Monday 17 June 2024

Cnut Songs #30: Generational Divide

King Cnut could not hold back the tide, and I cannot hold back society's full-throttle descent into dystopia. All I can do is watch helplessly from the sidelines, and nod my head sagely when others hold a mirror up to the madness. 
Apologies for returning to a theme I've written about repeatedly in recent months, but I couldn't let this pass without a comment groan.
I was reading an interview with the directors Anthony and Joseph Russo, the men responsible for some of the most successful Marvel movies in recent years, including the last two Avengers movies. They were asked why they thought Marvel had taken a bit of a kicking at the box office recently, was it so-called "super-hero fatigue"? Apparently not. Instead, the Russo Brothers put it down to what they call a "generational divide". 
Says Joe Russo...

There’s a big generational divide about how you consume media. There’s a generation that’s used to appointment viewing and going to a theatre on a certain date to see something, but it’s ageing out. Meanwhile the new generation are ‘I want it now, I want to process it now’, then moving onto the next thing, which they process whilst doing two other things at the same time.

Richard Hell & The Voidoids – The Blank Generation

I think it's a reflection of the current state of everything. It's difficult right now, it's an interesting time. I think we're in a transitional period and people don't know quite yet how they're going to receive stories moving forward, or what kinds of stories they're going to want.
When I read this, I wanted to cry. (You'll have noticed: I want to cry a lot these days.) But Mr. Russo wasn't quite done...

We have never collectively, globally, processed our conversation so intimately and quickly as we do now. I think that creates problems, where we over-process and don't care about context anymore. We communicate through memes and headlines, with nobody reading past two sentences, so everything's 100 characters or less – or 10-second videos on social media you swipe through. I think that the two-hour format, the structure that goes into making a movie, it’s over a century old now and everything always transitions. So, there is something happening again and that form is repetitive. But it's hard to reinvent that form and I think this next generation is looking for ways to tell their own stories that service their own sort of collective ADHD.

Spanish Love Songs – Generation Loss

It almost sounds to me like he's given up. Like he's saying, "I'm an old guy," (well, he's a year older than me) "I'm ready to accept that youngsters are doing things differently these days and the only stories we'll have in the future will be 10 second video chunks or 100-letter tweets. Stick a fork in me, I'm done."

The Indelicates - The Generation That Nobody Remembered

Thankfully, not everyone appears so ready to be put out to pasture. About the only sensible idea I've heard in the run up to Election Day is the proposal that the next government are considering banning smartphones for all under 16s. Of course, it won't happen... and it'd be impossible to police even if it did. And maybe it's too late to shut the barn door, that horse has already bolted. But still... old man shakes his fist at the sky.


  1. They'll be bringing back National Service next ...

    1. That'll be a vote winner... oh, maybe not.

  2. Collective ADHD - that's a brilliant way to put it. "Stop the world, I want to get off" comes to mind...

    1. Your comment was almost too long for me to concentrate on, C. Try to be more succinct in future.


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