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maryann johanson, not crying

question of the day: Are today’s kids watching old movies?

One of my favorite political bloggers, Duncan Black at Eschaton, posted a curious (nonpolitical) question that, the moment he asked it, made me intensely interested in the answer. He wrote:

Not being around them regularly anymore, I’m curious about something. Do the kids today (teens, young adults) watch old movies, and by “old movies” I mean in relative terms. Back in my day the video store was one of the few windows to other worlds we had, so we did watch quite a few movies from the past. I’m not saying we diligently worked our way through 60 years of classic movies, but certainly saw a lot of things from the 60s onward.

Black is about my age, and that was my experience of the video store (and the library, from which I also borrowed VHSes) as well: I watched a ton of different things, including movies from as far back as the 1930s (lots of Marx Brothers). I also enjoyed watching old movies on TV in the years before home video became all the thing. But I was someone who always loved movies, however. I don’t know if all kids my age were as wide-ranging in their viewing, and I certainly don’t know if that’s the case today.

I do know, from the one teenager I’ve had regular contact with in recent years, that she, at least, eagerly listens to and loves pop music from as far back as the 1950s (she adores Patsy Cline, for one). iTunes and downloadable music in general has made this music much more readily accessible — and easier to sample — than was once true.

So, whether you’re a kid today or just know some of them:

Are today’s kids watching old movies?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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