Once, in a stressful situation, my boyfriend told me to imagine something reassuring in order to calm down. The first thing to come to my mind was to picture a theoretical President McGovern conversing with an impossibly young news reporter, Clarissa Darling, who works for a reputable outlet. They discuss the issues and McGovern treats Clarissa as an intellectual equal despite her youth and wild fashion sense. Wouldn’t it have been a better world for all of us if ’72 had gone differently? (Even if you don’t like his platform, as I do, at least Watergate would not have happened.) Wouldn’t it be nice if Boomers didn’t talk down to us Millennials all the time and actually took us seriously? Don’t you wish the media actually partook in investigative journalism rather than cynically stoking tribalistic differences among us, or lazily parroting celebrity tweets?
Anyway, it was a nice dream, lasted almost five minutes.
The Dream of a Better America
Take another good hard look at the cover image for this post. That is what the far off Metropolis of New York City circa 2020 was supposed to look like, according to TMNT4: Turtles in Time. Not only is it perhaps the most beautiful example of pixel art I’ve ever seen, it’s such a quaintly optimistic view of the future. It makes playing through the “Neon Night Riders” so ironic in hindsight, knowing that 9/11, the rollback of civil rights, the immense waste of resources that was the Middle Eastern wars, President Trump and renewed civil tensions would make this vision impossible. If only the programmers could have known that 2020 would be the year of pandemic, locust swarms in Africa, unprecedented civil unrest, widespread joblessness, murder hornets and malaise. How deeply disappointing.
I’d like to think there’s still time to get back on track for TMNT4‘s version of 2100 though. And if the current politicians fail, I’d like to think us Millennials will do better. If I were in Congress, I’d like to believe we could be chill and conduct ourselves as such:
“Hey XYZ Republican Senator, that was a rough session today…wanna come by my place later and cool down?”
We’ll play some SNES, some shared nostalgia, smoke a (now legalized) bowl and reminisce. I’d like to think that, away from the donors, and the pressure to live up to colleague’s expectations, we could just be ourselves and enjoy reliving our mutual childhood adventure. By the time we got to the “Neon Night Riders” level, the two of us would be comfortable enough to shed a tear without shame together:
“We should’ve made it happen, man…neon super skyscrapers in 2020…we fucked up, man!”
And I’d be like:
“Its not too late, man. We can still do it…together. And we’ll have a fucking starbase by 2100. You can count on that!”
It’d be a new era. No gridlock, no grandstanding. Just the magic of Mario and Metroid uniting the Y generation one last time.
“We need liberals and conservatives, man. Just like the Super Nintendo needs ones and zeros to make these great games. Y’know what I’m saying?”
“I read ya loud and clear man. Let there be peace on Earth…and let it begin *looks directly into camera* with ME.”