How Will We Be Remembered?

by Sean Levinson

I was watching the movie Saturday Night Fever a few days ago for the first time in a while and I couldn't believe what my twenty five year old eyes were seeing. Even though this film takes place ten years before I was born, the startling comparisons with the depicted generation and my own made me feel like I was in a strange way looking into a mirror.

The way these people acted along with their point of view towards society reminded me of the exact same way I have began to interpret me and my fellow millennial's relationship with the world we have molded in our image. While I was uplifted by my new found familiarity with an era I never got to experience, it's safe to say that further contemplation of my realization brought upon feelings of dread and pessimism more than anything else.

The mid to late American nineteen seventies cultural characteristics that Saturday Night Fever highlights are probably some of the most well-known, distinguishable aspects of this time period. Whenever anyone thinks of the seventies in general, a whole lot of social fads having to do with leisure activities and partying usually come to mind. It seemed the world was being taken over by metro-sexual disco addicts who were in turn making the most out of the overwhelming trends that were sweeping the nation.

As the movie beautifully illustrates through symbolism and its monotonous story line, lots of young men were striving to promote their surging masculinity and ego while extending the existence of their sub-level maturity and child like perception for as long as possible. They took pride in dressing flashy, having lots of sex, driving around in their cars while engaging in recreational drug use.

They were remarkably content with working their day jobs before spending their nights and hard earned money on the most extravagant dance clubs, where they honed their disco prowess to the point where the club became their kingdom, an atmosphere where they felt powerful and in control. However, it doesn't take a movie buff to understand that the impression the majority of the characters in Saturday Night Fever were supposed to convey was that these kids were stupid.

They were mindless drones who were simply gobbling up so much of what they were told was cool that they lost track of what was important and valuable in life. These people were going nowhere, unable to escape their urge to focus on nothing but going to the club on Saturday to feel like they were making the most out of the week.

These are some of the most universal concepts commonly associated with the mid to late seventies, social trends that were so unique and iconic that they drastically overshadowed the intellectual, alternative lifestyles the more opened minded young adults took part in. Not everybody who was in their early twenties during these years was obsessed with annoying music and expensive clothes.

What about all of the people who were involving themselves in the scientific and social breakthroughs going on at the time? I doubt the men and women who were experimenting with the first video games and ground breaking computer software were going out to disco clubs and practicing their dance moves in front of a mirror. Not everybody who was a young adult during this period was a conformist, and this conclusion is what reminded me of how I view my age group and the impression we are giving off to past and future generations.

Are people going to think of my generation and only remember the rise of electronic dance music, our inability to have a conversation thanks to the texting obsession or our hip hop influenced sorry excuse for a fashion sense? I sure hope not. Even though it seems like every kid around my age has made a hobby out of spending their parents' money on cars and clothing we don't need along with idolizing celebrities who are only famous because of their sex appeal, this doesn't mean some of us aren't trying to make it a priority to change the world around us and have a valuable impact on the culture of tomorrow.

I'll bet the ambitious entrepreneurs, kids from low income families trying to work three jobs due to the recession and participants in the various civil movements going on don't find amusement in desperate imbeciles making idiots out of themselves for popularity on Youtube.

I just don't want my generation to be remembered in the same vain as the disco era, where everyone who was in their early to mid twenties at the time was perceived to be a self-absorbed fool more concerned with how good they looked or how many times they got laid rather than the global transformations that would actually have a long term effect on the world.

I can just imagine how future generations will look back at this time and conjure the image of every single young man or woman dressed like an insecure rapper, texting at the dinner table before gathering with their peers to go dance to overproduced computerized sounds of the same quality as background music to a bad video game.

We are not all ignorant, we are all not immature, and we are all not subscribed to the idea of abusing our technological advancements just to distract us from the imminent pressure of making it on our own steam. This is why it's my wish that sooner or later, society will understand the power of conformity and realize that not every millennial subscribed to the most popular trends because some people actually wanted to be taken seriously during a time when not many things were.

There's definitely a ton of people who were around to see the rise of disco that fear that their grandchildren will associate them with brainless guidos who didn't care about making name for themselves or bringing their family real honor or respect.

Now I can honestly say, I feel their pain. For the sake of my generation, I hope that those that succeed us won't look too far into the specifics of modern pop culture because if they do, I cannot help but worry that we will be most remembered for an unparalleled level of oblivion unheard of until now.

Sean Levinson | Elite.