A few things tied together with a very thin thread …
First, I read A. O. Scott’s “Gen X Has a Midlife Crisis” in the New York Times this morning. Online initially and then, yes, switching over to my iPhone when I had to leave the house for work. (Scott says, “I see you rolling your eyes. That’s right, you: the one in the fake-vintage rock ’n’ roll T-shirt and thick-framed glasses reading this on an iPhone at the sidelines of your daughter’s soccer game.”)
Anyway, thick-framed glasses, check. iPhone, check. Daughter, not yet. The passage that stung (emphasis, mine)…
The climax of Greenberg comes at a party where Roger excoriates a bunch of Millennials — a bunch of 20-somethings — for the meanness that he believes is a byproduct of perfect parenting and manifests itself by a lack of reverence for Duran Duran. John Cusack expresses similar resentment in Hot Tub Time Machine toward his character’s nephew, an inoffensive fellow, whose uncle sees him as a sexless, soulless video game addict. And Milo [in Sam Lipsyte’s book The Ask] has Horace, an erstwhile co-worker and a more aggressive version of Milo himself, but with a virtuosity, scrambling cultural references and modes of diction that put Milo to shame. Horace is an iPod holding 10,000 songs on permanent shuffle, while Milo is a painstakingly assembled cassette mix tape.
Second item in the thread … This passage was hammered home today when, in our Monday meeting at the office, Serious Eats overlord Ed Levine made a reference to OMD and nobody but me and Alaina Browne got it.
“OMD?” Ed asked. “Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark? Nobody?”
Me: “Pretty in Pink?”
Alaina: “I got it.”
Ed: “OK. Moving on….”
My guess is that the folks in the room who didn’t get the reference probably do know the song — just not the band by name.
The last item to tie in here is the death of Frank Frazetta. Now, I’m actually a bit too young myself to have lived through Frazetta’s heyday. And, truth be told, my first exposure to his name came by way of a Coctails song called “Down in the Crypt:”
“… I’ve got a custom van with tinted bubble windows and a Frazetta copy on the side/ Down in the crypt …”
Now, if the young’uns in my office don’t know OMD on reference, could they ever be expected to know The Coctails? Or Frank Frazetta? Or get that the Coctails were referencing a very cheesy sort of ’70s/early ’80s stoner van with barbarian/sexy lady imagery murals painted on it? Probably not but, oh well.
And, you know what? I bought my first Coctails album on cassette tape.
See also: frankfrazetta.org