Generational Warfare Part 2: Paul Anka


Punk Rock HR readers had a spirited discussion about Jeff Gordinier‘s book, a few weeks ago. We discussed whether or not Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials approach employment (& life) in different ways.

The conversation took on a life of its own and moved forward on other awesome blogs. My opinion on the validity of ‘generational differences’ hasn’t changed since my original post. I land firmly on the side of disinterested. (Clarification: I’m disinterested in talking about this with you.)

I believe that cultural trends and important events will impact a generation of people (think Kennedy assassination, 9/11) — but I really don’t give a shit about how other people approach life & work. Life is great and work is fine as long as I get paid. Let’s not have a group meeting and discuss it further.

That opinion, some would argue, makes me totally Gen X.

In any event, there is one thing I care deeply about: your unabashedly poor taste in music. Do you know what’s better than listening to your music collection? Everything. Your iPod is packed full of Coldplay and Bob Dylan. You like Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster Cult, and Linkin Park. If it isn’t Blink 182, you’re not happy.

I’ve heard more thoughtful emotions expressed through music by my cat, Scrubby, than in your iPod.

To that end, I found two excellent gems via the interwebs related to generational warfare, employment, and your poor musical tastes.

The first gem is an honest discussion about embarrassing musical preferences. I came out of the closet on Jeff Pearlman’s blog and admitted that I bust a move on the treadmill to Marky Mark and Backstreet Boys. I can’t explain my love of Good Vibrations, but I will tell you that I never listened to Everybody until my friend, Sully, used the song in a training video. He is very punk rock and has excellent taste in music. He sent me a link to the training video and wrote, “I’ll admit it. The song is kind of catchy.”

Christ. He’s right. Backstreet Boys + training video = pumped up inspiration! I’m ready to meet my sales quotas and I can’t take on the world. Needless to say, I’ve loved the song since then.

The second great gem on the internet, tonight, is this little ditty by Paul Anka.


It’s Paul Anka singing Nirvana, and I don’t know if this video is legal in the United States or Canada. (I have my doubts.)

It’s a great example of what happens when someone, such as Tony Bennett on MTV Unplugged, does something clever and interesting. Tony played to a live audience on MTV in 1995 and reintroduced himself to a new & musically-savvy generation. Some marketing dude thought, great, let’s do this on a larger scale.

The results of that marketing endeavor, way back in the late 90s, are sketchy. You get Johnny Cash singing Nine Inch Nails and a Burt Bacharach tribute, which aren’t half-bad attempts at shaking up the musical establishment. Unfortunately, you also get the very bad and very schlocky Paul Anka covering REM.


Ugh. Stick to your day job, Paul Anka, and stay away from Generation X and our musical oeuvre.


Update: It seems as if I’m a few years late. The Paul Anka videos made the rounds, a while back, according to my Gen Y bloggy friends. Whatever, hipsters.

Update II: I do like generational discussions, but I hate arguing about them. Are you Gen X? Are you Gen Y? I don’t care. I just have one question: when will baby boomers just STFU already?

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