Monday, December 28, 2015

Tunnel-vision Writing

I've heard countless old people complain about being "forgotten about" in various ways; sometimes literally and sometimes in terms of "the world." As I transition into my fifties, I begin to understand more what they mean.
A guy you might not have grown up with.

I just read an article online and it referenced Jessica Biel. It said something about "the girl we all grew up watching on 7th Heaven."  I don't know about you, but I was twenty-eight when that show came out. (I was also in a stage of life at which TV almost didn't exist for me...but that is not relevant to my point here.)

So, the the thing is, "we all" did not "grow up" watching 7th Heaven.

Now, I am no Yale student who needs to be made to feel comfortable and cozy and "included" in everything and I am sure not going to call for an end to exclusionary writing and the resignation of the writer because he bwoke my widdle hawt, but I sure as heck am going point out the tunnel vision of many writers, especially when it comes to popular culture.

I could use this as an opportunity to lambast the self-indulgence and self-centeredness of "kids today," but I won't. [Insert sly grin.] But I do wonder if young writers are thinking, at all, of "audience" when they write. Because they are doing one of two things: 1) not thinking and being short-sighted enough to not imagine an audience outside of their peers or 2) deliberately excluding a wider (and older or younger audience). Number two really makes no sense. Why would any online writer deliberately limit his audience unless he or she were writing a very focused blog -- like a blog for ham radio enthusiasts? (Granted, though, that certain sites cultivate a certain demographic...but when a subject could be universal, what's the point of limiting things?)

If I wrote a piece about Happy Days, I sure would not refer to it as a show "we all grew up watching" -- not if my blog wasn't called, Middle-aged Daily.

I'll be okay. Don't worry about me. But writing, unless it is in a personal journal, should not be an intellectual form of intellectual auto-erotica. Either writing teachers are doing a lousy job of teaching "audience" or parents are churning out kids who think only of themselves. You decide.


  1. It is a different world than mine, when no one owned a TV...your piece does behove us to work outside the box, thank you.

  2. I have repeatedly complained that the two most powerful words any technology salesman uses are "Everyone is."

    But lately I have been rereading War and Peace, and noticing Tolstoy's fondness for universal statements about "every Russian" (not always in quite those words). To be sure, a dozen or two statement scattered over 1200 pages is not that many.