Propaganda Through the Years

| Cadenza Staff

“OMG I love this song!!!” This is a reference to my friend when “Wannabe” comes on the radio. Let’s face it, we all have guilty pleasures from our past. There are things that define our generation. My parents are still in love with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and my old English teacher is obsessed with Pearl Jam. Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” defined the beat generation. So here’s a blast from the past, the media that defines Generation Y, from elementary school to high school.

Elementary School: The Age of Innocence

From 1991-2002, we experienced the Spice Girl Craze and the height of boy bands, embarked on a magical journey with Harry Potter, watched the last of the sitcoms and were introduced to the computer. Here are some things that defined our childhood.

Mother-Approved Music

And they wonder why we’re the sex-crazed generation? Personally, my mom wouldn’t actually let me listen to this music, but all my friends did…Yes, I understand I was deprived…But I think everyone still knows all of the Smash Mouth and Backstreet Boys lyrics, recognizes the signature “Bye Bye Bye” dance move and sings “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” And as for “Wannabe,” it was the walk out song for the Michigan Division II 100 Backstroke State Finals for the past four years.

‘Wannabe,’ Spice Girls
‘Hit Me Baby One More Time,’ Britney Spears
‘I Want It That Way,’ Backstreet Boys
‘Bye Bye Bye,’ N’Sync
‘All Star,’ Smash Mouth

Books Our Parents Bought for Us

Some of you might be thinking: “Reading?” But who didn’t at least try to read “Harry Potter”? My friends and I literally galloped around the playground pretending to ride on broomsticks and chase the Snitch. Those of us who enjoyed the series enough adventured into the equally whimsical “Artemis Fowl.” And I know I had to read “The Giver” and “Hatchet” about five times for literature circles. As for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” it’s a timeless classic.

“The Giver,” Lois Lowry
“Hatchet,” Gary Paulsen
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Roald Dahl
“Harry Potter “ (1-5), J.K. Rowling
“Artemis Fowl,” Eoin Colfer
G-Rated Movies We Were Allowed to Watch

These were scary movies. I don’t know about you, but the “Lion King” was unbelievably sad and “Toy Story” creeped me out. However, all these movies had an appeal to the parents and were thus more tolerable than “Barney.” But my life’s dream was to be Jasmine (she even came to my fifth birthday party), and I can’t tell you the number of hours spent learning the handshake from “The Parent Trap.” And “Monster’s Inc.” is a classic, as every proceeding Pixar movie proved to be.

“Parent Trap”
“Toy Story”
“Monster’s Inc.”
“Lion King”

The Shows Our Parents Introduced to Us So We Would Stop Bothering Them

Our Saturday mornings were, for the most part, occupied by cartoons. I really miss “Hey Arnold” and “Rugrats,” and I think there were quite a few life lessons from “Arthur” and “Doug.” And I don’t know about you, but I think “Power Rangers” is self explanatory.

“Hey Arnold”
“Power Rangers” (original)

Middle School: The Most Awkward Years Ever

Girls slowly started to develop certain curves, boys’ voices started to crack and everyone had braces. We were awkward as hell, but frankly, we still thought we were hot stuff. A lot of us got our first kisses, had our first slow dance (because grinding was dirty) and had our first “significant other” (when a boyfriend for a month was majorly serious) in middle school.

The Newest Frontier: Internet

The accessibility of the internet really took off in middle school. This was great, but also led to some poor-quality information on the web (however, I think Wikipedia is credible) and incredible amounts of procrastination (i.e. ebaumsworld). Girls were always trying to take the perfect Myspace picture and too many people used Xanga as a public diary. And of course, instant messaging, because tYpInG lIkE tHiS made us feel sweet.


Books We Read Because Our English Teachers Made Us Read Choice Books

Basically, there was a huge drought of decent books in middle school. That, or we just didn’t read unless we were forced to. Most girls I knew picked up Brashares’ series, as well as “The Clique” for the scandal factor, while boys tended to lean towards “Eragon” and “Pendragon.” No matter how uncool reading was, the “Harry Potter” base stayed solid.

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Ann Brashares
“Harry Potter,” J.K. Rowling (it never got old)
“The Clique,” Lisi Harrison
“Eragon” series, Christopher Paolini
“Pendragon” series, D.J. MacHale
The Music We Thought Was Good

For the most part, all of these songs are the typical four-chord pieces that we were in love with, even though they were poor quality. I really don’t understand the appeal of “Stacy’s Mom” or “1985”, but to tell you I don’t love them would be a lie. Gwen Stefani taught a lot of kids how to spell bananas (although why they didn’t know how to by middle school, I don’t really understand either), and my best friend blasted Kelly and Jesse in his car just last week.

