Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good Old Fashioned Teen Angst

This past Sunday, Jonathan and I had high intentions to take Hank to "Dog Day" at the Memphis Botanic Garden.  Dog Day was going to offer pet portraits, pet contests, other dogs to play with, and some kiddie pools set up for cooling off.

Unfortunately, with a 115 degree heat index, I had zero desire to stand out in the blazing sun watching the "best dog costume" or "most aptly-named dog" judging.  Does that make me a bad dog owner??  To be fair, while I think Hank would've enjoyed the puppy pool, I'm pretty sure he would've been overheated as well.  And just to redeem ourselves, I'm 100% positive had this whole deal been offered during the Fall, we would've been there with bells on (maybe even a costumed puppy dog?).

So once that got ruled out, I decided to have a lazy day on the couch playing with my computer (playing CHESS, Lb) and watching tv.  There are only so many Diners, Drive Ins, & Dives episodes I can watch until I feel like I've seen them all too many times to mention twice.  So at one point I decided to flip to good old ABC Family for The Princess Diaries (the charming Anne Hathaway movie from the early 2000s).

And can I just say how refreshing it was to watch?  The movie illustrates teen angst at it's finest, and yet it's teen angst like I remember it.  Mia wonders if (as a 10th grader) she'll get her first "real kiss."  Lily shows a little jealousy of her friend by trying to boss her around and/or bring her down sometimes.  There's the "in crowd" and the "losers."  Once Mia becomes the princess-to-be, she gains some frienemies from the in-crowd.  Totally lovely, innocent teen drama.

What was missing from the movie?  Well, first off, any mention of sex, especially teenagers having sex.  Texting and "sexting."  Cyber bullying.  Underage drinking and drug use.  Facebook slurring.  Online harassment.

I'm not saying I don't understand that these are very real concerns for today's teenager, but I guess it just makes me sad.  Given that the biggest drama in my own teenage life was who I was going to go to the school dance with, I feel sad for kids today who seem to deal with so much more grown up stuff than they should have to.  And just generally?  Kids seem meaner; and it seems easier to be meaner since there's so much texting and Twittering and Facebooking, vs. just classic face-to-face time and phone conversations, which was all we had.

I guess I'm slightly down-playing my own teenage angst - there was definitely drinking/drug use/sex/meanness happening in my high school, but I guess it maybe felt less present?  Like, in no way was every student (or even the majority) drinking all the time or having sex.  And I guess they aren't now, necessarily, either.  But all that stuff seems so present.  Like, there are constant newscasts about today's youth, tv shows illustrating all this stuff, movies showing it...

Geez - or maybe I'm just getting old!  It's kind of like our parents and that "rock n' roll music," whatever that is.

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