Porky’s generation: “Kids today…”

SOMEWHERE AROUND THE AGE OF 12, I HAD MY HEART set on seeing that coming-of-age classic Porky’s. All the kids in the grades above me couldn’t stop talking about how cool it was, and even my own friends had managed to sneak in because of the weakly enforced R rating. But no sooner had I begun to plot my way around my parents’ permission when they discovered, courtesy of the local paper, that it was inappropriate to watch.

Your standard “but my friends are doing it—would you jump off cliff if they did?” argument ensued, and I stormed off to my room, hurling every obscene but silent gesture their way after the door had slammed shut.

I swore right then and there that I would never, ever be like my parents.

Recently, I found myself sitting in a movie theater crowded to the last available seat with young teenagers. This wouldn’t have seemed unusual had the feature presentation been some whiny flick starring any interchangeable WB heartthrob. It’s just that they were all sitting down to see Scary Movie, which, if you haven’t heard, wipes just about every gag off the filthy porn shop restroom and smears them across your face. OK, so some of it was funny. But when there is a group of kids sitting next to you who are too young to name our last president, it becomes downright embarrassing. I finally understood what Mom and Dad were talking about.

I mean, where were these kids’ parents? I can’t believe that they all had a fast one pulled on them. Maybe they didn’t know, or worse, maybe they didn’t care.

There’s no doubt that pop culture is mighty influential. Perhaps it serves as a surrogate parent to families sorely lacking any stability. Take a walk down K Street sometime and listen to how some of today’s kids speak in public. Could they possibly understand how classless, how unintelligent they sound, spewing four-letter words with no consideration of their surroundings? Probably not, because if you brought it to their attention, they’d probably want to blast you the way Snoop Dog would.

Movies, music (I would say literature, but I doubt that reading is very high on the list anymore)—they both rank high on a teen’s agenda. With the stuff that’s accessible to them, how else could things be different? Long gone is the art of stimulating the imagination. Hey, I don’t want to have to read between each and every line, but I don’t want to be spoon-fed either.

You have to wonder what things will be like in a decade or two, when we find there are just a few good apples in the spoiled bunch. Dear God, I can just picture Jerry Springer hosting a new breed of freaks: responsible, model citizens from successful two-parent families. With full sets of teeth to boot!

I realize I sound like my parents. And it feels fine.