So what happened in the '90s? I think we're seeing an entire generation -- my generation, the baby-boom generation -- turning off the lights upstairs and putting a sign on the door: SORRY, BUT I'M TAKING A NAP. MIND CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Pretty much the same deal is going on with music sales. Piracy and illegal downloads, although covered to a fare-thee-well in the press, account for only a fraction of the drop in $$. I think what's happening is all too clear: We baby boomers are just too pooped to party. Oh, we do buy some records -- you may have heard that we love the Beatles, Rod Stewart, and those funksters the Rolling Stones. Just don't try to get us to listen to anyone who isn't registered with AARP! Bob Seger was probably correct when he told us rock & roll never forgets, but it sure gets tired.(Thanks, Jason!)
Movie-ticket sales have remained strong, but only because the studios are selling a product aimed almost solely at Gen-X and Gen-Y. Most R-rated movies go in the tank. PG-13 rules. A film like ''The Fast and the Furious'' strikes box office gold, while Clint Eastwood's ''Mystic River'' muddles along at the box office. I'd argue that 20 years ago, ''Mystic River'' would have done ''Chinatown'' box office numbers. Now the baby boomers look at the previews on TV and think, Nah, that looks too serious. Too hard. Guess I'll stay home and watch ''Jeopardy!'' And the ''Jeopardy!'' answer is ''Just about the saddest thing Steve King can think of.'' The question is ''What do you call a whole generation going to sleep?''
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.