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September 06, 2000 - Image 32

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-06

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I

4B - New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 2000

THE END OF MILLENNIUM BLUES: OUR CRAZY TIMES

It's difficult to write about the
coming of age in the waning
hours of this century without sound-
ing like that lame "children of the
'80s" e-mail that I know all of you
have gotten.
How do I know you've all gotten
it? Because we're adolescents of the
'90s.
The Internet is our industrial rev-
olution, changing not only the way
we do business but the way we
interact with each other. I can type
faster than I can think. I've often
considered chucking my University
education for a lucrative career of
computer geekdom.
Sometimes I wish to go back in
time to when the only reason to
wear a condom was to prevent preg-
nancy, to when there was no such
thing as an IMO, to when Elvis
was king and Ella was queen. But
there's a trade-off: no cars with CD
players and airbags, no CNN or

MTV or ESPN, no 24-hour shop-
ping emporiums.
I'm jealous of the generation that
knows exactly where they were
when JFK was
shot and were
lucky enough
(yes, lucky) to
have Vietnam AK
protests, or a<'
p r e s i d c n t :{>
marred by cor-
ruption and
scandal that
wasn't about

cure diseases with a protest or soci-
ety's ills with a picket line -so
instead I pretend I don't watch
"Real World" or read People Maga-
zine. I'd be less jealous if we had
made any progress. But we're as
alarmist and puritanical as we were
when caught in the throes of
McCarthyism. We impeach for get-
ting a blowjob. We censor because
we don't trust parents to look out
for their children.
I'm 21 years old. I grew up mid-
dle class in a middle class neighbor-
hood. I'm from a city without a
future - my sense of geographic
attachment is to the suburbs. I know
the sexual history of my country's
political leaders even though I don't
really care. I don't root for any pro
sports teams because I've been
jaded by contract disputes and drug
busts, team color changes and play-
er changes.
I miss the days when I would

stay up late listening to play-by-play
on the radio. I miss the way my
heart stopped when Isiah Thomas,
sprained ankle and all, came back
on the floor in Game 6 of the 1988
NBA Finals. Chalk it up to the
sweatshops and the poverty, the
homeless evicted from their shop-
ping carts, the mind-numbing all-
access denizens of culture that we
- that I - have become. We have
this insatiable need to know every-
thing, and it has taken away our
blissful ignorance.
There's a drawer full of video-
tapes at my house. Most of the tapes
are of family occasions: birthdays,
snow days, holidays. There are
piano recitals and music class con-
certs, basebal games and school
projects. And theres one tape
marked "Gulf War." You and I both
know what's on this tape. Close
your eyes. I know what you see. The
glowing green of night vision, the

tiny poof of bombs exploding, the
Schw-artzkopfs, the Blitzers, the
Shaw s.
This tape sums up everything
about "my" generation, whatever
that is, exactly. I take it to mean
growving up in the final two
deca'des of this century. This tape
is :th tangible result of growing up
in 'a time where there has always
been a Blockbuster on every cor-
ner, where the specter of AIDS has
always been around, where a war is
fought in the media instead of the
ground.
This tape is instant replay of the
Chaullenger exploding, the vamping
of Madonna, ET and his Reese's
Pitees. This tape is every Cabbage
Patch Kid fad and every supermar-
ket checkout tabloid, every day
sp..nt waiting to be 16, then 18, then
21 every minute spent waiting for
the bell to ring so that I could - so
that I could what? Get on with my

life? Bell or no bell, tape or no tape,
life goes on. The last 20 years, the
20 years I have knmxvn, have been
fascinating. There's no reason to
think that the next 20 will be any
less so.
This tape is the sum total of 100
years of nonstop technological
innovation that I take for granted,
culminating in the computer that
I'm typing this column on. There
are times when I'd like to return it
to its maker, but that's not possible.
We all made this tape. And we all
watched it.
- Recently graduated, Erin
Podolsky is now living in New York
City interning with Enfertainnment
Weekly magazine. Last wvinter
semester A Podolsk ion tivo
Hopwood awards in the categorvof
screenwritingfor her screenplay
"Sunday Drive." She can be
rached via e-mail at
oppsieumich. edit.

sex but about
political war-
fare. I have an
in ex pl i cable
desire for a

Erin
Podolsky

cause, any .
cause, worth
fighting for
with the potential for a result,
But I don't have one - I can't

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