"THAT did not age well" and the battle between generations
“Aging well” is an oxymoron and the future will frown upon all of us.
"Well, that did not age well.” Yeah, that's how time works.
You know what else won't age well? Everything, including you. Yup, you will become problematic too. Your body will get sick and die. “Cringe!” I know. One day, people will look at you and go, "Well, that did not age well." Chronology is a cruel mistress, just like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction…
In fact, “aging well” is an oxymoron.
The past should seem awful
I watched Animal House the other night. Literally 80% of the movie would get its makers cancelled today. Also, it was hilarious. Should streamers take it down for “questionable content” or whatever? Nah. Applying the morality of today to the behavior of yesterday is a fool’s game.
To those who believe they’re behaving in a completely ethically pure way: Good luck with that. The future will frown upon all of us. The future is judgmental like that. Blame the moral arc of the universe, I guess. Don’t feel bad about it, though. The past should seem awful; that’s what it feels like to make progress.
Of course that doesn’t stop the outraged. Given the number of people on high horses these days, I’m surprised there are any saddles left. The silliest signalling is people dunking on how others behaved long ago. It takes a lot of moral hubris to judge people from decades/centuries ago. It's like getting mad at a seed for not being a tree.
Trust me, one day your great-grandkids will think you’re a monster because you [SO MANY CHOICES HERE…ate meat? did nothing about climate change? bought clothes made in sweatshops? flew water over from Fiji and then dumped the plastic bottles into a swirling pile in the Pacific? put your tot in an AC/DC onesie? watched every season of “Love is Blind”?].
Oddly, the two industries thriving most right now are gambling and weed. Seemingly overnight, every podcast is sponsored by a sports betting site and every block in NYC has a dispensary called Hemped, MedMen, Exoticleaf, or VapeDaddy. (OK, I made up the last one.) Tough to believe this combo is how our empire will sustain: "How did America return to glory?" "We ate 50mg gummies all day and took the Grizzlies -3.5 against the Pelicans!"
In a way, I admire it. We've given up on building anything and are now just numbing ourselves as we slowly decline into irrelevance. Fingers crossed the Chinese take us out before the bots and wildfires do. 🤞 Maybe they’ll give us a last meal with a fortune cookie at the end – after all, stoners love those and the fortunes come with lottery numbers. Perfect fit!
Tech has us all playing the lottery now. Making it as an influencer is the lottery. Finding your soul mate on Hinge is the lottery. The VC/startup model is the lottery. We all see the winners and think, “That could be me.” And that's how they get the losers to keep buying more tickets.
Decades feel like centuries now
The weird thing about weed and gambling as saviors is how much they used to be considered immoral and dangerous. Now they’re our last hopes? It’s like finding out they replaced the Pledge of Allegiance with Judas Priest lyrics.
You kids won’t believe this, but when I was young...
Sports betting was sinful
Pluto was a planet
Marijuana was dangerous (a "gateway" drug!)
Conservatives were the ones censoring speech
The only diagnoses kids got: spaz, retard, dork, or queer
No one was allergic to peanuts
"Love bombing" was referred to as “flirting”
Joe Rogan hosted a show where people ate maggots
It feels like a different planet now. I can only imagine what it’s like for those older than me. For them, things like door-to-door salesmen and hitchhiking were normal. Now, if you tried either of those things you’d probably wind up dead. No wonder old folks are confused about pronouns, Latinx, gender identity, and whether or not to say “queer.”
If it all seems obvious to you, congrats for being part of the moral vanguard. But also, recognize how much of this is actually generational warfare in disguise. We keep inventing new terms and then get furious at old people for not keeping up. That’s youth egocentrism.
See, we’ve brought fashion to words. The chic go to the linguistic runways of Paris (i.e. liberal arts colleges) to learn the new couture – and then they return home to mock the flyover state dolts who buy boxers at Kohl’s for their inability to stay en vogue. Out: Fashion do’s and don’ts. In: Language do’s and don’ts. “‘Non-binary’ is passé. We now say, ‘Gender atheist.’ Tsk tsk.”
But old folks grew up in a black and white world. Back then, coffee was either decaf or regular. That’s it. So of course they’re struggling to adjust to a world of Soy Mocha Almond Flat White Frapuccinos.
