For week six of The Disconnected Adults’ Guide (“OoTag” for kids at the cool lunch table), I’m taking a look at the generation gap. In the old days, boring hippies reflexively trashed their parents’ values and culture, regardless of whether what they were rejecting was good or bad.
Today, however, the children are doing well. Youth pop culture is refreshing mixed new and tried, with the post-everything generation picking up the acceptable aspects of their parents’ and grandparents’ backgrounds (gothic fashion and roller skates) and rejecting the bullshit (pervasive racism and bow ties).
Viral Video of the Week: DoggFace208 Wins Internet and a Free Truck
It’s been a bad year for everyone young and old, but maybe the universal badness of 2020 was necessary to appreciate the redeeming power of “Morning Vibe,” the viral video sensation by DoggFace208 that took over TikTok and then the earth.
In the video, Idaho factory worker Nathan “DoggFace” Apodaca rocks to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while skateboarding and drinking cranberry juice. That’s it, but it’s way better than the description.
Apodaca, a 37-year-old who commutes to work on his longboard, is the most unlikely online star of all time, and his video is a tri-generational triumph in which a dude born in the 1980s uses music from the 1980s. 1970s to make a video for kids born in the 2000s. It’s like America’s Promise in under a minute. Just wonderful.
Either way, it spawned tons of impersonations, including one by Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood. It pushed “Dreams” to the top of the streaming charts. And Apodaca even got a new truck and a ton of cash from the deal. That’s almost enough to make me believe that 2021 will be anything but endless misery.
This week in music: Miley Cyrus Vs. The Merrell Twins
As of this writing, pop royalty Miley Cyrus’ live performance of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and YouTube stars, the Merrell Twins’ parody of “WAP,” are competing on the trending chart of Youtube. It reminds me of the clash between Herman’s Hermits and The Beatles in 1966, or this time in 1992 where Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” battled Marky Mark and Funky Bunch’s “Wildside” in the Billboard Top 100.
Cyrus is the Beatles/Nirvana in my script. She just destroyed Blondie’s iconic new wave anthem. I can’t overstate this: Miley kill this shit. You have to see it and hear it. She takes the cool-as-ice indifference of Blondie’s original recording and turns it upside down delivering a passionate, fierce cover that is transcendent. As good as pop music is…and it’s pretty good.
On the other hand, The Merrell Twins “Guac” is a naïve exercise in “parody” in which the lyrics of “WAP” are turned into an ode to guacamole. It’s a not very good idea explored without intelligence. I know that sounds harsh, but I’m not bashing the Merrells. They’re young, and few kids that age have experienced enough personal devastation to be truly funny or good at art, so they’ll be fine. And “Guac” is at least as funny as Weird Al Yankovich, and it turned silly parodies of pop songs into an empire. (I used to love Weird Al when I was a teenager, but man, shit like “Eat it” got do not well aged.)
This contrast between these two songs is like a distillation of teenage pop culture – the sublime and the ridiculous winning equal time in the hearts of people too inexperienced and stupid to tell the difference. The rhythm, as they say, continues.
This Week in Movies: Vampires Vs. The Bronx
There’s just not much for young horror fans to celebrate this Halloween. I mean, what’s the plan for the big night, dressing up for Zoom? But as a consolation prize, there will be a ton of horror releases on various streaming services, like a great horror/comedy movie Vampires vs. The Bronx. This film reminds me of a re-skinning of the golden age, the light horror of the 1980s, where brave teenagers face evil to save the day. This time, however, it’s not set in a suburb of Spielberg. Instead, the battleground is the Bronx, and the enemy is encroaching on gentrification in the form of a predatory real estate development corporation made up of vampires. A great premise, likeable cast, and impressive respect for old-school horror — four stars.
This Week in Video Games: PlayStation 5 Tear Down
I still play video games even though I’m 8000 years old, but I wasn’t thrilled with the release of a console since 1998. I don’t care. I never think “If only this Xbox One had better graphics, this game would be more fun.” This part of my brain is occupied with “Wait, I’m going to die too?!” But it’s good that the younger generation is still excited about the technical innovations of new hardware, as you can see from the number of people who watched this video released by Sony in which a friendly Japanese man disassembles a PlayStation 5 to show you all the shiny, workmanship inside. (Turns out all those wires and things are why my home SteveStation 5 console couldn’t work Crysis.)
For more geeky fun, check out the many “reaction videos” where adorable nerds get awfully excited about the placement of the air vents, disc drive isolation, and expanded storage ports. Ah, to be young again…