Posted by: Stella Glass
I am certain that the mature content and sophisticated writing style of this blog make it a challenging read for most adolescents, but as Whitney Houston famously stated, children are our future, and as adults it is probably advisable that we keep up to-date on the interests, fads, and other pop-culturally relevant trends among the teens and tweens whose buying power eclipses that of nearly every other demographic.This desire to “stay connected”, to have something to “rap” about with the youth, as well as to shake our mature heads and chuckle at the folly of youth was the impetus for the birth of JTT Tuesday’s.
In it’s initial incarnation, JTT Tuesday’s was going to be a weekly feature wherein Coco and I would read various teen magazines as they appeared on the stand, parse the contents over and relate them to you. It has become painfully clear however that this is not an advisable plan as there are, apparently only two things in teendom worth mention in any publication:
1. High School Musical(s)
2. Various Things About Vampires.
Sure, there’s some sparse coverage of Ashlee Simpson-Wentz’s hipster baby, Harry Potter getting nekkid to do legitimate theater and someone named Whitney Port, but as Coco before me revealed, virtually all content in teen publications these days is devoted to extolling the virtues of High School Musical and obsessing over the personal histories, and grooming habits of the cast members, with the notable exception of TeenVogue, whose staff, commendably, refuses to allow High School Musical! or The Vampire Boyfriend phenomenon to distract them from their goal of fostering nauseating degrees of materialism, luxury-brand name recognition and unreasonable standards for physical beauty amongst the current generation of adolescent females.
After three mind-numbing, soul crushing perusals of various Teen Rags, Coco and I could take no more. The amusingly laughable articles about getting boys attention and the di rigeur questions about whether or not you are a virgin if you use a tampon ( unsurprisingly, under the Bush Administration the answer is actually “NO”) were crushed under the weight of tedious pondering about Zac Efron’s hair and the real-life “style” of the unfortunately named and hair-colored, Ashley Tisdale. As a result I lamentably had the knowledge required to participate in the following GoogleChat exchange with my sister:
Sadie: So like, what’s Vanessa Huddgens (sic)?
Stella: Oh….It’s a person
Sadie: Yeah, but why?
Stella: From High School Musical. You know? it’s like…
Sadie: Oh the, yeah…… that thing they have now
Sadie: Oh. She’s…her hair’s all…she makes me want to take a shower.
Pretty much, folks!
Even Wikipedia, with it’s generally clinical entries, wholly devoid of personal passion seemed to be relatively high on enthusiasm
for the movie with a perplexing amount of detail provided regarding the plot.
So here’s the story: A boy teen and a girl teen at some high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico want to sing and dance but due to previously excelling in other areas (math/sports) feel pressure from the community NOT to sing and dance. A bunch of stuff happens, and a bunch of songs are sung and some not-nice people try to make trouble for these two but in the end they wind up singing and dancing just like they always wanted to and manage not to destroy their lives. Also, they are in love.
The plot line is as formulaic and trite as, well, a musical, but it had been a rough week and I was ready to settle down with some tea and a joint and watch this High School Musical thing just to see what all the fuss was about. Just as I was about to pay $2.99 for the movie at the iTunes store, I saw something in my personal iTunes library that gave me pause. It was an episode of the popular animated series South Park that my boyfriend had downloaded.
The episode’s title? “Elementary School Musical.”
Needless to say, I clicked, Entered Full Screen Viewing and basically saw my confusion and disgust writ large in the universal language of stop-motion animation.
The kids at South Park Elementary are all minding their own business at lunch one day when their classmates, unbidden, break into a song about how they are all special in their own way complete with dance moves.
Stan, Kyle et al. are perplexed and confused but gradually figure out that it’s the influence of High School Musical, and the craze has spread like wildfire. Skeptical of the trend, they rent the movie just to see what all the fuss is about. I think Cartman’s reaction says it all:
Cartman: (watching the television as the high school kids sing and perform choreographed dances in their school’s cafeteria)
This is cool? This is cool?
(getting his coat on and walking to the door)
Well, I’m out guys. If this is what’s cool now, I think I’m done.
I no longer have any connection to this world.
I’m gonna go home and kill myself. Goodbye, friends.
The South Park, while hilarious, was also chilling. Could this movie really be that hideously repugnant? A short visit to YouTube later confirms that oh yes people, it can, and it is.
Musical number after musical number of young people vocally enthusing about enjoying school! enjoying swimming! enjoying singing! enjoying iced tea! And Jumping! Jumping! Jumping!
In virtually every photograph, these people are in midair.
The easy satisfaction of youth.
A couple months ago I had a conversation with my friend Adam, who manages a bookstore in central Washington State. Apparently for the past year, requests have been pouring in for all manner of books relating to vampires, teen vampires, teen-vampires-in-love, teen-vampires-in-love-with-non-vampire-teens, etc. Now this trend has led to the film adaptation of one of the most popular books of the genre, Twilight
. Opening weekend this Twilight movie made like a jillion dollars, and the heartthrobby-ness of the star is leading overstimulated teenage girls to scratch themselves on the neck
and all this crazy shit.
It seems that the teenagers that everyone was so worried about, what with MySpace and Li’l Wayne,and chat rooms and Razor scooters are actually doing okay. Like, really okay. Like, don’t-need-a-curfew-cause-they’re-already-in-their-rooms-at-10-PM-rehearsing-lines-for-a-play-okay. Singing-and-dancing-and-biting-their-friends-necks-for-fun okay.
What the fuck?
What the fuck is happening here?
Since when is it cool to be lame? When I was in high school you could get your ass kicked for even mentioning that you SAW a musical, let alone wanted to sing and dance in one! And the Vampire Kids? Well folks, let’s just say the Vampire Kids had an adolescence free from any kind of worry of STDs or pregnancy.
Could it be that the geek-chic hipster revolution has swung the pendulum so far to the left that theater nerds and pasty-faced goth teens now form the upper echelons of teenage social hierarchy? The cool thing to do is to spend hours doing choreographed dances across your high school cafeteria/hallway/gymnasium and then go out to the parking lot and suck your friend’s blood.
What happened to underage drinking and premarital sex?