I was an old school kid. We used to play hop scotch, made mud cakes, rode around on our BMX bikes and played old school Mario Bros on Nintendo. Those were the good old days when life was more about quality and spending your time being an actual kid. These days, everything is about quantity and kids are more like adults who don’t want to play unless it’s on a Playstation. I can’t pin point exactly when things became this way.
I was watching one of the older cartoons on television the other day, I can’t remember the name but I noticed how cartoons have changed over time. They used to be light hearted and innocent entertainment. Think back to old school Mickey Mouse and similar stuff. When I watch them today, they’re corny and tacky…back then life was about saving the world. I watch new age cartoons, filled with derision, sarcasm and adult humour and I wonder, do kids actually get this? I know an 8 year old Azra wouldn’t have understood. This tiny little change is indicative of how cynical the world has become. TV shows and cartoons are filled with sarcastic innuendos, disguised in a blanket of sardonic humour.
There are trace elements of this cynicism in Raphael’s character in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fast forward a decade and cartoons like Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Freakazoid were drenched in sarcastic humour. Not that I complained, they were my favourites, very entertaining and something I looked forward to when I came home after one of my horrendous days in high school. But still, I didn’t think it was meant for little itty bitty kids.
This change is not restricted to cartoons, and is also evident in television programs. These days Lassie would be viewed as the mother of all corny tv shows. And how many times have you watched a show or a movie a good decade since the last time you saw it and thought OMW, why did I like this again? Its happened to me with movies like Salsa and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
This theme of quantity trumping quality is evident in other areas of our lives too. Take men and women for example. I can’t describe the number of guys I know who want wives that resemble Barbie. And it doesn’t matter that she’s got no conversation skills, no personality, no humanity etc. And what about those women who only seek out wealthy men straight out of GQ? If he doesn’t have the cash or the looks then he’s worthless.
I’ve come to see contemporary men and women like contemporary cars. You know, back in the day, cars were sturdy, solid and reliable. You could climb on them and sit on the bonnet and nothing would happen, not even a dent. These days, every little gesture is sure to create more than a few dents. Back in the day, old school cars would come out of minor accidents with glorified scratches. Even the slightest bump will render a new school car completely useless.
To examine the full extent to which we've exchanged quality for quantity and the consequences thereof will take ages because of its almost limitless scope. We can delve into matters that include the global crises of incompetent parenting, resulting in some the worst generations this world has ever seen, to the genetically modified food we consume on a daily basis. But at the core, I think what we’ve failed to realise is that it’s better to have a little of a good thing then to have a whole lot of shit.