From the Merchants of Cool to Generation Like
March 20, 2014 9:53 PM Subscribe
'The media is a chaotic place. Like an ocean or a weather system, it no longer respects authority. In fact, those who attempt to impose their authority are ridiculed, while brilliant and valuable tidbits emerge from the most remote and seemingly inconsequential sources.... Younger, media-savvy viewers instinctively reject authoritative voices and laugh at commercials in which people try to act "cool."
' That was Douglas Rushkoff's assessment of companies courting the youth demographic as covered in print in 2000
, and the next year in video as the PBS Frontline documentary, Merchants of Cool
(streaming documentary; prev: 1
). Earlier this year, Rushkoff revisited the topic with PBS in Generation Like
(streaming documentary), in a time when young people are generally happy to tell the world what brands they like as a way of identifying who they are.
The new program came about because high school teacher Ryan Weber had been showing his students the program (accompanying George Orwell's Animal Farm
). But over the years, Weber found that The Merchants of Cool
had become so dated that his students could no longer relate. "The [first] kids I taught it to were TV creatures," he said — obsessed with MTV. "The kids I teach now are social media creatures."