dear future self

Dear Future Self,

I’m writing to you from the end of 2009. For Christmas this year, someone gave you Michael Chabon’s Manhood for Amateurs. I haven’t finished reading it, yet, but let me say this up front: I love it. I have a feeling it’s something I’ll come back to time and again. But, last night, reading a couple of essays about childhood here in the 21st century (a.k.a, The Future), I detected the familiar stench of the bitter old man, just beneath the surface.

You may remember the bitter old man. Many years ago now I wrote about him when he popped up in an article on Wired.com. Those there dark days, to be sure. A couple of weeks ago, I thought I saw bitter old man’s snarky female cousin in an essay by Barbara Ehrenreich (more on that later). So perhaps I’m just overly sensitive. To be sure, whereas Mr. Chabon (rightfully) laments the loss of what he dubs the wilderness of childhood and the move from sterile, minimalist Lego blocs to recreations of George Lucas’ memory, there are real gems in here, too. There is the acknowledgement that not all hope is lost, that children, as they always have, will find new avenues of creativity and imagination; they will transcend the crap of mainstream media.

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and we desperately need a revolution

Look. The last line of this article, “And we desperately need a revolution,” is true. We desperately need people to stop caring more about “American Idol” than they do about the potential environmental catastrophe awaiting our children. To this statement, Mr. Luddite, I say “Hell yeah.”

But do us a favor, will you? Stop talking for us. Stop being the voice for current revolutionaries. No one likes the Bitter Old Man. No one likes the Bitter Old Man and no one thinks that his fears are justified. And, more to the point, no one thinks that his tactics to fight the power will do any good. Wanna know why?