I once worked with a woman who would get absolutely incensed whenever she saw a young person wearing a Jimi Hendrix T-shirt or listening to The Doors. “That’s my generation’s music. Get your own!” she would exclaim.

At the time, I thought it was one of the dumbest things I had ever heard emanating from someone’s mouth. And I still do.

But I also know it’s not an uncommon reaction. When it comes to pop culture, there are those who believe their generation had the best of everything, from music and movies to television and fashion, and that everything that came before or after it was pure crap.

But what’s even more bizarre is that these same people are often resentful when someone from another generation happens to like the same thing they do, as if they were somehow trying to co-opt their memories.

“I was into Hendrix when he was alive,” they’ll sneer with self-righteous indignation.

They are missing the point entirely. If it’s good — really good — it’s timeless. True artists don’t discriminate about audiences; their purpose is to create art for everyone to enjoy.

Artists like Betty White.

We wrote about Betty and put her on the cover of this week’s GO because of her cross-generational appeal.

Older audiences remember her from “Life with Elizabeth.” Baby boomers grew up watching her on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” My generation knows her best from “Golden Girls.”

And now a new generation is discovering her via her appearances on “Saturday Night Live,” “Hot in Cleveland” and a Snickers commercial, to name just a few examples of her recent ascension to the top of the “It” list.

At age 88, she is more in demand now than she ever was.

Because Betty White has talent. And talent never goes out of style. (Besides, she has a Maine connection — she reportedly fell in love with her late husband, “Password” host Allen Ludden, while they were performing together at the Lakewood Theater in Skowhegan in the early ’60s.)

So the next time you find yourself turning up your nose at music, TV, movies — anything — from another generation, give it a try first.

You might find that it’s on a par with the stuff you grew up with.

Or even better.

 

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at: [email protected]