MSNBC has an article up about how “adults are clinging to childish things” (link via The Comics Reporter). The article turns to Christopher Noxon, author of Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up, for an expert opinion.
Plenty of the items mentioned here (and in Noxon’s book) are just generally associated with childhood, though I checked the book out of the library in the first place because a lot of this (including comic book collecting) seems also implicated in geek culture. I’ve often posed a certain question to people as I try to explain what it is that I’m studying: Why is it that certain interests (like collecting comics or playing video games) get stereotyped as geeky, while other interests with fans who are no less fervent (like sports or soap operas) do not? One reasonable answer is that many geeky interests (save for computers) are associated with childhood. This “rejuvenile” stuff presents me with a fair follow-up question: Why is it that certain childish interests get stereotyped as geeky, while other interests do not? Maybe there just haven’t been kickball leagues around long enough to really accrue that kind of meaning yet. Plus, kickball might be a source of unhappy memories for many who were called geeks as kids.
As an aside, hearing about “rejuvenility” reminds me of something I saw a few music bloggers writing about a few years ago. Writing about playful bands like the Go! Team and others prompted one blogger to suggest that a new music movement was underway, which he called Toddlerclash. (Music for Robots also gushed about the Go! Team’s childlike wonder, but didn’t suggest any greater movement). Could be totally unrelated phenomena; blogging about a dissertation kind of feels like putting together big puzzle a few pieces per day, knowing full well that some of the pieces belong to other puzzles.