First, I have to explain the title… In British vulgar terminology, a “gob” is a term for the mouth. If you’ve raised your hand to your gob, it means that you are astonished by something.
What, you may ask, has so amazed me? I have just read that the term “teenager” didn’t exist until the 1950s when it was coined by the musician Bill Haley. What? What?
According to the source:
It took three converging changes in society for the teenage identity to emerge: disposable incomes, the popularity of the automobile, and child labor laws. With the car, adolescents could finally get some distance from their parents, and thanks to their new-found freedom and some money in their pockets, they could actually buy things.
I know that the concepts of childhood and adulthood have changed over the centuries, but weren’t the early films of, say, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland about the teenage experience?
Was there ever a time when there was no dismal period of angst and acne between childhood and adult responsibilities?