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Dear Jon's Guide to Post-Contemporary Living

by Dear Jon
December 21, 2001

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Sort 105_Dear Jon-Dear Jon's Guide to Post-Contemporary Living ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

What can I do? You want me to ask you how I should live my life. I would love writing to you, but I don't need your advice. Everyone I know agrees that I am practically perfect in every way.

Mary Poppins


Dear Poppins,

You can get your OWN advice column, witch.


ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

It seems like a post-contemporary advice columnist such as yourself should answer any questions posed to you, whether they are of a philisophical nature or not. Are you afraid to answer such questions? Should we trust the advise of someone who is AFRAID to answer such questions?


Dear Too Rude to Sign Your Own Letter,

This question belongs in the Partial Observer forums, unless what you are asking for is advice on living a post-contemporary life in a post-modern world. So, since I am an advice columnist, I am going to give you advice, whether or not you wanted it.

DEAR JON'S GUIDE TO POST-CONTEMPORARY LIVING.

1. "Post-contemporary" means "retro." It is similar to being old-fashioned, except that the term "old-fashioned" means that someone has gotten stuck and has not updated their interiors, their car, and their clothes. Thus, the Amish are not post-contemporary, they are old-fashioned. To be post-contemporary means that one has engaged contemporary trends and values, and has consciously chosen to revert to prior trends and values.

2. For some people, "Free Love" will be their post-contemporary value, when women were finally set free to become sex objects without the chauvinism called "chivalry," which is that set of degrading values when men kept women in chains by being polite. Others will go back earlier, to a time when men wore hats and women were treated to the indignity of having their beaux open doors for them, pay for dinner, and bring flowers to a first date. Others go way back, such as in the Society for Creative Anachronisms, to when 98 percent of all men were manure-caked serfs, 2 percent were sword-weilding bullies, and 100 percent of women were wenches.

3. Post-contemporary living does not intend to recreate a previous culture. For example, I wear hats and I open doors for ladies. I do not smoke, however, nor do I think that smoking will improve my health, despite the commercials during Abbott and Costello radio programs. While I laugh at videos of old Jack Benny shows, this does not mean I think that Rochester's relationship to Jack should be the model of relations for today. In the same way, most people in the Society for Creative Anachronisms do not really want to live the way their ancestors lived: The men want to live the way the sword-weilding, armor-clad bullies lived, and the wenches still want to shower every day and be the kind of wench who got to wear pretty dresses.

4. If you have no idea who Jack Benny is, or Rochester, or Abbott and Costello, you are probably not "post-contemporary."

5. If you are offended in any way by my use of the word "wench," you need to grow up fast and get some historical perspective.

6. Most retros identify as "their" music either the rock-and-roll from 1955 to 1980, or jazz. The swing craze was a retro craze. Most retro cats dug that craze, but were digging swing long before it became trendy, and still do now.

7. As you can see, any generation can raise up its own post-contemporary retros, since what is contemporary is always the present.

8. Jake and Elwood Blues are icons in any post-contemporary movement.

9. Getting stuck listening to the music you listened to as a teenager does not make you post-contemporary twenty years later. It makes you old-fashioned.

10. Post-contemporary people use e-mail, but they NEVER forward anything that was forwarded to them: You know, those long and dull posts called something vaccuous like "The True Meaning of Christmas," about some crippled six year-old who is carried onto the Department Store Santa's knee, and asks for a present for his single Mom, and isn't that what Christmas is all about, and if you care about people you would forward this message on to them, and blah blah blah. Post-contemporary people do not waste their own time or anyone else's with posts like that, because those posts are sentimental, manipulative mush, and post-contemporary people are cool cats who don't dig that. So post-contemporary people would NEVER forward this article to their list of all their friends, saying, "Here's the New Catch-phrase for our generation, 'Post-contemporary,' find out what it means!" They would not do that just to annoy the Usage Police who coined the phrase in jest, and watch it catch fire across the media and the nation, because post-contemporary people don't care about being annoying or setting trends. But if you're not a post-contemporary person, you go right ahead and forward this to everyone you can. And be sure to include that if your friends care about you, they will forward it to all THEIR friends, because isn't that the true meaning of Christmas?

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