1.13.2015

What's New is Old

http://assets.noisey.com/content-images/contentimage/48772/Screen-Shot-2015-01-05-at-12-19-37-PM-1.jpgEarlier in the month the Internets went into a kerfuffle when some unknowing young'uns thought that by getting name-dropped by Kanye, some unknown singer named Paul McCartney was about to become famous.  Obviously, McCartney is already quite famous, and we all had a chuckle about how ignorant young folks are about stuff from more than 20 years ago. 

I must say, though, that I find myself feeling almost as ignorant, and on a daily basis.  I am blessed to have many Facebook friends, representing a hugely wide range of interests, perspectives, and eras.  Many are profound and prolific when it comes to dropping knowledge, whether about pop culture, civil rights, or cutting edge technology.  When I can follow what they're saying, I feel very good about myself, that I can hang with such a world-savvy and socially conscious crew.

The only problem is that I can't often follow what they're saying.  One post drops an iconic "where were you when" entertainment reference, and I know neither the genre nor the episode.  Another post laments something racially ignorant, and I am sent scurrying to look up the offending vocabulary or historic incident.  And, unfortunately for me, I can't claim the post was too obscure for normal people to "get," because there are already comments appended from scores of other friends, who clearly get the references and are able to laugh/smile/curse/lament along.

The reason we blast our youth for their ignorance is not because of schadenfreude.  It's because we know that that ignorance is borne of a disrespect of the past and its importance in interpreting the present.  What seems new now is actually old, or at the very least can be better understood if we knew better the old from which it came.  I am reminded, almost daily when I cruise my Facebook feed and am left unable to connect with something that a friend has posted and that their friends have chimed in on, of my own ignorance.  Let's all commit to respecting the role of the past in our present by getting to know more of it each day. 


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