Even the not-so-distant past feels like a fairy tale. Young people today have no idea how popular Dustbusters were in the 80’s. It was like a vacuuming revolution. And rowing machines were everywhere. Jazzercise too! We kinda lost our minds there for a minute. Also: Nothing was filmed – not doorbells, street corners, nannies, wildlife, or anything else. Raccoons ruled the roost.
Oh, and we had landlines…without caller ID! So we picked up the phone with no clue who was on the other end. It could be your sister’s friend, your dad’s coworker, or a telemarketer. I know, sheer chaos. But also, it was the old school version of intermittent variable rewards; every incoming call felt like a slot machine spin.
Kids, what I’m trying to say: They are not from where you are from.
The least you can do
Also, old folks need to calm the f%$& down too. Stop getting outraged about pronouns, Mr. Potato Head, or whatever else Ron Desantis is prattling on about this week. Your brain stem is being fracked in order to sell you crappy pillows.
Old folks should give kids bandwidth to get aggro over the “correct” words/acronyms to use. After all, it's the only power they have. They live with their parents, can't buy a house, aren’t getting laid, are ruled by a gerontocracy, and face a future filled with mass shootings and climate refugees. Let them have this. If you’re over 50, you’ve got something these youngsters will never have: the deed to a house. So just cash your social security checks (another thing they’ll never see) and go along with them saying “fluid” or “vulva-owners.” Honestly, it’s the least you can do after all that you’ve done.
Chronology as geography
Eventually, the pendulum has to swing back toward empathy. (Right?) Future Cringe recently asked, “What are the things that will make us cringe when we look back on how we lived our lives in the early 2020s?” Filmmaker Crystal Moselle argued we’ll be embarrassed at our lack of forgiveness:
I’m embarrassed that we didn’t create a campaign for forgiveness earlier. I think there will probably be a wave of forgiveness, because of all the cancel culture. I think the next thing that’s going to happen is people actually wanting to forgive and giving people chances and opportunities for change. I think generally our planet needs that shift so badly.
Compassion. Empathy. Forgiveness. These are the things technology keeps strangling out of us.
A good way to fight back: View chronology more like geography. Time can be a place. So be gentle with those from a different “land.” However old you are, try to judge those from different generations like one of those lost tribes in the Amazon. You don’t have to understand their ways, just try to respect them. They’re doing the best they can considering the jungle they came from.
🃏 Last two eps of my KOAL podcast have featured deep dives on some classic Rubyisms…
🃏 Upcoming shows in NY:
🎯 My love language is not believing in vague pop psychology BS.
🎯 Donald Trump Jr. is accusing someone else of doing c0caine!? C'mon. That's like the straw calling the mirror white.
🎯 Why middle aged men don't trust the mainstream media: Because for a decade it kept insisting we love women who are "heroin chic" while we were all like, "Huh?"
🎯 Related: Sir Mix-A-Lot deserves more credit for being loud and proud about liking big butts before it was mainstream. Guess you could say he was ahead of the curves.
🎯 White party in the Hamptons? I don’t get it. Isn’t every party in the Hamptons a white party?
The Rubesletter • by Matt Ruby (Vooza) is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
🎯 These striking actors seem pretty upset. But then again, who can tell? After all, they're actors.
🎯 Men are just more extreme. Higher highs mixed with lower lows. You're gonna get more Einsteins, but you'll also get more Epsteins.
🎯 Gal told me I look like Mr. Clean and then my friend said, "Nah, Mr. Clean is Puerto Rican.” I asked how he knew this. His reply, “He's got an earring." And now I have so many other questions. Also, I don't think it’s true because, in Spanish, Mr. Clean would just be the not-macho-sounding Señor Limpio.
🎯 "I'm being authentic!" Well, can you not? Being yourself is, well, it’s just kinda rude. Pretend a little bit. It’s the polite thing to do.
🎯 The reason Jews say seltzer instead of club soda is because so many clubs wouldn't let us in.
🎯 Lotta people keep their partner for the same reason they keep their therapist: They just can’t stomach having to tell all that crap to a new person AGAIN.
