A series of wrong google turns today led me to this old-ish Slate article about how we’ll know when boomers have “lost their hold on the media.” Jack Shafer asked readers to suggest “what post-boomer reference in a mass-media headline or TV commercial will signal the cultural coup?”
The article, written in 2005, already seems kinda hopelessly outdated: answers included “rap music” and “acronyms from chat rooms, IM, and cell-phone messages” (boomers are old-ish, not completely immune to mass culture, people). It’s also kind of a silly idea. There’s really not as much of a generation clash today as in the past, especially when it comes to cultural references (my dad listens to sufjan stevens, and I’m pretty sure my grandpa watches family guy)(although they don’t get adult swim)(or myspace)(or blogs).
But anyway, if there is an example of the sort of thing Jack Shafer was talking about, I saw it tonight: the new 90210 Pepsi commercial.The whole conceit of the commercial relies on having to know about the character relationships on Beverly Hills 90210. I would post a clip of it, but I can’t find it anywhere, so I’ll leave you with this description I found on a Pepsi press release:
Characters from the popular Gen-X TV show “Beverly Hills 90210” illustrate how diet cola choices separate the cool kids from the rest.
(not the commercial. the silliness of that statement).
(Tangental side-note: A kid I knew in playwriting class once ended this strange but hilarious farcical murder mystery he wrote by having the token noir detective walk off the stage while pumping his fist in the air to the opening strains of “Don’t You Forget About Me.” We all thought it was perfect and laughed out loud while my 50-something playwriting teacher sat their frowning, utterly perplexed…).