Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Today's kids have their own outlets for creativity

A parody of the classic Gilbert & Sullivan song 'Modern Major General', adapted to be about LonelyGirl15

BETWEEN VIDEOS and video games, there's a lot of hand-wringing over how kids today have no need of imagination, no personal petri dish for creativity.

Take lonelygirl15. Oh, wait, you don't know lonelygirl? Well, while you've been sketching Fido in the parlor, lonelygirl — whoever or whatever she is — has turned YouTube into her own private playground and has achieved a level of popularity that B-list actors would crave.

See, lonelygirl seems to be like a lot of younger people who are using YouTube to post their own personal video blogs, and she's been adding her contributions to the Web site for several weeks now. She's supposedly 16, has a friend named Daniel who helps her post her video diaries, is homeschooled and apparently has some strict parents.

She has 13 entries in all. One of the best is a refutation of the Uncertainty Principle, that old quantum physics saw that says no one can truly observe the universe in its present state because it constantly changes. She does so by staring at her friend, Daniel, who's camped out and inert in her bedroom. He never moves, she stares him down and observes him the whole time, and whammo, Uncertainty Principle disproved.
Did I mention that, at age 16, I was entering radio contests and winning six-packs of Pepsi and had no idea about any Uncertainty Principle?

See, back in my generation's day, we would have watched something like lonelygirl on TV, absorbed it like sponges, and tuned in the next week. But this generation? They can look at a lonelygirl, and to continue a tortured analogy, wring the sponge out. Maybe it comes from all those years of being plunked in front of DVDs, computers and video cameras themselves: They're comfortable enough to use the same tools and turn around and create something of their own.

So even if lonelygirl's creativity isn't legit, her followers' are. They've figured out ways to not just sit and watch, but to sit and create. Lonelygirl might not exist, but rest assured, creativity does.


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