Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Y is for Youth

All too often you can hear critics of the younger people. It's become such a standard accusation, there's a meme for it. Telling them to "Get off my lawn."

Depending on which side of the fence you're on, you'll probably thrill to movies like Grand Torino where a grizzled war veteran played by Clint Eastwood has to teach these young pups a lesson. This is similar to another Clint Eastwood movie, the western Unforgiven, where what appears to be a docile old man is in reality, the fiercest killer of them all.

If you're on the other side of the fence, you may see the youth of fiction such as Harry Potter and his 'wild ways' being a specific type of hero to handle specific foes. That the world weighs on his young shoulders but he is able to bear that burden responsibly.

Traditionally, America is a youth oriented consumer driven culture. In most older tales, the 'heroic journey' starts with a youth who has to learn and be doing so, learn and become wiser.

As America continues to gray, that focus is starting to shift. While such actors as Clint, and other aging power houses, continue to showcase that there is an audience for movies like the Expendables, Red, and others, its started to hit other venues like fiction.

Take for example, Druss the Legend. David Gemmell, long before it was cool, used both young foolish heroes, and battle hardened vets in his tales. He even took Druss, whose first appearance is a grizzled aged warrior, and went to the well many times with him.

Other authors like Joe Abercrombie, have taken a page from fantasy and westerns and crafted new stories like Red Country.

I've rambled between youth and old age. I've even pointed out several instances in which the older, wiser, more world weary character is called on to save the world.

But the future belongs to the youth. After all, sooner or later the old people will be dead no?

For those who are starting to gray like me, what's the youth of your region like? Are we looking at an upcoming golden age or are we going to have to rely on old war horses coming out of retirement to save us one last time?