Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons

As I sit here and type, at the crack of dawn this fine Saturday morning, my son's cat, Polly, sleeps, purring, on the hot-plate known as my Apple Time Capsule.  With only a peanut-sized brain, I don't expect her to have any remorse or shame for waking me up, and, if I 'm honest with myself, I've been getting up this side of the crack of dawn since I was very small.  I'm sure Bubs would be the first one to point this fact out, and she probably has a few extra gray hairs, with my names on them, to prove it.

When I was a kid, it was fun getting up Saturday morning.  Heck, I distinctly remember going out and shooting hoops in our driveway when I would wake up.  I can not imagine what our neighbors must have thought, and its shocking that I never heard from them about it.  For most of my childhood, we literally got only a handful of channels on the television.  When not torturing the neighbors with the pounding of the basketball on blacktop, I would pour myself a bowl of cereal, or cook pancakes swimming in butter, plop down in front of our television and watch whatever was shown.  There was not much choice then, especially for niches like cartoons, so you took what you got.

I watch my kids grow up today, and they really are the DVR Generation, in that regard.  My daughter truly does not understand the concept of live programming.  Sorry, Nielsen.  They have an expectation of any content, anywhere, on any device.  As a parent, it's occasionally frustrating, but as a technologist, it's fascinating.  If I think forward and assume the continued reduction of storage costs, the improvement in network throughput, and the improved services and content availability on the Internet, why not?  It's almost like that board game, Clue.  Dad watches Breaking Bad, on the toilet, with his iPhone 10.  Mom watches No Reservations, in the kitchen, on the fridge.  Junior watches Fringe, in his room, while texting and listening to Radiohead and surfing the web simultaneously, on his iPad 9S.

Why not?  As long as he keeps Polly in there with him in the morning, so I can sleep in.


  1. Amazing how much has changed in just one generation. Those of yours and my generation will be the last to remember a time before everyone got hundreds of channels, before every TV had a video game system attached, when the most powerful portable consumer computing device was Mattel Electronics Football, and mobile telephony still seemed like a far-fetched future.
    Those born after sometime in the 1980's, however, live in a world in which entertainment media is everywhere, and always turned on. And children expect it to work for them - always. They are expert operators of all the devices, without necessarily any knowledge of how the technology operates, or how media is created. They are fantastic at decoding the cultural memes that fly around the network, yet I worry that what every young person is challenged to remember, in their brains and in their bones, is that there exists a reality beyond the network. I worry that the WYSIWYG world of ordinary reality, where the pictures in one's head correspond to the actual objects in the room, is becoming a fading background for many, in contrast to the brightly splendiferous world of virtual reality.

  2. Damn, whipper-snappers! I used to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways!!!

    No, it's a different world. I tell Tati often that's it's tough to impose exactly the way we grew up, on them, because it's a different world. The access to goods, alone, is *so different*. We have done some things to make the attempt:
    1. one TV in the house. we watch it in moderation. ari almost never watches - he doesn't care. mia likes it more.
    2. small amounts of gifts at birthdays, hanukkah and xmas (they do get to celebrate both). I remember getting 1 modest gift for my birthdays and very modest gifts, typically, for hanukkah, but loving them. The kids are very much like that now.
    3. no distractions at meals, and we eat our meals together. it means a lot to them. they've learned to eat and communicate better. ari likes to cook.

    I'm sure there are more, but you are right, at the same time, it's hard to have them grow up like us. I would like nothing more in the world than for ari to grow up in the freedom of the way we used to get home from school and run free in Old Orchard until suppertime.