"And then he was on the move again, happily, quickly, for he would not leave until he showed me all the places of all those who’d loved him into being. His grandfather, his grandmother, his uncles, his aunts, his father-in-law and mother-in-law, even his family’s servants — he went to each grave, and spoke their names, and told their stories, until finally I headed back down to the Jeep and turned back around to see Mister Rogers standing high on a green dell, smiling among the stones. “And now if you don’t mind,” he said without a hint of shame or embarrassment, “I have to go find a place to relieve myself,” and then off he went, this ecstatic ascetic, to take a proud piss in his corner of heaven."
Tom Junod’s profile of Mr. Rogers, Esquire November 1998
Is it possible that the New Enthusiasm is the defining cultural characteristic of our time?
When I was a kid, nerds wore black shirts that read “I hear voices, and they don’t like you.” They listened to Marilyn Manson and joked about suicide and school shootings, as if to say, “If you aren’t going to accept me, I’m going to run in the opposite direction, to be as unapproachable as possible. I’ll create my own dark world, and you cheerleaders and jocks will be the outcasts.” Being a “psycho” was preferable to being the kid with bad teeth. It was a simple, childish, coping mechanism. But they grew out of it, because that shit doesn’t fly in adult life.
Now we have nerd acceptance. The social web has enabled these losers to find each other, and encourage one other’s most annoying inclinations. The new coping mechanism is to be silly, zany, *~*random*~*, but most importantly, overwhelmingly enthusiastic and accepting. They embrace the childlike innocence of a time before schoolyard ridicule and khakis.
It’s becoming less necessary for these kids to grow out of their wackiness due to our internet culture of relentless positivity and acceptance. So you have 30-year-olds walking around with Sailor Moon backpacks, reading nothing but YA fiction, buying expensive stuffed toys, squee-ing and all-caps “YOU GUYS”-ing, applying an exclamatory, uncritical glaze to every mundane observation.
The world is a whiz-bang wonderland made of weapons grade AWESOMETONIUM (hail Sagan!), and if you find my retrogressive aesthetic obnoxious and ultimately ineffective for coping with harsh realities and responsibilities of adult life then well you’re just a H8ER who is also made of suck, so put on a slap bracelet, finish your vlog post and meet us at the Applebees because tonight we’re having *holds up spork* Epic Trivia *evil voice* of DOOOOM!!!