Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do you still call it a DVD?

I just bought The Avengers on DVD. Well, that's only partially true. There's a Blu-ray in there as well, but I don't know if I'm going to use that term for it. I like the term DVD, and even though "technically" a Blu-ray is different, my brain files it away as DVD. That's just what is is. A CD plays music. A DVD is a movie. My brain has no need for another term for what is essentially the same thing. You put a disk into a player and a movie comes on.

Yes, all you technically savvy people will be able to fill me in on how exactly a Blu-ray is different. (Not to mention different from the HD-DVD.) I know all this. I know about storage capacity and high definition and things like that. I get it. But you have to understand, it's still the same size and shape as a DVD, so that's what I'm going to call it. True, the case is slightly smaller, but when I want to put in a movie on a disk, it's going to be on a DVD. I might eventually come to terms with the new terminology, but for now it's just one extra step in my thinking process that just isn't needed.
And this is where it begins, when I decide that I like my old-fashioned terminology and I don't care what the kids are calling it these days. My jargon works just fine and there's no need to change it. I'm becoming that guy who will grow into that older guy who had a harder and harder time talking about anythign with younger people because we're speaking a different language.

I'll talk about putting in a DVD, and the younger generation will react the same way I did when I heard older people refer to CDs as records. The cycle continues, and now I'm on the other side of it. Now I'm watching language change around me and I don't know if I approve. I'm getting set in my ways and every year it seems as if more and more things are changing.

Part of that is just the nature of getting older. When you're younger, a year is an eternity. You've lived through so few of them. From your perspective, every day is an epic experience. You can handle changes because you haven't been around long enough to get too used to anything. Not to mention, change is just a natural state of being when you are young. Every year you grow and reach some new milestone. Your world is constantly changing, so language is not something you want to hang onto.

When you have experienced a few more years, however, you find that you're not changing as much. While four years can be an eternity as a teen and take you through so many changes, now four years go by and you hardly notice. You are no longer changing as fast as you once did. In fact, while you liked the way you changes as you got older, you aren't nearly as happy with the changes now. You'd much prefer it if you didn't have to change, if you could stay in your present state forever.

Unfortunately, the world just keeps going. one day you realize that it's left you behind. You were once cutting edge, but now you're watching the next group of cutting edge folks take their first steps into this new world. Technology changes faster than before, musical tastes shift more quickly, and, of coruse, the language keeps changing as well. Ten years ago we didn't know what a Blu-ray or tweet was. Now they are part of our common vernacular.

Usually we do our best to keep up with it, and some people are better than others. However, the older we get, the more we want to hang onto the words that worked for so long. Even if the term out of date and wrong (and possibly racist, sexist, or homophobic) we'll keep right on using it. In fact, we might even take pride in our continued use of our old-school language, because we don't have to change any more if we don't want to. We become defiant in our intractibility.

This is often a reason people get more conservative as they get older. It's a natural reaction to a continually changing world. We want things to stay the same or go back to the way we remember them, even if we aren't exactly remembering them correctly. We idealize the past and look back, saying that things were so much better then. Even if, back then, we couldn't wait for things to change.

I plan to do my best to stay current on my technological lingo, but I don't think that's my only option. I can get around the DVD/Blu-ray issue by simply calling it a "disk." As in, "Let's watch Avengers, put in the disk." That way, people will know what I mean. If they ask, "which version," then I can answer "what do you think?" That should work for a while.

At least until they get rid of physical media entirely. When that happens, I'm screwed. (Or whatever the kids are calling that particular predicament in the future.)

More of my Musings

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