Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2002 / 19 Tishrei, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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"Up and comers," go away! | Once a year or so, desperate feature writers decide to write profiles of young up-and-comers in various fields. Two of them popped up in my narrow field of vision this last month, one in my local source of news, the San Francisco Chronicle, an outlet that sometimes strikes me as having the same relationship to a newspaper as Tang does to orange juice, and another from the Utne Reader, which is kind of a Reader's Digest for people who drive Volvos.

The Chronicle took a look at 17 young artists and entertainers, "poised for success," including a documentary filmmaker, a dee jay, video artists, a stand up comic, and even a sportscaster. And in the Utne Reader, sandwiched between articles on how to feng shui your Birkenstocks, profiles were offered of, uh, documentary filmmakers, an organic grocer, a digital story teller, whatever the hell that means, and, of course, activists, activists, activists.

Keep in mind that I'm old and bitter. But I remember a lot of activists when I was a tad, and who did they grow up to be?

And documentary filmmakers?

Now, I like documentaries. I have even shelled out good money to watch them, but I believe I am alone in this. People will watch a fake documentary, like SPINAL TAP, but a real actual documentary? No, by and large, I think the American attitude is, "Give those sincere unshaven young people an Oscar, and leave me alone." All of this goes triple for video artists. Tell the truth, museum-goers, don't the words "video installation" send a shudder down your spine?

Now, I have been a young entertainer, and tasted a certain amount of fame, and I believe I can share a few things with today's youth, as they go back to school, or embark on a fruitless spamming of resumes.

Remember: today's pratfall or pas de chat could be tomorrow's knee surgery. The digital story you tell today could be tomorrow's dead platform. Stock options are not money. For you deejays out there, right now the media have deemed "turntabling" a skill and an art form. What about six months from now? I hope you know how to make a latte. Kids, whatever you do, stay away from satire. Belive me, it will only break your heart.

To the media, I would urge you to be more realistic. Next time, focus on the middle managers of tomorrow, tomorrow's admins today! Unless you support these kids after the page is turned, you re just setting them up for a fall. When the grants run out, they'll be back in Starbucks like the rest of us.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
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08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales