Saturday, October 5, 2013

Week Six: Howl and the Characteristics of Our Generation

Our generation is in a constant state of advancement.  I believe a defining characteristic is the need for newness and change.  As our attention spans grow shorter and shorter, we crave fresh experiences and the latest technology.  We revolve our lives around the newest iPhone update, the newest edition of a video game in which you can have green hair instead of brown, the newest clothing store in town even though we’ve spent the last ten years perfectly satisfied with our current purchases.  In fact, society puts a lot of trust in the success of new enterprises.  Even with no guarantees of quality, efficiency, safety, and the like, we still pace impatiently up and down the sidewalk until the delivery of uncertain outcomes.   

I think perhaps this reflects how far our world has already come.  As technology and invention become more common, the demand grows exponentially.  Humans instinctively assume that manufacturing cannot cease, that companies will always take their products one step further.  That being said, as expectation increases, ability remains constant, which lends itself to fear of slowing down.  With where we stand in a modern sense, inventing something “new” becomes more challenging every day.  As the public racks its brains to create something with no promise of effectiveness, it lessens the importance of the past, of the comfort that has been there all along.

One film that speaks to our generation is Toy Story.  From the first to the third, Andy aged along with us.  We watched him pack for college as we simultaneously filled our rooms with cardboard boxes for the same adventure.  This is a more obvious connection between the film and our generation.  In addition, though, Andy also demonstrates the desire to “move on”.  His toys are devastated when he so willingly regards them as “no longer important”.  Although this may be more of a loss of childhood, it still shows how we have separated ourselves from the mind and imagination and have entered an electronic world.

Another film that demonstrates this idea of advancement is Click.  An adult experiences the conflict in this film, but the themes are still relevant to our generation.   Michael literally fast-forwards through his life with a remote that appears to make everything easy.   His dependence on this remote gets so out-of-hand that it spirals out of control.  This is a prime example of putting trust into something new and never-before experienced.  Our generation is a pool of bored consumers and optimistic risk-takers.   

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