This morning, YouTube brought me a special treat in the form of a video from Amarillo, Texas, that I like to call “Bill and Ted’s Most Excellent Preacher Creature Adventure.” In it, an evangelical preacher (insert stock image here), is trying to piss people off by burning a Koran on a barbecue grill at a park in Amarillo. There are the usual protesters, counter-protesters, undecided onlookers, and media swirling around the fringes of the show: in the center of it all, however, is, of course, the preacher. And the Koran. Until, suddenly, the Koran is no longer there: while the preacher was busy being distracted by a particularly vocal protestor, a twenty-five year old skateboarder swooped in and grabbed the Koran from off of the grill. His parting shot at the preacher?
“Dude, you got no Koran!”
Okay, now remember how you just looked inside your head to picture the crazy evangelical preacher? No, no, it was good—you got it right. Now do the same thing, only this time picture the twenty-five year old skateboarder. Did you get the thick nerd glasses, the uncombed rat-tail, the “I just got baked” expression? Well good, because as it turns out, you got him right, too. That’s right: it was Shaggy vs. Old Man Withers, and this time Shaggy won all on his own. It’s true: Shaggy won without any help from the Smart One (Velma), the kind of Smart One (Fred), and the Dumb, But Not as Dumb as Shaggy One (Daphne).
Do you know what this means? It means, to me at least, that there is still hope for us all; that no matter how dumb, or stoned, or Texan somebody is, in the end right will prevail. In Texas, even. And why? Sheer numbers: like it or not, intolerance is slowly being bred out of us. Really. If you don’t believe me, just look at the numbers for something like equal rights for gays: while currently only 25% of Americans over the age of seventy support same sex marriage, those numbers are closer to 65% when you look at Americans under the age of twenty-four—and that’s even when you poll places with a lot of Young Republicans and Promise Keepers.
It’s like a slow motion revolution.
Look, I really don’t know if the “kids are all right” or not—sometimes when I see one of them walking down the street in pants so large they could be used for emergency shelter I find myself thinking, “Leaders of the future, eh?” But then I think back to our most recent former president, and I remember that intelligence has nothing to do with it—it’s a numbers game. One that they—the youth—are always going to win. And that’s great. And it’s terrifying. And it’s inevitable.
And what’s more, it’s everywhere: did you know that in Iran over seventy percent of the population is under the age of thirty? I bet the Ayatollah does. Remember that scene in “A Bug’s Life,” when the ants finally realize that they’re the ones with all of the power, because they have all of the numbers? I picture a scene like that unfolding in Iran, only instead of ants fighting grasshoppers, it’ll be Iranian teenagers wearing black eyeliner and listening to My Chemical Romance who will be fighting the Imans.
And here it’ll be a whole generation of kids who just can’t see the point in burning the Koran. And one day, whether we like it or not, they’re going to be in charge of us all. I can almost hear their rallying cry now:
“Dude, you got no Koran!”
And, also, just maybe, “Anybody got a belt I can borrow?”