by Will Link
When I’m an old man I’m going to become a right-wing, homophobic, racist lunatic. I don’t want this to happen, but inevitably it will. I see it in the old people of today. It feels like they grew into some of these societal fears. Now I’m not saying I’m going to wake up one day and suddenly be against gay marriage or want to take away voting rights from black people. Because of the time period I was born in, I’ll always believe in the liberal things I currently believe in. What I’m saying is I will be bigoted about the new people in our society. As an old man I’ll probably never get used to the idea of pan-sexual cyborgs. This is coming people! And once we allow humans to marry cyborgs it’s a slippery slope that will lead them to having cyborg babies. Old man Will Link won’t be able to handle this. I’ll also have problems with the human animal hybrids. You wait, there will be cat people walking the streets. Humans who have combined their DNA with cat DNA to create monstrous mutant monstrosities who will sit at coffee shops drinking their lattes out of a saucer. Do you really want cat-man teaching your children? I believe cat people are a disgusting example of mankind playing God… and I don’t even believe in God!
Humanity is evolving so quickly I just worry one day I’ll get left behind. I fear there will be things to come that I want to accept but just won’t understand. I’m sure that’s how some unevolved cranky old people feel in our post Caitlyn Jenner world. I can’t remember the first time I heard that there were men who felt like they were born women and vice versa. The fact that learning this left no impact on me I feel shows I never thought of it as a big deal. As of today I support a person’s right to be their true self. However when discussing this issue with some folks, I referred to a trans-actress as “transgendered.” Immediately I was attacked. “They’re transgender, not transgendered. You wouldn’t say someone is shortened, you’d say they’re short!”
Now I’m not upset I was corrected. In fact I appreciate being told the correct terminology. However there was venom in this person’s voice. As if I had purposefully offended an entire community. As if I was mocking them. And that’s a problem. There is a difference between bigotry and just not being properly educated. Is the reason that so many older people have trouble embracing new things simply because the younger generations don’t have the patience to educate them? Some people are still just trying to understand in the 21st century how someone defines gender. Asking a question or misspeaking is different than trolling. But people are quick to assume negative intent and respond without thinking. This is particularly true on the internet where you either have a teachable moment, or tweet long enough to see yourself become a troll.
All this got me thinking about my life. Where will humanity evolve to by the time I’m old? What will become of me and my antiquated ways of thinking? I’m already a bit of a Luddite. I basically only used my computer to send over explanatory emails and write idiotic essays. I still pay for cable for fuck’s sake! More than once I’ve said that I was born in the wrong time. Every time I say this I cringe a little because I know deep down how stupid a statement that is. However, if I’d been born any other time I can’t help but think I’d be a success by now.
The greatest period for filmmaking is the late 60’s through the 1970s. They were a time when youth and counterculture ruled the box office. The Graduate, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, Harold and Maude, Mean Streets, some of the edgiest and humanistic films ever made. I’m certain that if I was trying to make it in the movie business then, my opportunities would have been endless. God, to be 19 in 1969! But the reality is, I’d be the same nobody then that I am now. My father was a postal worker. When I was a kid he took me with him to the post office, pointed at his co-workers and said “never do this for a living.” If I was 19 in 1969 would I really become the next Hal Ashby or would I just inevitably become a mailman like my father? Aren’t I only the creative driven person I am today because the art of 1969 inspired me? Formed who I am. Without seeing the work of those master filmmakers who knows what I’d have become. Probably a postal worker.
The next argument becomes being born later in history. God, to be 19 in 2005. To be fair that would only make me less than a decade younger. However, those few years make all the difference.
I come from a weird generation. I’m not old enough to be Gen X but far too old to be a Millennial. What the fuck am I? A middle child of history. When I was in film school I didn’t even own a computer let alone have an email address. It’s alright, I somehow got by just fine. If I was in film school in 2005 I’d have learned more about digital filmmaking. All my short films would have been on Youtube and I’d be a viral sensation! But the reality is, I’d be the same nobody then that I am now. I’d just be part of an oversaturated online world where no one can truly stand out. Plus I’d be a vapid Millennial, the one group I do currently have some bigotry for. Too many people younger than me put themselves in bubbles. You can do that nowadays. Use the internet to spend time with people who have the exact same interest as you, thus making sure you never learn about anything that came before you. Millennials can tell you all about Britney Spears but can’t name one Marx Brother. A younger friend said “Why would I know the Marx Brothers? They were before my time.” They’re before my time too! How old do you think I am? But I know these things because I was born at a time where I had to actively still be part of the world. Be exposed to things outside my bubble. A time in which you had to make an effort. Millennials, ugh– they’re almost as bad as the cat people!
Which brings me back to my fear of the future. There is one thing that will happen very soon in society that might make me more accepting of the cyborgs. In the near future humanity is going to have to learn to live with sex robots. Yes, within ten years I predict we will all be able to buy a robot to fuck. These robots will be a big step towards us eventually accepting cyborgs openly into our society. But it’s also Millennial bubble culture run amuck. Why make the effort of finding a real live flesh and blood woman when you can stay home and have sex with your ScarJo-bot? Or your Megan Fox-bot? Or a Channing Tat-bot for the ladies. I hope and pray that I meet someone to love before these sex robots become affordable because in the absence of love, I will have sex with that ScarJo-bot. Mark my words, I will have sex with her 24/7. And then it will be impossible for me to hate the inevitable cyborgs evolution. I’d be a hypocrite because I’ll already be in love with a machine. Hell, three sentences ago I referred to “it” as “her.” I’m already imagining the sexy times we’ll have.
So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I will be able to wrap my head around cyborgs. Some understanding youngster will take the time to educate me. Yes, even old man Will Link can evolve when it becomes about love. Once cyborgs can love, shouldn’t love win? I’ll vote yes on a proposition giving them equal rights. After a cyborg malfunctions and goes on a killing spree, I’ll still support them with the hashtag #NotAllCyborgs. One day I might even say “some of my best friends are cyborgs.”
But not the cat people. I’ll never get used to them. Fuck you cat people!
Will Link is a critic and essayist who performs frequently at readings around Los Angeles. He’s also a host for Afterbuzz TV as well as his own pop culture comedy podcast Will Sean Podcast? which you can find on iTunes. Follow him on twitter @TheRealWillLink.