There come a series of moments in each smart child’s life when he or she has outgrown the child’s version of something (say, literature, ideas or music), but is not yet seen as adult enough for initiation into the adult version. These are the periods that begin, for example, when you’ve got Nancy Drew all sussed out and and end when you grow into the target market for Tom Clancy, Julie Garwood or Michael Chrichton.
It is during these times that smart kids are susceptible to grotesque parodies of the real thing (whatever the real thing happens to be). I’m talking Star Trek novels, the “philosophy” of Ayn Rand or “We Built this City on Rock and Roll”. I’m talking Dream Theater, cosplay, correcting people when they say “octopus”, reading any given Harry Potter book more than once and, eventually, a more-than-casual aquaintance with 9-11 truther web sites. It’s no less tragic for being so understandable. “Maybe”, thinks the young mind, eager for broader horizons, “maybe this is as good as it gets.” But any observant adult can tell you where this leads—it leads to young men or women who try to convince you that 2112 can change your life if you really listen to it, or who can speak Klingon. There are many worthwhile ways to fill your days, and none of them are in this paragraph. I know whereof I speak.
I guess I figure part of my job is to help you steer between the Scylla of boredom with childhood things and the Charybdis of blaring mediocrity. Which is why we listen to Miles Davis.
Also, I know that by the time “We Built this City” was released, the band’s name had been shortened to “Starship.” I stand by my title.