brothel creepers, the hair like a riptide of black grease. Jet had contrived to offend Mal aesthetically. And Jet's kids, when they came, would face the arduous task of aesthetically offending Jet.

—Martin Amis, "State of England"

Fantastic story, that one. And it does bring up a good question, at least for me and a good number of my peers: How on earth are our kids ever going to offend us? Certainly not with louder music, or with somehow more offensive music, or with a multiplicity of piercings and tattoos. Boring, all of that! Nor with sex or drugs or freethinking thoughts on homosexuality and birth control. Yawn. So, since shocking one's parents will still be an ironclad law of nature, they'll probably have to go the other direction—becoming breathtakingly tame. I suppose we're already starting to see this with the generation slightly younger than mine: kids are becoming less violent, having less sex in high school, listening to wimpier music, becoming more conservative. Their children, of course, will have no trouble offending. But my kids, well, pity them. I suppose they'll have to listen to elevator muzak by way of rebellion...
-- Brad Plumer 6:19 AM || ||