Forever Pop

Tom Junod finds that child stars no longer fade away like they did in past generations:

Today’s child stars tend to hang around because the values of child stardom have become the values of the culture at large. Music and television are turning into the equivalent of gymnastics and tennis: sports built entirely around the identification and training of prodigies. Bob Dylan was once considered a phenomenon because he recorded his first album at the age of 20; the Beatles were, among other things, the first boy band. But it’s worth asking what kind of music they would have made if Dylan first had served time as the wisecracking sidekick on a Nickelodeon show and the Beatles had been brought to market by Simon Cowell.

The answer is simple: They would have made music that entertained above all else.