‘1985,’ Bowling for Soup
‘Beautiful Soul,’ Jesse McCartney
‘Since U Been Gone,’ Kelly Clarkson
‘Hollaback Girl,’ Gwen Stefani
‘Stacy’s Mom,’ Fountains of Wayne

PG-13 (and PG) Movies We Watched Because We Thought We Were Rebellious

Ok, maybe not “Finding Nemo,”,but you know you thought you were badass when you watched “The Ring.” And every guy knew that he would have to watch “The Notebook” eventually. “Shrek” became a phenomenon that, for some reason, continues, but the first movie was excellent.

“The Notebook”
“Finding Nemo”
“The Ring”
“Napoleon Dynamite”

TV Shows That We Thought Explained Our Lives
From the innocent to the scandalous, we had a variety. In sixth grade, most girls were obsessed with “Lizzie McGuire” and “The O.C.” By eighth grade, thankfully, we graduated to witty “Gilmore Girls,” although I’m sure half of the girls my age didn’t understand the pop-culture references. “Family Guy” became the new favorite satire (although, again, I don’t think half of the viewers understood the cultural references), and “American Idol” took off with Simon’s snooty comments.
“Lizzie McGuire”
“American Idol”
“Family Guy”
“The O.C.”
“Gilmore Girls”

High School: Sex, Drugs and Alcohol 101

I want to say our tastes matured, but that would be pushing it. On one hand, we finished “Harry Potter” and watched the mind-blowing “Inception.” On the other hand, our media trends started to include fifteen-year-old boys that looked and sang like they were twelve. Here’s to the good (and not so good) trends of high school.

Really Good and Really Bad Music

There are some really good bands out there. In the mainstream, Lady Gaga’s beats and unique style are a force to be reckoned with, and judge me if you will, but ‘I’m Yours’ and ‘Hey There Delilah’ still makes me smile. And boys, listen up: even if he’s singing in falsetto, we are suckers for ‘You’re Beautiful.’ Beyonce kept rocking it with ‘Single Ladies,’ especially with it being featured in “Glee”.

‘You’re Beautiful,’ James Blunt
‘Single Ladies,’ Beyonce
‘Hey There Delilah,’ Plain White T’s
‘I’m Yours,’ Jason Mraz
‘Poker Face,’ Lady Gaga

Literature (or lack thereof…)

Our favorite series came to a close (but who’s pumped for the final movie and the theme park?!?!). Meanwhile, we occupied our time with Brown’s morally scandalous novel, Picoult’s heartbreaking tale and the mentally stimulating “Ender’s Game”. However, vampires, werewolves and beginning every sentence with the subject became the new trend.

“Harry Potter,” J.K. Rowling
“Twilight,” Stephanie Meyer
“The Da Vinci Code,” Dan Brown
“My Sister’s Keeper,” Jodi Picoult
“Ender’s Game,” Orson Scott Card

Quality Movies

Good job, kids. You actually did alright on this one. “The Hangover” is just plain funny, and “Juno” launched television shows about teen pregnancy. “The Dark Knight” was a sad, but appropriate salute to the wonderful Heath Ledger and “Avatar” revolutionized the way we make movies. And as for “Toy Story 3,” we graduated high school and are entering college with Andy. Enough said.

“The Hangover”
“The Dark Knight”
“Toy Story 3”

TV Shows We Actually Think Are Good

Medical and trashy reality shows…not your brightest moment, Class of ’14. I don’t care what you say, I think Snooki and everything about “Jersey Shore” is trashy. And maybe I loved “Grey’s Anatomy,” but it was definitely a guilty pleasure, and “Lost” was hard to follow if you didn’t start at the beginning. Dwight Shrute, however, will always make me laugh, and I will always love any television show that features Kristin Chenoweth. But you have a chance in the next four years to start anew. Make good choices.

“Grey’s Anatomy”
“The Office”
“Jersey Shore”

Procrastination Central: The Internet

There is, in fact, a site for everything. Some things are just so cool and so addicting, making sites like and Bubble Spinner extremely dangerous for your grade point average. Social networks became increasingly important, and Facebook plunged us deeper into the Internet Age. Sites like and just make us feel better about ourselves.


Procrastination Part II: Video Games

Procrastination Part II and a third of the reason that long distance relationships fail. When you’ve been in boot camp for nine weeks and haven’t been able to call your girlfriend, one would assume you would call the first chance you get. Apparently, however, pretending to shoot people is more important. Like, seriously?

“Call of Duty”
“Halo 3”
“FIFA World Cup”
“World of Warcraft”

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