I'm a product of my environment.
My environment was small town Saskatchewan at the tail end of that decade where everything was tubular, rad, or excellent known as the 1980's, heading into a time where the world tried reigning itself in just a little bit and getting more serious, otherwise known as the 90's.
In my book, it was the perfect time to grow up coupled with the perfect location in which to grow up and come into your own.
Going forward a number of years, thinking back to my last couple of years of high school in Outlook, I'm happy to say that my graduating class was probably the last generation of kids to go through our entire education career without cell phones glued to our hands. There was no tap-tap-tapping of phone keys, no heads forever tilted downward and focused on tiny screens, and no sudden lack of face-to-face conversations or communication in general.
I guess I'm grateful for having grown up without technology keeping its watchful, leering, privacy-breaking eyes on me 24/7.
Because let's face it, us older folks in the 35+ crowd grew up in times where sometimes you needed a thicker skin, people were hard-set on their views no matter who or what they clashed with, and we didn't worry about any kind of "cancelling" going on that would do harm to us or our reputations.
I'm reminded of something I said on social media back in 2016, something that showed the differences between how something is produced today and how relatively simple the music of yesteryear was. It goes a little something like this:
"Songs that feature one sentence 8,000 times and sell like crack; songs written by 13 people and have no lasting impact like the ones written by one lone singer decades ago; music written as a dig at some other celebrity to spark a Twitter feud; country music that is becoming less and less country unless you know where to look; concerts conducted by people with a row of laptops and a basic knowledge of mixing software; music so uninspired and forgettable that people look to artists and songs from a time before they were even born to find anything of substance.
And I'm just over here like......remember when that guy from Foreigner just wanted to know what love was...?"
If anything shows the generational gap, it's the music industry. But hey, better watch what we say about today's music scene! One wrong comment about the music industry of this day and age and we'll be labeled a racist, a chauvinist, a dinosaur, a privileged white male (why skin colour and sex factor into it, I have no idea...), or some odd combination of all of those.
Take the hard rock band known as Metallica, for instance. The group, which has been together since 1981, has been churning out hit album after hit album, racking up a laundry list of memorable tunes and millions of die-hard fans all over the globe. I've seen the band perform a few times, and they really bring it to each performance. Been a fan pretty much my whole life, and that isn't stopping anytime soon.
This past summer, one of Metallica's most well-known songs, 'Master of Puppets', was used in explosive, memorable fashion in the worldwide smash Netflix TV series, Stranger Things. What happens when a new generation of younger viewers hear some awesome music for the first time? Well, Metallica has been enjoying a lot of attention from younger fans who are only now embracing the awesomeness that is the band.
But there's a flip side to that coin. In what is apparently the go-to formula for today's generation of young people who are just getting into things that are already wildly popular, it didn't take that long after the band's music was in that episode of Stranger Things for some "wildly controversial news" to come out about the California hard rockers. You see, like any rock band that came out of the 80's, Metallica has a past. Sex, drugs, rock n' roll, you get the idea. Bad decisions that turned into worse ones, the wrong choices made here or there, things that were done that everyone instantly regretted, yada yada yada.
Shortly after the streaming world was falling in love with the band, some articles were posted on some websites that detailed Metallica's past. One article on Sportskeeda came out with the headline, "Why is Metallica being cancelled? Internet responds with memes as Stranger Things fans attempt to cancel metal legends". A user on the viral site known as Tik Tok attempted to show the band's bad side and highlight their problematic past, including accusations of racism in several hearsay incidents.
However, the part that I love is the fact that a ton of Metallica fans proceeded to flood the web and absolutely blasted any attempts to "cancel" the band. On top of that, the band themselves posted on their website the following: “FYI—EVERYONE is welcome in the Metallica Family. Whether you've been a fan for 40 hours or 40 years, we all share a bond through music. All of you started at ground zero at one point in time."
I love that. Just don't give in to the loudest people in the room who are trying to start a ruckus.
I don't believe in Cancel Culture. I don't believe that attempting to spotlight mistakes that people made 5-10 years ago by saying something stupid or ignorant on social media does the world any good. I don't believe in walking around like as if the world is made of ultra-thin egg shells. I don't believe that any good will come out of turning every little thing into a bigger issue and cranking the volume up to 11 when it should stay at a tolerable and handleable 5 or 6.
I do believe there's room for everyone at the proverbial table. I do believe there's nothing wrong with a heated debate here or there about issues pertaining to this or that. I do believe that our world has become a lot more understanding in the last 20 years or so, and that's not because of things like Cancel Culture. I do believe that said culture is starting to implode on itself with how utterly ridiculous it's become. I do believe that such a practice is far more toxic than any kind of behavior that it aims to "correct".
The world would be a lot more understanding and people would get along a heck of a lot better if we all, you know, put on some Metallica every now and then.
It's just a thought.
For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.