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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Who is Paul McCartney? (Library Kid Edition)

I've been seeing a lot of weirdness on the internet today about how society is "doomed"
because young people don't know who Paul McCartney is (which seems to be stemming from this tongue-in-cheek article). It appears that people are even
trolling mentions of McCartney on Twitter and questioning the intelligence
of anyone who does not know who he is or who says that he's maybe not relevant to kids today or even JOKES about it.
I got a little curious myself, so for fun, I did a quick, informal, totally unscientific poll of some of the kids currently hanging out in my library on this slow-ish, rainy Saturday.
To two tween girls:
Me: "Do you know who Paul McCartney is?"
One of the girls: "I've heard of him."
Me: "Do you know what he does?"
Girl: "No."
(Fair enough.)
To two tween boys:
Me: "Do you know who Paul McCartney is?"
One boy made a weird "I have no idea" face and the other said "He's an author, I think?"
(Close enough?)
To a group of four teen/tween girls:
Me: "Do you guys know who Paul McCartney is?"
Three of them shook their heads, but one said yes, so I asked her to elaborate and she said (VERBATIM):
"He's some singer. And he's old."
(In fairness, both are true.)
In conclusion: WHO CARES? I love the Beatles myself, but this is not a signal of doom. It's not really a signal of anything except the fact that time moves on for everything. Times change, tastes change, kids get new musical heroes, and that's okay. At the very least, stop (seriously, anyway) fighting on Twitter about it and harassing random people. I think we need to just *let it be, everyone.


  1. And it's not like people are born knowing every cultural touchstone they'll someday know about. When I was 12 years old I totally remember having that conversation with my mother-- there was an ad for a Paul McCartney concert on the radio and I genuinely didn't know what was such a big deal about him-- and yes, she was a little horrified at my ignorance. But three years later I happened to catch him in concert on TV, and that spawned a COMPLETE OBSESSION that I have never gotten over. I'd be a little worried about someone in their twenties or older who claims to be into music not knowing, but a tween? *I* was once such a tween, and now I'm a total Beatlemaniac and seeing Sir Paul in concert last summer was the highlight of 2014. If someone intends to really know music, they will find him in time!

  2. Well, he didnwrite a childrens book a few years ago, so one of the kids were technically right. ;-) My son (4) learned She loves you in kindergarden - and is shocked that both parents and grandparents know the song.

  3. My 12 year old stepbrother is obsessed with the Beatles and even saw Paul in concert. Anyone he's ever been in class with totally knows who Paul McCartney is!

  4. I like the Beatles, but probably like Wings more. I'm old.