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Friday, August 15, 2008

A season for new beginnings

By Dan Plutchak/Assoc. Editor

Back to school -- the season when parents try to prove they're not out of touch with their children.

Here's the same lead from my kids' perspective:

Back to school -- the season when we confirm our parents are as out of touch as we thought.

With most Walworth County schools set to open the week after Labor Day, the back-to-school culture dance is in full swing. It's the time of year that defines school style for the next 12 months, and the two biggest arbiters of style are music and fashion.

Most parents view their children's style choices with dread, but we have only ourselves to blame. Take jeans, for example. Why would a kid want to wear regular jeans anyway? Go to school in a basic pair of jeans, and you end up looking like your parents.

The problem with the baby boom generation is that they never gave up their jeans. Before them, jeans were something you couldn't wait to grow out of. As men got older, they'd progress into slacks and more formal clothing. For the most part, women didn't wear jeans in the first place.

But sometime during the last generation, boomers forgot to give up their jeans, depriving teens of a style that would separate them from their parents. The only kind of jeans we parents aren't wearing are those that are ripped and faded -- making them perfect for today's kids.

I recently made the mistake of shopping for a new pair of jeans. My favorite pair was on its last legs, so to speak. They were worn, and had a huge tear in each knee.

As I walked into the men's department, I was amazed to discover that instead of wearing something that needed to be replaced, I already was wearing something expensive and stylish. My ripped and worn pair was more expensive than anything else on the racks.

So, I purchased a cheap pair that weren't faded or ripped, and I put my tattered pair in my dresser until they were needed for a more formal occasion.

If we've forced our children into clothing styles we don't approve, we've been more successful getting our kids to adopt our music -- they just don't know it.

Ask your children this popular music-quiz question: Which two classic '70s songs does Kid Rock's current hit, "All Summer Long," incorporate?

My guess is that they'll have no idea.

You already know the answer: Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" (1978) and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" (1974).

Is there an escape to this annual autumn battle of cultures? Yes, and we're here to help.

Pick up the new Walworth County Sunday and Weekender papers.

Along with the new Weekender -- a free, weekly entertainment guide available on newsstands each Thursday -- this edition of Walworth County Sunday represents a new commitment to covering our communities. For me, it's also a reunion.

CSI Media Associate Editor Eric Kuznacic is an Elkhorn native who knows as much about Walworth County news and newspapers as anyone. I'm reunited with Senior Editor Lynn Greene, who I worked with for many years early in my career here in Walworth County.

Photographer Terry Mayer also joins me here at CSI Media, continuing a successful collaboration we've spent years developing.

All this happens under the guidance of Managing Editor Bruce Heisel, a seasoned newsman who has guided Walworth County Sunday's development into an integral part of our communities.

We'll also continue to showcase the work of Walworth County's best writers, including this week's County Living story by longtime writer Donna Lenz Wright and humor column by Susan Lanham.

Although back-to-school season thankfully has a short life, we're excited about the future of this new newspaper family.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is irresponsible journalism to incorporate a music video that promotes under-age drinking, casual sex and recreational drug use to a story about culture and fashion. This type of writing encourages our generation (I'm 43) to mistrust today's youth!

9:33 AM  

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