Occasionally, the generation gap is a good thing.

I follow (read: saw live once, and now vaguely keep tabs on) a band called Tokio Hotel. Have done for years. Why am I listening to German electronic-emo-pop-punk, you ask? Because when Moggie tripped over them, we were both in German classes. The internet had not yet uploaded all thirty years of Aktenzeichen XY... ungelöst! to YouTube, and Michael Ende only wrote so many books. I had to practice on something.

[Michael Ende, for those who don't know, is the original author of Die unendliche geschichte, known in English as The Neverending Story. I have an early edition hardcover, the most expensive book I have ever bought without being ordered to by the university. It's beautiful. All of Atreyu's book-story is printed in green; Bastian's real-world parts are in black, until he crosses over into the book, and the he's in green as well. Each chapter starts with a full page illuminated majuscule, in alphabetical order. There's even a short swatch of mirror printing near the beginning, when Bastian reads the bookstore sign from the wrong side of the window. I also have a copy of Momo, which is printed entirely in chocolate brown.

Both books are also weird as fuck. He's on par with Antoine de Saint-Exupèry. No matter how surreal you thought the movie version of The Neverending Story was, the English edition of the book is more so, and the German original is stranger than that. If you are capable of reading German while high, please try it sometime, and send back a trip report of what it's like to vacation inside of a superdense weirdness singularity. Does it get so bizarre that it finally underflows and wraps back around to accounting? I'm curious.]

I keep following them because the twins who front the band, Bill and Tom Kaulitz, are at least an order of magnitude smarter than is strictly good for them. Bill in particular has that characteristic issue with having too many thoughts that all need to come out of his mouth at the same time. As a kid, he would just take the mic and roll right over anyone who tried to interrupt. My first brush with being internet-famous was years and years ago when I wrote something about them on an obscure little LiveJournal. Their American fan club got a hold of me, and I started translating stuff for them. I felt incredibly stupid that after two years of classes and twenty-some odd years of living in my language-biased brain, I was only catching about half of what Bill was yammering on about, until an actual German person swung by to tell me, no, nobody gets any more than that, he's just an unstoppable motormouth. College German does not prepare anyone for Bill Kaulitz. Sehr schnell, sehr schlau, ganz idiosyncratisch. (Also the poster boy for eigenwillig, which doesn't always help.) He's a wee bit better in English, mostly because it's his second language, and he is forced to slow down.

Kaulitz published a thing in SheKnows as part of the publicity for their 2014 album Kings of Suburbia that touched upon some of the imagery in the video for "Love Who Loves You Back", which if you don't want to click that at work is mainly a giant puppy pile of humans randomly making out with each other. It's a cute New Wave-y song that for once manages to match the colors of the video to the color the song is in my head, but that's neither here nor there.

I generally avoid identity politics like it's full of angry bees (spoiler: it is), but I do tend to hang around the gender/sexual minorities end of the civil rights movement. Partly because of friends, partly because I'm annoyed by stupid, mostly because it's a rare thing when someone billing themselves as an LGBT rights advocate says something that makes me want to hammer my head on the desk and make arrangements to move to a different planet, which is not something I can say about most of the rest of the social justice crowd. I do read The Advocate from time to time, and noted that they picked up on the piece to run a thing about Tokio Hotel's then-upcoming tour.

Some of the people over there seem to have taken that as a coming-out. It doesn't read that way to me, but this may be the fabled 'generation gap' at work. I don't know anything about the demographics of the editorial staff or the audience at the Advocate, but I wonder if they skew older, into the age bracket that first had to fight to get their orientation recognized as extant and valid. Or, perhaps more relevant in context, the age bracket that is currently in charge of writing all the research questionnaires.

There's a thing floating around on Facebook that says not even half of the youngsters these days identify as straight. I've seen a lot of surveys on the topic lately; they all give the option of gay/straight/bi, and the ones that are really on the ball include pan and ace. All of them seem to be missing an option that said, "I hadn't thought about it for two whole minutes until you showed up with a clipboard and made me," which is what I suspect a lot of them wanted to answer. A significant chunk of them are probably just circling a random number on the Kinsey scale because an adult wanted a response.

That's how Kaulitz' blog post reads to me: He kinda doesn't care, and kinda doesn't grok why so many other people do. Millennials in general (he was born in 1989) seem to be mystified by how other people think this is so goddamn important. Not that they wouldn't sit up and take notice if someone who had chased women all his life suddenly went head over heels for a man, but they'd probably think it was hilarious in the same way you thought it was hilarious when that college buddy who was notorious for doing any damnfool thing he could think of to get the attention of tall reedy blondes ended up happily married to a short round brunette.

I tell people I'm straight solely on the basis that I've only ever done that horrible full-brain misfire thing over humans who were male-bodied and male-identified. It's an adjective, not an immutable state of being. I'd be annoyed if I ever found myself going stupid over a woman, but no more annoyed than I've been in the past when it happened over men. I could give a shit if you have a historical pattern of liking girls or boys or both; if I'm making a pass at you, all I'm concerned about is whether you like me.

Sometimes I wonder just how many of our social and political controversies would vanish if you just gave people the option to explicitly vote for apathy.


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