Perpetual Adolescence?

I am realizing of late that my generation was the first to really get marketed to in a psychically deep way. Where in my father’s generation, something like the Red Rider BB Gun might have been the cool thing to have, my generation insisted I have every facet of the Star Wars/Transformers/G.I. Joe/He-Man/M.A.S.K/etc universe. So many toys. So many commercials and cartoons for toys. And then came the explosion in video games. Now, as the children of the 80’s are hitting their 30’s, I see that we have yet to put away childish things, many of us unrepentantly so[1]. Now, I’m personally proud to admit that I have not, nor will I ever “grow up” in a conventional sense, but more and more I wonder if my position wasn’t psychologically impressed upon me by the Toys R Us jingle, “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid.”

What if a significant portion of my personality was marketed to me by Hasbro®? Maybe we don’t want to give up on acquiring toys because we’ve been conditioned to continue enjoying them, so lodged in our subconscious is the allure of the fantasy world, so appealing is the packaging, or in the case of videos games, so gratifying is the accomplishment of the game? And this isn’t just a nerd thing…I just watched leading man Vince Vaughn play video games in his swank Chicago high-rise condo in The Break Up. Are we a generation who has had the the Peter Pan Syndrome psychologically transmitted to us by Madison Avenue?

It’s harmless of course; I’m still a mature 30 year old who has a career and a mortgage, and who doesn’t behave like a teenager. I do, however, prefer to dress in odd t-shirts and I still find trips to the toy department appealing, even if my purchases there are fewer and further between. A great lesson from Twilight Zone: The Movie that I took to heart was to grow old with a fresh young mind. I think that’s something good for everyone to do.

1.) Of course I’m not talking to you, Josh. What would make you think that? 😉

2 thoughts on “Perpetual Adolescence?”

  1. I, too, am beginning to realize this. While I’ve moved away from toys somewhat, I have taken to trying to recapture my childhood on DVD. Egads, the horror…

    No offense intended, none taken. I like being quirky…

  2. Ah, recapturing childhood. That’s a whole new angle, at least for you. I’m probably mixing in nostalgic toy collectors with the Maxim-reading gamer/frat boy demographic, thus muddying whatever already shapeless thesis I’m hamfistedly stabbing at with a blunt spork here.

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