Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where were you when...

I'd venture a guess that most of the folks who are inclined to read this blog (or for that matter any blog) come from a generation without a lot of epic shared moments. I'm talking about moments that years later you can reflect on and say without a doubt where you were when XYZ happened. For most it's the Challenger explosion, September 11, Tieneman Square, A couple of Very Special Episodes of Blossom. I mean sure there are probably others, but honestly we're a generation where you may remember where you were when your parents told you where they were when Kennedy was shot.

I wonder if the lack of these moments and the obsessive self-congratulatory nature of the Boomers is why we're so prone to nostaligic overcompensation. Remember the 80s, the 90s. Etc. Either we're really insecure and are trying to redefine our relevance through a constant repetition of meaningless tv jingles, one hit wonders and cartoon icons, or we're all far too close to goldfish when it comes to our memories. Made happy by the castle, or the flashback each time, no matter the interval between the moment and the memory. Speaking of which, remember Ani Difranco's album Little Plastic Castle. Yeah, less than 10 years ago was great.

The moments, the ones that seem to belong in that Jungian collective conscious are often shocking, tragic and sudden. For a generation with "appointment tv" the great moments fall outside those scheduling blocks.

But next week, you can plan for one of these moments. Given the millions (or a lot) of hours of our lives which never leave a lasting imprint on our memories, there's something truly compelling about knowing ahead of time that a moment will be with you forever. That what you're about to experience will be recalled, shared, replayed and definitional. But Tuesday, upon the election of Barack Obama - another moment will be made into memory. I wonder if knowing that in advance will change my perception, if the lack of shock will rob it of its luster.

In the end, I'm left with a thought inspired by David Berman - Tuesday, I will watch as a moment becomes a monument.

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