I am really not looking forward to turning 30.
Seriously, the great thing about being in your 20s is that everything is set up to specifically appeal to you. Everyone wants your attention, your money, your tweets, your ideas, you love, and everything else. And, yes, I understand that most people neither like nor respect my generation but oh well and whatever. Trust me, the generation coming up behind mine is a hundred times worse.
2008 was a great time to be a politically knowledgeable millennial. Everyone running for President was desperate to get our vote and they were willing to promise us anything. And, since my age group voted overwhelmingly for Obama, all of the old elitists in the national media briefly fell in love with us. (The genius of Obama’s 2008 campaign was to tell us that we were the people that we were waiting for. Technically, it’s a bit nonsensical but never doubt what you can accomplish by appealing to the ego of the electorate.)
Of course, over the past few years, my generation has essentially been fucked over by both political parties and, since we dared to complain about it, nobody likes us anymore. But, oh well and whatever. American culture is basically built around our whims so we really don’t need anyone else’s love.
And, if all this sounds a little bitter or angry, I would point that young people and old people have been at war since time began. Generational conflict is nothing new. And if you need proof of that, I suggest watching a film from 1968 called Wild In The Streets.
Wild in the Streets tells the story of Max Frost (Christopher Jones), a rock star who lives in a gigantic mansion with his band and his groupies. When Max is asked to perform at a campaign appearance for senate candidate Johnny Fergus (Hal Holbrook), he agrees to do so because Fergus supports lowering the voting age. (When Wild In The Streets was made, you had to be 21 to vote. So, if your birthday fell on election day, you could cast your first vote and then go have your first legal drink.) However, at the rally, Max announces that he wants 14 year-olds to have the vote and then performs a song called “14 or fight!”
Max’s song is such a sensation and leads to so many protests that, in a compromise, the voting age is lowered to 15. Johnny Fergus is elected to the Senate and, before you can say “Blue dog,” promptly starts to ignore the will of the people who supported him. So, Max arranges for his girlfriend Sally (Diane Varsi) to be elected to the U.S. House. After spiking the water supply of Washington D.C. with LSD, Sally gets a bill passed and the age requirement for holding political office is lowered to 14!
Of course, in the next election, 24 year-old Max Frost is elected President of the United States. Soon, anyone over the age of 35 is being sent to re-education camps where they are force-fed LSD. Max is so ruthless that he even sends his own mother (Shelley Winters) off to re-education.
And, with all the old people gone, everything is perfect for Max. Except for that fact that 10 year-olds are now demanding the vote…
In many ways, Wild in the Streets feels like a film that could have only been made in 1968. From the psychedelic direction to the costumes to the hair to music, everything about this movie screams late 60s. But, at the same time, it’s still a genuinely amusing satire, largely because generational conflict is timeless. We all think that those older than us are clueless and that those younger are spoiled. There’s a lot of things in your life that can control. Sadly enough, getting older is not one of them.
Wild in the Streets is a fun and amusing time capsule. See it now before the younger generation comes of age and totally fucks up the world.