An Over-Prolonged Pupal Stage

I figured out what it is I don't like about so much fiction nowadays. It was revealed to me by watching Cowboy Bebop, when the dude who thawed Faye out says questions about your identity are only asked by adolescents—"nobody past a certain age bothers about them." And hell, that was probably meant to be all cynical and crap, about how adults are sellouts, but guess what? It's true. But it's not because an adult has given up on finding his identity (that being the cynical version they were trying to sell). It's because he's found his identity.

So much work now is geared toward adolescence, or rather toward the perpetual adolescence of the baby boomers, who are compelled to revisit their misspent youth like dogs returning to their vomit. Now I got nothing against a work whose target audience is actually adolescent addressing the issues of adolescents, but the fascinating thing is, all the work with a target audience in that category, at least if it's any good at all, mostly focuses on getting out of adolescence, and becoming an adult. The target audience of perpetual adolescence? Old people.

Now, the problem with this is, an adolescent isn't exactly a person. He's the disgusting pupa that will become a person. All rational work dealing with this pupa stage is directed to encouraging the pupa to emerge from it—the purpose of the pupa is the butterfly. But everything produced by or for the baby-boomers—or others of the perpetual adolescence crowd—is about cutting off their wings and going back into the chrysalis. They were worth a damn as larvae, but since they've decided not to be imagines (it's the plural of imago, I looked it up), they're just failed pupae. Best to gently remove them from the plants they hang off and throw them on the compost heap.

Now do not misunderstand me. I think Diana West is out of her damn mind, when she claims rock and video games are symptoms of this perpetual adolescence. Pretty much any popular musical form will be associated with the young, because the young are the people who go to dances and concerts. And it's only been in the last hundred, hundred fifty years or so that games and imaginative stories have been seen as being for kids; the reason so many fairy tales aren't appropriate for kids is that they weren't intended for kids.

Also do not make the opposite error: most of what is known as "mature" subject matter only appeals to adolescents. Adults don't want to dwell on crap like that, they've actually suffered in real life; also they actually are grown up, so they have no desire to try and make themselves feel grown up by having to endure fictional unpleasantness. The wallowing in the sordid, especially in an attempt at "deconstruction", is the purview of children (at best—most of it is actually just propaganda against disfavored worldviews).

The perpetual adolescence isn't just limited to personal identity or politics; its shifting formlessness (a part of the metamorphosis the pupa undergoes) extends to the "big questions". Only guess what? If you just raise the questions, but don't answer them, it doesn't make you smart. I know, you're all so impressed whenever something gestures in the direction of some question about purpose, or value, or meaning—but sorry, it's only useful if it comes with an answer. Maybe it's just because I know philosophy—apparently I'm the only one?—but when people don't answer the questions they raise, it's irksome. I feel like I'm living with some backward hillbillies, and they're real impressed by the guy who keeps saying things like "What makes the wind blow?" or "What makes the sun rise?"...but they never listen, no matter how many times I try to explain about air pressure or the earth's rotation.

Basically, whenever someone says they like something because "it makes you think," my inclination is to reply, "Yes, I too enjoy things that break me out of my routine."

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