Commentary by Bill Buchanan
There was a gallery on the web the other day featuring photos of actors who were labeled “the hottest TV stars in the fall.” As I went through the list, my first thought was, “Who are these people and why are they celebrities, and why should I possibly care?” This is also known as the “Kardashian effect.” On a positive note, I do know who Charlie Sheen is, and I have seen little in the news about him lately. I am very thankful for that.
My lack of knowledge of popular culture, as well as my lack of interest in the same may signal that I am officially becoming an old man.
Like many other baby boomers, those of us who thought we would never grow old, I have done just that. We are no longer in the most desired advertising demographic. TV shows and movies are no longer targeted specifically at our age group. The music many of us like is no longer called “rock” or “rock ‘n’ roll”, but “classic rock.” I guess marketing folks do that to lessen the sting of the realization that our music is no longer in the forefront of current popular culture. To me, that is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig. You can dress it up, but it is what it is.
I have found that it is true that you change as you get older. At one time, I really enjoyed shopping for clothes. But now when it comes to fashion, style sometimes takes a backseat to comfort — especially when it comes to shoes. I remember one February in Wisconsin when I foolishly wore my tasseled loafers in an effort to be stylish. The snow came over the tops of my shoes and my feet got wet. It was minus 15 degrees outside, and my feet soon became painful blocks of ice. I learned firsthand (or first-foot if you will) one of the universal truths of this world —- if your feet hurt, you cannot enjoy life.
I also dress more casually now. I have worn a tie maybe five times in the past year,- mostly to weddings and funerals. I used to wear a coat and tie to work almost daily. Early in my newspaper career, I was meeting with an advertising account in South Dakota, where people regularly wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Dressing up is putting on a string tie. The guy owned a restaurant and bar with live music. As we were discussing his advertising for one of the bands, a friend of his sitting at the bar commented on my style of dress. He said something to the effect of, “Hey, you know you might have more luck selling if you took off that tie.” I told him that meant a lot coming from someone who was sitting drunk at a bar at in the middle of a workday. I can’t say whether he was right or wrong, but I sure don’t miss the tie.
My musical tastes have changed as well. I still love rock, blues and jazz. I always loved the Allman Brothers, and they sound even better to me now than they did 40 years ago. But the Moody Blues sound overly produced, and I rarely listen to them now. Bruce Springsteen is still “The Boss,” but The Eagles don’t get much play time on my iPod. James Taylor is still great, but Dan Fogelberg just doesn’t sound the same to me. I don’t think I will ever get tired of Billie Holiday or Buddy Guy, but the Rolling Stones don’t “start me up” like they used to.
Changing tastes are one thing, but if you ever hear me say how much I love Elvis and rap music, you’ll know I am ready for the nursing home.