Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles???

Meh! It just doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? Following director Michael Bay's announcement that he was doing a re-boot of our beloved heroes in a half-shell, but that they would have a more "complicated back-story," the inter-Webs were abuzz with frustration, anger, and mass mutant envy. As Kermit would remind Mr. Bay, it isn't easy being green, but it's even less so when your turtle math is terrible, and you think mutant=alien.

If you are wondering what any of this has to do with genealogy, put down the pen you're using to write the death threat to the world's new least-favorite director, and stay with me here.

There are lots of blogs out there on genealogy. Lots. I mean, way more than the number of Foot Clan who have had their ninja boo-tays kicked by our Renaissance heroes with handkerchiefs on their heads. That said, I hope anyone who visits my blog gets something useful from it. I really do. But my main audience is really you potential genealogy ninjas that are my age. (I'm in my thirties, if you really must know. Not that I haven't dated myself already by this post's particular subject matter.)

You know we are kindred spirits if you and your friends competed to see who could memorize the words to "Ice, Ice, Baby" the fastest. If you've ever owned a pair of hammer pants (or still do, shhhhh....I won't tell), then keep reading, my stylish friend. If you can moonwalk or do the running man, but are still trying to figure out what the "Dougie" is, you are more than welcome here.

If you wore neon t-shirts at some point during junior high, or you still think Michael Jordan is the best basketball-er EV-ER. If you remember when MTV played music videos, or one of your prom themes was a Def Leppard song, then you are in good company.

One of my main goals with this blog (besides bringing genealogy and awesome technology together) is to inspire those of you my age to not wait to do genealogy. Don't wait until you are the oldest generation in your family. Don't wait until the day when only those with gray hair even remember what TMNT stands for.

We have some great talents, Gen-Xers. We saw the birth of the Internet, and we've been among the first to embrace all of the new technology that's followed it. Let's use that to really dig in and take genealogy research to a place that wasn't even dreamed of a mere 10 years ago.

With that said, I still haven't explained what genealogy has to do with turtles, have I? No, it's not that Shredder is plotting to come and destroy all of your family history files. Although that would be cool because I loved his cheesy, I mean, totally rad, metal helmet.

Alas, I digress, my gnarly dudes. The reason TMNT fans are so upset is because changing the backstory, the origin, of where the turtles come from changes EVERYTHING. They are turtles who fell into sewer ooze and became the radical crime-fighting heroes we all love. If Mr. Bay has his way and changes their beginning, then they are no longer the teenage mutant ninja turtles. They are something else entirely.

So it is with us. Our backstories may not be complicated or exciting enough to make a Hollywood movie, but our beginnings are who we are, at our very core. Where we come from, the things we've been taught, the traditions passed down to us, are at the meat of our story. And then, we have the exciting task of being able to keep that story going. But if we don't understand our beginnings, then we don't understand ourselves as well as we should. Hopefully, these violent uprisings (and by violent, I mean thousands of TMNT fans trolling, trolling, and trolling some more) will convince Mr. Bay that where we come from is key to everything else, and remind the rest of us of that same truth.

I am now feeling very nostalgic, so I'm going to go put on my neon shirt, moonwalk downstairs, order some pizza, and watch TMNT the way it was meant to be enjoyed. As Michelangelo would say, have a righteous, kowabunga day, dudes!