Last Fall I discovered just how out of touch I was with pop culture while waiting for a Molten Core run.
I can't remember the specifics of the conversation, but there was a comment made about surreal comedy, and I piped up and mentioned "Oh, like Andy Kaufman."
There was radio silence, and then a "who?"
"You know, Andy Kaufman, the guy who was the subject of the movie Man in the Moon."
"I don't really remember that movie."
"How about the REM song from the early 90s?"
"Card, you're not helping yourself any with that reference."
Finally, another raider who was about my age spoke up. "Yeah, Andy Kaufman was in Taxi as Latka, and he did that routine where he challenged that pro wrestler to a fight."
"Yeah, he was kind of nuts to egg that guy who was twice his size on, just like his Elvis impersonations were so out there that you never forgot it."
At least I got the chance to make a semi-graceful exit.*
I was reminded of that generational disconnect once more while I was listening to a playlist on YouTube the other day. At one point the old Spinners song "Rubberband Man" came on, and I was bopping along. One of the mini-Reds happened by, and she said "Oh, that's the Guardians of the Galaxy song."
Not having seen anything past the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie --yeah, I'm a bit tired of superhero movies these days**-- I was surprised. "Really? The NBA used to play that song for highlights of players from the 70s and 80s, like Doctor J, Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and the Big O."
At least the kids knew who the Big O (Oscar Robertson) is, because he played at the University of Cincinnati and then in the NBA for the Cincinnati Royals. I've told them the story several times about how my dad used to ride his bike to go see the Royals play at the old Cincinnati Gardens, and how Oscar was easily the best basketball player he ever saw.
|The statue of The Big O outside of|
UC's Fifth Third Arena. My photos turned out lousy,
so I borrowed this one put out by UC.
Why mention this? Well, because people --and gamers-- are a product of their generation. To the longtime MMO players who spent years in the old days of WoW (and now WoW Classic) have a completely different view of Azeroth than those who are new to the game.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard over the years that "XXX sucks!" Like my own personal bugaboo, Belsavis, in SWTOR. I can't stand that zone because it just keeps going on and on and on. Just when you think you're about to finish the planetary story, you go through a tunnel and reach yet another mini-area to explore and quest through.
Or the oldest mini-Red's personal dislike, Corellia. She has major issues finishing the final planet in the "vanilla" SWTOR zones because the warzone imagery depresses her so much.
I was reminded of that disconnect when her baby Hunter, Tasarae, reached Darnassus for the first time. Of the Alliance cities, Darn has the reputation of being the most disliked. It's hard to get to, it's very spread out, and it's difficult to find anything without inquiring from the guards.
But when Tasarae walked through the open pathways with her new pet owl, she gushed about how beautiful Darnassus was. And when she arrived at Auberdine, the rugged shoreline and evergreen forests of Darkshore captivated her.
It is the seeing of things with new eyes that energizes me. Just like when --very soon-- Tasarae will arrive at Westfall and head out on the questline that leads inevitably to the Deadmines and a confrontation with Edwin Van Cleef, the Stonemason whose thirst for justice led him down a dark path where everyone else was an enemy, and only he and his followers were in the right.
I'm looking forward to this. Tasarae doesn't know what's ahead for her, but I do. And I will once again be able to see this world through her, with new eyes.
*Thanks for covering my ass there, Zwak.
**Not to mention all of the freaking gatekeeping by a subset of geekdom.