🎯 Social media is where mentally ill people go to tell other mentally ill people that they’re the real victims.
🎯 Y'all still washing your hands for 20 seconds? Not me. I'm not gonna spend longer washing my hands than I do having sex.
🎯 Tricky thing about being called a Karen is if you complain about it you just prove it's true.
🎯 The other night, my taxi driver got onto the Manhattan bridge, saw traffic waaaay backed up, and drove in reverse for 300 yards THROUGH TRAFFIC in order to get us off the bridge. At end of ride, I literally said this line from Top Gun to him...
I recently talked with comics Mark Normand and Sam Morril on the We Might Be Drunk podcast about my "Substance" special. Here’s a clip…
…you can watch the full special here:
🗯 If loneliness is an epidemic, how do you treat it? “Be grateful for what you have, ask for and offer help to others and make time for fun.”
Even if a pill for loneliness were to become widely available, the goal should not be to get rid of these emotions that make up loneliness or the insights that a short period of loneliness can provide. Rather, it’s to make sure that people can move forward — that their loneliness can work as an effective alarm, calling out their need for connection, rather than becoming the soundtrack of their life.
🗯 Lately, I’ve been thinking about “practice” as the essential framework for meditation, creativity, and, well, just about everything. I’m not the only one: Building a Creative Practice by.
A practice is the skills, attitudes, knowledge, and habits of mind of the practitioner. Just about any activity you can think of can be broken down into the component parts of a practice: writer, musician, painter, lawyer, doctor, parent, groundskeeper, mechanic, etc…I’ve never known a successful writer who sits around waiting for inspiration. They go out and seek it. They walk around a field in a lightning storm wearing a knight’s suit of armor holding a fifty foot long metal poll in one hand and flying a kite with a key attached to the other.
Show me what you practice and I’ll show you who you are.
🗯 Sam Cutler, tour manager for the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead, was proud of never owning property. [via]
I don’t own a house. I live in a dome. Here it is (points to his head) I’ve never owned property. I’ve had shitloads of money and gone through it. I always spent money on other things: drugs, women, motorcycles, cars. But I’ve never owned a house, it just never came up. It’s never been something that fitted my lifestyle. My mother was an Irish Gypsy and I think somehow that’s genetic in me. I’ve never wanted the association of: if you buy a property that’s where you are for the rest of your life. I’ve never really liked that feeling. I like being able to get up and go and leave a place. God knows I’ve left millions of places. So still footloose and fancy-free, although I live in a government apartment now, which is nice, but I’ve got a motorcycle. As soon as I finish talking to you, I’m off out the door. It’s blue, the sky is gorgeous. So I’m ready to rock and roll.
🗯 Why do American parents complain so much?offers a grew-up-in-Pakistan perspective: It takes a village, and we ain’t got one.
I think it also depends on culture - in the western world there’s a lot of emphasis on the “individual” sometimes at the expense of the collective. I grew up in Pakistan - our culture emphasizes alot on the collective. Multi - generational families living together, close communities , families , relatives etc - takes a village to raise children. Now raising kids as first generation immigrants in Canada - it’s incredibly hard without the family support network and I think part of the culture here is to almost force independence on parents and kids from an early age. Both have pros and cons - neither is perfect. Growing up a large part of my parents identity was being parents - in North America personal identity is tied heavily to career / work and it’s a struggle to maintain that part of yourself as your kids are younger and need every ounce of your attention and energy. It’s hard to have it both.
🗯: You can be a victim or you can be a survivor.
There are two ways of looking at things that have happened to you. You can be a victim or you can be a survivor. Those are two very different cognitive positions. You can’t control what happens to you in either circumstance, but one is very powerful. You have overcome. One is you have had something happen to you and you are under that thing for quite some period of time. For me, if I hear someone and I hear that helplessness, one is that I want to reframe that experience. I want to tell a different story. I want them to tell a different narrative to themselves. I want them to rewrite that. In some ways, you want them to rewrite that narrative to survivorship and overcoming and what it took. You ask the right questions to get them to see that their own throughway in that case is based on their strength and ability. You want them to see those things rather than seeing the helplessness and powerlessness.
That’s it. If you vibe, please share/subscribe!