Opinion: You Were Not “Born in the Wrong Generation”

Lani Wongkar, Reporter

With the recent success of Queen, Elton John, and Motley Crüe’s biopics, the releases of Beatles tribute “Yesterday” and Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” and the upcoming continuations of the Star Wars, The Matrix, and Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure series, it is undeniable that the music and culture of the 60s through the 90s is making a comeback. Retro has had a resurgence, with major teen labels such as Urban Outfitters and Brandy Melville capitalizing on the popularity of “vintage” band tees, loose jeans, and record players. Similarly, the comments of any classic rock video on YouTube reveal endless users lamenting that they were “born in the wrong generation” or advertising that they’re a “teenager in 2019 who still listens to *insert popular rock band*” Although certain cultural successes have retained their greatness into the current century, the sentiment that a decade is entirely superior to the current one based off of personal entertainment preference is, ironically, outdated. The 21st century provides the perfect vantage point from which to learn from history’s mistakes (acid wash jeans, shoulder pads, racism) and still appreciate its highlights (filmmaking, art, music) while benefiting from a society with more information and tolerance than ever before.

To my fellow falsely nostalgic teens: we weren’t born in the wrong generation, we just don’t yet have the perspective to appreciate the current one for what it is.”

— Lani Wonkar

Photo by Kayla Alcorcha

The current generations often romanticize the past, and it’s not hard to see why: the most triumphant music, excellent entertainment, and bodacious fashion of former decades sometimes outshines that of the 2010s. However, these same generations often forget that many of the “classic” things they enjoy are so alluring because of their nostalgic appeal. In the 1970s, unique flared vintage jeans were not unique nor vintage: they were just jeans. The iconic “Guardians of the Galaxy” soundtrack were just overplayed pop songs, heavy metal was at best teenage rebellion and at worst satanic worship, and cassette tapes were just albums that could get jammed or melted. In the 1980s, sci- fi classic “Blade Runner” was a boring box office failure, and computers were cumbersome systems handled primarily by perceived nerds. In the 1990s, vinyl records were an outdated system, Gameboys were not aesthetically retro, and Invader Zim and Rocko’s Modern Life were kid’s entertainment rather than nostalgic cult shows. Living in the 21st century also allows one to enjoy past entertainment without subscribing to a subculture or stereotype. In the present, being both a punk and a metalhead is admissible, whereas the 1980s pitted the two groups against each other. Formerly nerdy and embarrassing interests such as Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, and Rush are now at worst mildly unusual and at best completely acceptable to enjoy. Other benefits of the 21st century include fast internet and nearly unlimited access to information; additionally, the century has seen improved LGBTQ rights, gender equality, and racial tolerance that, while still being developed, are better than any generation has experienced in the past. To my fellow falsely nostalgic teens: we weren’t born in the wrong generation, we just don’t yet have the perspective to appreciate the current one for what it is: the culmination of every bit of social progression throughout history, and the perfect place to pick and choose interests from the past and present without judgment.