In the old I dont want to say the old days you had to earn your place in the culture. Teenagers were not pandered to, she says. Things are just absolutely made for them [today]; their sensibility is honored. Tomlin believes this developed from kids abilities to challenge authority and demand recognition. This generation sees through so much look, when you can start tape recording your teachers when youre like eight years old and report them to the authorities you lose a good deal of intimidation, she says, remembering her own, similar experience. I was about eight years old or so, and I read [in the newspaper] Mother jailed for negligence, she said. Tomlin asked her mother what it meant and learned sometimes parents are locked up for not treating their children well. And that was like an epiphany any time my mother went to raise her hand to me, I was like, Go ahead, hit me! Hit me! Shed do the same thing if her dad strapped her on the leg with his belt. We lived in an apartment house, and I went to every apartment to show them that my father had struck me and left a mark on my body. So, you can imagine, flash forward 50 years, what kids have absorbed and been socialized with.
Tomlin says this kind of self-realization spills over into their creativity, which is why characters today are so off-beat. [Kids] see how really, absolutely most everybody is a misfit, except the most uninteresting people, and I guess theyre interesting just because theyre uninteresting, Tomlin says, then realizes she just had another epiphany. That was profound be sure to get that down word for word.
Sat., Oct. 6, 8 p.m., 2007