Talkin' 'bout my generation
News that Formula 1 has dropped its titillating 'grid girls' has received widespread media coverage. Which prompts me to republish the photo above. It first appeared two weeks ago in my article about the Marrkaech ePrix. This was a round in the emission-free Formula E motor-racing series that uses electric power for its cars. Instead of the traditional grid girls Formula E uses post-millennial 'grid kids' as seen in my photo. Formula E is a laudable exercise in showing there is life beyond fossil fuels. Oil is one our valuable natural resources and quite rightly considerable attention is focussed on its preservation; just as attention is focussed on the despoiling of other natural resources such as forestry and water reserves. But puzzlingly little attention is paid to the sustainability of those grid kids. We have forgotten that this young generation is our most valuable resource, because without them growing into wise and responsible adults there will be no need for oil, timber or water resources.
While in Marrakech for the ePrix I was exposed to thought-provoking polarities. During the day I was immersed in the high-tech world of Formula E. In the evening I was a guest of followers of the saint Sidi Muhhamad Ibn Al-Habib at a Sufi dhikr. This two hour remembrance of the power of the divine is rooted without compromise in traditional Islamic mysticism. Yet during the dhikr youngsters of all ages appeared and left seamlessly and silently. An elder explained that this Sufi group particularly focussed on engaging young Moroccans, who otherwise could fall into the polar opposite gravitational fields of Western materialism or Wahhabi extremism. There are countless other faith and non-faith groups doing similar priceless work with young people around the world. But they are in the minority; so increasingly our most valuable natural resource is being despoiled needlessly and thoughtlessly.
Today the young generation is seen as no more than an exploitable and dispensable market. This is a trap, incidentally, that Western classical music has fallen into by treating the 'young audience' as nothing more than a fungible commodity to be traded advantageously for the less valuable and shamefully derided 'ageing audience'. Pre-emptive disclaimer: I am no fan of Trump or Brexit. But as I read on social media the daily hate-filled anti-Brexit and anti-Trump rants by members of my generation - the baby boomers - I despair at the example that we are setting to the youngsters who will inherit the divine - or otherwise - global kingdom. My generation gave the world grid girls, David Cameron, Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Tony Blair, Facebook and Twitter, not to mention Bashar al-Assad, Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Surely those youngsters in my photo deserved better than that.
Also on Facebook and Twitter. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).